Clovis slugger shines in NYC

July 15, 2013 

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Jacob Gatewood

JACOB GATEWOOD — Jacob Gatewood

Jacob Gatewood rubbed elbows with the stars, got some face time on ESPN and outhomered some of baseball's best sluggers on a dream night for one of the Fresno area's most promising high school players.

The Clovis High senior-to-be and potential top pick in next year's amateur draft slugged nine home runs in the first round and 13 overall — more than everyone in the first round except for Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes — during Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby on Monday at New York's Citi Field.

"Best day of my life," Gatewood said in describing the experience on his Twitter account.

Using an aluminum bat, Gatewood blasted three of his homers into the third deck during a two-round performance that took place while ESPN was on commercial breaks. Fellow prep standout Kel Johnson of Palmetto, Ga., hit 10 homers.

By comparison, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and MLB home run leader Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles each had eight in the first round, while Cespedes hit 17 in the first round en route to winning the event with a total of 31.

When he was done sending balls over the fence, Gatewood received handshakes, chest-bumps and hugs from past Derby winners Robinson Cano and Prince Fielder, as well as All-Stars such as Mike Trout and Adam Jones.

ESPN eventually showed one of Gatewood's homers before going to a commercial break.

Gatewood's performance set social media abuzz, with ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeting "How much money did Jacob Gatewood make himself just now. HS junior from Fresno just mashed 9 bombs while you were watching commercials;" and The Denver Post's Troy Renck tweeting "Jacob Gatewood isn't just some kid. Could be No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft."

Gatewood and Johnson got into Monday's contest by placing in the top two of a six-player high school home run derby before the Futures Game at Citi Field on Sunday, with Gatewood hitting nine and Johnson 11.

A shortstop, pitcher and outfielder, Gatewood hit .320 with four homers and 31 runs while also going 5-1 with a 2.02 ERA for a 24-9 Cougars team that finished 27th-ranked in the state. He is committed to USC but was recently projected by Sports Illustrated as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 draft.

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