Prep Baseball Report

Q&A With Parkland Commit Jayden Patel

By: Peter Hamot
Area Scout, Staff Writer

One player that comes to mind when thinking of standouts from the Illinois State Games is undoubtably INF Jayden Patel (Lake Park, 2024), rising nearly 140 spots within our rankings after the event. His workout was among the strongest in attendance, and he proved that his swing plays in-game just as well as in BP; using the whole field comfortably with a short and fluid left-handed stroke. He has the actions to remain on the infield at the next level with plenty of arm-strength to pair (T90 mph), and there's still plenty of upside in his 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame. 

We recently had the chance to chat with Patel on his recruitment process, as well as some other fun topics that can be found below. 

Our Q&A

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Jayden: I knew it would be a hard but fun journey. I was looking for a program that had welcoming coaches that were excited to coach and win games. I wanted a good team environment where everyone has each other's backs.

P: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision? 

J: Yes, I knew I wanted to stay somewhat close to home. 

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Where did the school you committed to first see you play? 

J: I would say this past summer things started to heat up for me in the recruiting process. The first time Parkland saw me was at the State Games. 

P: What do you like most about the program you chose, and what were the key factors in making your decision? 

J: Parkland has a great history of winning and sending players off to the next level. Their coaching staff on the visit I took were super nice and friendly. I felt as if I could easily connect to them and felt at home the moment I got on their campus. 

P: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision? 

J: My other tops from each division were: JUCO - Wabash Valley, Division 2 - Quincy and Division 1 - Lindenwood/Northern Illinois 

P: Who is the best player you have faced in your state? What about them makes for a tough opponent? 

J: Dan Cercello C/O 2024 pitcher from Neuqua Valley. He had a firm fastball at a very tall frame so the ball got on you extra quick. He also commanded his changeup well and threw it for strikes. 

P: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college-caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level? 

J: I would say my sophomore year of high-school. I started working out more and studying my swing and patterns on the infield. 

P: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

J: Enjoy the journey, leave no regrets and be confident in the work you put in.

P: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

J: Hitting a walk-off in Cooperstown because after the game I got soaked with water from my coaches and teammates.  

P: Preview your high school team's season for us. How do you feel your team will be? 

J: Lake Park will be very deep this year as we are returning a lot of starters from last year. We have a bunch of grinders that love the game who are all really tight bonded. Led by our Hall of Fame coach we can make a really deep run this year in the playoffs. Don’t sleep on Lake Park this year! 

P: How did the Future Games and/or the Illinois State Games affect your recruitment process? Did you receive more attention following the event(s)? 

J: I would say the Illinois State Games was the best exposure and experience I’ve ever had relating to baseball. The amount of coaches there to watch you play against the best competition in the state was amazing and it helped me a ton.  

P: If you could steal any tool or quality from another player in the state, what would it be and who would it be from?

J: Jalen House’s speed. 

P: Who is the next talented young player to keep an eye on out of your high school or travel program? 

J: Jason Keefe C/O 2025 OF from Lake Park HS. Going to explode this year. 

P: Did Prep Baseball assist in your recruiting? Whether it be through a showcase, tournament coverage, tweets, etc? 

J: Yes, PBR helped me a lot on Twitter as they had great social media coverage at their events. The player profile pages they had were also really great as it showed all my numbers/write-ups on one page so coaches could easily see a lot from me in one place.

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