Whoa. Torii Hunter Jr. has decided to play professional baseball and forego his fifth season at Notre Dame football.
He announced it earlier today.
Love thee! pic.twitter.com/aBOBPPHdIy— Torii Hunter Jr. (@THunterJr) December 15, 2016
Hunter Jr. is a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame, playing for the Fighting Irish football and baseball team (but mostly football). This season, he recorded 38 receptions for 521 yards and three touchdowns as a wide receiver. He didn’t play much baseball, only appearing in 19 games with 1 start.
Here is the audio when Hunter Jr. was drafted in which his father announces the pick.
He was drafted in the 23rd round of this year’s MLB draft. Between baseball inexperience, football focus, and doubts that he would pursue baseball he was viewed as more of a feel-good story than a legitimate prospect. Now, Hunter Jr. will be able to rewrite his own baseball narrative.
As for his strengths and weaknesses, he is a raw athlete with plus speed, essentially the scouting report of every multi-sport athlete. He will have to learn the sport and the Angels organization is hoping that his talent and athleticism will translate from football to baseball.
So we were willing to take a chance. It's hard to turn those kind of tools away. He can run, he's got some power, he's got some strength to him; he's very, very athletic. We'll roll the dice, see what we've got. It's hard to go wrong when you take athletes." -Former scouting director Ric Wilson
Hunter’s baseball coach, Mik Aoki, had good things to say regarding Hunter’s makeup.
"I think the thing that stands out to you -- more than anything, to be honest -- is just what a phenomenal kid he is," Aoki said. "Mature, a great teammate, and has just a really kind of humble confidence about him. In this age of Twitter and Instagram, and kids sometimes pumping themselves up through maybe some false means, Torii is incredibly refreshing."
The Angels organization and fans alike will be rooting for Torii Hunter Jr. to succeed at every stop he makes.