Madison, Wis. native Drake Baldwin starred as a two-sport athlete in high school at Madison West earning All-Conference honors on the ice and on the diamond. Baldwin led all goal-scorers in Wisconsin on his way to being named Big Eight Boy’s Hockey Player of the Year in 2019. On the diamond, the Rays alum was name the No. 2 catching prospect in Wisconsin by Prep Baseball Report and the No. 4 overall recruit in the state in 2019.
Entering his second season at Missouri State, Baldwin led the Bears in hitting as a freshman, the first freshman to lead the Bears in hitting since 2015. On the Covid-shortened season, Baldwin hit .295 with a home run, a triple, three doubles in 16 starts. In the classroom, Baldwin was named to the 2020 Missouri Valley Conference Honor Roll.
Recently Baldwin took some time to answer some questions to be featured in our Rays Alumni Question and Answer session. It’s time to catch up with Drake Baldwin:
Was your freshman season drastically different than what you were expecting heading into college?
My freshman year was pretty much like I expected but the things that stood out to me was the amount of extra on your own work that the coaches expected us to do. This consisted of us going to the field before and after practice and on off days to lift hit and throw.
What is travel like when you are on a road trip?
I didn’t get to travel much with the season being shortened but we traveled mostly by bus. Most of the time on the bus I was finishing up homework or taking a nap before the practice or game that night.
What was it like when you got the news that last season was going to be cancelled due to Covid?
We got the news that the season was getting cancelled while we were on the bus heading to the airport for our series against UC Irvine. When we got the news it was an emotional time seeing the reactions of the seniors who were wondering if they played their last college baseball game.
What have practices been like with the Covid-19 restrictions/precautions been like at your school?
Our practices with the Covid restrictions start with us getting temperature checks and signing off on a sheet confirming we haven’t been in large groups. Our team has been split into our home and away locker room to be able to social distance. We also are required to wear masks at all times besides for when we are actively hitting, fielding or lifting. The baseball side of practice plans have been the exact same though.
Outside of baseball practice, what baseball related activities (lifting, meetings, etc.) do you have on a weekly basis?
We lift 3 times a week with our strength coach and because I am a catcher I have 2 meetings a week as well(one with pitchers, one with hitters).
Could you give a brief “Day in the Life” breakdown of a normal day for you?
8:30 am Wake up and eat breakfast
10:00 am – 12:30 pm Class on zoom and or in person
12:30 pm – 12:45pm Get something to eat quick before practice
1:00 pm Early hitting work before practice that every one goes to
1:45 pm – 5:00 pm Practice
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Weights
7:00 pm – 7:30 pm Dinner
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm Homework
9:30 pm Chill time before going to bed
What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting your freshman season?
One thing I wish I knew when coming into college was the amount of time spent doing homework and learning on your own. It’s important to have good time management skills because you will fall far behind in both school and baseball if you can’t have good routines to manage your time.
What advice do you have for the younger Rays players who want to follow in your footsteps and play high-level college baseball?
What I would say to a younger Rays played is never take a game or practice off. Always go 100% because you never know who’s watching. The first time Missouri State watched me play was when I was a freshman in high school and one of the coaches happened to walk by our field during one of my at bats and watched me hit. I had no idea any scouts were there but if I took that at bat off I might never be where I am today.
What’s your favorite Rays memory?
My favorite Rays memory is playing basketball in Atlanta with the team and coaches for the whole day.