Former Creekside High School baseball phenom is headed to Kansas City. Shortstop Patrick Leonard selected as a fifth-round draft pick by Kansas City Royals, signed with the Kansas City organization last Thursday. The deal included a $600,000 signing bonus. His agent released the following statement:
I feel very fortunate to be part of the Royals organization and I am very excited about beginning my professional career. I could not have done this alone. Along with my parents, there have been several people who have helped me get here and I am grateful for their support.
At the time of the MLB draft Leonard had signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Georgia Bulldogs. This led to several weeks of negotiation with the Royals and a difficult decision whether to begin his professional career or join the talent-rich SEC and the Bulldogs.
A native from St Johns County Florida and the local Creeks Athletic Association ball fields, Leonard has been playing ball since he was 4 years old.
It is everything I have ever known. My dad and I would go up to the field when he got home from work and hit for hours on end. This started when I was about 6 and continued up until the Royals selected me in the 5th round. My family has sacrificed a lot to make sure the family schedule revolved around baseball.
The 6’4″ 200 lb Leonard is projected to play as a corner infielder or outfielder as his professional career advances. The Assistant General Manager of the Kansas City Royals, J.J. Picollo, acknowledged that Leonard, who played exclusively as a shortstop during his senior year, may ultimately end up at the far left corner playing third base. A position traditionally held by big hitters, it is little doubt that Leonard’s slugging abilities is what appealed to the Royals organization leading them to believe that he could be a big league power hitter one day.
“Big power,” Picollo said of Leonard’s big league aspirations. “Right-handed power is becoming a commodity that is hard to find.” When he came out for the pre-draft workout he won the organization over with his bat. “He really put on a show with the bat,” Picollo remarked.
Leonard’s a bat performances have dazzled many a fan, as he wrapped up his high school career with a memorable season of exciting at bats that backs up Picollo’s sentiment. During his senior year as an Eagle at the St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas, he treated the Eagle fans with a of variety of highlight reels, but the all time highlight of the year occurred during the district playoffs when he smashed three homeruns, including a grand slam, and racked up an outstanding eight RBIs. He ended his high school career with the Eagles with a three-run smash in the state championship game bringing home the Eagles 22nd baseball state title with the final score of 4-3.
Leonard began his high school career at Bartram Trail as a freshman before transferring to Creekside during his sophomore year earning St. Augustine Record baseball player of the year honors. His family moved to Texas prior to his senior year, where he played his last prep season at St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas, where he was coached by former major leaguer Craig Biggio.
Leonard reflects upon his move to Houston:
Well when my parents told me that we were going to move to Houston, I was not the most excited person in the world. People close to me said it would be a great experience and they were right. My feelings changed once I got there. Playing for Coach Biggio was the best thing I could have asked for. I don’t think I could have had a more knowledgeable coach than a future Hall of Famer and a player who was so versatile throughout his big league career.
Leonard was a highly respected pitcher going 6-1 with a 0.64 ERA during his Junior year at Creekside, After moving to Houston, he began to focus on honing his skills as a position player during his senior season, an effort that paid off. Major league scouts credited him with having the versatility to adapt quickly to a number of infield or outfield positions.
Leonard ended his final high school season batting 434 with 12 HR and 56 RBI. His young career includes many other accolades including two-time All-District and All-State selection in Florida, and winner of the Connie Mack National Championship with his 2011 summer team, the Midland Redskins. It truly has been a Cinderella story for this young athlete and whatever he does we know he will pursue it in the hometown St Johns Florida way — Victory with Honor.
GREG SCHAUM, 9 innings with Royals 2011 5th round pick Patrick Leonard, August 12, 2011