It doesn’t feel like it’ll be too long from now that we’ll all be talking about David Hogg II as either a legitimate prospect for the 2024 MLB Draft or one of the most electric freshmen in all of college baseball as he gets set to begin his NCAA career at Louisiana State University.
In reality, that’s all a long way down the road, but for the talented middle infielder himself, it feels like it’s right around the corner.
“It feels close,” he told FutureStarsSeries.com in a Zoom conversation, taking a short break from watching an LSU Baseball game on TV.
“I’m looking forward to it, being able to talk to Coach Jay (Johnson) and Coach (Dan) Fitzgerald and building those relationships, it has me looking forward to it. It’s getting closer every day.”
Originally an Oklahoma commit, Hogg made waves across the amateur baseball world when he reopened his recruitment process, quickly scooped up by LSU after multiple big programs expressed significant interest.
“I decommitted from Oklahoma in December, and I took a solid few months to…really go through the process again and build relationships with coaches and make my choice from there,” he said. “The young age — I was in eighth grade when I committed to them — so in really thinking about it, I needed to go through the process again and build the relationships like I said, and make the right decision from there.”
Why LSU, though?
“The head coach, Jay Johnson, that played a huge part in my decision, just because he was one of the first coaches to reach out to me when I was in eighth grade and really just took an interest in me then. When I started talking to him again recently and building that relationship up and having that relationship with the head coach, that really meant a lot to me and it played a huge part in my decision.”
That’s not all, however. The “Shortstop U” reputation — they’ve sent household names like Alex Bregman, D.J. LeMahieu and many others to long big league careers — down in Baton Rouge also “definitely” factored into the decision.
“Being a shortstop, you go where you can get developed and get ready for the next level,” Hogg said. “The ‘Shortstop U,’ that’s what they do there.”
There’s no reason to think that Hogg can’t continue that long line of superstars coming out of the six spot on the field at LSU. He stood out at the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series Underclass Combine with an advanced approach at the plate, and earned an invite to the Underclass Elite event in Orlando, where he continued to make a solid impression on the development staff and scouts in attendance.
Since that last event in September, however, he says he’s made significant strides in trying to improve his game, particularly in adding some muscle to a somewhat-wiry frame that has increased his power and arm velocity from the middle infield. A multi-sport athlete who stood out during the impromptu two-hand touch football game in the UCF bubble during a rain delay during the Underclass Elite event, Hogg says it’s as simple as hard work in the weight room combined with increased attention to detail in his eating habits that’s gotten him to this point since we last saw him.
“It was a mixture of both,” Hogg said. “Getting in the weight room in the offseason, and really taking this offseason and really building up…I took a break from basketball this year, so I had a really good offseason. I was looking forward to it after football, just really eating right and getting in the weight room, developing my body and just getting better. This was the time to lock in, get focused on baseball, and develop as a player. I’m looking forward to getting back out there again and you guys seeing me balling out.”
The Texas native intends on still finishing out his high school football career, but the focus will shift mostly to baseball as the path has become more clear to that being his future. It’s one that seems to be bright if the Underclass Combine and Underclass Elite showings are any indication, but as much as he took a business-like approach to those events, he also made sure he took the time to enjoy his experiences there and learn from them as well.
“Getting (to play with) guys from all over the country — there were even a few guys from Canada — that was crazy to get to talk to all of those guys,” he said. “The coaches; it was a great environment to play in and get better. It was way different than those showcases where it’s crow hop and throw into a net. It was really the instruction part of it, getting us better. All the coaches overall were getting us better for outside the event, they wanted to invest in us and get us better for our future. It was really fun, and I look forward to doing it again.”
Hogg is eager to continue his development in baseball moving forward, and is taking a mature mindset in making that happen between now and when some big decisions may lie ahead in 2024.
“I do have a while (before that), but it’s just continuing to get better, develop myself physically and on the field, and just really getting mentally locked in and staying mentally locked in,” he said. “Just getting myself ready for that next level, whatever that might be. (The Draft), that’s what you work for your whole life, you look forward to getting your name called. But, overall, my family and I, that’s something we’ve invested so much time in. I really look forward to whatever happens. It’ll be a blessing if it does happen, and college is always a good option.”
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