If you haven’t heard of Tyler Danish, you haven’t paid much attention to high school baseball this year. The 6’-1” right-hander out of Plant City, Florida, put together one of the most ridiculously dominant seasons you will ever see, leading Durant High School to the state title game. Over 17 starts, he went 15-1 with 156 strikeouts over 94 innings, allowing just 32 hits. He also didn’t allow an earned run all season. That’s right, he tossed 94 innings without giving up one measly earned run. By the way, he also hit .411 over 33 games with nine home runs, 27 RBI and a .522 OBP/.756 SLG.
A nominee for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, and owner of a fastball that can touch 95 mph, Danish was kind enough to take the time and answer some questions:
Well now, that was quite a season. Despite coming up just short of your team’s ultimate goal of winning a state title, what will you remember most about this season?
What I will remember most about this year is just the run this team put together. No one expected us to be where we ended up. Also, just how we grew as a family and became so close.
With a new chapter about to start in your life, whichever path you choose, what are you going to miss most about your high school days?
What I’ll miss most about high school is my friends. To go to school with the same people for four years and become so close, then just have to leave each other, is something I will really miss.
Who was the toughest hitter you faced this season, as well as pitcher when you were at the plate?
Probably Kyle Tucker of Plant High School, brother of former Gator and current Houston Astros prospect Preston Tucker. Toughest pitcher was fellow Gator recruit Brett Morales.
What was it about the University of Florida that made you want to commit and become a part of Gator Nation?
It was just a family atmosphere from the moment I stepped foot on campus.
Who has been the biggest influence in your baseball career?
My father, for sure. He passed away from cancer during my sophomore year, and that just made me drive even harder to make our goals come true — which was sign a D1 scholarship and play professionally!
When not playing baseball, what does Tyler Danish do to relax and unwind?
I do what every other high school kid does: Hang out with friends and enjoy his last moments of high school.
As the streak went on, did you feel the added pressure of having to be perfect every time out, or did you use it as motivation?
Yes, when you have a streak like that, it’s always in your head to keep it going and not have it end. But the pressure of being perfect? I wouldn’t say that. I just pitched and competed to get a win for my team.
Favorite baseball movie?
The Benchwarmers. I just enjoy the comedy of the movie, and I can watch it all the time!
If you could sit down and pick the brain of one player, past or present, who would it be, and why?
Probably either Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson. They were probably the most influential pitchers for me. Both threw hard and had the same mentality of attacking hitters. Both were fiercely competitive, and that’s exactly how I play the game.
If I were to ask your teammates what kind of person Tyler Danish is, what would they say?
They would say I’m a great leader and very, very humble. That I go about my business and I get it done. Also, I don’t take short cuts!
Besides catching a Cougars game, what is there to do in Plant City? Best food?
There is the strawberries. We are the strawberry capital of the world! And then there is Fred’s BBQ, best barbecue in the world!
Last question, and it’s hypothetical. Would you rather hit a walk-off home run to win the world series or get the final strikeout on the mound?
That is a hard question since I play both ways. But definitely a strikeout to win the game with the crowd going crazy. Just to have the ball in your hand at the end of the game is something I look forward to.
I would like to thank Tyler Danish for his time and wish him the best of luck in whichever path he chooses! You can follow him and his journey on Twitter @danish_tyler7.
Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter @DanMKirby for 2013 MLB draft updates, prospect news and Chicago Cubs ramblings.