Meet The Next Shohei Ohtani

As many recent high school graduates bask in the joys of summer and prepare for college, Bryce Eldridge, an 18-year-old from Virginia, is nervously awaiting a life-changing decision that could make his childhood dream a reality: becoming a Major League Baseball player.

Eldridge, an accomplished pitcher and hitter, is considered one of the top prospects for the upcoming MLB draft, scheduled from July 9-11.

His elite two-way ability has drawn comparisons to Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Reflecting on his journey, Eldridge expressed his disbelief to WTOP, stating, “It doesn’t feel real just because this has been a dream of mine for so long.”

The James Madison High School graduate has dedicated years to honing his skills, and now, he anxiously awaits his future in professional baseball.

Eldridge and his family embarked on an arduous journey during his final months of high school, meeting with over two dozen teams. Recounting the experience, Eldridge admitted, “We had 28 meetings with 28 teams, and that was a grind for sure.”

Baseball has always been Eldridge’s passion, a sport that captured his heart ever since his mother signed him up at a young age.

“I played a few sports along the way here – football, basketball, but baseball has always been my love and the top priority going through that,” he shared.

Throughout his childhood, Eldridge idolized former Nationals and current Phillies hitter Bryce Harper, referring to him as “his namesake.”

He emulated Harper’s stance and swing, admitting to a touch of disappointment when Harper left Washington for Philadelphia.. “It’s hard not to like him, just the swag he brings to the game,” Eldridge confessed.

Eldridge’s parents have been his biggest supporters, and he hopes to have them by his side as he embarks on his professional career.

His mother, Beth Kenney, pledged not to be an overbearing presence, jokingly remarking, “We heard some scout saying, ‘Listen, don’t be the mom who drives him to the field every day.’ So, I promise I won’t do that.”

Kenney expressed immense pride in her son’s accomplishments, describing the whole experience and the attention he is receiving as surreal. “You can’t wipe the smile off my face.. I cannot even believe this is happening. I’m so proud of him,” she shared.

Standing tall at 6 feet 7 inches, Eldridge hopes to excel both on the mound and in the batter’s box if given the chance in the big leagues. “I hope I never have to drop one or the other, and I can just keep doing both of them as long as possible,” he expressed.

Regarding his preferred team destination, Eldridge remained tight-lipped, but he did express his desire to ascend to the major leagues swiftly and make an immediate impact.

“I want to get up there as quick as possible and make an immediate impact on a team and a city or organization,” he stated.

Despite positive meetings with teams, Eldridge remains grounded, acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding the draft’s outcome.

“You hear things from teams prior to the draft, but five other guys could be hearing the same thing. So, you really never know,” he said.

In the event Eldridge doesn’t get selected, he has a promising backup plan: playing baseball for the University of Alabama.

“I undoubtedly (have) two great options: to go play SEC college baseball or go to the draft. We’re going to see how it plays out,” he shared.

It may be unfair to compare him to Ohtani at such a young age. After all, Ohtani is arguably the best player in the world whereas Eldridge hasn’t accomplished much of anything yet.

But with the exposure and success of Ohtani, you can expect to see two-way players become more and more common.