If you are a Louisville baseball fan, you may or may not know Eddie King Jr. yet. The Chicago native is a name worth knowing and someone to watch for moving into 2023.
I had an opportunity to recently catch up with Eddie before a summer league game in O’Fallon, Missouri. King has been playing for the Alton River Dragons of the Prospect League and has without a doubt had the best summer at the plate of anyone in the league.
To this point, King has put together a slash of .291/.435/.609, 38 RBI’s, and 25 stolen bases. What is most impressive, however, has been his power surge. King leads the Prospect League in home runs, with 13.
I asked Eddie if he had considered himself to be a home run hitter.
“I used to say that I was not a home run hitter. Guess I would just say that I am seeing the ball really well right now,” says King.
It is safe to say that he is definitely seeing the ball well right now. Not only is he hitting the ball out of the park at a high rate, he is also taking his fair share of walks. Coming down the home stretch of summer ball, King has put up a K/BB ratio of 40/31. Another impressive stat and a great sign for Louisville moving into the fall.
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Heavy hitters moving on from Louisville baseball
Louisville returns just one-third of the starting outfield from the 2022 season, following Levi Usher and Cam Masterman moving on to pro ball. Isaac Humphrey has solidified himself as a starting outfielder and a potential middle of the order bat for 2023. The other two spots are wide open for taking however. King could definitely make some noise for one of those spots. He is definitely ready to hit the ground running in the fall.
“Hopefully I can go out and have a really good fall. I want to show the coaches that I still got it.”
Talking to Eddie made it obvious that he is a competitor. Something that runs in the family. King’s cousin, Corey Ray, was a standout at Louisville for three seasons, and at one point was the highest draft pick in school history, going 5th overall to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016.
When asked about his decision to come to Louisville, King reflected on the impact that Ray had on his own career.
“With him going to Louisville, it really impacted me,” says King, “he showed me that I can too.”
How King Jr. got to Louisville
King had his college decision down to Louisville and Miami when he ultimately decided to commit to Dan McDonnell’s program.
Coming out of high school, the class of 2021 product was listed as the 8th ranked player in the state of Illinois according to Perfect Game. Certainly a player that many schools were after.
The accolades did not start for King in high school, however. In fact, he had made a name for himself in the baseball world as a member of the 2014 Chicago Little League team that had won the Little League World Series United States title. An honor that comes with a trip to the White House.
“It felt like a dream when I was there,” says King on the White House trip, “now I realize that it is a once in a lifetime thing and I will probably never step foot in the White House again.”
Eddie definitely had a role in the Chicago team’s success as he batted .400 through the tournament as one of the younger players on the roster.
There is little doubt that Louisville and Dan McDonnell got themselves another great baseball player. The state of Illinois has been great to the University of Louisville baseball team and Eddie King is another impact player to watch for.
Being in the spotlight at a young age, and being surrounded by other great baseball players has built Eddie King into the player he is today. Look for King to continue to build off of a very strong summer and be in the mix for starts in the outfield in 2023.