Photo by Anthony Fiorella / MTSU Sidelines
Following a tough season in 2017 that saw them win a mere 10 conference games, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have revamped their roster with a promising recruiting class that is loaded with talent.
Many of these new players are looking to make an immediate impact on the field to invigorate a team that struggled last year. Among these new acquisitions is outfielder Myles Christian, a freshman from Olive Branch, Mississippi.
According to perfectgame.org, Christian was the second-ranked recruit out of Mississippi last year. He had a phenomenal senior season in which he compiled a .424 batting average with 11 doubles and eight home runs.
While his batting skills are impressive, he has proven to be a complete all-around player with blazing speed. He had 28 stolen bases last year, and now has an opportunity to show his speed at a higher level.
“I call him a glider because he doesn’t look like he’s running very fast,” said volunteer assistant Robbie Britt. “He moves around the field so seamlessly and athletically.”
His defense is an essential key to his success, and it’s where he seems to excel the most. At 6-foot-2-inches tall, Christian has the reach and size to be an excellent fielder at the collegiate level. He won the Rawlings Golden Glove Award, an award given to players that exhibit elite skill and talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Christian was then drafted in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball draft this past year, but opted to play for MTSU instead.
“I came here on my visit, and I really felt like it could be my second home,” Christian said. “We have a great group of players like Drew Huff and LA Woodard. I just wanted to come here and play with them.”
The team has a good mixture of young players and veterans. That’s something that Christian took into consideration when making his decision because it eases the burden of being a freshman in college.
“It feels good to have the seniors and juniors to lead and just to follow in their tracks,” Christian said about the transition to the collegiate level. “It’s definitely faster. (There’s) better pitching and better competition, but it’s still fun to just travel and play baseball.”
Christian has already started to make a name for himself on the team, and his coaches are full of praise for his talent and skillset.
“He’s a tremendous athlete and a baseball player,” said head coach Jim McGuire. “He’s not just an athlete that’s trying to play baseball. He has a lot of athletic ability, but he’s honed it to become a great baseball player.”
It’s not only his on-the-field talent that sets him apart, but also his work ethic and his desire to improve as a player.
“He is extremely detailed in his preparation, and he is extremely coachable,” Britt said. “He has a great skill set, but he is also willing to take criticism and use that to grow and benefit.”
Only time will tell if Christian will become a great baseball player, but he certainly has all the talent and drive to achieve that goal. It will be interesting to watch his collegiate career over the coming seasons. He possesses all the physical gifts that coaches covet in their players, and this will likely help him to continue further than most in this competitive sport.
The first game of the season is on Feb. 16, 2018, at 3 p.m. It will be the first game of a three-game series against Western Illinois.