Zach Showalter – USF Commit and 5 Tool Player
Author: Joey Johnston – Wesley Chapel High School sophomore Zack Showalter has the physical size, power hitting, pitching velocity and intangibles that are necessary to become an impact performer.
While playing with Baseball University at last summer’s showcase event in Atlanta, Showalter put those skills on display.
And people noticed.
Boy did they notice.
It was an exposure whirlwind and Showalter, at age 15, found himself making a verbal commitment to the University of South Florida, where he plans to play baseball after graduating from Wesley Chapel in 2022.
“It has been pretty overwhelming,’’
said Showalter, 6-feet tall and 190 pounds. “But I plan on working hard and grinding from here on out. I can’t wait for the next couple of years to see what I can become.’’
According to Addison Maruszak, BU’s director of operations, Showalter already has become a special prospect.
Showalter, a right-handed pitcher and center fielder, had been playing on the Next Era travel-ball team, which was coached by Todd Woodaz. Showalter was invited to work out at BU last spring. It wasn’t supposed to be monumental, just some light stuff, throwing a bullpen.
“Zack lit it up,’’ Maruszak said. “We took a video that day and sent it to every Division I program in Florida. Every one of them said, ‘Wow, when is he playing? We want to see him in a game.’
“He doesn’t know how good he is, which is a good thing. I don’t think he cares. The only thing he cares about is being better than he was yesterday. Working with him is super fun because he’s coachable, he listens and he picks it up very quick.’’
For Woodaz, it was no surprise.
“Zack has come on quickly to everybody, but for those who have known him for a while, we always saw the ability,’’ Woodaz said. “He’s a special athletic kid. He has a live arm and he throws it so free and easy. He can flat out go get it in center. Runs like a deer.
“Athletically, there’s nothing he can’t do. And he was doing this stuff at 11, 12 years old.’’
Showalter, whose fastball already hits 90 miles per hour, said he expects to be a pitcher. That’s his primary interest and true passion.
Maruszak said Showalter’s overall skills shouldn’t be overlooked.
“He’s a physical five-tool player,’’ Maruszak said. “He can run, hit, throw, play defense and hit for power. If he keeps developing, the sky’s the limit.
“What catches your attention are the five tools. Usually at that age, you see a couple of tools … and those are Division I-level players. When you throw off the mound as hard as he does, you’re going to get a (college scholarship) offer. What’s different with Zack is he does everything. That’s rare. And he’s still developing.’’
Showalter’s father, Wes, said his son showed athletic ability in numerous sports, including football, where he was an effective fullback, and track and field, where he set the county’s middle school record for the long jump.
Baseball, though, was Showalter’s love.
“I think he’s passionate about working and becoming the best player he can be,’’ Showalter’s father said. “I think Baseball University has made a big difference, too. He’s learning a lot. Addison (Maruszak) just has an energy about him that all the boys pick up on.
“Zack has picked up a lot from the different coaches he’s had through the years. He does listen and he takes it to heart. I think he’s intent on taking it to the highest level he can.’’
Maruszak has noticed Showalter’s baseball savvy.
“He knows how to practice and he knows how to get better,’’ Maruszak said. “He plays the game like a professional, whether he knows that or not.
“This kid plays the right way. He does everything you want to see as a coach, whether it’s the way he runs the bases, the way he handles himself on the field, the way he handles adversity. It’s a great package.’’
Showalter also has a hidden talent.
He loves creating work with friends on TikTok, a social media app that features lip-synch, comedy and talent videos. He produced a short feature on how athletes walk around their house — slapping the top of every door and sliding across a countertop to reach the refrigerator — and comparing to the walk of a non-athlete.
It received more than a million views.
“Anybody can put something up there, but not everybody can get famous like we did,’’ Showalter said with a laugh.
Odds are that Showalter won’t find his greatest glory in a TikTok video.
“When I’m playing baseball, I’m not a relaxed person,’’ Showalter said. “I’m an emotional player. I get pumped up.
“I just like being out there with my teammates. When there’s a big crowd, I feel comfortable. I like being out there to perform and win. I tried other sports, but baseball just feels natural to me.’’
Showalter’s association with BU — and the summer showcase performance that got him noticed — has him looking toward a promising future. Woodaz said Showalter has landed in the right place.
“I’m a huge fan, a huge proponent of what Addison and his BU organization is all about,’’ Woodaz said. “I bought in early. No pressure. Let the kids play. They don’t beat the kids up. They teach when they need to teach. They don’t over-teach.
“I think Zack is on a great path right now.’’
Even though he can’t officially sign with USF until his senior season at Wesley Chapel, Showalter said he’s focused on day-to-day improvement. His father approves of that approach.
“The fact that he got offers so quickly last summer, it was almost like, ‘What the heck just happened?’ ‘’ Showalter’s father said. “I’m sure he was thrilled and he achieved a goal.
“But he has a lot more in mind. In a sense, he’s just starting out and there’s a lot more to accomplish. I think he’s excited about the possibilities.’’
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