SHARPSBURG, Ga. (BVM) – Tai Peete’s introduction to the baseball world came at a younger age and a much larger scale than most of the players his age.
Dating back to the 2018 Little League World Series, at the age of 12, the Georgia native starred as a pitcher and shortstop during Peachtree City’s run to the U.S championship game as a representative of the Southeast Region. A fourth overall finish following a loss to Japan in the consolation matchup brought forth the opening to his time in the national baseball spotlight.
Now nearly five years later, the Trinity Christian shortstop still brings that same youthful energy to the baseball diamond as one of the country’s top players.
“He’s a great kid,” Trinity Christian head coach Tommy Gregg said. “Great personality, he keeps everyone loose and he’s a leader on the team. I describe Tai as a game changer… he just makes things happen on the baseball field that helps the team win.”
Peete became the engine behind the Lions’ success over the past two seasons hitting for over .400 in back-to-back campaigns as Trinity Christian finished an 18-12 campaign to close out the 2023 year. With his mix of athleticism at the shortstop position along with his ability to hit the ball out of the park, the Lions senior would go on to enjoy an impressive final season that has him primed for bigger and better things.
Even with his success, the Trinity Christian star focuses on having the right mentality, mixing his five-tool ability with an easy-going approach.
“I would describe my game as fun,” Peete said. “I play loose, I play with energy and I think ultimately if you’re having fun on the field, I think you play better.
“It’s a big part of the game, just having fun. Right now, we’re just high schoolers. There’s no point of taking this as a job but bringing all the energy I can, having fun, doing all this, getting our team up, I think that’s the most important part of high school baseball.”
Stay hot baby
After splitting time as both a pitcher and position player throughout his high school career, the Lions senior decided in his final season that finding a home solely at shortstop would help keep his bat in the lineup and allow him to play more games. That decision allowed him to focus this past offseason on working on some mechanical changes with his swing.
Coming back from a season in which he hit .400 with four home runs in 2022, Peete would watch his offseason work pay off behind an improved strikeout rate at the plate that resulted in even more impressive numbers following a 12 home-run campaign.
“I noticed this year that he made some adjustments in the offseason compared to last year’s hitting, he had some holes and his swing was a little different,” Gregg said of the noticeable changes. “He made some really good adjustments at the plate as far as his bat staying in the zone longer. He hit for average this year as well as hitting for homers.”
“Heading into the season, I wanted to cut down on strikeouts and my whiff rating,” Peete said. “I had it written down and already had it in my head that I was going to try to cut the stuff down. So, going into the season, I fixed a couple of things in my swing that would help me improve that and it paid off.”
What a pro prospect look like in High School‼️
🔥🔥🔥 prospect in the 🌍
— Minority Baseball Prospects (@MBPTakeover) March 16, 2023
The change in approach at the plate has created some positive momentum for the star shortstop who is ready to take his game to the next level. Peete signed his National Letter of Intent back in November to play at Georgia Tech after the in-state program had been recruiting him over the past few years. Following a chance to tour the Yellow Jackets’ campus and facilities, the Trinity Christian senior quickly found a place he could call home.
“I immediately fell in love with all the coaches and our relationship is tight,” Peete said. “After going up there one time just on an unofficial visit, looking around the campus, I went back up there for a camp and I loved it. I loved the area.
“It was definitely one of the biggest moments for me, one of the biggest steps in my life. Committing to Tech was a huge thing.”
I would like to thank all of the Coaches for giving me the opportunity to have the recruiting experience. My family and I think it is best to continue my baseball career at Georgia Institute of Technology or Georgia Tech. @GTBaseball @jamesramsey23 @DBo_Jackets pic.twitter.com/7XWhrlemFG
— Tai Peete (@TaiPeete) July 3, 2021
While the chance to play at the collegiate level remains a great opportunity if Peete decides to go that route, the next month could provide the five-tool player an opportunity to hear his name called during the 2023 MLB Draft. Following an impressive final high school season, Peete should garner interest from teams around the league.
Back in April, Peete was listed as one of the top 25 prep hitters in the country according to Prep Baseball Report and knows that whatever happens come the July draft, he has a great opportunity ahead of him.
“It’s always motivation,” Peete said when asked if he thought about the draft entering the year. “When you grow up and mature and you realize that this can be a real thing, you definitely start taking it seriously. It’s a big part of my life and whatever happens, happens but I’ll always have Georgia Tech and that’s going to be a huge opportunity for me. I’ve also been given the opportunity to play this for the rest of my life at the pro level.”
No matter what route he takes, his Trinity Christian coach has more than enough confidence that he can handle things on the field as he ascends through the game.
“In the minor leagues, it’s a job and it’s games everyday,” Gregg said of his experience as a former major leaguer. “He’s going to be facing really good competition on a daily basis whereas in high school, we might face quality pitching every once and a while but he’s going to get quality pitching every game that he plays. I think that he is going to be able to handle that and make adjustments when he needs to.
“It takes a special kind of person and Tai’s that kind of kid that can handle that.”