Huntley baseball coach Andy Jakubowski was not shy when talking about Cary-Grove ace pitcher Quinn Priester this spring.
“Quinn Priester is the best player I’ve seen in the Fox Valley Conference over the last 20 years,” Jakubowski said. “The thing that makes him special is not only his velocity (about 93-94 mph), but his command of all his pitches. There are 20 to 30 scouts out there to see him every fifth day, and he blocks them out and performs every time.”
Jakubowski likely will get no arguments, particularly from MLB scouts. Priester had an outstanding senior season with the Trojans, after which Pittsburgh took him with the 18th pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Priester was chosen as the Northwest Herald Baseball Player of the Year, picked by the sports staff with input from area coaches. He finished 8-2 for the season, with a 1.16 ERA and 91 strikeouts and 14 walks in 601/3 innings.
Priester, who also was named the Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year, was one of the Trojans’ best hitters, batting .323 with two homers and 23 RBIs. His last high school swing was a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh inning as C-G fell to Hampshire, 5-4, in the Class 4A McHenry Sectional championship.
Priester was drafted two days after his home run and signed with Pittsburgh one week later. Two days after that, he was in Bradenton, Florida, at Pirate City, preparing for Gulf Coast League games with the Pirates’ rookie team.
Before he left for Pittsburgh, Priester answered a few questions from Northwest Herald sports writer Joe Stevenson about some of his favorite things.
If you could be in a five-man rotation with some of your favorite pitchers, who would the other four be?
Priester: Kyle Hendricks, Walker Buehler, Jake Arrieta and Noah Syndergaard.
Is there anything significant you want to buy with your first paycheck?
Priester: Lululemon clothing.
What is your soap opera name (your middle name and the street you live on)?
Priester: Quinn Newcastle. My first name is Charles; Quinn is my middle name.
Who is the most famous person you have taken a picture with?
Priester: Kerry Wood and Trevor Hoffman, it’s a toss-up.
What was one game this baseball season that stands out for you, and why?
Priester: The Class 4A Grant Regional championship game and bringing the first championship to Cary-Grove in eight years.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
Priester: When people are late.
What is your favorite video game?
Priester: “Call of Duty.”
What is the coolest item you received from one of the baseball showcase events last summer?
Priester: A Trevor Hoffman-signed baseball. I met him just before he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last summer.
What was your favorite high school class?
Priester: Honors pre-calculus because Mr. Garis made math awesome!
What is your favorite cereal?
Priester: Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries.
Which of your teammates made you laugh?
Priester: LJ Waco. He doesn’t say much, but he has some of the best one-liners.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you in a game?
Priester: An umpire asking me for an autograph.
What is a book that everyone should read?
Priester: “Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind,” by Joyce Meyer.
What scares you?
Priester: Heights and spiders.
What are your three favorite baseball movies?
Priester: “The Sandlot,” “Moneyball” and “Major League.”