Picking up baseball less than three years ago, many may see Sumner Academy IF/OF Myles Jasper as a newbie to the game. You wouldn’t be able to tell that when seeing his play on the field, though. I was able to speak with the sophomore recently and we had a great conversation about life, dreams and baseball.
A super-versatile player (has played multiple infield spots, as well as plenty of time in CF), Myles Jasper brings great speed, a good glove, and a solid bat to the baseball field. He’s come a long way in a short period of time in terms of his overall skill and outlook on the game.
With dreams of playing at the next level, Jasper has a long road ahead of him. He seems to be 100% ready for the challenge awaiting him, though. Whether it’s for BTL, Urban Youth Academy or Sumner, he’s always working toward his goal of playing college baseball.
Q: When (or how) did you discover your passion for the game of baseball?
A: “My friends had a team at WYCO [Wyandotte County Sports Association] and needed some more players. I decided to try out and I’ve been nothing short of blessed ever since that day. I started watching more baseball and became a student of the game.”
Q: What’s your number one reason for playing?
A: “I want to get to a Division-I college and play one day, as well as study Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography.”
Q: What are your biggest strengths as a player?
A: “My biggest strength is my speed. It comes in handy, whether it’s when I’m stealing bases, fielding balls or even coming out of the batter’s box and running to first base on hits.”
Q: What’s your biggest weakness or thing you need to work on?
A: “I need to work on hitting. Every good baseball player needs to be able to hit the ball, especially with every increase in the level of competition, i just need to practice more with the baseball pitching training device. I’ve improved my hitting each season and this past offseason, I reconstructed my whole stance and worked on my mechanics so I can hit the ball harder and pick up extra-base hits.”
Q: What’s the most difficult obstacle you’ve faced in your career?
A: “The hardest obstacle I’ve overcome is proving people wrong. I haven’t been playing baseball for long, so I was at a disadvantage early on when I started playing for BTL and Sumner. Some don’t think I have the baseball IQ a lot of other players have.”
“The one thing that sets me apart from others is my hard work, dedication and love for this sport. Baseball is one of two ways out and I’m working very hard in school, but this is always something to have as a secondary plan. My athletic ability helps me stand out. I can track down balls most can’t. I’m very coachable and am constantly looking to learn from anyone! I am consistently seeking tips on how to improve my game”
Q: Use one word to describe yourself as a player.
A: “Iconic. I am always trying to make a play that helps you remember me as a player. I am prepared and confident in my ability. Whether you’re throwing me a 95 MPH fastball or 65 MPH curveball, I’m ready to knock it out of the park.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing about playing for Sumner?
A: “My coaches and teammates. We all have fun playing the game of baseball. We’re all there to win, but we want to have fun while doing so. We don’t have the biggest team, but we work together and win/lose as a family. We’re supportive of each other.”
Q: How does coach Andrew Wright’s work ethic impact the team?
A: “Coach Wright is electric and expects a lot from each and every one of his players. He cares about us and sees our potential. The energy he brings to every practice/game is more than one person can attest to. He loves winning but also fully supports our dreams and wants to help his players grow as young men.”
Q: What’s the most valuable lesson baseball has taught you?
A: “Baseball has taught me to trust the process. You have to trust it when things get tough. There have been times when I’ve wanted to walk away from baseball because it’s hard. I play from February-November and I’m always working out during the winter.”
“If you’re quick to quit things, you’ll never get where you want to be. I’ve stuck with baseball and it’s taken me so many places, including being able to play in front of many college coaches.”
Q: What are three goals you have for the next three years?
A: “I want to graduate high school and start my first year of college, first and foremost. Secondly, I want to continue my baseball career by receiving a scholarship to a university. Finally, I want to make my community and family proud by representing them everywhere I go. I want everyone in the world to know where Kansas City, Kansas is at!”
Not only was I lucky enough to speak with Myles, but I also asked head baseball coach Andrew Wright some questions about his young player. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What do you expect to see from Myles this year on the field?
A: “I expect Myles to take a major step forward. He put in a lot of work this summer and already in spring practice, I’ve seen his game reach another level. I think he has the ability to be a strong player offensively and defensively.”
Q: How have you seen Myles mature since last season?
A: “In the first 3 weeks of practice this spring, Myles has shown tremendous improvement both on defense and offense. He has the ability to be a terrific infielder for us this year and also has the ability to play CF. Likewise, his speed can really help our offense at the start of our lineup.”
Q: How would you describe Myles as a teammate and player?
A: “I think Myles is growing into one of our team leaders. He is communicating more and is always trying to lead the drills when we are in practice. The upperclassmen respect his ability as a player and enjoy having him as a teammate and player. He’s always learning and asking questions from veterans such as Eric Terrazas and Said Melendez. I think he adds speed to our lineup and has the chance to become a solid SS if he continues to work.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Myles?
A: “My favorite thing about Myles is his constant pursuit to become a better player. His work ethic if it stays consistent will allow him to further his baseball career in college.”
Q: Where do you see Myles in three years?
A: “As a team, hopefully, I see Myles as our team leader and the driving force for us to compete in our league and to compete in substate and hopefully take us back to state, which we haven’t been too since 2003. Individually I really believe he has an opportunity to play at the next level if he continues to play summer league baseball and compete with the best that Kansas City has to offer. If he does that, I see him having the ability to play college baseball.”
As you can see, Myles Jasper has a lot going for him. He’s learning the game at a fast pace and has adapted well to any challenges he’s faced. His coaches and teammates love having him on the team. Keep an eye on his progression as this year unfolds. Sumner Academy baseball is almost back!
I’d also like to thank Mr. David Brox for allowing me to use his platform to do what I love: write! You can find more of my work by following me on Twitter @TheBestFooteFWD, or on my Facebook Page. For inquiries, you can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.