Balancing act: Poly’s Bakst a team-first majors prospect

Basking in it: Major leage teams are interested in Poly Prep senior Danny Bakst because he has been so dominant at the plate this season.
Photo by Steven Schnibbe

“Prospectability” isn’t a word, but if it was Daniel Bakst would have it – in spades.

The Poly Prep senior infielder has built a career as one of the most dominant baseball players in the state and, now, with his high-school years – almost – behind him, Bakst is facing the future with the kind of professionalism and maturity that few teenagers could even imagine.

The Stanford commit, is considered one of the top-100 high-school prospects in the country, and the odds of hearing his name called in the early rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft, starting on June 9, seem more than a bit likely. Baseball America declared him the No. 74 prospect in the draft. But Bakst doesn’t want to talk about that.

He knows he’s a good baseball player. He has the awards to prove it. But he doesn’t like to talk about it. It’s a modesty that has plenty of teams interested, because it’s a modesty that is just as uncommon as the word “prospectability.”

“It’s kind of a dream come true, but it’s a little more business-like than just fun and games,” Bakst said. “I’ve just been trying to put that out of the way. I have a focus, and I know what I’m going to do.”

Bakst is a team-first player, an athlete who deflects questions about himself to talk about the accomplishments of his teammates. He did it when Poly Prep won a New York State Association of Independent Schools championship on May 25. He did it when he was named the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year before that.

“It’s been a great season, but the award is the award, and I think it came at a pretty bad time,” Bakst said. “We were in our playoff run. I didn’t want anybody to focus on that, especially myself. The goal was to come in here and win.”

Bakst may not want to talk about his stats, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t impressive. In fact, they’re bordering on dominant.

He led Poly Prep in just about every offensive category, batting .447 through 26 games with 33 runs scored and a .569 on base percentage.

“He approaches things as a professional player,” Poly Prep coach Matt Roventini said. “He treats it like it’s a job. He comes up with that kind of horse-blinders focus that he’s just going to become a better baseball player.”

The key for Bakst — that thing that has him drawing interest from the big leagues — isn’t his ability to fill a box score. It’s everything else. He has what coaches call “intangibles.”

Bakst just wants to win games. He doesn’t care how. As long as he found some way to help his team, Bakst will walk off the field happy.

It’s a mindset that has doors opening in front of Bakst everywhere he looks. Now, it’s just up to him to decide which door he’ll step through.

“Staying in the present moment is the biggest thing for me,” Bakst said. “What’s going to happen is going to happen. I’m focused on going to college and I was just out here trying to help my team win. That’s all I can do.”

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