He’s has no regrets.
Poly Prep grad Daniel Bakst was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 27th round in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, but the former Blue Devils standout opted to take the college route instead, and honored his commitment to Stanford University.
It’s a decision that’s paid off in baseball-spades, and now, Bakst is primed to lead the Cardinal on a deep postseason run this spring.
“I was committed to Stanford and when I made that decision, it was pretty easy for me,” Bakst said. “I don’t really look back at all on the what-ifs. You can’t really live life that way, so I think it’s turned out great so far.”
The infielder hasn’t missed a step — or a swing — since transitioning to the college game. He was nothing short of dominant during his senior season at Poly, and boasted one of the most complete baseball résumés in the country when he graduated.
But it wasn’t just Bakst’s time with the Blue Devils that helped prepare him for the college game. During the offseason he competed across the country against some of the top young players in the game, and came to Stanford with confidence to spare.
“Some of those guys are in A-ball now and I was up against some of the best amateur pitchers in the world,” Bakst said of his pre-Stanford competition. “So I wasn’t really worried from a hitting perspective or even really a playing perspective. I didn’t think that it would be that much different.”
Bakst isn’t just talk; he appeared in 41 of Stanford’s first 44 games this year, boasting a .298 batting average — fourth best on the team — including nine doubles and two home runs.
“It’s been going well,” he said. “I think the most important thing is to just go out every day and help these guys win. We’re trying to win each game, but it’s fun.”
Bakst has always had a deep connection with Stanford — his parents met while students at the University’s business school, and his older brother is a junior there. He insists, however, that those factors didn’t influence his decision to commit — or stay committed — to the Cardinal squad. Bakst is busy making a name for himself on the diamond, and is always working make his game better.
“This has been great to try and see what I can do every single day,” he said. “I’m looking forward to see what else I need to improve and how I can do that going forward.”
Stanford wraps up regular-season play later this month, and while Bakst is anxious to help spark the Cardinal down the stretch, he’s doing his best to stay in the moment.
“It’s just, every game, taking it day by day and hoping that we can make a run at [the Men’s College World Series in] Omaha,” Bakst said. “We have to worry about winning each day and just getting better. It’s great to think about what we want to do, but in order to get there, we have to focus on what we do right now.”