Drew Christo is not like most high school athletes. Instead of following the specialization trend, Christo has played three sports during his nearly four-year career at Elkhorn High in Nebraska.
Playing football, basketball and baseball has made Christo a better athlete and allowed him to compete every day. It also caused him to receive Division I recruiting interest in baseball and football.
Christo, a right-handed pitcher, committed to the University of Nebraska for baseball during his junior year in 2019. While that remains a viable option, Christo also is a top prospect for July’s MLB draft after impressing professional scouts on the showcase circuit last summer.
Scouts project Christo as a potential top-five-round pick in this year’s draft.
If Christo accomplishes that feat, he will be the highest Nebraska high school pitcher drafted since the Cincinnati Reds selected Bellevue East right-hander Buddy Carlyle in the second round of the 1996 draft.
“I have been doing a lot of Zoom meetings with teams,” Christo said. “They have just educated me on the draft process and what to expect. It has been a neat process and one I continue to enjoy. I am looking forward to this summer and seeing what may or may not happen.”
Christo is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander who throws a four-seam fastball, changeup and slider from a three-quarters arm slot and clean and repeatable delivery.
His fastball is his top pitch. It touches 95 mph and features some arm side run. The slight movement on the pitch allows him to generate swings and misses. He attacks hitters with his fastball and locates it well.
Christo tunnels his changeup well off of his fastball. He has thrown the pitch regularly throughout high school and is comfortable using it in any situation, he said.
Last summer, Christo started throwing a slider. He felt it would play better off of his fastball compared to a curveball. This offseason, Christo experimented with different slider grips in hopes of finding one that felt comfortable.
He believes he’s found a grip that will allow him to throw his slider in the low-80s and with the same arm slot as his fastball. His slider shows the potential to be an above-average offering.
Christo has an impressive presence on the mound. He also has the traits to be a starting pitcher in pro ball.
“My ability to stay composed on the mound,” said Christo on his biggest strength. “I don’t get inside my head too much. I think I can distance myself from the moment and lock in to each pitch. Ultimately, that sets me up to have really good outings.”
Christo hopes to show improved command throughout his final season of high school baseball this spring.
“I want to be more efficient,” Christo said. “Sometimes last summer, I was up ahead on guys and just then struggled to put them away. This spring, I need to focus on being more efficient with my pitches and attacking batters when I have the upper hand on them.”
Christo’s performance throughout his senior season likely will dictate the next step in his career.
Besides pro ball, Christo could honor his commitment to Nebraska in the fall. His father, Monte, was a quarterback at Nebraska from 1994-98 and a member of three Nebraska national championship teams. Monte’s background caused Christo to develop a deep passion for the Cornhuskers at a young age.
His fandom for the Huskers led him to commit to the baseball team. It also caused him to consider being a walk-on for the football team.
Christo mulled over the idea of being a two-sport college athlete after speaking with football coach Scott Frost at a Junior Day event. He decided to focus exclusively on baseball, though.
Besides the Huskers, Christo received a wide-range of interest from well-regarded programs, including scholarship offers from Creighton, Virginia, Duke, West Virginia and Kansas State.
“The reason I decided to stay home was that when Coach (Will) Bolt and his staff came in, they reached out to me on their first days and laid out their vision for the program,” Christo said. “I was really excited with what they had to say. The combination of loving Husker Nation as I grew up and the excitement for the direction of the program were two things that led me to go to Nebraska.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.