Kale Fountain is the top home run hitter to step foot on a Nebraska high school baseball field. As a junior last spring, the Norris (Neb.) High School third baseman set the state’s all-time career home run mark with 26 home runs to surpass Cole Stobbe’s career total of 25.
Fountain enters his final season of high school baseball with plenty still to prove. Besides hoping to add to his home run total, Fountain also wants to show growth with his athleticism and overall skills at third base.
As he focuses on his personal development and his high school team’s success this spring, Fountain will have to manage MLB draft attention in the background. Scouts projected the highly-talented third baseman as a potential early-round pick in July’s draft.
The expectations don’t bother Fountain. He has been a top player in the 2024 prep class since he was in eighth grade. He also has two great options in front of him. Besides his status as a draft prospect, Fountain is an LSU commit. The Tigers are a college baseball powerhouse that won a national title last season.
“A lot of people might think that it will be stressful, but there’s more of a positive outlook for me than stress,” Fountain said. “Either way, there is not a bad path. Every day, I’m just focused on my development. I have good people in my corner and prioritize what I think is important. Either way is a good path for sure.”
Fountain is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound right-handed hitter known for his power-hitting ability. He uses an upright stance with a slight stride and quick hands to barrel up the baseball and drive it with authority consistently.
Fountain profiles as a quality middle-of-the-order hitter in pro ball. As he prepares for his senior season, Fountain has worked on refining his swing, incorporating his lower half more into his swing and tightening his approach, he said.
“My power is one of the things that stand out,” Fountain said. “The biggest thing that stands out is that I’m an athletic big guy. I can still move and make plays, and I can run on the base pads that maybe some guys my size can’t. That is something I want to use to my advantage for as long as possible.”
Defensively, Fountain profiles best at third base. Fountain is athletic and moves well, especially for his size. He also boasts above-average arm strength. He makes all the necessary plays and features the potential to continue to grow defensively.
“I’m just working on being athletic and an athletic mover in the field,” Fountain said. “It doesn’t have to be in the infield, as it can be in the outfield too. Just attacking the baseball, making plays, firm throws and working on arm action stuff. A lot of that boils down to just being an athletic mover, which I know is in there. I’m a great runner, and I have worked on that a lot, so I just want to utilize that to my full potential.”
After his senior season, Fountain will decide between honoring his commitment to LSU or embarking on a pro career.
Fountain started receiving college recruiting interest in middle school. He verbally committed to Florida State as an eighth grader, sighting his relationship with then-head coach Mike Martin Jr. and recruiting coordinator Mike Metcalf. However, FSU changed its coaching staff following the 2022 season, causing Fountain to reevaluate his commitment.
Fountain received plenty of interest once he reopened his recruiting process. LSU stood out to him as he evaluated his options. Coach Jay Johnson and his staff have a strong track record of winning games and developing players for the next level. His relationship with LSU’s coaching staff and the ability to play at a premium program with the potential to win a national championship each season stood out to Fountain.
“I noticed the coaching staff’s attention to detail, which was attractive to me,” Fountain said. “They are also great people. They care, want to develop me, and they want me to be the best version of myself. I saw the culture and want to help the team win.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.