As a senior at Wheaton North High School, Lake Bachar was a star on the football field and baseball diamond. Earning all-conference honors in both sports, Bachar decided to play football at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater following high school.
A kicker and punter for the Warhawks, Bachar received playing time instantly as a freshman, tallying 81 kickoffs for 4,819 yards during the 2013 season.
However, Bachar missed playing baseball. Since the age of 4, he’s had a love and passion for the game.
After taking a year off from the sport, Bachar talked to the Whitewater baseball coaches and joined the team prior to the start of the 2015 season.
A right-handed pitcher, Bachar didn’t realize he’d flourish on the baseball field at the college level, especially after not playing for a year.
“It was very different from high school to college,” Bachar said of college baseball. “I just got thrown in there. It was a fun experience. It was everything I missed and more.”
Bachar also remained on the football team. Despite being a multisport college athlete, he produced at a high level in his first college baseball season.
In 10 games (seven starts), Bachar registered a 7-1 record with a 2.24 ERA and 46 strikeouts, compared to just eight walks, during the 2015 season.
“It was an unreal year,” Bachar said. “Things happened that I never thought would happen. I did a lot better than I thought I would do.”
He also had the opportunity to play with the Lakeshore Chinooks in the Northwoods League last summer, where he caught people’s attention due to his low-90s fastball and promising curveball.
“It was really cool experience,” Bachar said of the Northwoods League. “I learned a lot about the game. I was talking to a lot of people who have been through the LSUs and Vanderbilts about the different aspect from D1 to D3.”
Due to his exceptional performance in the Northwoods League last summer, Bachar is on professional scouts’ radar for the 2016 season.
Bachar is ranked 100th on BaseballAmerica.com’s top college 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft prospects list.
“I was taken back by it,” Bachar said when he heard about Baseball America’s list. “I never thought that I would get recognized like that.
“I never thought I would be playing baseball again. Now I’m in a situation where I could possibly continue it past college. It’s pretty crazy.”
A 6-foot-3, 210-pound hurler, Bachar possesses a four-pitch mix, featuring a fastball, changeup, 12-6 curveball and slider. He uses a low-three-quarters arm slot and repeats his delivery well.
Although he is pitching at the Division III level, Bachar has a chance to be selected in the top five rounds of June’s draft. The reduced mileage on his arm is a bonus, along with his rather high ceiling.
Despite emerging as a legitimate MLB Draft prospect, Bachar didn’t consider quitting football. Even though it’s can be challenging not having an offseason, Bachar has enjoyed being a multisport athlete at the college level, he said.
With Whitewater’s baseball season just getting underway, Bachar is focused on having a productive season, while continuing to develop more as a pitcher.
Anytime he steps on the mound this season, scouts will likely be in attendance to watch the right-hander throw. Bachar has already had to deal with professional scouts and said it has been an eye opening experience.
“They have been talking and teaching me some things about the major leagues,” Bachar said. “Things I really never knew. It’s really exciting.”
It will be a rewarding opportunity for Bachar if he’s selected in this year’s draft, after all the hard work he’s put in to get to where he is today, he said.
“It has been pretty crazy thinking about playing professionally,” Bachar said. “When I was a little kid I always watched major league games and thinking one day maybe I’ll be there.
“Coming to college and not playing baseball and then coming back and progressing through it the way I did, it feels surreal.”
UPDATE 5/11/16: Read my follow-up interview and article with Bachar here.
You can find more MLB Draft coverage here.