Baltimore Sun

Calvert Hall’s King selected by Padres in fourth round

- By Andy Kostka

Lamar King Jr. rarely sees his father cry. But when the Calvert Hall baseball standout heard his name called in the fourth round of the 2022 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres, even Lamar King Sr. shed tears.

The Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro catcher is committed to Georgia Tech, but King told The Baltimore Sun that he plans to sign with the Padres after they selected him with the 120th overall pick.

“Everything that I’ve done came to pay off,” King said. “I wasn’t shocked. My family was crying and everything. A few tears came from my eyes cause I was just so excited. It’s probably the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.”

King is the son of former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Lamar King Sr., who was selected in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft and played five years in the league.

His son has a similar build, standing 6-foot-3 at 215 pounds, even if most of that frame is crouched behind the plate most of the time. That might not be the traditiona­l frame for a catcher, but King has proven himself behind the plate, and the Padres bought in.

“I think they get a hard-working power hitter, a big-sized player,” said longtime Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl, who retired at the end of the school year after 20 years of coaching. “But he gets extremely low when he catches. He’s got soft hands, he’s got a powerful arm. I think they got a great player and a hard-working kid who will do whatever he needs to do to be successful.”

King was ranked as the No. 102 prospect in ESPN baseball analyst Kiley McDaniel’s list of the Top 300 prospects for the 2022 draft. The 120th selection in the draft has an expected slot value of $502,600, likely swaying King away from Georgia Tech.

With a dad who has gone through the draft-day preparatio­n before — albeit in a different sport — King felt a solid base beneath him entering the second day of the draft.

“I look up to [my dad] a lot,” King said. “He’s taught me so much on the mental side and the physical side. From a young age, he always told me what it takes, and I’ve always followed it, and it put me in the position I

am right now.”

The Padres had selected all pitchers to begin their draft before nabbing King, adding him to an organizati­on that has another Baltimore-area native in the pipeline. San Diego selected former Severna Park star Jackson Merrill with the 27th overall pick in the first round last year, and the shortstop now ranks No. 87 in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list.

King said he plans to reach out to Merrill, and he’s excited to join an organizati­on with stars such as shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr.

A pair of Baltimore-area high school alums were taken in the third round of the 2021 draft, with former Calvert Hall infielder Jose Torres going to the Cincinnati Reds and Gilman right-hander Peter Heubeck taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

King batted .506 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs for Calvert Hall, helping lead the Cardinals to a 17-6 record in Eckerl’s final season. Now he’ll head to the Padres’ organizati­on.

“I’m just extremely happy for him, for all the hard work and effort that he put in, to have this happen,” Eckerl said. “And it worked for him.”

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