Last summer, Kole Enright's future as a college baseball player was in doubt after the college he had committed to pulled his scholarship offer. On Tuesday, the former Warrior inked a deal worth $675,000 with the Texas Rangers.
A little more than a year ago, during the 2015 varsity season, Kole Enright wasn’t even a regular starter for the West Orange High baseball team.
On June 10, Enright was selected in the third round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — with the 99th selection overall — by the Texas Rangers.
“I’ve had a crazy past year,” Enright said Monday morning after arriving in Arlington, Texas, to sign a contract with the Rangers worth $675,000.
A day later, Enright was introduced by the club at a press conference alongside Cole Ragans, the Rangers' top draft pick, and Alex Speas.
During his crazy year, the Warriors’ third baseman went from an off-the-radar prospect to being the first high-school player from Central Florida taken in this year’s draft. As Enright tells it, it was a series of events that began with a moment of great disappointment.
Enright had been committed to Coastal Carolina University as a junior, but following some disappointing performances, that coaching staff decided to pull his scholarship offer last summer.
“They (the Coastal Carolina coaches) saw me play in Atlanta, and they took my scholarship,” Enright said. “I’ve got to say that I think that was one of the biggest things — it was a humbling experience and it made me grow up really quick. … I had to get back up and keep fighting.”
From that point on, there was a subtle change in Enright’s approach.
“He’s always been a hard worker, but I think he played with more of a chip on his shoulder after that happened,” West Orange coach Jesse Marlo said. “I jokingly tell people, including the Coastal Carolina coaches, I said, ‘After you guys pulled his scholarship, he became the best player in Florida.’ And he really did.”
Enright said he worked specifically on putting on muscle and improving his mental approach, acknowledging that he could be “mentally soft” at times. Enright said his father helped him work on his mentality on the field, and the results began to manifest in the fall varsity season, during which he hit five home runs and batted over .600. A move to third base from shortstop also paid dividends.
“Everyone was just wondering, ‘Is this the new Kole?’” Marlo said. “He never stopped, he just continued to get better.”
Enright, who had committed to Stetson in DeLand after his offer from Coastal Carolina had been rescinded, capitalized on some of the draft buzz of other players during the spring. At a preseason game against Bishop Moore, one where several scouts had turned out to see teammate and North Carolina-commit Tyler Baum, Enright shined.
Later in the spring, against Lake Minneola Feb. 24, Enright impressed scouts present to see Lake Minneola’s Drew Mendoza and went 3-for-3 with a home run.
The next day, scouts for eight teams flocked to see the Warriors take batting practice — and this time they were there to see Enright.
“That was when things kind of started to get crazy,” Enright said.
In the spring, Enright hit .427 for the Warriors to help lead the program to its first appearance in the FHSAA Final Four. He added 18 extra-base hits (13 doubles, one triple, four home runs) and drove in 21 RBIs while scoring 34 times.
Now, he is preparing to depart for Arizona, where he will begin his professional career playing in the rookie league there for the Arizona Rangers — moving on to the next challenge.
“I’m just grateful — it’s really not even hit me yet that I’ve got this opportunity,” Enright said. “The exciting thing for me is that I’ve still got a lot to prove.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].