Why You Should Take JJ Oliver


Allow me to introduce myself as a career educator. My job is to identify, develop, and bring out the best in individuals. My favorite side job has been coaching and leading my son’s travel baseball team for the past nine years. I have had the best spot in the world to watch him and kids like John Oliver do what they love, while helping them develop into some high level baseball players.

I worked in sales a few times before I got my teaching license. I graduated from Purdue University with a degree in communications and marketing, so I know what it takes to try and sell a person on a product or an idea. The problem was, that I never really found anything I believed in or loved to sell. I hated the idea of trying to sell someone on something for the sole purpose of padding my own pockets. That is why I wanted to get into the world of teaching and coaching. I wanted be able to impact people’s lives and help them reach their potential.

It is also why I am writing this message now. I know what John has to offer a baseball program at the next level. I know how important continuing his baseball career beyond high school is to him. So, I’ve come full circle because it is my goal to help sell anyone that isn’t sure or isn’t convinced about who John is as a ballplayer, that they will be missing out on landing a great person who happens to be a really good baseball player.

So, before I get into things, let me clarify what John is not:

  1. John is not a showcase warrior. He will not have one showcase skill that is going to explode off the stats compared to other kids.
  2. John is not a power hitter.

If you’re still reading, then let me tell you what makes John special and why I’ll go to battle with him any day with him at shortstop against any team in the country:

  1. The reason that John is not rated higher in the PBR rankings is likely do to the lack of perceived arm strength. I’m here to tell you I have seen plenty of shortstops with great arms that cannot field the ball or have such terrible footwork that they struggle to put the ball consistently where they want across the diamond. John is simply one of the smoother fielders you will find in this class, and his internal clock and timing is like no kid I have ever seen. He rarely wastes any movements and always has enough on the ball to beat every runner. He knows when to rush and went to be patient. In short, he has all of the mental intagibles to play any infield position.

2. John does not have eye popping size or exit velocity, but what he has are uncanny bat to ball skills with the ability to find consistent barrels and gaps. John has always been one of our leading hitters for average and extra base hits. He has unbelievable coil and leverage for his size. His increasing strength has only lead him to consistently perform against our tough schedule and increased pitching velocity.

2020 .345 Avg 1.031 OPS 8XBH

2021 .384 Avg .952 OPS 9XBH

2022 .372 Avg .941 OPS 8XBH

3. You won’t find many guys you want at the plate in the big moment besides John. He does not get fazed and usually rises to the moment. He started garning praise from recruiting services because every time they would show up he would show out. He made first team all conference as a sophomore because other teams quickly learned that the bigger the game was the more he stood out, including going 4 for 4 in the sectional championship game.


4. He doesn’t seek praise. John is a very quiet kid that goes about his work and business in a very unassuming way. He will come into your program and go about his business without constantly trying to draw your attention or the attention of his teammates. He knows when he is on top of his game and when he needs to step it up.

5. He’s a competitor. While John goes about his business quietly, he has a competitive fire that most don’t see until they get to know him. He takes making an out or an error personally. If someone challenges him on a baseball field, he will make a note to show them how good and how tough he is the next at bat or chance he gets in the field. He will steal a base or get down a bunt to get a win for his team.

I am putting this together because I believe John is still undervalued as a recruit in the 2024 class. I am willing to stake the reputation of our organization behind this kid. I would ask you to speak to the director of our organization, Brian Blondell, about John. (canesgreatlakes@gmail.com or 574-310-3924) You would also get high praise on him from our assistant coach and player at Indiana Wesleyan University, Tyler Bortone. (574-855-8423) Another point of contact would be longtime assistant coach, Tim Trenerry (574-339-6105) whose son is commited to Purdue University.

This kid will always have a special place in my heart, and I will fight for him to play at the school of his choice at the next level. If you decide to bring him on board, I know you will look back on what a great decision and addition that was for your program.

Mike Gallo Head Coach Canes Great Lakes

574-850-8808 mike.gallo314@mikegallo314


Published by mikegallo314

I have been in education for over 20 years, and it has been an amazing and rewarding career. I grew up on the east side of St. Louis, and I'm an avid sports fan. My three biggest addictions in life are the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and University of Illinois athletics. I love listening to rock blues, and americana styled music. Throughout the years I have coached boys and girls basketball from the youth levels to the varsity level, and the last 10 years I have coached travel baseball. I have a passion for writing, and a long list of experiences and topics that I like to share my thoughts on. The best part about writing, are the conversations and thoughts that are shared as a result.

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