2022 Players Top 50: #3 Trevor Baptiste

By Sarah Griffin

Dec 16, 2022

To cap off one of the most dominant seasons by a faceoff specialist in professional lacrosse history, league MVP and 3x Paul Cantabene Face-off Athlete of the Year winner Trevor Baptiste was ranked #3 by his peers in the 2022 Players Top 50.

The Bulls face-off man left his mark not only as the first face-off specialist to win the Jim Brown Most Valuable Player award in the PLL, but the first black player at that. 

Baptiste dominated at the stripe and had fun doing it. He won a league best 153 face-offs with a career best win percentage of 70%. In two games this season, he won 80% or more of the draws, with a 20-for-24 performance versus the Cannons and 19-for-22 performance versus the Archers. 

Opposing teams have to game plan around Baptiste not only for his domination at the stripe, but his ability to contribute on offense as well. He recorded a career high 10 points in 2022, with 5 goals including a two-pointer and 4 assists. 

“A lot of time face-off specialists don’t get the respect they deserve because they’re specialists,” remarked Paul Carcaterra. “But Trevor Baptiste is a lacrosse player. Yes, he can dominate at the stripe, but watch what he does when the ball’s in his stick - he always starts offense for the Atlas and he can score when defenses don’t pick him up and respect him as a shooter…with Trevor Baptiste, don’t think of him as a specialist. Look at him as a lacrosse player.”

Baptiste earned the MVP title on and off the field. While his production on the field was obvious, off the field he was battling a hamstring injury for the second half of the season. 

Initially injured in an intense back-and-forth contest with the Chrome in Minnesota right before the All-Star break, teammate and fellow captain Eric Law discussed the resilience and determination displayed by Baptiste behind-the-scenes that night.

“You could see how much it meant to Trevor to win that game,” said Law. “He would do anything he could just to tie up the faceoffs so that they couldn’t get a fast breakaway.

Law said the training staff continuously told Baptiste to come out of the game, but he continued to play through the injury insisting, “we’re winning this game.” 

“He was literally crawling off the field at the end of the game to make sure we got that win.”

Few care about the game and his teammates more than Baptiste. He’s a one of a kind athlete, but equally, he’s a one of a kind person.

“He’s someone on the team everyone gravitates towards,” remarked Law. “He doesn’t just hang to himself or hang with the same people every time, he’s going from locker to locker talking with every single person…that’s one thing that Trevor does such an amazing job of - when he comes into the locker room, you’re going to know he’s there. He’s playing music, he’s laughing, he’s got this insanely positive attitude keeping the spirits high. But when it comes time to play, it’s all focus and the only thing that matters is winning. To see someone be able to pull that off is tough I think because he goes from being so serious, to then being the life of the locker room and keeping everyone light-hearted.”

Law recalled a specific moment in Baptiste’s second professional season back in 2019 as a young guy on the Atlas taking over the huddle.

“He just let people know the effort wasn’t good enough to win and we weren’t playing smart lacrosse. With a veteran roster and Trevor still in his second pro season, him stepping up to speak was powerful - everyone was listening. That’s a moment when he went from fun and always happy Trevor, to that fiery and competitive side in him. He wants to win, and will have a smile on his face doing it.”

With a smile on his face, Baptiste is changing the game of lacrosse as an ambassador for all.

“Having the game be more diverse is something that’s really important to me because I want everyone to have the chance to play this game and enjoy it,” Baptiste said. “I don’t want a stigma that says you have to look a certain way or be a certain person to play this game to deter people from the sport, because that’s not true. Lacrosse is a sport that’s really special to me and I hope I can be someone to show other kids that they can play and do this all too.”

The complete 2022 Players Top 50 is out now.

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