The Bombers on Friday afternoon confirmed they had handed the 18-year-old a one-year deal in a statement on the club website.
The 194cm big man enjoyed a dominant under-16s campaign in 2018 as skipper for South Australia, however, he was struck down with ACL injuries in each of the last two seasons.
A story of resilience and great character, Baldwin was thrilled to get an AFL opportunity at the Bombers.
“I’m so excited and grateful to the Essendon Football Club for this opportunity,” Baldwin told essendonfc.com.au.
“I just wanted to work hard and put the most I possibly could into my recovery to try and earn a spot on an AFL list. I’m so appreciative to the Bombers for making this dream come true.
“It’s been a tough couple of years with the knee recovery, but I have put everything into my rehab to make sure I can get the most out of my body, but I’m feeling really good now and I can’t wait to wear the red and black and repay the faith the club has shown in me this season.”
Welcome to Bomberland, Kaine 👊
— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) March 5, 2021
Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro praised Baldwin for overcoming injury adversity, saying he deserves an opportunity at the highest level.
“We’re really pleased to offer Kaine this opportunity. He has overcome his fair share of adversity through injury in recent years, but we think he is a bright young talent who will offer plenty to our side,” Dodoro said.
“Kaine is an athletic young talent who was touted as a first-round potential, and he has the ability to become an important, high-marking forward for us in years to come.
“Our medical and high-performance team are confident they will see Kaine make a full rehabilitation from his knee injury over the coming months and are optimistic he will have a long and sustained AFL career.
“We think Kaine will form an exciting combination in our forward line with the likes of Harrison Jones and Peter Wright, Archie Perkins and Alec Waterman over years to come, so we’re pleased Kaine will take a hold of this opportunity to be part of the Bombers. We look forward to seeing what he can achieve this season.”
Baldwin joins ex-Eagle Alec Waterman in signing with Essendon this week through the pre-season supplemental selection period.