The growth of national tournaments over the last few years has provided the best teams in the country with a measuring stick—head-to-head matchups. The concentration of talent at these high-profile events also provides talent evaluators with a chance to see a collection of top prospects on the field in a competitive environment. Here is a rundown of the top high school tournaments this spring that are certain to factor heavily into the team rankings.
USA Baseball National High School Invitational, March 26-29
After two strong years, the third installment of the NHSI has a chance to be the best yet, a high standard to surpass. Eight of the top 25 teams in the country will travel to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.: No. 2 Venice (Fla.) High, No. 5 Milton (Ga.) High, No. 11 Dyer County High (Newbern, Tenn.), No. 17 T.C. Roberson High (Asheville, N.C.), No. 19 Mountain Pointe High (Phoenix), No. 21 ThunderRidge High (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), No. 23 Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.) and No. 25 Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian Academy.
The NHSI will host a star-studded crop of draft prospects, including 11 of Top 100 high school prospects and eight of the top 50: Clovis (Calif.) High infielder Jacob Gatewood (3; committed to Southern California), Coral Springs Academy righthander Touki Toussaint (5; Vanderbilt), Roberson first baseman Braxton Davidson (10; North Carolina), Gainesville (Ga.) High outfielder Michael Gettys (15; Georgia), Parkview High lefthander Mac Marshall (16; Louisiana State), Orange Lutheran (Corona, Calif.) shortstop Josh Morgan (27; UCLA), Milton righthander Dylan Cease (28; Vanderbilt), The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) lefthander/outfielder Adam Haseley (36, Virginia), TFA lefthander Foster Griffin (53; Mississippi), Regis Jesuit (Denver) lefthander David Peterson (56; Oregon) and Coral Springs Academy catcher Benito Santiago Jr. (90; Tennessee).
A series of more extensive previews on the NHSI will come in March as the event approaches.
LaGrange Invitational, Feb. 27- March 2
LaGrange, Ga., will be a hot destination for evaluators this weekend as the LaGrange Invitational will be littered with prospects in the eight-team field.
Cartersville (Ga.) High, the defending state champs at the 3A level, was considered for the national rankings. North Florida Christian (Tallahassee, Fla.) is a talented team that could move into the rankings this year and has one of the top combinations of pitcher and position player teammates in the draft.
Outfielder Matthew Railey (42; Florida State) has a potent lefthanded bat and had an excellent showing at the Florida Diamond Club. Lefthander Carson Sands (76; Florida State) is a showcase veteran with a fastball that has touched 92. His younger brother, righthander Cole Sands, is a draft prospect for the 2015 class.
Spanish Fort (Ala.) High righthander Jesse McCord (Mississippi State) showed average fastball velocity, strike-throwing ability and feel for a changeup at the East Coast Pro.
Montrell Marshall (Auburn) is a big-bodied third baseman with defensive chops and arm strength to go with power potential at the plate for South Gwinnett High (Snellville, Ga.).
A pair of Florida schools boast prospects in outfielder Justin Smith (43; Bartram Trail High, St. Johns, Fla.) and righthander Andrew Karp (West Orange High, Winter Garden, Fla.). Smith, a Miami commit, is a physical specimen with a well-rounded skill set and power potential. Karp (Florida State) has a low-90s fastball that has touched 93 mph. West Orange righthander Austin Bergner is one of the top pitchers in the 2016 class with a fastball that already touched the low 90s and he has a projectable body.
Horizon National Tournament, March 24-28
The Horizon National Tournament, hosted by Horizon High in Scottsdale, Ariz., has a diverse geographic mix of teams, with seven different states represented in the 12-team field.
No. 8 Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) is the only ranked team, but Mountain View High (Meridian, Idaho) and Rocky Mountain High (Meridian, Idaho) are two of the top five teams in the Gem State. Gonzaga commit Branson Trube (Mountain View) is an athletic outfielder who made the Area Code Games team.
Brophy Prep in Phoenix is a historically strong program that could factor into the rankings this year and has righthander Ryan Castellani (Arizona State), the top prep righthander in Arizona.
Virginia commit Tommy Doyle, a righthander from Flint Hill High, Oakton, Va., is a big-bodied pitcher with a fastball that reaches the low 90s and a breaking ball that flashes average.
Anaheim Lions Easter Tournament, March 29- April 2
In its 40th year in existence, the Anaheim Lions Tournament will host 78 teams this year.
There is not a ranked team in the field of 78, with teams mostly from California, but there are some interesting draft prospects.
Villa Park (Calif.) High outfielder Brandon Gonzalez participated in the Area Code Games last August, which was the coming-out party for Murrieta Valley High third baseman Kevin Padlo (San Diego). The righthanded-hitting Padlo has power potential and the arm to stick at third base.
The top draft prospect on Scotts Valley (Calif.) High is infielder Joe Gillette (Oregon State).
Hard 9 National Classic, April 14-17
The 25th annual Hard 9 National Classic, which held at Cal State Fullerton’s Goodwin Field and two California high schools, has a strong blend of top teams and draft prospects. No. 14 Greenway High from Phoenix headlines the field of 16 teams, 11 of which are from California. Huntington Beach (Calif.) High is one of the top unranked teams in California and could move into the rankings during the season.
Three other teams have follows for scouts. Athletic righthander Maverick Buffo of Spanish Fork (Utah) High will likely face some of the best competition he sees all spring at the National Classic. The Brigham Young commit has a fastball that has touched the low 90s and a breaking ball that projects as average.
IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) has a solid core of players with outfielder Luke Bonfield (Arkansas), middle infielder Taylor Lane (Florida) and outfielder Andrew DiLacqua, a Florida Diamond Club showcase participant. Bonfield hit well on the showcase circuit, especially at East Coast Pro Showcase, where he was one of the top hitters. He has a chance to be one of the better pure hitters in the high school class.
Strong lefthanded-hitting outfielder/first baseman Brock Lundquist headlines the Fountain Valley (Calif.) High squad.
Boras Classic, April 14-17 (North); March 29- April 4 (South); Championship TBA
Because California structures its postseasons to declare sectional, not state champs, the second annual Boras Classic is constructed to find a state champion of the 32-team field in the best high school baseball state in the country.
Elk Grove (Calif.) High will host the 16-team Northern bracket and No. 12 JSerra Catholic High (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) will host the remaining 16 teams in the Southern bracket. The winners will advance to play in the championship game held at Pacific.
The event features two ranked teams (JSerra and No. 2 St. Francis HS, Mountain View, Calif.) and five others that were worthy considerations for the rankings: Chino Hills (Calif.) High, Archbishop Mitty High (San Jose), Buchanan High (Clovis, Calif.), Granite Hills High (El Cajon, Calif.) and Mater Dei.
Six prospects ranked in the high school Top 100 will participate in the event: Elk Grove outfielder Derek Hill (19; Oregon), Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.) outfielder Scott Hurst (39; Cal State Fullerton), Buchanan outfielder Trenton Kemp (46 ; Fresno State), St. Francis catcher Tim Susnara (58; Oregon), Glendora (Calif.) High outfielder D.J. Peters (66 ; Cal State Fullerton), and Granite Bay (Calif.) High righthander Mitch Hart (79; Southern California).
Two other members of the 2014 class have been staples on the showcase circuit: Buchanan righthander/infielder Michael Bono (UC Santa Clara) and Cypress (Calif.) High outfielder Elijah Skipps, a strongly-built switch-hitter.
A pair of 2015 pitchers who pitched at the Area Code Games as underclassmen will provide a look ahead at next year’s draft class in Aliso Niguel (Aliso Vieja, Calif.) righthander Kyle Molnar, who touched 93 mph with his fastball in the fall, and Chino Hills lefthander Bailey Falter (UC Santa Barbara), who had an outstanding outing in January at the Under Armour All-American Preseason Tournament in January.