Alex Jackson, a catcher out of San Diego’s Rancho Bernardo High, is Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year and leads the way on our High School All-America Team.
Jackson was a second-team All-American a year ago and graduates to the first team as a senior. He was drafted No. 6 overall by the Seattle Mariners. Two-way talent Jack Flaherty out of Harvard-Westlake High in Studio City, Calif., is the only repeat member of the first team, once again manning the utility spot. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Flaherty with the 34th overall pick as a pitcher.
With pitching and velocity the talk of the spring for high school players, six first-team All-Americans still managed double-digit home runs, while second-teamer Aaron Pilkington of Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High—just a sophomore—led all All-Americans and the nation’s high school players with 19 homers.
Lefthander Brady Aiken of San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High was just the third high school pitcher to be drafted No. 1 overall in 50 years of baseball drafts, but his numbers were just good enough for third-team recognition. Two first-teamers—righthanders J.B. Bukauskas and Cam Varga—didn’t give up an earned run all spring. Alabama lefthander Cody Reed, a first-teamer as well, recorded 226 of his 276 outs via strikeout, a startling 82 percent strikeout rate.
The Baseball America staff, led by assistant editor Clint Longenecker, selected the three All-America teams after soliciting nominations from scouts and coaches all over the country. Statistics and their relation to competition level play the biggest role in the decisions.
C Alex Jackson
Rancho Bernardo HS, Escondido, Calif.
Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year, Jackson was in contention for the award last year and has been one of the best players in the country for three straight seasons. The slugger hit 11 home runs this season, giving him 47 for his career, which ties him for the San Diego Section career lead. The versatile player has spent most of his career behind the plate but was announced as the No. 6 overall pick in the draft.
IF Michael Chavis
Sprayberry HS, Marietta, Ga.
Chavis is one of the top high school bats in the country and produced as such this spring, hitting .580/.663/1.197. The Clemson commit is a natural hitter who has shown plus power in batting practice and hit 13 home runs this season. Scouts love his makeup, intensity and passion for the game. Currently a shortstop, Chavis will likely move off the position to third or second base. The Red Sox nabbed Chavis with the 26th overall pick.
|Sr.||.580||30||47||9||1||13||37||21||Red Sox (1)|
IF Nick Gordon
Olympia HS, Orlando
The son of former big leaguer Tom “Flash” Gordon, Nick was a strong contender for Player of the Year honors and likely would have won had he pitched more often this season like in years past. Gordon was the first high school position player drafted in June at No. 5 overall. He is a true two-way shortstop with the potential for five tools. He showed sneaky power and superb bat control this season, homering twice as much (six) as he struck out (three).
IF Gavin LaValley
Carl Albert HS, Oklahoma City
LaValley has led Carl Albert to three straight state championships as one of the top run producers in the country. LaValley has big raw power and has hit 39 home runs over the last two seasons, showcasing top-end bat speed. He belted 18 homers and 73 RBIs this year while leading Carl Albert to a third straight state title. The Oklahoma commit also added two no-hitters on the mound this season before going in the fourth round to the Reds.
IF J.J. Matijevic
Norwin HS, North Huntingdon, Pa.
Matijevic is a power lefthanded bat who dominated his competition in a non-baseball state. The Arizona commit lost weight over the offseason and made substantial improvements. He was getting significant interest in the top five rounds before going in the 23rd round, likely driven by signability. The Arizona commit is currently a strong-bodied shortstop who will likely move to third base at the next level.
|Sr.||.607||29||34||9||10||37||8||Red Sox (22)|
OF Braxton Davidson
Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C.
Davidson was labeled as one of the best power bats in the class after showing plus power in game action last summer. But the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has improved significantly as a hitter this spring, driving the ball with authority to the opposite field. A North Carolina commit, Davidson signed with the Braves as the 32nd overall pick in the draft. Davidson has said he will likely move to an outfield corner as a professional.
OF Derek Hill
Elk Grove (Calif.) HS
The premier defensive center fielder in the draft has plus-plus speed that plays in all phases of the game. He hit well this spring, got on base and changed the game with his speed. Hill led Elk Grove to a victory in the second annual Boras Classic. The son of former big leaguers and current Dodgers scout Orsino Hill, Derek became the first position player drafted by the Tigers in the first round since Cameron Maybin in 2005.
OF Lane Thomas
Bearden HS, Knoxville, Tenn.
The athletic Thomas won a gold medal with Team USA last summer and has the plus speed to potentially stick in center field. His power has played in game action this spring, when he hit 17 home runs and walked in more than one-third of his plate appearances to while tallying a .614 on-base percentage. Thomas, who received an over-slot deal in the fifth round, has seen some time in the infield in high school and could in pro ball.
|Sr.||.410||57||41||8||4||17||40||0||Blue Jays (5)|
DH Chase Vallot
St. Thomas More HS, Lafayette, La.
Vallot lost a significant amount of weight over the offseason and had a great season individually while leading his team to a state championship. His righthanded bat is his carrying tool and got him drafted in the first round by the Royals. Named Mr. Baseball as the best prep player in Louisiana, Vallot has hit well in games and shows plus-plus raw power, bopping 13 home runs this season. He has a plus arm behind the plate.
UT Jack Flaherty
Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.
Flaherty was famous as an underclassman, playing with two first-rounders in the 2012 draft and headlining Harvard-Westlake’s run to a national championship in 2013. He entered the year as a potential early round pick on the mound and as a hitter. He displayed a 93 mph fastball with some of the best command of any high school pitcher in the class.
RHP J.B. Bukauskas
Stone Bridge HS, Ashburn, Va.
After reclassifying in order to reach North Carolina’s campus quicker, Bukauskas showed some of the best velocity in a draft class filled with hard-throwers, sitting 94-96 mph and touching 98. Like Varga, Bukauskas did not surrender an earned run this season. Although some teams valued him in the first round, Bukauskas’ strong commitment to Carolina caused him to slide to the 20th round, and he is strongly considered a tough sign.
RHP Tyler Kolek
Shepherd (Texas) HS
Shepherd may have finished with a losing record, but Kolek dominated this season. He is the hardest-throwing prep pitcher in the draft era, regularly touching triple-digits and topping out at 102 mph. He least 100 mph on six straight pitches in a game this season. He tied the mark for the highest drafted prep righthander in draft history at No. 2. His strong, powerful 6-foot-5, 260-pound physique defies comparisons on a baseball diamond.
RHP Cameron Varga
Cincinnati Hills Academy, Loveland, Ohio
In a high school class notable for its strong pitching, Varga turned in arguably the best statistical season. He did not allow an earned run in 58 innings this spring against small school Ohio competition and set a national record for consecutive strikeouts at 33, shattering the previous high of 22. Using a low-90s fastball that can reach 95 mph with a plus curveball, Varga tossed eight shutouts and five no-hitters before going in the second round to the Rays.
LHP Cody Reed
Ardmore (Ala.) HS
The thick, husky and powerfully built lefthander got in better shape over the offseason and posted one of the best seasons of any lefthander, leading the nation in strikeouts. Nearly 82 percent of his outs this season came via strikeouts. His pure stuff improved significantly, sitting 92-94, touching 95 down the stretch with two pitches that show above-average potential. The Vanderbilt commit was selected in the second round.
LHP Justus Sheffield
Tullahoma (Tenn.) HS
Sheffield combined plus stuff, advanced control and athleticism to produce one of the top pitching seasons in the class before becoming a first-round pick of the Indians. Both his breaking ball and changeup show above-average potential and he pounds the strike zone with a fastball that sits in the low 90s and touches 95 mph. Sheffield passed on the chance to join older brother Jordan on Vanderbilt’s pitching staff to sign with the Indians.
|C||Jakson Reetz||Norris HS, Firth, Neb.||Sr.||.486||37||36||13||1||8||37||13||Nationals (3)|
|IF||Justin Twine||Falls City (Texas) HS||Sr.||.538||28||28||7||5||6||22||19||Marlins (2)|
|IF||Isan Diaz||Springfield (Mass.) Central HS||Sr.||.529||27||27||9||2||4||15||0||Dbacks (2)|
|IF||Forrest Wall||Orangewood Christian HS, Winter Park, Fla.||Sr.||.500||31||28||9||4||1||16||29||Rockies (1)|
|IF||Aaron Pilkington||Ardrey Kell HS, Charlotte||So.||.400||35||32||4||1||19||43||4||Not eligible|
|OF||Kyle Tucker||Plant HS, Tampa||Jr.||.415||34||34||7||3||9||35||6||Not eligible|
|OF||Clay Casey||Desoto Central HS, Southaven, Miss.||Sr.||.464||43||51||8||5||14||47||9||Nationals (33)|
|OF||Alec Allred||Faith Christian Academy, Goldsboro, N.C.||Sr.||.585||47||38||11||0||3||35||64||Undrafted|
|DH||Hunter Taylor||Nandua HS, Olney, Va.||Sr.||.554||31||31||5||3||12||39||9||Undrafted|
|UT||Adam Haseley||The First Academy, Orlando||Sr.||.425||35||34||5||2||5||18||6||Undrafted|
|LHP||Brendan McKay||BlackHawk HS, Beaver Falls, Pa.||Sr.||10||0||0.63||11||0||56||—||8||119||Padres (34)|
|LHP||Justin Steele||George County HS, Lucedale, Miss.||Sr.||5||1||0.98||8||0||43||16||12||92||Cubs (5)|
|LHP||Nick Wells||Battlefield HS, Haymarket, Va.||Sr.||7||1||1.06||9||0||53||21||18||102||Blue Jays (3)|
|RHP||Michael Kopech||Mount Pleasant (Texas) HS||Sr.||3||0||0.44||11||0||64||25||18||129||Red Sox (1)|
|LHP||Kodi Medeiros||Waiakea HS, Hilo, Hawaii||Sr.||5||1||1.12||8||0||44||18||15||81||Brewers (1)|
|UT||Adam Haseley||The First Academy, Orlando||Sr.||6||2||0.34||11||0||41||18||16||69||Undrafted|
|C||Riley Adams||Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego||Sr.||.455||41||35||10||1||5||22||21||Cubs (37)|
|IF||Bobby Bradley||Harrison Central HS, Gulfport, Miss.||Sr.||.340||16||17||5||2||6||11||3||Indians (3)|
|IF||Max George||Regis Jesuit, Aurora, Colo.||Sr.||.458||31||33||9||2||3||24||10||Rockies (6)|
|IF||Cadyn Grenier||Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas||Jr.||.500||44||47||8||5||3||27||15||Not eligible|
|IF||T.J. Collett||Terre Haute (Ind.) North Vigo HS||So.||.524||26||43||12||0||17||51||3||Not eligible|
|OF||Matthew Railey||North Florida Christian HS, Tallahassee, Fla.||Sr.||.407||29||35||10||1||4||23||7||Dbacks (3)|
|OF||Beau Jordan||Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.||Sr.||.396||58||43||12||1||12||43||37||Undrafted|
|OF||Deion Sellers||Cedar Grove HS, Ellenwood, Ga.||Sr.||.574||34||39||11||2||1||26||6||Undrafted|
|DH||Evan Skoug||Libertyville (Ill.) HS||Sr.||.482||9||42||13||3||3||36||0||Nationals (34)|
|UT||Alex Destino||North Buncombe HS, Weaverville, N.C.||Sr.||.529||43||55||14||0||15||43||2||Undrafted|
|RHP||Austin DeCarr||Salisbury (Conn.) School||Sr.||6||0||0.78||6||0||36||16||19||80||Yankees (3)|
|RHP||Blake Bivens||George Washington HS, Sutherlin, Va.||Sr.||9||0||0.36||—||0||53||25||11||99||Rays (4)|
|LHP||Brady Aiken||Cathedral Catholic, San Diego||Sr.||7||0||1.06||11||0||60||27||15||111||Astros (1)|
|RHP||Matt Villanueva||Anson (Texas) HS||Sr.||13||1||0.28||19||1||101||39||29||193||Undrafted|
|RHP||Grant Holmes||Conway (S.C.) HS||Sr.||6||1||0.4||9||0||53||29||16||88||Dodgers (1)|
|UT||Alex Destino||North Buncombe HS, Weaverville, N.C.||Sr.||10||1||1.43||13||0||73||36||41||116||Undrafted|