See Also: 2013 College Games To Watch
By most accounts, the 2013 draft class is down in talent overall, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t top players and matchups to closely watch. It’s become an annual tradition to sift through the high school schedules we have and point out the top games to watch, whether they feature two draft prospects going head to head or two teams ranked in the Preseason Top 25. We’ve also included some notable tournaments that feature top teams or players.
As a disclaimer, please remember that we’re talking about high school baseball, which is more easily altered by the elements and pitching rotations aren’t exactly set in stone. Nothing mentioned below is guaranteed, but if we had a Baseball America G5, these are some likely spots we would take it. Numbers in the parenthesis indicate a player’s rank in the High School Top 100.
Boras Baseball Classic, March 25-28 (North); April 2-5 (South); April 13 (Championship)
In its first year, the Boras Baseball Classic is a unique event in that it pays schools to participate—rather than the other way around—and it could serve as a mythical championship for a state without a state tournament. California breaks its postseasons up into sections that are based on regions and each region has handful of levels, with Division I being the highest. The Boras Classic will consist of two 16-team tournaments—a Northern California bracket and Southern California bracket. Each champion will then face off in one game on April 13 at Pacifica University.
The NorCal bracket includes Elk Grove High, Yuba City High and Pleasant Grove High (Elk Grove). Elk Grove has two Top 100 Prospects in first baseman Rowdy Tellez (No. 16) and infielder/catcher Dom Nunez (No. 54). The Thundering Herd didn’t make the Preseason Top 25, but are strong candidates to make an appearance during the season. Yuba City has righthander Chandler Eden, the No. 99 high school prospect, while Pleasant Grove has outfielder Josh Adams, the No. 63 prospect.
In the SoCal bracket, JSerra High (San Juan Capistrano), Lakewood High and Mater Dei High (Santa Ana) will have the most attention. Lakewood and JSerra each have a Top 100 Prospect in shortstop J.P. Crawford (No. 5) and outfielder Dane McFarland (No. 73) respectively. Mater Dei checked in at No. 8 in the preseason rankings and have catcher Jeremy Martinez (No. 31) and third baseman Ryan McMahon (No. 66).
Selective Recruiting Invitational, March 25-27
Baseball in South Florida is some of the best in the country so an event featuring several schools from the Miami area is bound to capture attention. This year’s Selective Recruiting Invitational will be watched closely by scouts with the inclusion of American Heritage High (Plantation) and Mater Academy (Hialeah Gardens). American Heritage is the preseason No. 6 team and has catcher/first baseman Zack Collins (No. 42) while Mater Academy has outfielder Willie Abreu (No. 75).
USA Baseball National High School Invitational, March 27-30
The 2012 NHSI didn’t disappoint with its level of competition and drama and 2013 is shaping up to be as good, if not better. We have capsules on all 16 participants available here, as well as videos previewing the first-round matchups: Introduction, Pods 1 & 2, Pods 3 & 4.
The event has eight teams from the Preseason Top 25—No. 3 Cathedral Catholic High (San Diego), No. 8 Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.), No. 9 Grayson High (Loganville, Ga.), No. 10 The Woodlands (Texas) High, No. 11 Venice (Fla.) High, No. 13 Jenks (Okla.) High, No. 16 Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.) and No. 22 Tullahoma (Tenn.) High. Nine players from the Top 100 will also be in attendance: No. 1 Austin Meadows (OF, Grayson), No. 7 Jordan Sheffield (RHP, Tullahoma), No. 13 Stephen Gonsalves (LHP, Cathedral Catholic), No. 19 Nick Ciuffo (C, Lexington, S.C., High), No. 26 Chris Okey (C, Eustis, Fla., High), Martinez, McMahon, No. 69 Nick Longhi (OF, Venice) and No. 95 Thomas Hatch (RHP, Jenks).
Anaheim Lions Tournament, March 30, April 1-3
The Anaheim Lions Tournament is a staple in Southern California and can be counted on to showcase some of the best talent in the region. This year’s field has 76 teams, most notably No. 2 Campolindo High (Moraga, Calif.) and Serra High (Gardena, Calif.), which has first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith, the No. 6 high school prospect. Serra also recently got an influx of transfers, including righthander Soloman Bates, who is a Southern California recruit and a top prospect for 2015.
Hard 9 National Classic, April 1-4
Also one of the main attractions in SoCal every spring, the National Classic is heavy on California schools this year with just four coming from out of the state. But there will be plenty to see with El Dorado High (Placentia, Calif.), Cypress (Calif.) High and Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High in the field. El Dorado has shortstop/righthander Chris Rivera (No. 70) and Cypress has catcher Tyler Alamo (No. 48). Orange Lutheran finished last season at No. 16 and is No. 20 to start 2013.
King HS, Tampa @ Gaither HS, Tampa, Feb. 15
It may cross with college baseball’s opening day, but the potential to see righthander Brett Morales (No. 21) face shortstop Oscar Mercado (No. 11) might trump that.
Gulliver Prep, Miami @ Jesuit HS, Tampa, Feb. 23
It feels a little odd that neither of these teams has a Top 100 prospect currently, but Jesuit is No. 23 to start the season and if recent years have been any indication, this will be a highly competitive game anyway.
Manatee HS, Bradenton, Fla. @ Venice (Fla.) HS, Feb. 26
Venice is one of the top teams in the country and this game will feature two top outfielders in Cord Sandberg (No. 33) and Longhi.
Cullman (Ala.) HS vs. Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga., March 1
If Grayson can get through its March schedule relatively unscathed, look out. The Rams might have to face righthander Keegan Thompson (No. 43) in this game before facing No. 14 Loganville (Ga.) High and No. 1 Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.) a couple weeks later, followed by participating in the NHSI.
Campolindo HS, Moraga, Calif. @ Serra HS, San Mateo, Calif., March 2
Facing the No. 2 team in the country will be a good test for outfielder Jordan Paroubeck (No. 50).
Russell County HS, Seale, Ala. vs. Crisp County HS, Cordele, Ga., March 2
If righthander Robert Tyler (No. 98) starts for Crisp County, scouts could get a good look at outfielder Anfernee Grier (No. 88)
Lexington (S.C.) HS vs. Mauldin (S.C.) HS, March 7
This should be the Palmetto State’s biggest matchup with the possibility of righthander Cory Thompson (No. 93) having to face Ciuffo.
Gaither HS @ Wharton HS, Tampa, March 7
Scouts love killing two birds with one stone and this game would feature Mercado and third baseman Tucker Neuhaus (No. 40).
Palo Verde HS, Las Vegas @/@ Coronado HS, Henderson, Nev., March 7, April 20
No. 25 Coronado is the team to beat in Nevada this year so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Palo Verde counter with righthander Andrew Church (No. 90).
Russell County @ Cullman, March 9
A ‘Bama battle: Grier vs. Thompson.
Owasso (Okla.) HS @ Jenks (Okla.) HS, March 11
Everyone is familiar with Owasso, but No. 13 Jenks has Hatch and sights set on a state title.
Sweeny (Texas) HS @ St. Thomas HS, Houston, March 11
Catcher/first baseman Corey Simpson (No. 59) vs. third baseman Cavan Biggio (No. 25).
Grayson HS @ Loganville (Ga.) HS, March 12
All you need to know is this: Meadows vs. Clint Frazier. No. 1 vs. No. 2 prospect showdown!
Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS @/vs./@ JSerra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., March 12, April 10, April 12
As members of the Trinity League, one of the toughest conferences in the country, Orange Luther and JSerra would pit McFarland against the preseason No. 20 team in the country. JSerra also has a sophomore, outfielder Jake Pries, that is creating a lot of buzz in SoCal.
Grayson HS @/vs. Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga., March 15, April 26
With Parkview defending their state and national titles, and Grayson being a Top 10 team, this is shaping up to be a good rivalry. Plus, it gives us Meadows vs. outfielder Josh Hart (No. 44). And Meadows might have to face Mac Marshall, one of the country’s top lefthanders for 2014.
Elk Grove (Calif.) HS @ Campolindo, March 16
The No. 2 preseason team against Tellez and Nunez.
Cypress (Calif.) HS @ JSerra, March 16 (DH)
Not only is it a prospect showdown with Alamo against McFarland, but it’s a doubleheader too!
St. John’s College HS, Washington, D.C. @/vs. DeMatha Catholic HS, Hyattsville, Md., March 19, April 16
It’s not on the same level as some southern rivalries, but as far as Mid-Atlantic or Northeast ones go, this might be as good as it gets. St. John’s has shortstop Errol Robinson (No. 92) and DeMatha has a junior catcher, Justin Morris, worth keeping an eye on.
Desert Ridge HS, Mesa, Ariz. @/vs. Gilbert (Ariz.) HS, March 19, March 22
This game will feature two of the state’s top middle infielders in Dustin Peterson (No. 72) and Riley Unroe.
Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif. @/vs./@ Orange Lutheran HS, March 20, April 30, May 3
Both teams are in the Top 25, vying for a Trinity League crown and have prospects to boot.
Milton (Ga.) HS @/vs. Walton HS, Marietta, Ga., March 20, April 19
An NHSI participant, Milton has a very strong junior class and Walton has outfielder Stephen Wrenn (No. 53).
Madison HS, San Diego @ Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego, March 21
If lefthanders Ian Clarkin (No. 14) and Gonsalves take the hill, expect there to be several dozen radar guns pointing straight at them.
The First Academy, Orlando @ Eustis (Fla.) HS, March 21
The First Academy has a couple of Division I recruits in lefthanders Foster Griffin (Ole MIss) and Adam Haseley (Virginia) so this could be a good tuneup for Okey and Eustis before they head north for the NHSI.
Farragut HS, Knoxville @ Loganville HS, March 22
Righthander Kyle Serrano, the son of Tennessee head coach Dave, didn’t quite crack the Top 100, but he has an 88-90 mph fastball and feel for a changeup that he can test against Frazier.
Regis Jesuit HS, Aurora, Colo. @ Cherry Creek, Greenwood Village, Colo., March 23
Cherry Creek is No. 18 and this will be a rematch of last year’s 6-A state final. If righthander Derik Beauprez (No. 58) toes the rubber for Cherry Creek, we can only hope that Regis Jesuit will counter with lefthander David Peterson—a top prospect for 2014.
JSerra HS @ Mater Dei HS, March 23
Martinez, McFarland and McMahon all on one field.
St. Thomas HS @/vs./@ St. Pius X HS, Houston, March 26, April 9, April 19
These two are perennial contenders in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools postseason and with them scheduled to meet at least three times, it would be crazy if we were denied a chance to see Biggio face righthander Kohl Stewart (No. 9).
Timber Creek HS, Orlando @ Spruce Creek HS
These two are in the same tournament so Timber Creek outfielder Eugene Vazquez (No. 76) could face righthander Kyle Marsh, a top prospect for 2014 . . .
Timber Creek HS @ Boone HS, Orlando, April 2
. . . but if Vazquez dodges Marsh, he may have to go up against lefthander Ian McKinney (No. 87) the following week.
The Benjamin School, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. @ Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla., April 3
Archbishop McCarthy is no stranger to the national rankings, but this game might give a glimpse of the future with each team having a top lefty in the 2014 class. The Benjamin School has Bennett Sousa while Brian Gonzalez suits up for Archbishop McCarthy.
Spruce Creek HS @ Venice (Fla.) HS, April 12
Outside of Marsh vs. Longhi, this matchup gives us preseason Nos. 4 vs. 11.
Gainesville (Ga.) HS @/vs. Loganville HS, April 12, April15
The Red Elephants—yes, red elephants—are just five spots behind Loganville in the preseason poll and will have to go through them to win a state title this year. They also have a top junior in righthander/outfielder Michael Gettys.
Arlington Country Day School, Jacksonville @ American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla., April 16
Catcher Brian Navaretto (No. 52) gives Arlington Country Day at least one Top 100 prospect for 2013. They could have a second if infielder Blake Hennessey completes his goal of graduating early to move his draft eligibility to this season. Toss in Collins and there will be plenty of offense to watch in this game.
Venice HS @ Jesuit HS, Tampa, April 18
As it stands right now, there are 15 players between these Top 25 teams that are committed to play for D-I programs.
North Florida Christian School, Tallahasseee @ Timber Creek HS, April 19
North Florida Christian is No. 24 and if they start lefthander Carson Sands, one of the top juniors in the country, that could potentially have Vazquez facing three Top 100-caliber pitchers in one season. Scouts should have a pretty good idea how he stacks up.
Gloucester Catholic HS, Gloucester City, N.J. @ St. Joseph Regional HS, Montvale, N.J., May 4
Gloucester Catholic has a D-I arm in righthander Mike Schawaryn, but it’s also one of the top programs in New Jersey and would be lefthander Rob Kaminsky’s (No. 12) toughest test on the season if he starts for St. Joseph.
Woodford County HS, Versailles, Ky. @ Tates Creek HS, Lexington, Ky., May 17
It’s a great year for Kentucky baseball and this game might be the best matchup. Shortstop Javon Shelby was part of Conor Glassey’s look at players that just missed the Top 100 (subscriber link) cut and he might have to face righthander Clinton Hollon (No. 60) in this game.