The Boras Foundation announced Wednesday the 32 teams competing in the 2018 Boras Baseball Classic of California, which matches 16 of elite high school teams from Northern California against 16 high-level teams from Southern California in order to name a de-facto state champion.
Because of the size of the state, high school teams in California compete for sectional titles in the playoffs with no state championships.
The tournament, which will begin on March 26 and be hosted by JSerra Catholic High (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.), and Oak Ridge High (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) has featured several high-level prospects in the past, including last year when the eventual No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2017 MLB Draft--Royce Lewis and Hunter Greene, respectively--competed.
This year, the sixth annual Boras Classic of California could once again feature multiple first-round picks, as Santiago High (Corona, Calif.) shortstop Brice Turang, who is ranked No. 2 on Baseball America's 2018 High School Top 50 prospects list, will play, as well as Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High righthanded pitcher Cole Winn, who checks in at No. 16.
"Going into our sixth year I believe we have hit our stride, and have the best field of teams to date competing against each other to showcase their skills to both collegiate coaches and MLB scouts," said Scott Boras, who is the Director of The Boras Foundation, in a release. "Having 15 players drafted in the 2017 class shows the caliber of talent and platform for each player to further pursue their careers in baseball."
Huntington Beach (Calif.) High will be back to defend their Boras Classic of California championship in 2018, just one year after eventual first-round pick Nick Pratto and second-round pick Hagan Danner led the Oilers to the title in their first tournament appearance. A lefthanded hitting first baseman, Pratto was selected by the Royals with the 14th overall pick, while Danner, a righthanded hitting catcher with pro potential on the mound as well, was drafted by the Blue Jays with the 61st overall pick.
Other programs included in the 2018 edition of the Boras Classic of California include host schools JSerra Catholic and Mater Dei, as well as southern newcomers Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles), Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), West Ranch (Santa Clarita, Calif.), Simi Valley (Calif.) and Newbury Park (Calif.).
Among those returning to the Boras Classic of California's Southern bracket, in addition to Santiago and Orange Lutheran high schools, are La Mirada (Calif.), Vista Murrieta (Calif.) and South Hills (West Covina, Calif.), the latter of which includes shortstop Brandon Dieter. A 6-foot, 175-pound Stanford commit, Dieter is currently ranked No. 46 on Baseball America's 2018 High School Top 50 prospect list.
While there are no Top-50 players in the northern half of the Boras Classic of California bracket, the field does include defending Northern champions Bellarmine Prep (San Jose), as well as Tracy (Calif.) HS, who graduated 2017 sixth-round draft pick Cody Bolton, a righthanded pitcher who was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In addition to releasing the bracket for the 2018 Boras Classic of California, The Boras Foundation also announced Wednesday the 16-team field for the second annual Boras Baseball Classic of Arizona, which begins on March 14 at host schools Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) and Arcadia (Phoenix).
In addition to featuring some of the elite programs from Arizona, the Boras Classic of Arizona also includes high-level teams from Nevada, including the inaugural tournament champions, Basic Academy (Henderson, Nev.). Last year, three players who competed in the Boras Classic of Arizona went on to be drafted by MLB organizations in the 2017 draft, including 14th-round pick Antoine Mistico (Tigers), 37th-round pick Trevor Hauver (Royals) and 40th-round pick J.T. Stanley (Rockies).
All teams competing in either the Boras Classic of California or the Boras Classic of Arizona are guaranteed a minimum of four games, with the four teams who qualify for the two different championship games earning a fifth and final appearance in the tournament to determine a title winner.
There are a number of interesting potential draft prospects in the field. Here are a few players to look out for in the southern region: Mater Dei High brings shortstop Emilio Rosas (California commit) and outfielder Grant Burton (Stanford); Cathedral Catholic brings a bevy of Division I commits including first baseman/righthander Cade Brown (San Diego), righthander Nick Nastrini (UCLA), righthander Noah Owen (San Diego), catcher Bradley Polinsky (Washington State) and outfielder Jacob Allred (Arizona); Newbury Park righthander Carson Lambert (Southern California) will be one to watch; El Toro has lefthander Erik Tolman (Cal Poly); Vista Murrieta has shortstop and righthander Jake Moberg (UCLA).
Normally a lesser area of talent from a draft perspective, the NorCal has a handful of interesting prospects in the 2018 class and much more depth than last year’s class: Cardinal Newman High outfielder Vinny Tosti (Oregon) might be the best player in the region; Oak Ridge High shortstop and outfielder Cameron Allie (Santa Clara); defending north champion Bellarmine Prep and righthander Joseph Ammirato (California) will be worth watching; Davis High outfielder Ryan Holgate (California) impressed with the bat at this year’s Area Code Games; Casa Grande High infielder A.J. Miller (Oregon) is another bat to watch; St. Mary’s High infielder/catcher Tyler Lozano (Southern California); Woodcreek High righthander Dennis Boatman (UCLA) is another Area Code Games participant worth keeping an eye on.