2017 State Draft Report: Southern California
|One for the books|
|Rating compares this year's group to what a state typically produces, not to other states|
Arguably the two best high school players in the country (Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis) and the top college hitter (Keston Hiura) all reside in southern California this year. That says nothing of maybe the top defensive shortstop (Nick Allen) or most electric arm (Hans Crouse) in the country.
It is expected nearly one-fifth of the top 50 picks in the draft will come from southern California, and possibly as many as six will go in the first round alone.
The glut of the talent is high school-based. In addition to the long-hyped prospects, previously less-heralded players like righthanders Matt Sauer and Michael Mercado shot up wildly as seniors to make the class even better. Even those preps that got off to slow starts like outfielder Calvin Mitchell and righthander Jeremiah Estrada rallied late to reassert themselves as top prospects.
The college side is much thinner, but Huira and UCLA righthander Griffin Canning still give southern California two premium collegiate talents likely to hear their names called in the first round. Two righthanders, UC Riverside's Ryan Lillie and Loyola Marymount's Cory Abbott, experienced meteoric rises over the final months of the season, giving the college class some much needed pitching depth.
|NATIONAL TOP 500 PROSPECTS|
|BA 500 Scouting Reports|
1. Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif. (1) 2. Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (5) 3. Keston Hiura, 2B/LF, UC Irvine (14) 4. Nick Pratto, 1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS (24) 5. Griffin Canning, RHP, UCLA (26) 6. Matt Sauer, RHP, Righetti HS, Santa Maria, Calif. (28) 7. Nick Allen, SS, Francis Parker School, San Diego (29) 8. Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, Calif. (37) 9. Michael Mercado, RHP, Westview HS, San Diego (48) 10. Hagen Danner, RHP/C, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS (61) 11. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS (62) 12. Riley Adams, C, San Diego (72) 13. Calvin Mitchell, OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego (74) 14. David Banuelos, C, Long Beach State (91) 15. Kyle Hurt, RHP, Torrey Pines HS, San Diego (94) 16. Tyler Freeman, SS, Etiwanda HS, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (97) 17. Jeremiah Estrada, RHP, Palm Desert (Calif.) HS (121) 18. Blake Hunt, C, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif. (123) 19. Ryan Lillie, RHP, UC Riverside (147) 20. Garett King, RHP, Cal Baptist (148) 21. Cory Abbott, RHP, Loyola Marymount (149) 22. Scott Hurst, OF, Cal State Fullerton (152) 23. Connor Seabold, RHP, Cal State Fullerton (186) 24. Daniel Ritcheson, RHP, Bishop Alemany HS, Mission Hills, Calif. (187) 25. Sean Bouchard, 1B/3B, UCLA (189) 26. Alika Williams, SS, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego (206) 27. Kevin Abel, RHP, Madison HS, San Diego (216) 28. Je'Von Carrier Ward, OF, Gahr HS, Cerritos, Calif. (233) 29. Jayson Gonzalez, 3B, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif. (242) 30. Jacob Amaya, SS, South Hills HS, West Covina, Calif. (243) 31. Zach Hogueisson, OF, Christian HS, El Cajon, Calif. (252) 32. Ben Ramirez, SS, Eastlake HS, Chula Vista, Calif. (259) 33. Jake Bird, RHP, UCLA (265) 34. John Gavin, LHP, Cal State Fullerton (268) 35. Clay Fisher, SS, UC Santa Barbara (277) 36. Darren McCaughan, RHP, Long Beach State (278) 37. Sean Watkins, OF, Cal State Los Angeles (280) 38. Cameron Bishop, LHP/OF, UC Irvine (319) 39. Jonny DeLuca, OF, Agoura HS, Agoura Hills, Calif. (320) 40. Tyler Hardman, 3B, Temescal Canyon HS, Lake Elsinore, Calif (321) 41. Travis Moniot, SS , Orange Coast (Calif.) JC (322) 42. Colton Burns, 2B/OF, UC Santa Barbara (323) 43. Adrian Tovalin, 3B, Azusa Pacific (332) 44. Andrew Quezada, RHP, Cypress (Calif.) JC (333) 45. Joe Ryan, RHP, Cal State Northridge (334) 46. Casey Schmitt, 3B, Eastlake HS, Chula Vista, Calif. (335) 47. Dillon Persinger, 2B, Cal State Fullerton (336) 48. Carlos Lomeli, RHP, St. John Bosco HS, Bellflower, Calif. (337) 49. Sam Glick, LHP, El Toro HS, Lake Forest, Calif. (380) 50. Eric Wagaman, 1B, Orange Coast (Calif.) JC (385) 51. Jonathan Teaney, RHP, San Diego (386) 52. Kyle Goodbrand, RHP, UC San Diego (387) 53. Adam Kerner, C, Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, Calif. (388) 54. Calvin Faucher, RHP, UC Irvine (390) 55. Brock Lundquist, OF, Long Beach State (391) 56. Bryce Dyrda, RHP, Southern California (420) 57. Danny Zimmerman, 1B, Redondo Union HS, Redondo Beach, Calif. (424) 58. Kyle Nelson, LHP, UC Santa Barbara (426) 59. Trevor Casanova, C, El Camino (Calif.) JC (427) 60. Isaiah Paige, RHP, Damien HS, La Verne, Calif. (428) 61. Chase Farrell, RHP, Valencia (Calif.) HS (435) 62. Cole Percival, RHP, Riverside Poly HS, Riverside, Calif. (442) 63. Corey Dempster, OF, Southern California (446) 64. Alan Trejo, 2B/RHP, San Diego State (458) 65. Jeff Bain, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona (464) 66. Karlos Morales, LHP, South Hills HS, West Covina, Calif. (469) 67. Tyler Adkison, OF, San Diego State (478) 68. Max Gamboa, RHP, Pepperdine (481) 69. Ryan Garcia, 1B, Point Loma Nazarene (485) 70. Ben Fariss, RHP/OF, Valencia (Calif.) HS (489) 71. Connor O'Neil, RHP, Cal State Northridge (490) 72. Ramsey Romano, 3B, Long Beach State (494) 73. Cameron Baranek, OF, Hope International (495) 74. Alex Cornwell, LHP, Maranatha HS, Pasadena, Calif. (498)
|OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE|
|2017 Draft Map|
75. Hunter Mercado-Hood, OF, San Diego 76. Blake Beers, RHP, Loyola HS, Los Angeles 77. Justin Friedman, RHP, Ventura (Calif.) JC 78. Timmy Richards, SS, Cal State Fullerton 79. Isaac Esqueda, LHP, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif. 80. Roman Garcia, 1B, San Diego 81. Frankie Rios, SS, Southern California 82. Christian Broussard, RHP, Cal State Los Angeles 83. Taylor Rashi, RHP, El Camino (Calif.) JC 84. A.J. Jones, RHP, Long Beach State 85. Ryan Wilson, LHP, Pepperdine 86. Jorge Arellano, LHP, Downey (Calif.) HS 87. Alex Fagalde, RHP, UC Riverside 88. Austin Bush, 1B, UC Santa Barbara 89. Frankie Tostado, OF, Oxnard (Calif.) JC 90. C.J. Saylor, RHP, San Diego State 91. Andrew Weston, RHP, Cal State Northridge 92. Matt Hartman, RHP, Westmont College 93. Austin Moore, RHP, Orange Coast (Calif.) JC 94. Ben Rodriguez, 1B, Pepperdine 95. Nathan Webb, C/RHP, ML King HS, Riverside, Calif. 96. Chris Hudgins, C, Cal State Fullerton 97. Gabriel Gentner, RHP, Cal State Los Angeles 98. Aaron Barnett, C, Pepperdine 99. Justin Toerner , OF, Cal State Northridge 100. Blake Mann, OF, Chaminade Prep HS, West Hills, Calif. 101. Joe Record, RHP, UC Santa Barbara 102. Scott Burke, RHP, UCLA 103. Austin Rubick, RHP, Ventura (Calif.) JC 104. Billy Wilson, OF, Loyola Marymount 105. Brett Seeburger, LHP, San Diego State 106. Logan Pollack, OF, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif. 107. Moises Ceja, RHP, UCLA 108. Cameron Jabara, RHP, Orange Coast (Calif.) JC 109. Tanner Nishioka, OF, Pomona-Pitzer 110. Troy Conyers, LHP, San Diego 111. Cassius Hamm, RHP, El Camino (Calif.) JC 112. Devon DeRaad, OF, Occidental 113. Kyle Dohy, LHP, Cal Poly Pomona 114. Harrison Simon, RHP, Loyola Marymount 115. Christian Winston, LHP, Barstow (Calif.) HS 116. Mark Contreras, OF, UC Riverside 117. Danny Sheehan, SS, San Diego State 118. David Gerics, RHP, Pomona-Pitzer 119. Michael Hobbs, RHP, Corona (Calif.) HS 120. Ryan Mota, RHP/1B, Riverside (Calif.) JC 121. Lucas Tancas, OF, Long Beach State 122. Sean Barry, RHP, San Diego 123. Jacob Erickson, LHP, San Diego State 124. Kyle Callahan, 3B, Victor Valley (Calif.) JC 125. J.J. Muno, 2B/SS, UC Santa Barbara 126. Jacob Blas, SS, San Marcos (Calif.) HS 127. Matt Walker, RHP, UCLA 128. Albee Weiss, 1B, Cal State Northridge 129. Nathan Kuchta, RHP, San Diego 130. Mark Young, LHP, San Diego Christian 131. Justin Mazzone, C, Fountain Valley (Calif.) HS 132. Zach Pettway, RHP, Wilson HS, Long Beach, Calif. 133. Colton Waltner, C/OF, San Diego 134. Cole Kleszcz, OF, College of the Canyons (Calif.) JC
Hunter Mercado-Hood, OF, San Diego Mercado-Hood moved atop San Diego’s lineup as a senior and became of the one West Coast Conference’s most effective hitters, hitting .314 with 18 doubles, nine homers and 38 RBIs. He has a pure lefthanded swing that generates enough loft for power and a discerning eye that yielded more walks (28) than strikeouts (20) as a junior. Mercado-Hood’s value is tied to his bat. He is a poor defender in right field with a below-average arm. He is a below-average runner, although he has good enough instincts to pick his spots and steal a bag from time to time.
Justin Friedman, RHP, Ventura (Calif.) JC Friedman was a New Jersey prep who pitched his freshman season at George Washington. He played the following summer for the Ventura Halos in the California Collegiate Summer League and decided to stay on the west coast, transferring to Ventura (Calif.) JC. Friedman immediately impressed area coaches during the fall and carried it into the regular season, going 8-2, 2.15 and becoming the top starter at Ventura. Friedman features a fastball sits in the low 90’s and gets up to 92 mph. He keeps hitters off balance with a slow curveball as his main secondary. Friedman’s delivery is rigid and his command is shaky, limiting his overall appeal. But with two usable pitches and a track record of success, he should get a shot in pro ball.
Timmy Richards, SS, Cal State Fullerton Richards has been drafted twice before, first by the Marlins out of Long Beach’s Wilson High and then by the Twins in the 18th round after his junior year at Fullerton. He elected to return for his senior year and had a modest regular season, hitting .280 with a .787 OPS. Stocky at 6-foot, 200 pounds, Richards isn’t flashy but makes solid contact at the plate and converts all the routine plays in the field. After showing surprising pop and leading the Big West Conference in home runs as a junior, Richards hit just four bombs as a senior. Richards’ upside is limited to a utility infielder, but he is a solid all-around contributor with a long track record and will be an attractive senior sign for someone.
Isaac Esqueda, LHP, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif. Esqueda put together a decorated prep career and raised his draft stock with a strong performance at the Boras Classic this spring, headlined by a complete game with seven strikeouts in his lone start at the event. Esqueda is a physically mature 6-foot, 205 pound lefthander without much projection left. His fastball sits in the upper 80’s and touches 89 mph, but it is his curveball that separates him. Esqueda spins a short, tight curveball with late final plunge that gets wildly off-balance swings from good hitters, and it plays up even more with deception in his delivery. It is a true plus pitch he can land for strikes at any time. Esqueda profiles as a two-pitch reliever for most evaluators, but may grow into more if he can find a third pitch. He is committed to Southern California.
Roman Garcia, 1B, San Diego Garcia hit in the cleanup spot behind Riley Adams at San Diego and protected him well, hitting .292 and leading the team with 14 homers and 53 RBIs in the regular season. Garcia is a physically-mature 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior whose best asset is his above-average power. He can tap into it regularly, but it comes with a considerable amount of swing-and-miss. Garcia is adequate defensively at first base but does not have the athleticism to handle the outfield. Garcia’s upside is limited, but his power and performance have evaluators considering taking him in the top 10 rounds as a senior sign.
Frankie Rios, SS, Southern California Rios was the veteran leader on a youthful Southern California team that took its lumps this spring. The redshirt junior hit .354 with 13 doubles while batting cleanup, and also anchored the infield as a solid defensive shortstop. Rios is a generously listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds but plays with energy to get the most out of his skillset. He is a disciplined hitter who controls the strike zone well and barrels mistakes. Rios has little home run-power projection but drives balls into the gaps and uses his above-average speed to generate extra-base hits. Rios is solid across the board defensively and can stick at shortstop, but may be best served playing all around the infield in pro ball. There is a chance he could return to school, but is already 22 years old and figures to sign.
Christian Broussard, RHP, Cal State Los Angeles Broussard is a big man with a big right arm. Broussard pitches with a 93-94 mph fastball and was Cal State Los Angeles’ ace this spring, going 8-3, 3.14. He did so while weighing in at 270 pounds, and is kindly described as “plump” by evaluators. Size aside, Broussard showed the ability to throw four pitches for strikes with decent command and is a better athlete than expected. He hit .318 with nine homers and 46 RBIs while playing first base on days he wasn’t pitching. Broussard’s talent is such that evaluators feel he can be late-round steal if he eventually gets his body in order, with most believing he needs to drop 30-40 pounds off his 6-foot-3 frame.
Taylor Rashi, RHP, El Camino (Calif.) JC Rashi was one of the top junior college pitchers in the state this spring, going 11-5, 2.12 with a state-best 144 strikeouts in 118 innings to lead El Camino to the CCCAA state semifinals. The 6-foot-4, 200 pound righthander is long-limbed and projectable with solid control and a successful track record. Rashi’s fastball sits just 87-90 mph and he does not have a secondary offering that was particularly noted by evaluators, but his frame and demonstrated ability to miss bats have teams interested.
Ryan Wilson, LHP, Pepperdine Wilson rarely wows with his stuff but has performed everywhere he has been. He led Pepperdine in innings as a freshman, posted a 0.63 ERA as a sophomore and shined in the Cape Cod League the following summer with a 0.90 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20.2 innings. He posted a 3.61 ERA as the Waves’ Friday starter as a junior. Wilson relies on deception for success, with a crossfire delivery that makes it difficult for hitters to pick the ball up out of his hand. His fastball sits just 84-85 mph and he throws a loopy, slurvy breaking ball in the mid-70s. He has been up to 89 mph in short bursts. Most evaluators believe Wilson’s lack of stuff and average command will cause him to struggle against better hitters, but his strong career splits against lefthanded hitters give him a chance to emerge as a lefty specialist.
Jorge Arellano, LHP, Downey (Calif.) HS Arellano garners interest as a 6-foot-2 lefty who sits 87-88 mph and touches 91 with his fastball. He also has a potentially above-average curveball. Arellano is just an average athlete on the mound and that leads to spotty command as well as a checkered injury history. He missed time in recent years with lower back issues and shoulder inflammation among other maladies. When right Arellano shows promise with an elusive fastball with tilt and a promising curveball from the left side, but has yet to prove he can stay healthy or consistent. Arellano is a good student who wants to be an engineer and would be the first from his family to go to college, so there is strong belief he will honor his commitment to UC Santa Barbara.
Alex Fagalde, RHP, UC Riverside UC Riverside plucked Fagalde from Cuesta (Calif.) JC, and the 6-foot-3 righthander emerged as the Highlanders’ top starter as a senior. He went 7-4, 3.39 and allowed only 70 hits in 79.2 innings. Fagalde’s fastball ranges from 86-90 mph but hitters do not pick it up well and tend to swing through it. His primary secondary offering is a slider he locates well and he mixes in a splitter. Fagalde commands all three of his pitches, with his fastball command excellent in particular. He fields his position well, holds runners and has a work ethic coaches love. Fagalde's total package has helped him garner significant interest as a senior sign. Austin Bush, 1B, UC Santa Barbara The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Bush has been one of the premier lefthanded power hitters on the west coast for years. He jumped on the big stage when he homered in each of UC Santa Barbara’s first four postseason games during the Gauchos run to the 2016 College World Series and won Nashville Regional MVP honors. Bush continued to mash with 20 home runs in 2017, but he added bad weight to his already massive frame and struggled, looking sluggish and unathletic on the field. He has above-average arm strength but his poor athleticism and will keep him at first base. Bush has enough feel to hit to become a viable power-hitting first baseman in pro ball, but he will have to keep his weight in check.
Frankie Tostado, OF, Oxnard (Calif.) JC Tostado committed to Cal State Northridge out of Camarillo (Calif.) HS but instead ended up at Oxnard JC. Athletic and lefthanded, Tostado hit .333 with 10 homers, 34 RBI and a 1.008 OPS while playing an above-average center field for the Condors. Scouts are intrigued by Tostado’s potential average power and left-left center field profile, but some worry he merely stacked up big numbers in a down year for California junior colleges. Still, Tostado turned heads with his performance and has a chance to be selected on the draft’s third day. C.J. Saylor, RHP, San Diego State Saylor ranked No. 426 on the BA 500 in 2012 and was drafted by the Dodgers in the 33rd round as a catcher that year out of high school. Saylor switched between pitching and catching at San Diego State, but a concussion his junior season ended his catching career. As the Aztecs’ full-time closer as a redshirt senior this spring, Saylor posted a 2.78 ERA with 13 saves and 47 strikeouts in 35.2 regular-season innings. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and gets up to 93 mph, and he backs it up with a quality splitter. Saylor is undersized at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds and he will be 24 in October as one of the oldest players in the class. His arm strength and quality relief work still make him likely to be drafted.
Andrew Weston, RHP, Cal State Northridge Joe Ryan entered the year as Northridge’s top pitching prospect, but Weston earned some attention as the Matadors’ Saturday starter. Weston went 7-5, 3.19 pitching in a very hitter-friendly home park. Weston is a strike-thrower with a fastball up to 92 mph. None of his pitches register better than average and he doesn’t miss bats, but he will get a shot as an accomplished collegiate strike thrower.
Matt Hartman, RHP, Westmont College Hartman pitched out of Arizona’s bullpen for two years before transferring to Div. III Westmont. He made only seven appearances and did not pitch after March 25 because of an elbow injury. Hartman is well-built at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and features a fastball up to 94 mph with an above-average curveball. But he has struggled to stay healthy, pitching only 55 innings in three collegiate seasons. Austin Moore, RHP, Orange Coast (Calif.) JC Moore struggled with injuries and control throughout his time at Orange Coast (Calif.) JC, but features a fastball he can hold at 93-94 mph. That alone wasn’t enough to be productive at the JC level as he had more walks (15) than strikeouts (13) in 20 innings this spring, but his raw arm strength has teams intrigued. Ben Rodriguez, 1B, Pepperdine Rodriguez is a 6-foot-6, 240-pound first baseman with big-time raw power than earns 70 grades from evaluators on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. Rodriguez is not much of a hitter, however, and struggles to get to his power in games. He hit only five home runs as a junior while batting .230. Rodriguez has never performed much, but his raw power is a carrying tool that has evaluators interested toward the back of the draft. Nathan Webb, C/RHP, ML King HS, Riverside, Calif. Webb stood out at the 2016 World Wood Bat Championships and continued with a solid senior year, posting a 1.165 OPS at the plate and a 1.42 ERA as his high school’s closer. Webb’s best tool is his arm. Short but strong at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, Webb consistently hits 92 mph off the mound in relief with a potential above-average slider in the low-80s. That arm strength has translated to plus from both behind the plate and across the diamond at third base. Webb has power but is raw as a hitter. There is no consensus where he projects best among evaluators, although his size and tool set usually ends up at catcher, where Webb would have to improve his hands. Webb is committed to UC Riverside, where he is ticketed for a dual third base/reliever role.
Chris Hudgins, C, Cal State Fullerton The Yankees drafted Hudgins in the 35th round in 2014 out of high school but instead he went to Cal State Fullerton, where he was a three-year contributor and two-year starter behind the plate. Hudgins has never hit much, including a .221 average with three home runs in the regular season this spring, but has a good track record of handling pitchers well. Hudgins projects to be an average defender with an average arm behind the plate. He has plus raw power but is a poor hitter unable to get to it. That package of polished defense and raw power has evaluators interested despite uninspiring career production.
Gabriel Gentner, RHP, Cal State Los Angeles Gentner is a hard-throwing reliever who consistently hits 94 mph off the mound. He recorded nine saves as Cal State Los Angeles’ closer this spring and struck out 37 in 29 innings. Gentner’s control is wildly inconsistent, however, and he is prone to giving up the home run ball. He will get a shot as a middle reliever at the next level. Aaron Barnett, C, Pepperdine Barnett led Pepperdine in hitting this spring with a .298 average and was named the First Team All-West Coast Conference catcher. He was the Waves starting catcher all four years and handled both the elite velocity and solid breaking stuff of numerous future pros. Barnett is a solid receiver with an adequate arm. At the plate he rarely strikes out because of both his good barrel control and a strong eye. Barnett doesn’t hit home runs but has doubles power. Justin Toerner , OF , Cal State Northridge Toerner starred at Temecula (Calif.) Chaparral High, the alma mater of Allen Craig and Shane Peterson, before making his way to Cal State Northridge, where his father Sean was an All-American second baseman and 1980 draft pick of the Giants. Toerner was the Matadors’ center fielder all three seasons and got on base at a .402 clip as a junior. Toerner is a patient, contact-oriented lefthanded hitter with above-average speed who fits atop a lineup. He has a short, whippy swing that allows him to make contact, although he lacks power potential. Toerner mainly stands out in center field, with the instincts, speed and range to remain there. He touched 90 mph off the mound and has an above-average arm. Blake Mann, OF, Chaminade Prep HS, West Hills, Calif. Mann replaced Blake Rutherford as Chaminade Prep’s center fielder and got some helium late in the draft process. Mann is a burner who runs a 6.5-second 60-yard dash—a 70 runner on the 20-to-80 scouting scale—and uses his speed to show exceptional defensive range in center. He has a feel to hit for average and began showing the nascent stages of some power as a senior, though he still has a ways to go to develop both. Mann is committed to UC Santa Barbara. Joe Record, RHP, UC Santa Barbara Record pitched only 9.1 innings as a junior before going down with a torn ulner collateral ligament and missing the rest of the season. He attempted to repair it with a platelet-rich plasma injection rather than have Tommy John surgery, but surgery may still be necessary. Well-built at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Record sits 91-93 mph with his fastball and touches 95 when healthy. His best secondary is a sharp 82-83 mph slider and he began experimenting with an upper-80s cutter. His command is solid. Record started in college but profiles as a two-pitch reliever as a pro, provided he comes back from his injury at full strength. Austin Rubick, RHP, Ventura (Calif.) JC Rubick was drafted by the Indians in the 27th round out of high school in 2015. He began his college career at Arizona before transferring back to his hometown and attending Ventura (Calif.) JC. Rubick features a 92-93 mph fastball but it is extremely straight. He also has poor control. As a result Rubick got knocked around for a 6.32 ERA in his lone season on the JC circuit, although he did average more than a strikeout per inning. Evaluators largely do not feel Rubick has improved since high school, but his arm strength and previous familiarity have teams checking in on him. He is committed to Hawaii.
Brett Seeburger, LHP, San Diego State Seeburger was named the Mountain West Conference pitcher of the year after going 10-2, 3.84 as San Diego State’s Friday starter. He is a mix-and-match pitchability lefty with an 85-88 mph fastball, and will get drafted as a senior sign.
Cameron Jabara, RHP, Orange Coast (Calif.) JC The Braves drafted Jabara in the 31st round out of high school in 2016 but he chose college over signing. Jabara was committed to Oregon but instead landed at Orange Coast JC, where he went 6-1, 4.18 bouncing between starting and relieving. Jabara has a wide range on his fastball, from 85 mph all the way up to 92 mph, but he has both a reliable changeup and curveball he can throw for strikes. He pounds the strike zone and is mentally strong. Jabara was old for a JuCo freshman at nearly 20 and is physically filled out. He also has a checkered injury history after missing time each of the last two years with elbow inflammation. Even with injuries and average stuff, Jabara’s pitchability and command give him a chance to be drafted for the second straight year.
Troy Conyers, LHP, San Diego Conyers played many different roles in his college career, at various points working as a member of the Toreros’ starting rotation and others as a two-way player. The physically imposing 6-foot-5, 230 pound lefthander moved into the closer role as a redshirt senior this spring and excelled, going 2-1, 2.70 with 13 saves and 65 strikeouts in 46.2 innings. Conyers generates good downhill plane on his upper 80s fastball and mixes in an effective changeup. He has solid control as well, and will find a home as a lefthanded reliever in pro ball.
Cassius Hamm, RHP, El Camino (Calif.) JC Hamm transferred to El Camino JC from Chico State and went 13-3, 2.98 with 134 strikeouts in 108 innings to lead the Warriors to the state semifinals. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righthander sits just 86 mph with his fastball but gets swings-and-misses with his plus curveball, a true out pitch with spin and drop. Hamm still needs to add strength and velocity, deterring some evaluators from seeing him as anything but a late-round draft candidate. He is committed to Cal State Northridge. Kyle Dohy, LHP, Cal Poly Pomona Dohy entered the year as one of the nation’s top Div. II prospects as an arm strength lefty who could sit 92 mph and had room to grow. Horrid control ruined his season, however, as he posted a 5.99 ERA with 6.8 walks per nine innings and 18 wild pitches. Dohy has swing-and-miss stuff, as evidenced by his 89 strikeouts in 79.2 innings, but his inability to command any of his offerings consistently largely cancels out his positives. A team could take a late-round flyer on Dohy to see if they can iron him out. Christian Winston, LHP, Barstow (Calif.) HS Barstow is a destitute Old West town in the Mojave Desert known mainly as a rest stop between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Against all odds, the isolated town's one high school has become an unlikely source of projectable pitchers every 3-4 years. Matt Mitchell (2007), Blue Jays ace Aaron Sanchez (2010) and Austyn Willis (2014) were all drafted out of Barstow High, and Winston is next. Winston stands 6-foot-5, 220 pounds with a picturesque delivery and arm action. His fastball reaches 89 mph and he shows the potential to spin a plus curveball with 12-6 shape. He also has the arm and hand speed to project an above-average changeup. Winston’s velocity drops off quickly and he needs to replace some of his weight with muscle, but evaluators feel he could be special after a few years on a strength and conditioning program. Winston is committed to San Diego State.
Mark Contreras, OF, UC Riverside Contreras teamed with Austin Sodders at Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley, Calif.) HS and again at UC Riverside. Sodders was an eighth-round pick in 2016 and Contreras should join his friend in pro ball shortly. Contreras is a polished lefthanded hitter who hit .332 as a junior and .366 as a senior despite missing a month with a broken hamate bone. He shows plus raw power in batting practice but it doesn’t play in games as he alters his approach to make line-drive contact. Contreras has an explosive first step that allows him to get out of the box quickly and produce a high volume of doubles and triples. That same first step allows him to survive in center field, but his average raw speed and average arm project best in left field.
Danny Sheehan, SS, San Diego State Sheehan won co-Mountain West Player of the Year honors as a senior this spring. He hit .351 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and 11 stolen bases to lead the Aztecs to the conference title. Sheehan is a patient hitter with a penchant for getting hit by pitches, earning the “gamer” label from scouts. He hits more for contact than power but has the ability to drive balls into the gaps. Sheehan a solid defender at shortstop with reliable hands and an average arm. He is already 23 years old and does not have a carrying tool, but his all-around skillset and track record have evaluators interested. Michael Hobbs, RHP, Corona (Calif.) HS Hobbs replaced Tristan Beck as Corona (Calif.) High’s top starter and did his forebear proud, posting a sub-1.50 career ERA at southern California’s highest level of competition and leading the Panthers to the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 title game as a senior. Hobbs memorably threw a postseason no-hitter two years in a row, including this spring against National High School Invitational champion Orange Lutheran in the first round. Hobbs is strongly-built at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and lasts deep into games. He sits 89-90 and touches 91 mph with his fastball and complements it with a full arsenal of a slider, curveball and changeup. His slider sits 81-82 mph and is his best secondary, but he can mix all of them in for strikes. Hobbs manages the tempo, fields his position and holds runners well. His physicality and completeness as a pitcher make him appealing, but evaluators want to see a velocity bump. Hobbs is committed to St. Mary’s.
Ryan Mota, RHP/1B, Riverside (Calif.) JC Mota teamed with Chris Mathewson at Kaiser (Fontana, Calif.) High to form one of the top high school rotations in southern California in the early part of the decade. While Mathewson went on to be Long Beach State’s top starter and was drafted by the Dodgers, Mota kicked back to Riverside JC after one year at San Diego State and began playing the field. He exploded as a sophomore, hitting .331 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs to earn co-Orange Empire Conference player of the year honors, sharing with Travis Moniot. Mota also didn’t allow a run in nine relief appearances, flashing a fastball up to 93 mph and an above-average slider. Mota is big at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds and limited to first base in the field. Most teams like Mota as a hitter, but some see him as a potential reliever.
Lucas Tancas, OF, Long Beach State Tancas led Long Beach State with nine homers this spring, an impressive mark playing his home games at cavernous Blair Field. He has a big leg kick and takes big hacks, but is usually on time and makes hard contact. Tancas is prone to striking out however. He is a solid athlete for a power hitter with average run times. He is likely limited to left field, where he projects as a fringe-average defender with a fringe-average arm. Kyle Callahan, 3B, Victor Valley (Calif.) JC Callahan led fledgling Oak Hills (Hesperia, Calif.) HS to two CIF-Southern Section titles in the program's first four years of existence. After taking time away from baseball he re-emerged at Victor Valley JC and led the state with a .500 batting average this spring, which he complemented with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. Callahan has above-average feel to hit from the left side and recently added big power to all fields, although his weight has ballooned from 190 to 225 pounds as it happened. Callahan is a natural third baseman with an above-average arm and reliable hands, but his range is limited. Some see him as a catcher in pro ball. Callahan worked at a landscaping company to put himself through school and is a mature, hard worker who would come out early to chalk lines. He is committed to NAIA power Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State.
Jacob Blas, SS, San Marcos (Calif.) HS Blas led San Marcos (Calif.) HS to the first section championship in program history as a junior and steered the Knights to a second-straight title as a senior. Blas is a natural leader on the field who elevates his team. At shortstop he moves well laterally and has the athleticism to remain there, although his fringe-average arm may force him to second base. At the plate Blas has excellent feel to hit and makes consistent solid contact with a line drive stroke. Blas’ combination of skills and makeup appeal to many evaluators, but most would like to see him go to college and prove he can stay at shortstop and add more loft to his swing. He is committed to Arizona.
36 Standout High School MLB Draft Prospects To Know From Jupiter 2021
The event, which is colloquially referred to as simply "Jupiter," is the biggest travel ball tournament on the calendar.
Albee Weiss, 1B, Cal State Northridge Weiss is a stout power hitter who mashed 11 home runs in the spring as Cal State Northridge’s designated hitter. Weiss is limited to first base when he does play in the field. He also has trouble with spin, making him a dead-red fastball hitter. Weiss’ plus raw power is real, though, and will get him a shot in pro ball.