2018 NHSI Team Preview: Orange Lutheran
USA Baseball’s annual high school tournament, the National High School Invitational, is one of the premier high school tournaments in the country and one of the biggest events on the draft schedule as well, bringing together 16 of the top teams in the country. This year’s tournament will have some of the most impressive talent in the event’s seven-year history and will take place in Cary at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex from March 28-31. Baseball America will preview teams as we lead up to the event.
Last year’s NHSI champion, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High, will return to Cary to try and defend its title and become the first team to repeat since Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) won the event’s inaugural championship in 2012 and again in 2013.
Last year, Orange Lutheran had one of the event’s top prospects in outfielder Garrett Mitchell. In 2018 that remains the case, as the Lancers have one of the top arms in the country in righthander Cole Winn, who’s ranked No. 33 on the BA 300. Winn fronts what should be an extremely strong Orange Lutheran pitching staff, which includes six Division I commitments. Additionally, Orange Lutheran brings back six returning starting players from the 2017 championship team which should give the team an edge in experience. Despite winning last year’s NHSI, Orange Lutheran had some rough times last spring, going 5-10 in the Trinity League and losing in the first round of playoffs, which head coach Eric Borba believes gave the team a number of learning experiences and potentially a chip on their shoulders despite coming in as the defending champs.
In addition to the amount of talent that Orange Lutheran brings on the baseball field, they also have several multi-sport athletes including Kyle Ford, who is a four-star wide receiver and the No. 12 receiver in the 2019 class according to 247Sports. Ford has scholarship offers from 19 different schools for football.
Head Coach: Eric Borba
2017 Record: 18-12 (2017 NHSI Champions)
- C: Caleb Ricketts (2018)
- 1B: Jackson Cloyd (2019)/Evan Adolphus (2019)
- 2B: Karson Moore (2019)/Tank Espalin (2020)
- 3B: Max Rajcic (2020)
- SS: Zach Lew (2018)
- LF: Elijah Buries (2020)
- CF: Chad Born (2020)
- RF: Jasiah Dixon (2019)
- #1 P: Cole Winn (2018)
- #2 P: Lonnie Morris (2018)
- #3 P: Christian Rodriguez (2020)
- #4 P: Max Rajcic (2020)
- #5 P: Jonny Guzman (2019)
Record Number Of Prep Prospects See Pros Of Turning Pro In 2020
A record number of high school players signed as nondrafted free agents following the five-round 2020 draft.
College Commitments: 10
Division I Commitments: 10
Returning Starters: 6
Top draft prospects
- 2018: Cole Winn, Caleb Ricketts, Lonnie Morris
- 2019: Jasiah Dixon
- 2020: Max Rajcic, Christian Rodriguez
- Jackson Cloyd (football)
- Trey Anderson (basketball)
- Kyle Ford (football)
BA 300 Prospects
- Cole Winn (33)