2018 NHSI Team Preview: Sandra Day O'Connor
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.
One of two Arizona-based teams attending the 2018 NHSI, Sandra Day O’Connor (Phoenix) High brings in one of the most exciting players in the 2018 draft class in power-hitting third baseman Nolan Gorman.
Gorman has some of the best power in the class—college or high school—and will be heavily scouted during the event as clubs look to see how the lefthanded hitter matches up with some of the elite arms who will also be in Cary. Outside of Gorman, head coach Jeff Baumgartner will be able to rely on senior switch-hitter Jayce Easley (committed to Oregon State) at shortstop, giving O’Connor one of the most dynamic left sides of the infield in the tournament.
On the right side of the infield, juniors Noah Burgarello and Mason Skaugrud should be able to handle the bat and drive in runs, respectively, although there are some question marks further down the O'Connor lineup. Behind the plate, O’Connor has senior catcher Jacob Vesecky, who has experience as a three-year starter and receives well. Vesecky will need to guide a pitching staff that is led by 2019 lefthander Cal Lambert and 2018 righthander Mitch DeCovich.
The top of the order and defensive play (2019 center fielder Amari Bartee can run balls down well) should be O’Connor’s strengths throughout the tournament as the team looks to gain more experience against top-flight programs. That experience should be beneficial when they return to Arizona, where O'Connor should be able to compete for a top-eight finish in the state.
Head Coach: Jeff Baumgartner
2017 Record: 19-10
- C: Jacob Vesecky (2018)
- 1B: Mason Skaugrud (2019)
- 2B: Noah Burgarello (2019)
- 3B: Nolan Gorman (2018)
- SS: Jayce Easley (2018)
- LF: Tristen DeJesus (2018)
- CF: Amari Bartee (2019)
- RF: Noah Nithman (2020)
- #1 P: Cal Lambert (2019)
- #2 P: Mitch DeCovich (2018)
- #3 P: Barrett Skaugrud (2021)
- #4 P: Jayce Easley (2018)
Potential First-Rounders Matthew Liberatore, Nolan Gorman Meet in Arizona Showdown
Both Liberatore, a lefthander, and Gorman, a third baseman, are ranked in the Top 10 of Baseball America's Top 300 draft prospects list.
College Commitments: 9
Division I Commitments: 4
Returning Starters: 5
Top draft prospects
- 2018: Nolan Gorman, Jayce Easley
- Connor Jones (football)
- Nolan Gorman (6)