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2019 High School Draft Journal


To see our 2019 MLB Draft prospect rankings, click here. 

Leading up to the 2019 MLB draft, Baseball America will be sharing the stories, thoughts and musings of some of the country's top high school draft prospects all throughout the off-season and into the spring.

Hayden Travinski (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
By Hayden Travinski
See Travinski On The Preseason All-Americans

This summer was the most fun I’ve had between the lines, as I was fortunate enough to get to play in some of the top events with the best players from around the national circuit. There were so many surreal experiences traveling coast to coast: from playing alongside my Canes family, to the High School Home Run Derby, to the Perfect Game All-American game. The bonds and relationships formed with players, as well as coaches, will stay with me forever.

Over the course of last summer and into the fall, I was able to learn more about myself as a player and about the work that has to be done in order to steadily improve. I got to meet really knowledgeable people who have helped me continue to sharpen my game in all aspects. It is a grind playing everyday, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. As my last travel ball season came to an end, my love for the game continued to expand. The bigger the stage, the more relaxed I felt.

I’d say the most impactful moment during this journey was touring and meeting the children from Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego (during the Perfect Game All-America weekend). Those kids are the true fighters. They have inspired many with the courage and toughness they display day in and day out fighting their battles.

Time has flown by so quickly during the past four years and I am going into my senior year feeling like I still have a statement to make. I am trying to take it one day at a time, enjoying every single moment. I look forward to spending time with my teammates during the rest of this season while chasing a ring—then ultimately moving on to the next level, whether it be professional or collegiate (Hayden is committed to Louisiana State). I am beyond grateful to everyone who has helped me reached this point, but the journey has just begun!

Photo by Bill Mitchell
By J.J. Goss on 03/01/2019
See J.J's Scouting Report

This past year has been exciting for me and my family and I really feel like I’ve improved my game every step of the way.  I’ve enjoyed meeting and competing against some of the best players in the country. The experience of playing with HP (Hunter Pence Baseball Academy) and going to all of the showcases really allowed me to show my abilities and prove to myself that I’m a top player.  It made me a better version of myself.

This off-season I worked out at DST (Dynamic Sports Training) with Jordan Ainsworth where our main goal was to get stronger, faster, and more explosive. I put on 20 pounds in one off-season along with doing a stability/strengthening program at HP and that has really put me in a good spot going into this spring season.

In terms of my pitching, I spent this off-season working to improve and become more comfortable with my change-up.  I wanted to be able to have the confidence to be able to throw that pitch in any count. All of these improvements these last few months have put me in an amazing spot approaching my senior season.  I really appreciate the opportunity I have in front of me.

My teammates and I are ready to go after the state title and are very motivated after coming up short in 2018.  I am going to approach this season one game at a time and focus every day in order to perform the best I can. Matt Thompson and I are one of the toughest 1-2 punches in the country and it will be fun being able to team up with him all season.  We have so much confidence in our pitching staff (and our whole team really) going into every game.

This year I’ll be playing the outfield and hitting when I’m not pitching so I’m hoping I can help us from that side of the ball as well.  I am taking all the attention as motivation to be the best teammate and player I can possibly be. I always want to be humble but stay hungry and continue to be confident in my abilities. It’s going to be a great year!

Photo by Stacy Jo Grant

By Nasim Nunez on 02/28/2019
See Nasim's Scouting Report

This summer was a learning experience that afforded me the opportunity to prepare for whatever the future has in store for me; whether it is attending Clemson University or becoming a professional baseball player. The summer tournaments exposed me to so many things; players, coaches, and even things about myself. One of the best experiences was being in the MLB Breakthrough series program. This program provided me with an amazing experience on what the Big League life is like. I received a great amount of knowledge from big league coaches such as Jerry Manuel, Jr. Spivey, Marquis Grissom and Homer Bush. These men helped me improve my game in small ways that had a big impact on the way I approached the game on and off the field. Coach Manuel had a big impact on my left handed swing, which I only started working on a year and a half ago. He broke down my swing through film and gave me information that has continued to be beneficial in improving my game.  

Playing with and against the best players in the country taught me to always remain humble but play with a chip on my shoulder because this is a very humbling game and you never know when it can be taken away from you. While playing throughout the summer, the word diminutive was repeatedly used to describe me as a player but this did nothing but motivate me to obtain my goals. Though the description can seem unfavorably, I take it for what it is because I am the smallest prospect in the class. It doesn't mean I harp on it, but I do use it as fuel to let everyone know the little guy can get down and dirty too.

Going into my high school season, I definitely have something to prove. Everyday I wake up with the mindset of getting better and helping those around me get better.  As a senior at Collins Hill High school, I am noticing that people are starting to believe in what I'm trying to accomplish. While it can add pressure, I try not to let it get to me. To take my mind off of the national attention, I continue my daily routine of working out in the weight room, sometimes twice a day, fielding grounders and taking quality hacks in the cage. As a baseball player I always have to continue to develop the mental part of my game. My teammates and some of my closest friends keep me level-headed and are always there when I need to talk. If something seems odd about my presence, they know I'm thinking too hard, so they’ll bring my mind back to just being a high school student.

I’m still just Nas,  going to class, studying for tests, hanging with my friends, watching movies with my family, and loving the game of baseball, all while working towards my goal of being a Hall of Famer.     

Photo by Bill Mitchell

By Hunter Barco on 01/22/2019
See Hunter's Scouting Report

I will never forget the experiences I was fortunate enough to have this past summer. Playing in all the summer showcases was extremely fun and a great way to spend my last year of summer baseball. Every event I played in this summer was awesome because I got to play with and against the other top players in the country every day. It was a long summer being on the road every day away from home but that helped me prepare for the next chapter in my life. My favorite event this summer was East Coast Pro because it was the most realistic event to playing professional baseball. You woke up early every morning to get to the field and eat breakfast, then hit batting practice, and then get any other work you needed to get in over the four days you were there. The games were very realistic as well. As a pitcher I have always trained to be a starter, so my best stuff comes in the middle of the game (3rd, 4th, 5th innings) and East Coast Pro gave us an opportunity to show our stuff over multiple innings rather than the one inning stints at many other events this summer. At the All-American games, it was incredible getting to play in big league stadiums and show what you can do in that setting. These are definitely memories that I will always cherish.

My day-to-day schedule in school varies because we have a rotating schedule, but I am taking 5 classes at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida. We have baseball workouts from 3:30-5 everyday and practice from 5-6. I have been at Bolles since 7th grade and on varsity since 8th grade. We won the State Championship my freshman and sophomore years and lost in the championship last year.

My workout routine is the same one that Major League pitcher Jeff Samardzija uses, and it is a program that you start in the off-season and carry it through to the regular season. It includes a 5-day rotation to stay on track with my starts. The day after pitching is a heavy day of lifting with cleans, squats, bench press, and core. The next day is a medium day with cleans, dumbbell lunges, and dumbbell bench. The next day would be my bullpen day and in the weight room that consists of stretching and core. the day after that I do medicine ball, plyometrics, and core. The next day is my start where I am prepared to go every outing and compete.

This summer I developed into a more mature player because I was playing nearly every single day. I had to learn to play with adversity and to outcompete the guys I was playing against. As a player I have gotten very comfortable not just relying on my fastball blowing people away, I am able to locate any pitch to any location no matter the count. At the plate I cut down my strikeout rate because I learned I don’t need a big swing to hit balls far. My power has always been there, and I just need to find the barrel to be successful.

I am very excited for my last year of high school baseball. This fall, I have chosen to take off from throwing in order to rest and get bigger and stronger to be 100% prepared for this spring. This has fall been surreal as I have met with representatives of nearly every MLB team.  I know that at every game I pitch from here on out, there will be many scouts watching and I love pitching in front of big stages. The key to that is not trying to do too much and just keep doing what I do. One of my goals for this spring is to continue my 11-0 playoff record and lead my team to another state title.

I have handled the national attention very well by staying humble. It is cool playing on TV and having little kids yell your name from the stands, it is something that only happens with Major Leaguers and the fact that they were doing it with me as a high school player was amazing. I enjoy the spotlight, but I don’t let it get into my head because I know that I have much more to work towards. My goal extends farther than being successful in high school, it is to be playing in the Major Leagues in 5 years or less and I must keep working every single day to get there.

(Photo By Bill Mitchell)
By Spencer Jones on 01/17/2019
See Spencer's Scouting Report

What’s up Baseball America!

So far, the beginning to my senior year at La Costa Canyon has been pretty smooth. It’s crazy to think that I’m going to be graduating at the end of the Spring, I swear it feels like I just started here last week! This year I’ve put an emphasis on being social and reaching out to my peers more than I did in the past. I’m excited to see how bright the future is for my fellow Mavericks.

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my flexibility, going to the gym, and throwing with my pitching coach. Increasing the range motion of my hips have been the focal point of my stretching work this Fall mostly to create a more effective energy transfer through my lower half while on the mound and in the batter’s box. My pitching coach and I have been working hard since the summer ended to maximize the efficiency and explosiveness of my mechanics.

The classes I’m taking this year are Sous Chef, Government, English, Statistics, Sociology, and Baseball PE. I’m really enjoying my Sociology class this year because it has a lot to do with social outreach and learning how to make a difference within a community. We go on field trips to places like homeless shelters, retirement communities, and elementary schools. My class schedule is less of a workload than I’m used to, but having taken these classes has really opened my afternoons up for extracurriculars.

I feel like I’ve grown and developed a lot this fall and I can’t wait for the season to start in February. But first up is preseason, see you this Winter!

(Photo courtesy USA Baseball)
By Corbin Carroll on 01/15/2019
See Corbin's Scouting Report

My Golden USA Baseball Experience in Panama

“Safe!” A Panamanian player crosses home plate and the crowd erupts. This prideful roar rattles around the stadium, then echoes into the dark horizon of the night sky. It is the gold medal game, the home country of Panama vs. the United States of America. I’ve never played outside of the United States, much less all the way in Panama. I’ve never played in front of so many people, much less in the frenetic atmosphere created by the thousands of locals who were so passionately cheering on their country’s team. Without context, most people would expect the USA players to show signs of worry. I just smile and soak up the moment from the outfield; we have taken care of business, and the score is a blowout: 17-2. This final game is coming to an end and the USA National Team, with a soon to be 9-0 record, has come in and dominated the 2018 18U COPABE Pan-American Championships en route to the gold medal.

A large part of the team’s success was having one of the most prolific offenses in USA Baseball history. Our hitting efforts were led by Coach Gregg Richie, who came to the ballpark every day with an infectious attitude. Always positive, funny, and caring, Coach Ritchie is that person who has forgotten more than you’ve ever learned and he helped to shape my swing and taught me tons about what it takes to be a successful ballplayer. Matching his energy was Head Coach Jack Leggett who taught us to attack the day, pay attention to the little details, play blue-collar baseball, and frankly is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He also spent extra time with me working on mastering the bunt, a very useful skill to have in my toolbox. Then there was Coach Mervyl Melendez, who is one of the kindest and most caring people I’ve been around. It is impossible to walk away from talking with him without having a wide smile across your face, the result of some hilarious comment he has made. Our last coach was Coach Scott Bankhead, who shared with us about what it is like to play professional baseball and the ups and downs along the road from the minor leagues to the show. Lastly, this team would not be anywhere near the caliber it was without the 18U Program Director Matt Blood, who logged as many hours traveling around the country as any scout to find 20 players to bring the gold medal to its rightful home. These men are role models to me and each one of them has shaped my perspective on baseball and on life, in some way.

As amazing as the coaches were, us players still had to perform in order to win gold. Our lineup was incredibly strong and surely unnerved our opponents’ pitchers. As an outfielder, I knew that not many balls would be coming my way as we had a bullpen full of dependable pitchers who dominated on the mound. For a team full of so much talent, one would expect some attitudes, some cockiness or arrogance. There was none of that. My teammates are as good of people as they are players and I cherished playing side by side with them. There are many future big leaguers on that team and I hope my path crosses with theirs in the years to come!

Playing for the USA National Team has taught me many things like how to prepare and how to compete to be the best version of myself. Competing against ourselves is what allowed us to be up by 15 runs in the gold medal game, and our preparation is what pushed us to relax, to just let our talent shine through. Equally as important, my experiences traveling abroad with USA Baseball taught me that I should probably stay away from the fresh orange juice at the local hotels, but that’s a story for another time. USA Baseball has also given me many things. It has been a large motivating factor in my life. It has given me perspective. It has given me the opportunity to represent my family, my city, the Pacific Northwest, all of the people who have helped me get to where I am, and, of course, my country. For these things, I am forever grateful and thankful. I would not trade my USA experience for anything and I will never take it for granted how lucky I was to have the opportunities to be around the people I was around, not only the coaches and players but also the amazing support staff that traveled with us: Sam, Aldo, Emily, and Chris, my coaches from Tournament of Stars, Trials, and in Florida, and my host family in North Carolina. Looking back, I have loved every second of my USA experience, it has helped make me into the player that I am and its culmination in Panama meant so much to me, representing my country with the world watching.


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