Six MLB Draft Prospects Who Stood Out At The 2023 Boras Classic
The Boras Classic began in 2013 as a tournament to bring together the best California high school teams and determine a de facto state champion. In the 10 years since, the Boras Classic has grown into one of the nation’s preeminent high school tournaments and a top destination for evaluators to scout the upcoming draft class.
Reds righthander Hunter Greene, Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford, Rockies second baseman Ryan McMahon, Giants righthander Logan Webb, Reds lefthander Nick Lodolo, Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson and Brewers second baseman Brice Turang all played in the Boras Classic as high schoolers. So did back-to-back No. 1 overall picks Mickey Moniak (2016) and Royce Lewis (2017) during their draft years.
In all, more than 450 draft picks and 45 major leaguers have participated in the Boras Classic. The tournament expanded to Arizona in 2017 and is tentatively scheduled to expand to Texas in 2025.
More than a dozen of the top high school players in this year’s draft class participated in the 32-team tournament over the first two weeks of April. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) defeated Huntington Beach, 8-6, to win the South Classic. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) beat Bellarmine Prep (San Jose), 8-0, to win the North Classic.
Here is how some notable draft prospects performed in this year’s Boras Classic, including those who elevated their draft stock with their performance.
Trent Caraway, 3B, JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
A strong, powerful righthanded hitter, Caraway made the all-tournament team at the National High School Invitational and followed with another impactful offensive performance at the Boras Classic.
The Oregon State commit went 7-for-12 with a double, a home run and a tournament-leading seven RBIs to lead co-host JSerra to a 3-1 showing. The No. 72 prospect in the draft class, Caraway showed the ability to drive the ball hard the opposite way and to his pull side and had a knack for delivering in big situations. He laced a bases-clearing double to help the Lions pull away late in their opener and set the tone with a three-run homer and an RBI single in the first two innings of JSerra’s win in the finale.
Ralphy Velazquez, C/1B, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS
Velazquez has long been regarded as one of the top hitters for his age and ranks No. 55 in the draft class. He went 4-for-10 with a double, a home run and three RBIs to propel Huntington Beach to the title game and showcased his signature extra-base power and plate discipline from the left side.
After hitting three routine ground balls in the Oilers’ opener, the Arizona State commit came back with a towering home run to right field in the quarterfinals and added a double in the championship game. He demonstrated his patience by drawing a walk in every game—he reached base in nine of his 15 plate appearances overall—and stole two bases while showing impressive speed underway for his size.
Velazquez caught the first two games of the tournament, but he struggled to cleanly receive pitches off the edges of the zone and showed fringe-average pop times on throws to second base. He moved to first base for the semifinals and finals.
Grant Gray, 2B/OF, Norco (Calif.) HS
Gray is a star wide receiver committed to play both football and baseball at UCLA, but he continued his surge as a draft prospect at the Boras Classic. Gray served as a catalyst atop Norco’s lineup and went 6-for-14 (.429) with two runs scored and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot while showcasing some of the best athleticism in the tournament.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound multi-sport athlete showcased his plus speed and long strides beating out an infield single in the Cougars’ opener and demonstrated natural actions both at second base and in center field while moving seamlessly between the positions.
Gray is more raw as a hitter than his peers and is inconsistent finding the barrel, but he made consistent contact and recorded a hit in every game.
2023 Boras Classic Field Announced
The Boras Family Foundation announced the field for the 2023 Boras Classic of California on Wednesday. The annual tournament brings together the top teams and players in California and concludes with a de facto state championship game.
Eric Bitonti, SS/3B, Aquinas HS, San Bernardino, Calif.
Bitonti is one of the youngest players in the draft class at 17, but he’s also one of the most physically imposing at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds with room to add more strength. He hit a decisive grand slam in Aquinas’ opener and recorded a hit in three of four games to help lead the Falcons to the third-place game.
The No. 42 player in the draft class, Bitonti hit the ball hard in the air to both sides of the field and demonstrated a notable ability to work counts and lay off close pitches. He primarily raised eyebrows at shortstop, where he moved fluidly despite his big frame, showed impressive range in all directions and flashed a strong, accurate arm.
While he projects to move to third base, the Oregon commit nonetheless showed a level of athleticism for his size that drew plaudits from evaluators in attendance.
Justin Lee, RHP, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Lee opened the Boras Classic with five innings, three hits and one run allowed, three walks and seven strikeouts to win Notre Dame’s opener and set the Knights on the path to the championship. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound righthander sat 89-93 mph with his fastball and complemented it with an excellent splitter that was a consistent out-pitch. He struggled with his control at times, but he found a way to execute pitches in big spots and limited the damage. Lee is committed to UCLA and will be a tough sign, but his performance increased teams’ interest in potentially signing him away from the Bruins.
Ethan Schiefelbein, LHP, Corona (Calif.) HS
Schiefelbein, a top prospect in the 2024 draft class, delivered the most dominant pitching performance of the tournament. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound lefthander pitched six innings with three hits and two runs allowed, two walks and a tournament-high 12 strikeouts in Corona’s opening game. The UCLA commit ran his fastball up to 93 mph and complemented it with a consistent, mid-70s breaking ball he could land for strikes or get chase swings with. He threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 23 batters he faced and retired 13 consecutive batters during one stretch. Schiefelbein’s combination of stuff and control from the left side already made him one of the top prep pitching prospects in next year’s draft class, and he reaffirmed it with his performance on a big stage.