Triston Casas Reclassifies For 2018
South Florida prep first baseman Triston Casas intends to reclassify as a member of the draft class of 2018, making the hulking slugger one of the top targets for that draft class.
"After speaking about it with my family, we came to conclusion beginning career beyond high school a year earlier was something I wanted to pursue," Casas said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Being a professional athlete is what I've always wanted to do ever since I started playing baseball, and I wanted the chance to start that or go to college to play baseball as soon as possible."
Casas, 17, plays for American Heritage High and was the lone sophomore on USA Baseball’s 18U national team, which won another gold medal in the fall in Mexico. At 6-foot-3, 241 pounds, Casas already was the biggest position player on the team and its primary power hitter, hitting two homers out of the seven hit in the tournament (six by Team USA).
After he returned from Mexico, Casas said, his father approached him with the idea of reclassifying. Now being homeschooled while playing for American Heritage, Casas and his tutor began an accelerated course load in January.
"It definitely will be a challenge academically," the Miami commit said Wednesday. "I had made the decision in October, but I wanted to finish the semester and make sure to get my credits. In the new year, that’s when I became homeschooling 10th grade. Between taking classes, finishing 11th grade by August and my summer schedule, I barely will have time to do anything. My schedule will get very busy."
Casas also has played some third base and pitcher, with a fastball that can reach the low 90s. But his carrying tool and calling card is his power and ability to hit, translating 80-grade raw lefthanded power into consistent game power.
"Even as the youngest player on the National Team, Casas was one of the most mature hitters that we had,” USA Baseball 18U national team director Matt Blood said. “His approach and feel for the strike zone is very advanced and his well above average raw power is as playable as any 16-year-old prospect I have seen since Bryce Harper."
Casas played in the Under Armour All-American Game in July, helping him snag an invite to USA Baseball after he had not participated in the Tournament of Stars. When Team USA had a trials opening after another player's withdrawal, Casas accepted an invitation and hit his way onto the team as a DH.
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Druw Jones, the son of former Braves outfielder Andruw Jones, was one of many talented prospects who impressed.
"Just being in the middle of that lineup, fact I was able to produce and bring back another gold medal for the U.S. was amazing," he said. "It definitely boosted my confidence. I know that I can play with older players, even internationally, and make my teammates better."