USA Baseball Sets Field For 2020 National High School Invitational
USA Baseball announced the 16-team field for the 2020 National High School Invitational (NHSI) Thursday afternoon, marking the ninth year of one of the premier national tournaments for high school baseball.
As ever, the field is a strong one filled with impressive teams from all over the country and a handful of the top high school draft prospects in the 2020 class. The NHSI is a four-day tournament with a single-elimination bracket that will run from April 1-4 at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
"USA Baseball is excited to continue celebrating high school baseball on the national stage with the ninth annual National High School Invitational," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler in a press release. "In its sterling history, the NHSI has drawn elite baseball talent and the premier prep teams from across the United States for a truly one-of-a-kind tournament, and this year will be no different. We look forward to welcoming all sixteen teams, their families and their fans to our National Training Complex for an unforgettable baseball experience."
The full field is as follows:
- American Heritage HS, Delray Beach, Fla.
- American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
- Baylor HS, Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala.
- Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.
- Mount Carmel HS, Chicago
- North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga.
- Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
- Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
- Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.
- Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C.
- Red Land HS, Lewisberry, Pa.
- Regis Jesuit HS, Aurora, Colo.
- St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS
The tournament is always a marquee event for major league scouts, and last year the field featured four players who would go on to be selected in the first 35 picks of the 2019 draft. Outfiielder Riley Greene (5) and shortstop CJ Abrams (6) led the group, which also included shortstop Anthony Volpe (30) and righthander Brennan Malone (33).
The 2018 NHSI field included six players who would go on to become first-round picks: righthander Cole Winn (15), lefthander Matthew Liberatore (16), outfielder Jordyn Adams (17), third baseman Nolan Gorman (19), shortstop Brice Turang (21) and third baseman Triston Casas (26).
The 2020 field should be no different, with five players currently ranked among Baseball America’s Top 100 draft list, led by SS Ed Howard and OF Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Below are the most notable 2020 draft prospects attending the event, including all players ranked among the top 100 and those who are currently in play to rank somewhere in the BA 500 at the culmination of the draft season.
- Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel (Ill.) HS (No. 14)
- Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. (No. 23)
- Drew Bowser, SS, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif. (No. 63)
- Enrique Bradfield, OF, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. (No. 65)
- Max Rajcic, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS (No. 80)
- Nelson Berkwich, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
- Chad Born, OF, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
- CJ Boyd, RHP/OF, Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C.
- Ryan Bruno, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
- Jordan Carrion, SS, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
- Gavin Casas, 1B, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
- Corey Collins, C, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga.
- Tank Espalin, SS, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
- Miles Garrett, RHP, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.
- Lucas Gordon, LHP, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
- Deven Ornelas, SS, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
- Dylan Ray, RHP, Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala.
- Daylen Reyes, SS, Notre Dame HS, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
- Christian Rodriguez, RHP, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS
- Caden Rose, SS, Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala.
- Josh Shuler, OF, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga.
- Luke Wagner, LHP, Red Land HS, Leiwsberry, Pa.
While the NHSI is always a great event for top prospects to compete against high-level competition, it’s also a great opportunity for more under-the-radar prospects to significantly elevate their draft stock. Adams, for example, was known for his athleticism as a two-sport commit to North Carolina, but showcased tremendous natural hitting ability in 2018 to vault himself into first-round consideration.
There are also a handful of prospects to keep an eye on from the 2021 class, including 10 players currently ranked on our top 100 high school list for the 2021 class:
- Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (No. 7)
- Roc Riggio, OF, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS (No.8)
- Joshua Hartle, LHP, Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C. (No. 16)
- Daniel Corona, SS, Baylor HS, Chattanooga, Tenn. (No. 18)
- Maxwell Muncy, INF, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS (No. 41)
- Charlie Saum, C, St. Bonaventure HS, Ventura, Calif. (No. 44)
- Cole Wagner, LHP, Red Land HS, Lewisberry, Pa. (No. 48)
- Nick Anello, RHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. (No. 57)
- Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS, Lewisberry, Pa. (No. 99)
- Slate Alford, 3B, Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala. (No. 100)
And while members of the 2022 class have plenty of time remaining to establish themselves nationally and develop as baseball players, there are three interesting names to keep an eye on, who are currently ranked among the top 50 high school players in the 2022 class:
- Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. (No. 6)
- Karson Bowen, C, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS (No. 11)
- Carter Boyd, RHP, Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C. (No. 48)
As far as the tournament itself is concerned, the overwhelming favorite should be Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, which returns as the three-time defending champion. The NHSI has historically been dominated by Southern California teams—The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) is the only non-California team to win the tournament—and no one has dominated more than coach Eric Borba’s Orange (Calif.) Lutheran program, which brings excellent defense and deep pitching staffs to Cary every year.
Rajcic has been a key member of the program as both a hitter and pitcher in each of the last three years and could finish his high school career going 4-0 at the tournament with another victory in 2020—a potentially astounding individual and team achievement. The Lancers return to the NHSI for the sixth time in program history.