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HS derby indicator of future Draft potential

Fifth-year event has featured several impressive young prospects
MLB.com

While many consider the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game the official beginning of All-Star festivities, there's been a fun and exciting preface to that opening charter that started in 2013: the High School Home Run Derby.

It's an event worth watching -- it will be carried live on MLB.com at 11:15 a.m. ET today -- not only because the top performers will get to participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night, but because this derby has proven to be a pretty good predictor of Draft talent.

While many consider the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game the official beginning of All-Star festivities, there's been a fun and exciting preface to that opening charter that started in 2013: the High School Home Run Derby.

It's an event worth watching -- it will be carried live on MLB.com at 11:15 a.m. ET today -- not only because the top performers will get to participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night, but because this derby has proven to be a pretty good predictor of Draft talent.

:: 2017 Futures Game coverage ::

It started with the first year of the event. Jacob Gatewood created as much buzz as anyone in the big league derby, forcing the Major League All-Stars in attendance to sit up and take notice. He was taken with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 Draft by the Brewers.

In 2014, Luken Baker, who has gone on to TCU and could be a top 2018 pick, outslugged Josh Naylor on Monday night. Naylor ended up going to the Marlins at No. 12 overall in the 2015 Draft. Now a member of the Padres, he'll be in town for the Futures Game and will have the opportunity to watch his younger brother Noah participate in this year's event.

The 2015 edition featured '16 early Draft picks like Will Benson and Joey Wentz (though Wentz was drafted as a pitcher). Last year's field included Royce Lewis, Hunter Greene and Jo Adell, all of whom went in the top 10 of the '17 Draft.

The lesson to be learned here is pretty simple: The names in this year's high school derby field may not be all that familiar now, but they will be very soon. So it makes sense to pay attention and tune in. Here is this year's field:

Video: Hunter Greene launches 429-foot home run

Bryce Bush, 3B/1B, De La Salle Collegiate HS (Warren, Mich.)
Bush stood out in MLB's Breakthrough Series in Chicago, and he is an alum of the Detroit RBI program. He went deep twice with a wood bat in Chicago, and he will get a chance to show his power potential on this bigger stage. He's committed to Mississippi State.

Elijah Cabell, OF, Winter Park (Fla.) HS
Cabell showed well at the recent Tournament of Stars at USA Baseball's National Training Complex as he competes to be a part of the 18 and under national team. He has a strong approach at the plate from the right side. He's committed to LSU.

Video: UTD@BRV: Elijah Cabell discusses his mom, hard work

Triston Casas, 1B, American Heritage School (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
Initially slated to be a Class of 2019 prospect, Casas reclassified and his power will be available in next year's Draft. After a rough start to the Tournament of Stars, he hit a long home run in his final game. The Miami commit has as much raw pop as anyone in the class.

Video: STRIPES@STARS: Casas hits an RBI single, makes 4-1

Nolan Gorman, INF, Sandra Day O'Connor HS (Glendale, Ariz.)
Should Gorman go on to college, he'll stay somewhat local at the University of Arizona. The left-handed hitter was at Tournament of Stars as well, and he has shown a knack for barreling up the ball consistently.

Rece Hinds, INF, Niceville (Fla.) HS
Hinds was slated to be the one underclassman in this group, but he sprained an ankle shortly before the event and was a late scratch. Hinds is a part of the Class of 2019, but he's already starting to make a name for himself. He acquitted himself quite well at TOS, hitting a home run and driving in six over the four-game tournament. He's committed to LSU.

Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha (Wis.) West HS
The Louisville commit also homered during the Tournament of Stars and was on the 18 and under national team that won a gold medal in international competition last year. He's one of the best pure hitters in the 2018 Draft class.

Noah Naylor, C/3B, St. Joan of Arc Catholic School (Mississauga, Ontario)
That's right, some High School Home Run Derby bloodlines here. He has a similar profile as his older brother, with some serious pop from the left side of the plate, though the Texas A&M commit is a catcher (Josh is a first baseman only).

Kevin Vargas, SS, International Baseball Academy HS (Salinas, PR)
Committed to Florida International University, Vargas is considered by many to be the top player from Puerto Rico in the 2018 Draft class. He has shown tools on both sides of the ball and has some power potential he'll try to showcase on Sunday.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.