Some of the premier high school teams and players from across the country are set to compete in the sixth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, which begins on Wednesday at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.Since the event's inception in 2012, the NHSI has quickly become the
Some of the premier high school teams and players from across the country are set to compete in the sixth annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, which begins on Wednesday at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
Since the event's inception in 2012, the NHSI has quickly become the must-see regular-season event for scouts, because it affords them the opportunity to see some of the top high school players in the country compete in a team setting rather than a showcase format. That can speak volumes about how they respond to the pressures of vying for a championship, one that will be crowned in Saturday's title game, which is set to take place at 12:15 p.m. ET. It's one of seven games that can be seen live on MLB.com. Regardless of how far they advance in the single-elimination tournament, each of the 16 teams participating is guaranteed to play four games.
:: 2017 USA Baseball National High School Invitational ::
The NHSI brings together 16 teams from nine states across the country. Florida leads the way with five schools present -- Archbishop McCarthy, American Heritage, Merritt Island, The Canterbury School and Trinity Christian. California has four representatives -- Dana Hills, Huntington Beach, Orange Lutheran and South Hills. Joining them are teams from Alabama (Cullman), Arizona (Hamilton), Colorado (Rocky Mountain), Georgia (Winder-Barrow), Illinois (Brother Rice), North Carolina (Hough) and Tennessee (Arlington).
Southern California schools have won four of the five NHSI tournaments, with Santa Ana Mater Dei (2012-13), San Clemente ('15) and Huntington Beach ('16) all claiming titles. Meanwhile, 2014 champion The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) is the only non-California team to win the event.
In terms of individual talent, left-hander Braxton Garrett, outfielder Blake Rutherford and shortstop Carter Kieboom all starred in last year's NHSI before becoming first-round Draft picks in June. Garrett now ranks as the Marlins' No. 1 prospect, while Rutherford is No. 3 on the Yankees Top 30 list and Keiboom is the Nationals' No. 4 prospect.
This year's event has the potential to produce even more first-rounders, for both 2017 and beyond.
Top 25 high school Draft prospect to watch
3. Nick Pratto, 1B/LHP, Huntington Beach, 2017
- Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cullman, 2017
- Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills, 2017
- Garrett Mitchell, OF, Orange Lutheran, 2017
- Alex Toral, 1B, Archbishop McCarthy, 2017
- Mark Vientos, SS/3B, American Heritage, 2017
- Brady McConnell, SS, Merritt Island, 2017
More players to watch
Christian Santana, RHP, American Heritage, 2017
Cody Action, 2B/3B, American Heritage, 2017
Enrique Bradfield, OF, American Heritage, 2020
Triston Casas, 1B/3B, American Heritage, 2018
Joe Perez, 3B/RHP, Archbishop McCarthy, 2017
Albert Hernandez, 3B/RHP/OF, Archbishop McCarthy, 2020
Yordani Carmona, LHP/1B, Archbishop McCarthy, 2019
Joe Cruz, C/OF, Archbishop McCarthy, 2020
Hagen Danner, C, Huntington Beach, 2017
Mason Denaburg, RHP/C, Merritt Island, 2018
Jasiah Dixon, OF, Orange Lutheran, 2019
Sawyer Chesley, 3B/C, Orange Lutheran, 2018
Max Rajcic, 3B/RHP, Orange Lutheran, 2020
Gabe Briones, C/3B, Orange Lutheran, 2019
Dylan Simmons, RHP/1B, Trinity Christian, 2019
Austin Thomas, RHP/C, Trinity Christian, 2019
Games streamed live on MLB.com
Orange Lutheran vs. Merritt Island, 12:15 p.m. ET
Dana Hills vs. Cullman, 3:15 p.m. ET
Quarterfinal, 1 p.m. ET
Quarterfinal, 5:00 p.m. ET
Semifinal, 1 p.m. ET
Semifinal, 4 p.m. ET
Championship, 12:15 p.m. ET
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.