A look at the best performers at the 2022 NHSI

April 11th, 2022

The National High School Invitational returned to the USA Baseball National Training Complex for the first time since 2019, with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School winning the title and becoming just the second team from Florida (and second non-California school) to win. Saturday’s championship game between Stoneman Douglas and St. John’s Country Day marked the first time since the NHSI started in 2021 that two teams from Florida played for the title.

Scouts were all over the event, as usual, with the NHSI an opportunity to see top Draft prospects playing in a team, not a showcase, setting, and how they react to the pressures of playing for a championship. Countless players have gone from this event into the first few rounds of the upcoming Draft and on to the big leagues, names like Max Fried, Jack Flaherty, Ryan McMahon and Joey Gallo. The 2022 Draft will undoubtedly add names to that list. Talking to scouts who were in attendance to evaluate the talent, here are some of the standouts from this year’s NHSI, blending a combination of prospect potential.

1. Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford HS (Ga.) -- This should come as no surprise as Lesko is considered to be the top pitching prospect in the Draft class, and he didn’t disappoint. Facing Caden Dana and Don Bosco Prep on Wednesday, Lesko went four innings, allowing one run on two hits while walking none and striking out seven (He also hit leadoff and went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs.). The right-hander was up to 97 mph in the outing, sitting at 95 mph comfortably. The Vanderbilt commit showed a plus curve and a changeup that scouts in the stands called “the best amateur changeup I’ve ever seen,” throwing all three pitches for strikes.

2. Chris Arroyo, OF/LHP, Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS (Fla.) -- His teammate Roman Anthony might be the more famous Draft name, but it was Arroyo who won NHSI MVP honors for the champions. Arroyo went 6-for-9 with 8 RBIs for the week and also tossed five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five. He has the chance to be a two-way player at the University of Florida.

3. Jordan Taylor, OF, St. John’s Country Day HS (Fla.) -- Teams that like toolsy, up-the-middle athletes will certainly give Taylor a long look. The center fielder for the NHSI runner-up, Taylor is committed to Florida State and showed off all his tools this past week, hitting .385 and going 4-for-4 in stolen bases. A plus runner, Taylor has routinely registered excellent exit velocities and also has an outstanding arm from the outfield.

4. Caden Dana, RHP, Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) -- Dana had the unenviable task of going toe-to-toe with Lesko, and while neither team figured in the decision, Don Bosco did win the game, 4-3. While Dana did give up three runs on five hits over four innings, he also struck out six and didn’t issue a walk. Some scouts felt the Kentucky recruit threw harder over the summer, but he was still up to 95 mph with his fastball and threw a ton of strikes, and there’s some benefit of the doubt given for a kid from the Northeast, where the weather has yet to warm up consistently.

5. Seth Keller, RHP/SS, Hanover HS (Va.) -- Most attention in/around Hanover focused on right-hander Levi Huesman, who gave up four runs over five innings in a loss to three-time champion Orange Lutheran on Wednesday. Keller, who so far this year had mostly been used as a closer in back of Huesman, certainly put his name on the map on Thursday when he gave up just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out 16 over seven innings against The First Academy. Committed to Old Dominion, he’s a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but he was up to 95 mph in this start, and also went 6-for-8 as a hitter.

6. Mason Neville, OF, Basic HS (Nev.) -- The Arkansas commit went 4-for-9 over his three games and scouts felt he carried himself like a big leaguer. He was graceful and fluid on both sides of the ball, showing off plus run and fielding tools with a solid 6-foot-3 frame and an excellent left-handed swing.

7. Roman Anthony, OF, Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS (Fla.) -- Playing center field and hitting leadoff, Anthony collected a ton of hits, going 7-for-15 and a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Committed to Mississippi, Anthony also showed off some raw power during batting practice.

Top pitcher velocities
Dylan Lesko (97 mph)
Jake Clemente (97 mph)
Riley Stanford (96 mph)
Caden Dana (95 mph)
Seth Keller (95 mph)

Top pitcher spin rates
Dylan Lesko (Curve -- 3042)
Louis Rodriguez (Slider -- 2779)
Caden Dana (Curve -- 2760)
Kolton Curtis (Curve -- 2715)
Seth Keller (Slider -- 2712)