Draft prospects stand out among NHSI '24 top performers

April 14th, 2024

CARY, N.C. -- The 11th National High School Invitational is in the books with Corona High School (Calif.) winning it all in its first trip to the NHSI.

In addition to this being an exciting team tournament, it’s a must-stop for scouts to see top prospects for this year’s Draft (and beyond) against top competition. As always, the NHSI didn’t disappoint, with several players showing extremely well in the spotlight. Below is a list of players who stood out the most, using a combination of performance, tools on display and prospect status to rank them. Don’t accuse me of West Coast bias, that’s just where the talent came from this year.

At the bottom, I threw in some underclass names to stash for future years.

1. Bryce Rainer, SS, Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles, Calif.): Scouts left the USA Baseball National Training Complex thinking Rainer was perhaps the best high school position player in the 2024 Draft class. The left-handed-hitting infielder went 7-for-13 (.538) with a pair of doubles, five walks, no strikeouts and two stolen bases while playing a very smooth shortstop. He had the top four exit velocities for the week (and five of the top six), all 106.8 mph or better. The Texas recruit was also up to 95 mph consistently in one relief outing on the mound for good measure.

2. Ethan Schiefelbein, LHP, Corona (Calif.) HS: While scouts might voice concern about the effort and lack of extension in his delivery, it’s hard to argue with his track record of results against good competition. He was up to 94-95 mph with his fastball and sat in the 90-92 mph range with good induced vertical break and horizontal break numbers. He adds and subtracts from his curve, throwing it anywhere from 76-81 mph with really good vertical break, which helped him toss a one-hit shutout with just one walk and 12 strikeouts. It seems like the UCLA recruit’s ceiling is around the fourth round right now.

3. Burke Mabeus, C, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.): Committed to Oregon, Mabeus hit the ball hard -- and far -- all week, finishing 5-for-11 with a 1.753 OPS. Four went for extra bases (two doubles, two homers) and he drove in seven, while doing most of his damage from the right side of the plate. Both homers were over 102 mph and he registered some of the longest drives of the tournament. He’s seen as fitting in around the fifth round, talent-wise.

4. Mason Russell, LHP, Casteel HS (Queen Creek, Ariz.): There are some scouts who liked Russell a bit better than Schiefelbein when comparing the prep lefties. The Arizona recruit tossed the second no-hitter in NHSI history, a six-inning masterpiece, walking two and striking out 10. He threw his fastball in the 91-93 mph range, while showing off two distinct breaking balls -- a solid 77-80 mph curve and a harder, shorter slider, thrown 84-86 mph. Evaluators liked his breaking ball, and the high spin rates back that up (topping out north of 2,700 rpm). He might fit anywhere in the fourth or fifth round.

5. Duncan Marsten, RHP, Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles, Calif.): While Rainer starred at the plate, and a little bit on the mound, Marsten was the other way around. The right-hander, committed to Wake Forest, did go 5-for-14 as the DH, but it was his Day 1 start that really stood out, especially since his future is on the mound. He was up to 94 mph consistently and flashed a hard mid-80s slider over six innings of work; if that continues, he could be considered a second-round talent.

6. Caden O’Leary, RHP, Farragut HS (Knoxville, Tenn.): There might be some reliever risk with this right-hander committed to Mississippi State, but the stuff was good enough to put him in top five rounds conversation. He threw his fastball in the 92-94 mph range and mixed in an effective upper-70s breaker to throw four shutout innings. He gave up two hits and walked none, striking out six.

7. Derek Curiel, OF, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS: Curiel is still a little bit of an enigma in terms of consistent impact at the plate, but he showed off all of his tools at different points of the tournament. The LSU recruit’s best game was the semifinal, where he went 3-for-3 with a long double that was 101 mph off the bat. He also stole a base and made a laser throw from center field to nab a runner at third. The contact skills and the defense still put him in top three or four rounds consideration.

Underclassman watch list (in alphabetical order)

Billy Carlson, Corona (Calif.); Josh Hammond, Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.); Brayden Harris, Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.); Josiah Hartshorn, Orange Lutheran (Calif.); Seth Hernandez, Corona (Calif.); Anthony Murphy, Corona (Calif.); Ethan Porter, Huntington Beach (Calif.); James Tronstein, Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles, Calif.); CJ Weinstein, Huntington Beach (Calif.)