The Hotlist: 2017 Boras Classic Standouts

By Nathan Rode and Shooter Hunt

Last week, The Boras Classic South took place in Southern California and Prep Baseball Report was on site to cover the loaded tournament. The Hotlist looks at players from the 2017-2020 classes that stood out in the four days of games.

Brendan Beck, SS/RHP, Corona HS, CA (2017)
Beck’s athletic frame stood out for Corona as he locked down the infield from his shortstop position. A Stanford signee, Beck has broad shoulders on his thick, 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame. He will likely grow into more of a third baseman at the next level, but he has the hands and arm strength to fill in at shortstop when needed. At the plate, he shows balance while working through the zone on a level plane. Beck is a presence in the box, and as he continues to add strength, has a chance to be a high pick coming out of Stanford.

J.J. Cruz, IF, Gahr HS, CA (2019)
Cruz was one of the top underclassmen at the event, and showcased a sweet left-handed stroke. A wiry-thin, 6 feet, 160 pounds, Cruz’s smooth stroke stands to add much more power in the next few years as he packs on more weight and muscle while maturing physically. His hands work in rhythm with a leg kick, and he understands how to backspin the baseball with a level to uphill path. In the field, Cruz played third base during the week, and showed off solid hands and arm strength. The Cal State Fullerton recruit projects as a gap-to-gap hitter and should progress at a rapid rate while approaching his high ceiling.

Hagen Danner, RHP/UT, Huntington Beach HS, CA (2017)
Danner was named the MVP of The Boras Classic after hitting two home runs in four games and pitching six strong innings against Notre Dame HS, CA. While the UCLA recruit can play multiple positions, including catcher, and hit for power, his future is on the mound. In the second round, Danner pitched six innings, allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out 10. Things were a little rocky for Danner in the first inning, as a couple batters squared him up, a strikeout reached first base on a wild pitch and he walked a batter. However, he was able to escape unscathed and he went into cruise control for the next five innings. His curveball was its usual self, showing sharp break with 11/5 shape and depth. He got a lot of swings and misses on it, especially in the dirt. He also flashed a changeup at 82-83.

Jayson Gonzalez, SS, Bishop Amat HS, CA (2017)
A Vanderbilt recruit, Gonzalez has a large frame at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. He’ll shift to third base at the next level, but he’ll be more than an adequate defender at the hot corner. Gonzalez is nimble, showing good range and agility for a player his size. He has soft hands and a strong arm. At the plate, he attacks the ball and it jumps off his bat. In four games, he went 4-for-10 with a double and a home run.

Lucas Gordon, LHP, Notre Dame HS, CA (2020)
With most eyes on RHP/SS Hunter Greene, it was really Gordon who stole the show. The Southern California recruit pitched a one-hit shutout while striking out two. He pitched in the mid 80s with his fastball from a 3/4 slot and flashed feel for a changeup with fade at 73-76 mph. His curveball had 2/8 shape at 69-72.

Hunter Greene, SS, Notre Dame HS, CA (2017)
The only disappointing part of The Boras Classic was the fact that Greene did not pitch. However, he still stood out. One of the best athletes in the country, Greene is a legitimate prospect as a position player. He was just 3-for-12 on the week, but showed excellent defense. He has advanced actions, shows range and overall makes everything in the field look easy. Given he can touch triple digits with his fastball, he should have enough arm strength for the left side—if he ever winds up there in the future.

Josh Hahn, LHP/OF, Huntington Beach HS, CA (2019)
Hahn showed off an electric arm when he hopped on the mound for Huntington Beach and ran his fastball up to 88 mph out of a 3/4 slot. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound southpaw has short, quick arm action, and the ball jumps out of his hand. He also featured a developing slider and changeup, but primarily pitched off his fastball in the outing. What makes Hahn an even more intriguing prospect is his ability to swing the bat. The young lefty routinely produced firm contact in his at-bats while demonstrating a clean stroke that showed lag in the zone on a level plane. Balanced and controlled, Hahn never looked fooled, and showed off gap-to-gap power. As he continues to mature, and finds a consistent release point, Hahn has a chance to be an elite two-way prospect at the next level. He was 4-for-11 at the plate with a double, two RBIs and two runs. On the mound, he pitched five innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks while striking out three.

Andrew Householder, OF/RHP, Gahr HS, CA (2019)
Householder emerged as a potential key piece to some school’s recruiting class throughout the week. The athletic, left-handed hitter was surrounded by future draft picks and committed players, but still found a way to stick out. Starting open with his hands high, Householder loaded into a slight crouch while fluidly bringing his hands down and back with a slight leg kick before striding out. His quick hands worked level through the zone with a high finish highlighted by a strong bottom hand that allowed for lag in the zone. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder played right field during the tournament, but expect Householder to shift over to centerfield next year when Je’Von Ward has moved on.

Blake Hunt, C, Mater Dei HS, CA (2017)
Hunt has helium in the draft and there was plenty of heat to see him last week. He’s a premium defender behind the plate with advanced receiving ability, athleticism and a strong arm. He popped a 1.9 in game despite slipping on the turf and made a couple highlight reel plays. On a bunt from 2018 SS Brice Turang (Corona Santiago HS, CA), he sprang out from behind the plate, barehanded the ball and threw off balance to first for the out. The defense is ahead of his bat right now, but he has strength throughout his frame and launched a home run against Corona Santiago.

Jared Jones, RHP/OF, La Mirada HS, CA (2020)
Jones, a Southern California recruit commit, exhibited elite arm strength in his start against Bishop Amat. The young, athletic 6-foot-1, 165-pound righty touched 90 mph and sat 87-88 with a whippy arm. Jones delivers out of a high-3/4 slot with a clean, repeatable motion that shows just a small trace of effort out front. Still very young looking, Jones projects to add even more velocity in coming years, and has a chance to be one of the top prospects in the 2020 class. While he struggled to control his slider on the day, it shows the makings of a future swing-and-miss pitch, and he varied speeds (75-81) with it. Most impressive about Jones was his ability to get out of tough situations. He showed poise and maturity while finding another level to get out of jams.

Blake Klassen, 1B/OF, JSerra Catholic HS, CA (2019)
Klassen’s thick, 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame promises even more power than the gap to gap that he currently shows. There is an easy balance to Klassen’s approach in the box and he shows advanced feel for the barrel. His hands work down and back with ease from a crouched stance. With the flick of his wrists, Klassen can send balls screaming into the gap after a short stride and his hands show present strength and quickness. Klassen is an adequate defender in left field, but will likely split time between there and first base with his bat being his calling card at the next level. He played three games and went 3-for-8 with two runs and two RBIs.

Jake Moberg, SS, Vista Murrieta HS, CA (2018)
Moberg seems to do it all for Vista Murrieta as he swiftly ranges side to side at shortstop, showing off clean hands and a strong throwing arm. He then hops on the mound to finish games off or even start them. Everything about Moberg screams winner and he seemed to always be in the right spot during the tournament while being the foundation of the lineup. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is a physical athlete who will have a chance to play any infield position at UCLA, where he is committed. At the plate, he showed confidence in his swing, and utilized the entire field while showing off a strong ability to hammer the middle of the field. On the mound, Moberg sat 86-88 with a fastball that jumps out out of his hand. He manipulated a 70-71 slider that showed some tilt, but was more of a solid pitch for him. Moberg’s competitive nature was impressive throughout the week. He was 4-for-10 at the plate with two doubles, a run and two RBIs. He picked up a save on the mound in the first round, but got hit around in his start against Mater Dei on the last day.

Devan Ornelas, IF/OF, Notre Dame HS, CA (2020)
Ornelas could have easily been missed as he played left field throughout the tournament with Greene at shortstop. However, before Notre Dame’s second game, they took a full round of in/out, and Ornelas matched Greene at shortstop, play for play. Not quite possessing the bazooka arm that is attached to Greene, Ornelas’ is strong and he showed the ability to make throws from all angles, in the hole and on the run. He has soft hands, and looks the part of a player who can stick at shortstop moving forward. At the plate, the young left-handed hitter has a smooth stroke, and controlled the barrel through the zone on a level plane with a loose finish. He showcased his speed as a weapon with multiple bunt singles, but also showcased developing pull side power with a deep double down the line in his final game. As he continues to mature, and add muscle to his young, 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame, Ornelas should continue to progress at a rapid rate. Ornelas projects as a top-of-the-order hitter who can stick at shortstop.

Michael Perez, SS, Gahr HS, CA (2018)
Perez is a coach’s dream as he is relentless and never stops playing hard. The 6-foot, 178-pound UCLA recruit shows proportional strength throughout his frame. Possessing a quick first step at shortstop, Perez is able to make throws from anywhere with his quick, strong arm. He shows excellent baseball instincts, and laced a double to the left-center field gap that showcased his short, quick stroke and strong hands. Perez has a simple stance with little movement. Overall, Perez has a chance to stick at shortstop at the next level, but will find his way onto the field one way or another because of his high motor and impressive skill set.

Nick Pratto, LHP, Huntington Beach HS, CA (2017)
Like Greene, Pratto showed what he can do opposite of where he’s considered a better prospect. A Southern California recruit, Pratto is expected to be a high pick as a position player, thanks to his advanced approach, high baseball IQ and athleticism in the field. He struggled at the plate, going 2-for-12, but dominated on the mound in the first round. He wasn’t as sharp as his appearance at the National High School Invitational, but he still showed a competitive edge. After giving up two doubles in the fourth inning that put his team down, Pratto got locked in. After that, he allowed just a walk and a hit while striking out eight in his final 3.2 innings. He struck out 12 total. He pitched at 87-89 mostly, but still hit 90 in the seventh inning. He finished with one run allowed on five hits and two walks.

Max Rajcic, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS, CA (2020)
Rajcic closed out a one-run victory for Orange Lutheran by going two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and three hits allowed in the third-place game. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound, UCLA recruit has a developing frame that looks far from being mature at this point. He was one of the top pitchers during the event, as he showcased a strong, quick arm while running his fastball up to 88 mph. Utilizing an up-tempo, athletic delivery, the ball jumped out of Rajcic’s hand from a 3/4 slot. However, what separated Rajcic was his ability to spin a hammer, 11/5 breaking ball at 74-76. Thrown with fastball hand speed, Rajcic’s breaking ball is already a swing-and-miss pitch. He threw it with confidence and demonstrated a killer instinct once he got ahead of hitters.

Emilio Rosas, SS, Mater Dei HS, CA (2018)
Rosas’ loose, athletic 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame is easy to dream on and he shows advanced movement at shortstop, where he plays at an elite level. He made slow roller plays look easy, and had twitchy actions when moving side to side while showing off a very strong arm. At the plate, Rosas does not get cheated, with his elbows starting wide with an athletic base. He shows present pull side power, and smashed a couple of home runs while showing a propensity to pull the ball. In the four games, Rosas went 7-for-12 with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs.

Noah Taylor, OF, Notre Dame HS, CA (2020)
Taylor has a physical, 6-foot, 195-pound frame, and showcases solid athleticism at the plate and in the field. The left-handed hitter is quiet pre-pitch with his hands held below his shoulder before loading them back. They come through on a level plane and show strength and quickness. Taylor lofted a high and long home run over the left field fence in Notre Dame’s second game of the week, and demonstrated a keen understanding of the strike zone.

Eric Tolman, LHP/1B, El Toro HS, CA (2018)
Tolman was nothing short of outstanding throughout the tournament. The Cal Poly recruit was a force in the middle of El Toro’s line up, and showcased quick hands with aggressive hip drive. He hunted pitches early in the count, but showed the ability to use the entire field when he fell behind. A good athlete, Tolman also hopped on the mound and was 83-85 with a whippy, loose arm. His fastball looked much harder in person, and he will likely see a jump in velocity over the next couple of years. Tolman changed speeds and depth on his breaking ball (71-76) depending on the count, and he threw it with confidence in any count. The pitch featured tight spin and was thrown with fastball hand speed. Tolman also flashed a changeup at 74-75. Overall, Tolman’s winning attitude and competitiveness really stuck out. With his ability to spin a quality breaking ball as a left-hander, Tolman will have a chance to pitch big innings right away in college, and his quick bat will give him a chance to continue as a two-way player. At the plate, he was 6-for-13 with two doubles, a home run, four runs and four RBIs. On the mound, he pitched five innings allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out five.

Brice Turang, SS, Corona Santiago HS, CA (2018)
Widely considered the top prospect in the 2018 class, Turang can do it all. Listed at 6 feet, 150 pounds, he has quick-twitch actions and lean strength. The Louisiana State recruit has quick bat speed from the left side, plus speed and excellent bat-to-ball skills. His first strikeout of the season came after The Boras Classic—his 22nd game played in 2017. He was 7-for-16 in the tournament with  a double, triple, five RBIs and five runs scored. At shortstop, he is very athletic with easy actions, a quick exchange and strong arm.


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