02 03 SoCal High School Baseball: 2017 Players to Watch 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

2017 Players to Watch

The 2017 class of baseball players in SoCal is shaping up to be one of the best classes in recent memory. With more-and-more kids committing earlier, it's a testament to more aggressive recruiting and the talent available. While it's always a risk for a school, and the player, to commit before they play a high school game, there are plenty of players on this list that are as close to "can't miss" prospects as they come.

Below is a list of 2017 players I've had the opportunity to see since last summer, some several times, and others just a couple times. There are a few players on the list that were recommended to me by coaches/scouts whose opinion I hold in high regard.

Like the other lists I've published, there are certain to be a few players that likely should be on the list, but unless I've seen them or they were recommended by coaches/scouts, I left them off. 

The players are listed alphabetically by first name.

Position Player School College  Notes 
3B/1B Ben Ramirez Eastlake USC LHH third baseman that flashes power potential and already has gap-to-gap power. Big frame that should fill out over the course of his high school career. Does a solid job at third base but most scouts project him at first when he adds more mass to his frame. 
RHP/1B Charlie Nies Jserra   Strong athletic frame which should only get bigger. Sits low-to-mid 80's with fastball. Offspeed pitches should contine to develop as he works on his mechanics. At the plate showed power potential with good bat speed. Has a real chance to hit. 
RHP/INF CJ Fernandezees Gardena Serra   RHP/1B with a fastball that currently sits at 79-81 and has touched 83. Power and lift in his swing from both sides of the plate. Great frame with room to fill. Loose and free arm action with a controlled release from multiple slots.
INF/RHP Cole Cummings  Corona Centennial   LHH MIF that shows great defensive ability to get to balls and make strong accurate throws. On the mound shows a very good understanding of how to pitch. Has a chance to be a very special player once his body fills out some. 
RHP/OF  Danny Zimmerman Redondo Union   Big, phyiscal body (6'3"/220). A bit raw on the mound but sits 81-84 with fastball. Has a slider that flashes good movement and sits 71-82. Generates very good bat speed and doesn't get cheated. When he barrels it up, he hits the ball as hard as most upperclassmen. Big time prospect moving forward. 
P/C/INF Hagen Danner Huntington Beach UCLA An absolute beast of a player! Danner is a line drive machine with big time power potential. Very advanced hitter for his age that shows a smooth one-piece swing. Showed very well during scout ball against competition 3-4 years older. Defensively is a very good blocker with good feet and a quick exchange. On the mound he throws downhill and features a nasty curveball with an excellent delivery. 
SS Hunter Greene S.O. Notre Dame UCLA Advanced defender with a very strong arm. The bat will get better with added strength as he will be able to drive the ball. Not the fastest runner out there but quick enough to make plays. If/when he bulks up he may move to 3B for college.
C Hunter Montgomery Corona Centennial   Arguably one of the top catchers in his class. Physically mature beyond his age. Inredibly athletic behind the plate. Receives very well and calls pitches with an understanding of what hitters are looking for. Plus arm with consistent sub-2 pop times. 
MIF Isaiah Parra Cypress   Big shoes to fill replacing David Fletcher but Parra seems to have acclimated well. Very good lateral quickness and arm strength allows him to get to most balls and make the throw. Has a good plan at the plate. Needs to add strength in order to drive the ball more consistenltly but should fit in the Cypress lineup nicely. 
LHP/OF Jack Owen  JSerra   Long/lean frame that will fill out with further conditioning. Has a real chance to earn some innings this year. Crafty pitcher that understanding how to mix pitches and spots well. Doesn’t back down from hitters. 
SS Jacob Amaya Northview   One of the top defensive shortstop in the class that I've seen in person. Has incredible lateral ability and a very powerful arm. At the plate shows discipline although is a bit over aggressive at times. Pitch recognition could improve, but is pretty advanced at this stage. Also pitches where he sits 84-86 with his fastball. Still raw on the mound but has plenty of time to improve that area of his game. 
3B Jonathan Schiffer  Mater Dei   Physically mature player that shows incredible pull power which should play well at Mater Dei's home field. Good enough defensively to start at 3B this season where he'll likely stay for his career. Once he shows the ability to hit to all fields will be a dangerous player. 
2B Jonny DeLuca Agouara Oregon LHH that attacks pitches with an open stance. Has a chance to be a very special player despite his smaller size. Possesses a strong arm and very high baseball IQ which will fit nicely with what coach Horton likes to do at Oregon. 
P/1B Kyle Hurt Torrey Pines   Big, physical RHP that was one of the standouts at the PG SoCal Underclass Showcase. Sits mid-80's with his fastball and flashes a tight spinning curve ball that has potential to be a plus pitch. Changeup is a work in progress that has major upside.
OF/LHP Matthew Rudick Scripps Ranch   Currently sits 82-84 with the fastball which he commands very well. Member of the gold medal winning 15U national team last summer where he was a stalwart in the lineup. Has a very advanced approach at the plate showing the ability to use all fields. 
LHP/OF Max Sterner Culver City   Tall lean frame with room to fill. LHH with short quick swing using an aggressive middle of the field approach. Fleet base runner with instincts. Throws multiple pitches with a short arm action and consistent release.
C/RHP Nate Webb MLK (Riverside)   Very advanced catcher with a huge arm. Needs to improve on his footwork a bit which will improve his pop times. Very good approach at the plate which results in gap-to-gap power. Has a smooth swing with an open stance. Sits 83-84 with fastball on the mound.
SS Nick Allen Francis Parker USC Despite his small frame this SS was one of the most highly sought after prospects in his class. Generates incredible bat speed to produce surprising power. Has incredible lateral quickness that allows him to get to balls deep in the hole and the arm strength to make all the throws. Chose SC over SEC and other Pac12 offers.
LHP/OF Nick Pratto Mater Dei USC Pitches well beyond his years with a swing-and-miss curveball and the poise of an upperclassman. Fastball is low-to-mid 80's and is used as a secondary to pitch compliment the advanced offspeed stuff. Swings the bat incredibly well and should start in the field when not pitching. Has a chance to be Mater Dei's next big two-way star. 
RHP Noah Dettman Capo Valley Christian   Very big body (6'6"/260) that needs a little refinement but provides power at the plate. Despite his frame he generates pretty good bat speed. On the mound he sits 80-83 with fastball to compliment a true 12-6 curveball. 
OF RJ Lan  La Mirada   Big, physical OF that should earn the starting CF spot for the Matadors. Has an advanced approach at the plate with great pitch recognition. Line drive hitter that doesn't get cheated. Strong arm and good speed give him a chance to be a force defensively. 
C/OF Robbie Brue Bishop O'Dowd   RHH. Plus defensive catching skills and plus arm with quick actions. Aggressive hitting approach with tools to develop over time. High baseball IQ and leadership qualities.
MIF Royce Lewis  Jserra   Fluid defender which flashes advance defense and arm strength. Will likely play 2B or 3B due to an established player at SS. Has shown some skills at the plate which will improve over time. Has a chance to be a special player for coach Kay. 
MIF Tristan Hanoian  Orange Lutheran   Will likely be the leadoff hitter for the Lancers this year after proving he can hit at this level. A bit on the smaller side, he shows well at times defensively but plays like a freshman at times at 2B. Has shown the ability to play in the OF too, where he'll get a shot. 
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