With the start of the Major League Baseball season underway, we thought we would help give you a rooting interest in any game that you may turn on to watch this season, even if it doesn’t involve your favorite team. Go inside to see a list of every team and a California player to watch.
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Most people are well aware of big-time major league players like C.C. Sabathia, Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun who went to high school in California. A list of every player currently on a roster would be gigantic. Here below is a team-by-team rundown with one California player from each team noted. We tried to highlight more of the young up-and-coming players or those that most might not know much about so you can keep an eye out for them in the future. Stay tuned for the first Cal-Hi Sports e-book, “California: The Baseball Capital of the World.”
Boston Red Sox
OF Daniel Nava (St. Francis, Mountain View)
While the Red Sox have guys like Dustin Pedroia (Woodland) and Jonny Gomes (Casa Grande, Petaluma) also from California on their team, Nava was the fourth player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in his very first major league at bat. He did it for Boston on the first pitch he saw back in 2010.
New York Yankees
SP Phil Hughes (Foothill, Santa Ana)
C.C. Sabathia (Vallejo) is the more well-known part of the Yankees’ starting rotation from California, but Hughes rounds out their rotation and was a member of their 2009 World Series team and was an All-Star in 2010.
OF Adam Jones (Morse, San Diego)
A two-time all-star and gold glove winner, he signed the largest contract in Orioles’ history recently to become the second highest paid center fielder behind Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Toronto Blue Jays
RP Casey Janssen (Fountain Valley)
There is high expectations for the Blue Jays this season and Janssen will be the team’s closer. He had a career-high 22 saves in 2012.
Tampa Bay Rays
3B Evan Longoria (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)
He may be well known now, but this three-time All-Star and 2008 AL Rookie of the Year went to a community college after his high school playing days with the Braves was finished. After JC, Longoria eventually played at Long Beach State and became the third overall pick in the 2006 draft.
SP Doug Fister (Golden Valley, Merced)
Starting the season with wins in his first three starts, he was a standout not only on the baseball field but on the basketball court as well with the Cougars.
Kansas City Royals
3B Mike Moustakas (Chatsworth)
Our 2007 Mr. Baseball state player of the year made his major league debut with the Royals back in 2011 and set a team record last season as he played 47 straight games without an error while hitting 20 home runs.
OF Aaron Hicks (Wilson, Long Beach)
When the Twins and the Royals face off this season, it will feature back-to-back Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball player of the year winners. Hicks won it in 2008 and won the Twins’ center field job after an impressive spring.
Chicago White Sox
RP Addison Reed (Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga)
Playing more first base then pitching while being named all-Baseline League three times with the Grizzlies, Reed started this season as the White Sox closer and had five saves in the first two weeks.
RP Bryan Shaw (Livermore)
After two seasons with the Diamondbacks, he is now apart of the Tribe’s bullpen after being apart of a three-team trade back in December.
RP Ryan Cook (Clovis)
One of the A’s top young arms in the bullpen, Cook was their lone all-star during their AL West championship season. A.J. Griffin (Grossmont, El Cajon) could be an All-Star for years to come as well.
RP Tanner Scheppers (Dana Hills, Dana Point)
Starting off as just a shortstop, he eventually found his way to the mound in high school after others got injured. This led to him making his major league debut last season. In the Rangers’ first 14 games this season, Scheppers pitched in seven of them.
SP Brandon Maurer (Lutheran, Orange)
On the same team with Gerrit Cole for the Lancers, he was a second-team all-Trinity League selection in 2008 and despite not playing in AAA last season he made the opening day starting rotation for the Mariners this season.
Los Angeles Angels
DH Mark Trumbo (Villa Park)
He was named to the 2012 AL All-Star team and participated in the 2012 Home Run Derby where he made it to the second round before losing in a playoff.
3B Matt Dominguez (Chatsworth)
Our state freshman of the year in 2004 is already entering his third season in the majors. He made his debut with the Florida Marlins in 2011 and is now the starting third baseman for the Astros.
SP Kris Medlen (Gahr, Cerritos)
In the starting rotation for the team with the best record in baseball, Medlen also was a Braves’ starter last season in MLB’s first-ever single-game wild card playoff.
SP Stephen Strasburg (West Hills, Santee)
Unless you have been living under a rock, you should know this name as the No. 1 pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. Strasburg was named an All-Star last season and was the opening day starter for the Nationals.
New York Mets
OF Lucas Duda (Arlington, Riverside)
Playing in 121 games and hitting 15 home runs for the Mets last season, he already is off to a quick start this season with three homers in his first 13 games.
SP Cole Hamels (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego)
World Series MVP in 2008 and a three-time All-Star, Hamels had won 91 games in the major leagues at the start of this season. Teammates still include Jimmy Rollins (Encinal, Alameda) and Chase Utley (Poly, Long Beach).
OF Giancarlo Stanton (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks)
It’s not going to be a fun season to be a Marlins fan, as they are expected to finish with one of the worst records this year. They have one reason to be excited, however, and that’s the presence of Stanton. The 23-year old outfielder hit 37 homers last season.
St. Louis Cardinals
INF Daniel Descalso (St. Francis, Mountain View)
Before graduating in 2004, he was the Lancers’ No. 1 pitcher for three seasons while also playing football and earning first-team West Catholic Athletic League honors in both sports.
SP Mike Leake (Fallbrook)
Drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft, Leake skipped playing in the minor leagues and made his major league debut in 2010.
SP James McDonald (Poly, Long Beach)
He was a three-sport athlete in high school, also playing basketball and football for the Jackrabbits. He made his major league debut in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has won more than 30 games in his career.
OF Ryan Braun (Granada Hills)
2007 NL ROY, 5-time All-Star and 2011 NL MVP are among the honors he has received in the majors since finishing his high school career by setting the school record for career home runs with 25.
3B Ian Stewart (La Quinta, Westminster)
Currently on the disabled list, he is in his second season with the Cubs after four seasons with the Rockies. He has hit 59 career home runs. With pitcher Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks at La Quinta in 2003, the team finished 30-2 and won a CIF Southern Section title.
SS Troy Tulowitzki (Fremont, Sunnyvale)
Not only did he play four seasons of varsity baseball for the Firebirds, but he also played two years on the basketball court and averaged 22.6 points per game his senior season.
SP Trevor Cahill (Vista)
Called up by the Oakland Athletics in 2009, he went 18-8 in 2010 to be named an All-Star and has won 53 games in his pro career.
San Francisco Giants
2B Nick Noonan (Francis Parker, San Diego)
Making the Giants’ Opening Day 25-man roster, Noonan made his major league debut for the Giants on April 3. The Giants also have SS Brandon Crawford (Foothill, Pleasanton), P Sergio Romo (Brawley) and others on the roster from California.
Los Angeles Dodgers
SS Justin Sellers (Marina, Huntington Beach)
With a team full of high priced players, it was this former Vikings’ standout who was the Dodgers’ opening day shortstop after an injury to Hanley Ramirez.
San Diego Padres
SP Tyson Ross (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland)
After starting 21 games over three seasons and appearing in 53 games for the Oakland Athletics, he is in the Padres’ starting rotation this year.
Ten players currently in the Minor Leagues to watch for in the future:
Nolan Arenado (El Toro, Lake Forest) Colorado Rockies 3B
Currently playing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Trevor Bauer (Hart, Newhall) Cleveland Indians SP
Currently playing in the Triple-A International League with the Columbus Clippers. Maybe he can come up to the bigs this year for an Indians game against the Royals and maybe he can start against another former Hart standout, pitcher James Shields.
Gerrit Cole (Lutheran, Orange) Pittsburgh Pirates SP
Currently playing in the Triple-A International League with the Indianapolis Indians.
Travis d’Arnaud (Lakewood) New York Mets C
Currently playing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with the Las Vegas 51s.
Matt Davidson (Yucaipa) Arizona Diamondbacks 3B
Currently playing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with the Reno Aces.
Max Fried (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood) San Diego Padres SP
Currently playing in the Class A Midwest League with the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Tyler Matzek (Capistrano Valley, Mission Viejo) Colorado Rockies SP
2009 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year is currently playing in the Double-A Texas League with the Tulsa Drillers.
Henry Owens (Edison, Huntington Beach) Boston Red Sox SP
2011 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year is currently playing in the Class A Carolina League with the Salem Red Sox.
Tyler Skaggs (Santa Monica) Arizona Diamondbacks SP
Currently playing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with the Reno Aces.
Robert Stephenson (Alhambra) Cincinnati Reds SP
Currently playing in the Class A Midwest League with the Dayton Dragons.