Three of the four first-round picks in this year’s MLB Draft from California high schools are finalists for Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year. The only one who isn’t happens to be from the same league as one of the others.
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The top and the bottom of the opening round of this year’s MLB Draft, held on Thursday, offered great news for California high school baseball followers.
The very first pick of the day by the Philadelphia Phillies ended up being outfielder Mickey Moniak from La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad.
Every mock draft we saw heading into the day, except one, didn’t have him going that high. As the hour grew close, however, twitter blew up that Moniak indeed may have emerged as the Phillies’ pick.
Moniak became the 13th No. 1 pick from a California high school and the eighth who was still considered a high schooler. The other five became No. 1 picks after going to college.
It’s also the third time in three years and the fifth time in eight years that a California player has gone first.
For more on what Moniak did during his senior year at La Costa Canyon, CLICK HERE. That will take you to our list of finalists to be this year’s Mr. Baseball, which he is on.
The second to go from the Golden State went at No. 9 to the Detroit Tigers. They picked right-handed power pitching prospect Matt Manning from Sheldon of Sacramento. Only one other right-handed high school pitcher in the nation went higher.
Manning, also a Cal-Hi Sports all-state large school boys basketball player at Sheldon, was not named earlier in the week as a Mr. Baseball finalist. That’s because his team is in the same league as Elk Grove, which was led by Dylan Carlson, who also ended up Thursday as a first-round pick.
Carlson’s name wasn’t on any mock draft lists checked out earlier in the week, but his father, Jeff, mentioned after the Elk Grove team he coaches won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title last weekend that he believed there was an opportunity that the St. Louis Cardinals might choose Dylan with one of their two picks right at the end of the first round. They did, nabbing him at No. 33 and then going with a college pitcher from Mississippi State at No. 34.
Carlson pitched and hit for the Thundering Herd during the season and like Moniak is a contender for State POY.
The other first-rounder from California went at No. 18 to the New York Yankees. That would be outfielder Blake Rutherford from Chaminade of West Hills. When La Costa Canyon and Chaminade played each other at the Boras Classic with Moniak and Rutherford, there were reports of more than 30 scouts in attendance. They had both signed with UCLA and now neither is going there.
Of the college players chosen in Thursday’s first-round of the draft, none went to California high schools, including Stanford pitcher Cal Quantrill. He happens to be from Canada.
The first California player chosen after the first round was at No. 37 when pitcher Daulton Jefferies of Cal (also from Buhach Colony of Atwater) was chosen by the Oakland Athletics.
Pitchers Nick Lodolo from Damien of La Verne (No. 41 by the Pittsburgh Pirates) and Kevin Gowdy of Santa Barbara (No. 42 by the Phillies) also were selected high. Lodolo actually was the final pick in the Lottery A portion of the draft while Gowdy was the first pick of the second round.
California’s No. 1 MLB Draft Picks
1968 – Tim Foli (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) INF
This was the fourth draft ever held. Foli was chosen by the New York Mets.
1969 – Jeff Burroughs (Wilson, Long Beach) OF
Taken by the Washington Senators, he later became MVP of the American League.
1980 – Darryl Strawberry (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) OF
Also a standout basketball player, he was selected by the New York Mets.
1992 – Phil Nevin (El Dorado, Placentia) 3B
He was from Cal State Fullerton when picked by the Houston Astros.
1998 – Pat Burrell (Bellarmine, San Jose) OF
After graduating from Bellarmine, he went across the country to Miami for college. He was chosen by the Phillies.
2000 – Adrian Gonzalez (Eastlake, Chula Vista) 1B
He became a perennial all-star with the Padres, Red Sox and Dodgers but was the No. 1 pick by the Florida Marlins.
2003 – Delmon Young (Camarillo) OF
Tampa Bay made Young the first pick of the draft after a great prep career. He was State Player of the Year as a junior, but Ian Stewart of Westminster La Quinta (also picked in the first round) was State POY the next season.
2004 – Matt Bush (Mission Bay, San Diego) INF
He has had a difficult path to reach the majors, but finally did earlier this season as a relief pitcher. Bush was picked No. 1 by his hometown San Diego Padres.
2009 – Stephen Strasburg (West Hills, Santee) P
The Washington Nationals went with Strasburg at No. 1 after he became a big-time prospect at the San Diego State.
2011 – Gerrit Cole (Lutheran, Orange) P
An all-state choice for the Lancers, Cole became a candidate to be a No. 1 pick after going to UCLA. He was tabbed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2013 – Mark Appel (Monte Vista, Danville) P
The Houston Astros had the No. 1 pick and went with Appel, who had become a star at Stanford after graduating from Monte Vista.
2014 – Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) P
He famously didn’t sign with the Astros after they chose him No. 1. Another San Diego player, catcher Alex Jackson of Rancho Bernardo, went right near the top as well at No. 6.
2016 – Mickey Moniak (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad) OF
The last outfielder that the Phillies picked No. 1 was Burrell (another Californian) in 1992 and he had a more than solid MLB career.