Here’s a fun list of the top 10 current players from Major League Baseball who are from California high schools and who were standouts in football. We thought upon starting that the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees would have the most with two, but we have three on the list for the Seattle Mariners. We’ll do a Gold Club list soon of the all-time best baseball players who were high school football standouts.
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1. Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks)
The big slugger for the New York Yankees and a previous MVP of the National League with the Miami Marlins was a three-sport standout in high school. We’re always partial to him for these lists since he was the 2006-07 State Boys Athlete of the Year. In football, Stanton was a wide-receiver/tight end. Despite playing in one of the toughest leagues in the state, Stanton hauled in 29 passes for 745 yards and 11 TDs in his senior season.
2. Brandon Crawford (Foothill, Pleasanton)
He is having the best season of his career as the shortstop for the San Francisco Giants, who are locked in a battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers for having the best record in baseball. Crawford, who should get MVP votes, played quarterback for the Falcons under 200-win head coach Matt Sweeney. In the 2004 season, he helped Foothill go 8-3 and earn a CIF North Coast Section playoff spot. Brandon is not in the state football record book, but his receiving teammate, Neima Khaila, had 329 yards in one game for an NCS record (which is still quite high on the all-time state list). It takes 470 yards passing one game to be on that state record list. Five years later, Khaila’s school and NCS records were broken by Cameron Rowland, who had 340 yards receiving in one game. Crawford worked with noted QB guru Roger Theder when in high school and was regarded as a D1 prospect (but baseball also was always going to be his best sport).
3. Aaron Judge (Linden)
The Bronx Bombers of Judge and Stanton (Judge had 34 HRs as of Saturday) could easily be 1-2, but Crawford has been so amazing this year for the Giants. Judge broke into MLB in 2016 and he probably should have been American League MVP in 2017. He was the AL Rookie of the Year. At Linden and similar to Stanton, he was a three-sport athlete. In fact, both he and Stanton were all-state grid-hoopers in their second and third best sports. As a tight end in high school, Judge was hard to stop. As a senior in 2010, he caught 54 passes for 969 yards and 17 TDs.
4. Ryan McMahon (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
Not all MD quarterbacks go on to become Heisman Trophy winners or Heisman Trophy candidates. One of them became an MLB all-star caliber third baseman. McMahon started for the Monarchs in football in 2012, which was a couple of years before they became a national powerhouse. He passed for 1,198 yards in 11 games, but got hurt early in the first CIF Southern Section playoff game vs. Lakewood. The Monarchs finished 11-3 and lost in the top divisional final to Long Beach Poly. For the Colorado Rockies, McMahon made his MLB debut in 2017 and has become the regular third baseman since the departure of another Orange County alum — Nolan Arenado of El Toro — to the St. Louis Cardinals.
5. Mitch Haniger (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
There’s a typo on Haniger’s MaxPreps page from his high school years at Mitty indicating that he had 85 catches as a receiver in one season. He had a bunch (including 10 in one game), but 85 seems to be incorrect. Haniger is from one of the most well-known athletic families from Mitty. His brother, Jason, was a catcher at Georgia Tech; his uncle, Matt, was once the head football coach and his sister, Lauren, was once on a state title-winning volleyball team. Mitch now plays in the outfield for the Seattle Mariners. He was in the All-Star Game in 2018 and had 33 homers with 83 RBI this season after 142 games.
6. Logan Webb (Rocklin)
This is the only player on this list that we saw play football in high school. Logan had passed for more than 2,000 yards as a junior and his first game in 2014 was against a Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove team that also had some D1 players. The Thunder lost that game and finished 5-6 after 7-5 from 2013. Webb had more than 3,600 career yards with a high game of 402 yards in a win in 2012 vs. Woodcreek (Roseville). He’s become arguably the ace of the Giants’ pitching staff this year and on Friday night he gave a shoutout to his school for winning this year’s Quarry Bowl game over Whitney of Rocklin.
7. Joe Musgrove (Grossmont, El Cajon)
There’s now a giant mural at Grossmont celebrating Musgrove’s no-hitter earlier this season for his hometown San Diego Padres. That also was the first no-hitter in franchise history. He was an all-state pitcher for the Foothillers and it has been reported he also played football at the school. A quarterback? No, instead Musgrove was listed as a 6-foot-4, 225-pound offensive lineman.
8. James Kaprielian (Beckman, Irvine)
He’s become a solid starting pitcher this season for the Oakland A’s. He’s unique to this list because in football at Beckman the position that he had the most success was defensive back. In 2012, Kaprielian was among the leaders in Orange County with six interceptions.
9. Chris Flexen (Newark Memorial, Newark)
This has been a breakout season for Flexen as a starting pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. In his first 28 starts, he was 12-6 with a 3.66 ERA. Flexen was a four-year starter in baseball at Newark Memorial and was an all-league level performer as a quarterback in football. He is a player who has gone to Korea to play professionally and then came back to play in MLB.
10. Ty France (South Hills, Covina)
This 10th spot was tough and there were a lot of MLB players checked out who appeared to have not played football in high school. France has had a great season with the Mariners (along with Mitch Haniger and Chris Flexen) with a .291 average in more than 500 at-bats (16 HRs, 62 RBI). He was our 2009 State Freshman of the Year in baseball. He doesn’t have notable football stats from South Hills, but it is shown with a MaxPreps page that he played two seasons.
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