Sweet swinging shortstop/third baseman from JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) collects the top honor in the state for the 2023 season after already earning several other major honors. He was the leading player on the state’s No. 1 team and he’s the ninth Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year from Orange County in more than 100 years.
For a rundown of the other State Players of the Year for baseball, CLICK HERE.
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Comparisons for JSerra of San Juan Capistrano senior Trent Caraway to 2017 No. 1 MLB Draft pick Royce Lewis of JSerra have been frequent in recent weeks. That was especially true after Trent broke Royce’s school record for hits in a season.
But now there’s one thing that Trent has on his resume that Royce was not able to get: Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year.
Caraway has now been named as the winner of the annual Cal-Hi Sports honor (the one that goes back with much more history connected to it than any other). He’d already previously collected honors such as Gatorade State Player of the Year, CIF Southern Section Division I Player of the Year and Orange County Register Player of the Year.
“He’s just a physical specimen and we were just talking the other day that his 49 hits were a quiet 49 hits,” said JSerra head coach Brett Kay on Tuesday in a phone call with Cal-Hi Sports. “I think he was on base in every game. It was just the most special offensive season that we’ve ever had and we have had some great players.”
Lewis, now playing for the Minnesota Twins, obviously was a great player at JSerra as well. But in his senior year of 2017 the Lions were not as strong as the year before and were only 17-13 overall. He batted .377 and had 25 steals and despite the team’s struggles continued to enhance his status as a high MLB draft choice.
It’s just that in 2017 there was another player who just did too much to gain the State Player of the Year honor instead. That player was Hagen Danner of Huntington Beach. He was a leading hitter and pitcher for an Oilers team that didn’t win the CIFSS D1 title, but did finish 28-5 and was No. 4 overall in the final state rankings. Danner, who also wasn’t too shabby himself in the 2017 MLB Draft with a No. 61 overall selection, was co-leader in the state with 12 homers, batted .355 and as a pitcher he went 11-1 with a 1.22 ERA. Both the L.A. Times and Orange County Register also selected Danner as their player of the year.
Danner also happens to be the last Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year from Orange County before Caraway for this season. The county had a four-year run of winners from 2009 to 2012. There also is Ian Stewart from La Quinta of Westminster for 2003, Tom Redington from Esperanza of Anaheim for 1982 and the legendary Walter Johnson of Fullerton for 1905. Other than those, however, that’s it as far as OC top honorees going back to the first name on the Cal-Hi Sports all-time list for 1899.
A current Huntington Beach player, power hitting first baseman Ralph Velazquez, also was considered for the Mr. Baseball selection. He appears to be the consensus top California player for the upcoming MLB Draft and he did connect for some big home runs in his career, including six this season and the one that beat JSerra in last year’s CIF SoCal D1 championship game. But just like Danner was the consensus choice in the local media in 2017 over Lewis, Caraway has the same advantage this time over Velazquez.
We also closely checked out Nolan Stevens from Franklin of Elk Grove for the overall top player honor.
“Trent would be the first to tell you that the guys surrounding him were part of what we think was the best infield in the country,” Kay said. “All of them challenged each other to be better. Even when things weren’t going well early in the season, Trent was the one counted on to carry the torch. He had a lot of responsibility to keep the flame going with all of the players who have come before him and those coming up.”
In addition to MLB players Lewis and Austin Hedges, JSerra has a lot of others currently starring at major colleges around the nation plus there’s Chase Strumpf and Davis Wendzel who are now playing at the AAA level and could be playing “in the show” soon.
Caraway was the clear leader for a JSerra squad that won the CIFSS D1 title for the second straight year and ended No. 1 in the state despite a 24-9 final record. Anyone who talks about an honor like Mr. Baseball closely related to being on a championship team can look no further than the years in which Trent is going to be the winner and Royce was not.
“I would say I’m pretty even-keeled,” Caraway said in a story earlier this week on the BVMSports.com web site. “If I’m training one day and it’s not the greatest day, I’m still out there doing it to get better. I would say my mindset doesn’t really change. Every day is a new day.”
With 49 hits and a .467 batting average going up against one of the toughest schedules any team in the nation faced, Caraway eclipsed the previous school record for most hits of 45 set by Lewis in his junior season of 2016. He also had impressive totals of seven homers, 11 doubles and 20 RBI. One of his biggest blasts was a two-run shot during the Lions’ 6-0 win over Corona in the CIFSS D1 semifinals.
A 6-3, 200-pounder who has signed with Oregon State, Trent’s OPS, which combines slugging percentage and on-base average, was a ridiculous 1.312.
Although he’s not going to go No. 1 overall like Royce Lewis, Caraway has been moving up on all of the MLB 2023 draft rankings that were all checked prior to finalizing this year’s Mr. Baseball honor. One that had Velazquez at No. 32 also had Trent at 67. Another one from ESPN had Trent at No. 39.
Unlike some other recent high school graduates, who are playing in collegiate summer leagues, players like Caraway are staying close to their home base and are concentrating on training before the upcoming draft. None of those players want to take any chances of getting hurt.
It doesn’t look like any MLB team would be taking much of a chance, though, if it chooses Trent Caraway in that draft. The odds are high that the Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year is going to be playing for a long time.
MR. BASEBALL STATE PLAYERS
OF THE YEAR ALL-TIME LIST
(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)
2023 – Trent Caraway, San Juan Capistrano JSerra 3B
2022 – Malcolm Moore, Sacramento McClatchy C
2021 – Marcelo Mayer, Chula Vista Eastlake SS
2020 – No selection (pandemic)
2019 – Keoni Cavaco, Chula Vista Eastlake P/3B
2018 – Joe Magrisi, San Diego Torrey Pines, P-OF
2017 – Hagen Danner, Huntington Beach P/C
2016 – Mickey Moniak,
Carlsbad La Costa Canyon OF
2015 – Joe DeMers,
Pleasant Hill College Park, P/INF
2014 – Brady Aiken,
San Diego Cathedral Catholic, P
2013 – Jack Flaherty, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, P-3B (Jr.)
2012 – Ty Moore, Santa Ana Mater Dei, P-INF
2011 – Henry Owens, Huntington Beach Edison, P
2010 – Cory Hahn, Santa Ana Mater Dei, P-OF
2009 – Tyler Matzek, Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley, P-1B
2008 – Aaron Hicks, Long Beach Wilson OF-P
2007 – Mike Moustakas, Chatsworth INF
2006 – Tyler Robertson, Fair Oaks Bella Vista OF-P
2005 – John Drennen, San Diego Rancho Bernardo OF
2004 – Matt Bush, San Diego Mission Bay INF
2003 – Ian Stewart, Westminster La Quinta INF
2002 – Delmon Young, Camarillo OF (Jr.)
2001 – J.P. Howell, Carmichael Jesuit P
2000 – Mike Stodolka, Corona Centennial DH-P
1999 – Ryan Christianson, Riverside Arlington C
1998 – Sean Burroughs, Long Beach Wilson 3B
1997 – Jon Garland, Granada Hills Kennedy P
1996 – Eric Chavez, San Diego Mt. Carmel SS-P
1995 – Eric Chavez, San Diego Mt. Carmel SS-P (Jr.)
1994 – McKay Christensen, Fresno Clovis West OF
1993 – Derrek Lee, Sacramento El Camino OF
1992 – Jason Kendall, Torrance C
1991 – Dmitri Young, Oxnard Rio Mesa 3B
1990 – Mike Lieberthal, Westlake Village Westlake C
1989 – Todd Johnson, Fresno Bullard C-P
1988 – Scott Davison, Redondo Beach Redondo Union P-DH
1987 – Tom Redington, Anaheim Esperanza SS
1986 – Brian Johnson, Oakland Skyline C
1985 – Gregg Jefferies, San Mateo Serra SS
1984 – James Mitchell, El Cerrito OF
1983 – Kurt Stillwell, Thousand Oaks SS
1982 – Bret Saberhagen, Reseda Cleveland P
1981 – Lenny Dykstra, Garden Grove OF
1980 – Darryl Strawberry, Los Angeles Crenshaw OF
1979 – John Elway, Granada Hills OF
1978 – Lloyd Moseby, Oakland 1B
1977 – Craig Landis, Napa Vintage SS
1976 – Rickey Henderson, Oakland Technical OF
1975 – Carney Lansford, Santa Clara Wilcox SS
1974 – Lonnie Smith, Compton Centennial OF
1973 – Robin Yount, Woodland Hills Taft SS
1972 – Scott McGregor, El Segundo P
1971 – Keith Hernandez, San Bruno Capuchino 1B-Semipro
1970 – Terry Forster, Santee Santana P
1969 – Jeff Burroughs, Long Beach Wilson OF
1968 – Tim Foli, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame SS
1967 – Bill Buckner, Napa 1B
1966 – Kemer Brett, El Segundo P
1965 – Bob Boone, San Diego Crawford P
1964 – Willie Crawford, Los Angeles Fremont OF
1963 – Bob Tolan, Los Angeles Fremont P-OF
1962 – Rudy May, Oakland Castlemont P
1961 – Bob Bailey, Long Beach Wilson SS
1960 – Wade Blasingame, Fresno Roosevelt P
1959 – John Boccabella, Kentfield Marin Catholic 3B
1958 – Dick Ellsworth, Fresno P
1957 – Johnny Callison, Bakersfield East OF
1956 – Mike McCormick, Alhambra Keppel P
1955 – Deron Johnson, San Diego OF
1954 – Don Drysdale, Van Nuys P
1953 – Frank Robinson, Oakland McClymonds 3B
1952 – Jim Gentile, San Francisco Sacred Heart 1B
1951 – Ed Cereghino, Daly City Jefferson P
1950 – J.W. Porter, Oakland Technical C
1949 – Paul Pettit, Harbor City Narbonne P
1948 – Karl Olson, Mill Valley Tamalpais OF
1947 – Gus Triandos, San Francisco Mission C
1946 – Jim Baxes, San Francisco Mission 2B
1945 – Jack Harshman, San Diego 1B
1944 – Jackie Jensen, Oakland OF
1943 – Herb Gorman, San Francisco Balboa 1B
1942 – Charlie Silvera, San Francisco St. Ignatius SS
1941 – Bob Brown, San Francisco Galileo SS
1940 – Duane Pillette, San Diego P
1939 – Ferris Fain, Oakland Roosevelt 1B
1938 – Bob Lemon, Long Beach Wilson SS-P
1937 – Rugger Ardizoia, San Francisco Commerce P
1936 – Bobby Doerr, Los Angeles Fremont 2B (Pro)
1935 – Ted Williams, San Diego Hoover OF
1934 – Frankie Hawkins, San Francisco Sacred Heart SS
1933 – Chet Smith, San Diego P
1932 – Gordon Maltzberger, Colton P
1931 – Joe DiMaggio, San Francisco Galileo SS (Semi-pro)
1930 – Athos Sada, San Diego OF
1929 – Arleigh Williams, Oakland Technical C
1928 – Frank Dobranksy, San Diego P
1927 – Willard Hershberger, Fullerton C
1926 – Dick Bartell, Alameda SS
1925 – Louie Almada, Los Angeles P
1924 – Joe Cronin, San Francisco Sacred Heart SS
1923 – Gene Hollister, San Francisco Mission P
1922 – Walter Berger, San Francisco Mission 3B
1921 – Babe Herman, Glendale 1B
1920 – Bernie Viveiros, Oakland Technical 2B
1919 – Ren Kelly, San Francisco Poly P
1918 – Brick Muller, San Diego OF
1917 – Johnny Gillespie, Oakland Technical P
1916 – Ray Lorrigan, San Francisco Poly P
1915 – Frank Schellenback, Hollywood P
1914 – Bert Cole, San Francisco Lowell P
1913 – George Kelly, San Francisco Poly 3B
1912 – Harry Heilmann, San Francisco Sacred Heart SS
1911 – Will James, Oroville P
1910 – Eddie French, San Francisco Sacred Heart P
1909 – Babe Hollis, San Francisco Cogswell P
1908 – Oscar Vitt, San Francisco Wilmerding SS
1907 – Lloyd Burton, Alameda SS
1906 – Mowatt Mitchell, Los Angeles 1B
1905 – Walter Johnson, Fullerton P
1904 – James Schaeffer, Berkeley C
1903 – Mead Hamilton, San Francisco Lowell P
1902 – Mead Hamilton, San Francisco Lowell 2B
1901 – Heinie Heitmuller, San Francisco Lick 1B
1900 – Orvall Overall, Visalia 1B-Town team
1899 – Will Moreing, Stockton P
Note: Selections prior to 1978 made by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis, based on researching each season.