Mr. Baseball 2024: Seth Hernandez

Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year Seth Hernandez of Corona High in Riverside County definitely is one of those guys who hit and pitched his way to the top. Photos: @CIFSS / & Corona Norco Unified via Gatorade.

It’s rare for a junior to get the state’s top individual honor and it was going to be really hard this year for one senior in particular to be topped, but Corona’s big-time pitcher who also led the State Team of the Year in home runs and RBI just had too much to be denied. Hernandez also is just the fourth winner all-time from the Inland Empire since 1899.

For a rundown of the other State Players of the Year for baseball,

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In the older years of the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year all-time list, which were done retroactively in the 1970s and early 1980s based on research by founder and historian Nelson Tennis, there were so many possibilities among great players that choosing a junior just didn’t happen.

The first junior to be named for the prestigious honor in real time was future major league third baseman Eric Chavez from Mt. Carmel of San Diego in 1995. There had only been two since then until this week — Delmon Young of Camarillo in 2002 and Jack Flaherty from Harvard-Westlake of Studio City in 2013.

The junior this season who became a major candidate to be Mr. Baseball about halfway through the regular season kept going and going for a team at Corona High in Riverside County that wound up as the CIF Southern Section Division I champion and No. 1 in the state. Now, junior Seth Hernandez has been named as the 2024 honoree.

Major League Baseball scouts had known all about Hernandez coming into the season even though he had not played an inning of high school competition based on his appearances in summer, USA Baseball and travel club events. Hernandez didn’t attend a high school as a freshman and sophomore as he was home schooled.

Hernandez already was on top of the CA Prep Baseball Report player rankings for the Class of 2025 before he even stepped foot on a field representing Corona High School. Photo:

Corona already was going to have a highly regarded team entering the 2024 season, but adding Seth helped put the Panthers over the top. His pitching combined with returning senior Ethan Schiefelbein created a duo at the top of the pitching rotation for head coach Andy Wise that never lost during the season. Schiefelbein, who was the Riverside Press-Enterprise Inland Empire Player of the Year as a junior and is going to UCLA, also had no issues giving Hernandez advice and they trained together frequently.

“Everybody knows about the metrics (mph, spin rate, exit velo, etc) but this season he got to show all the other aspects of who he is,” Wise wrote in a text after hearing of Hernandez’s selection as Mr. Baseball. “Seth is a great teammate, worker, competitor, base runner, he’s coachable, fun, and absolutely loves the big moment.”

The pitching aspect of Seth’s game is primarily what has him generally ranked among the top three players among those from college and high school across the nation for the MLB Draft in 2025. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander had his innings limited early in the season, but he really started humming with a two-hitter and 11 strikeouts on April 3 in a 8-0 win over Aquinas of San Bernardino. Hernandez ended the season at 9-0 with a 0.62 ERA and with 73 strikeouts in 56 innings.

The batting part of Seth’s game emerged right away in the first tournament of the year. Facing two-time defending CIFSS D1 champion JSerra of San Juan Capistrano at the PBR California Spring Invitational, Hernandez had a double, triple and three RBI in a 4-1 victory over the Lions. He later had a two-homer, six-RBI day in a 11-0 win over Etiwanda. Hernandez ended the season leading the Panthers in home runs with eight and in RBI with 34. He also was near the top of the team for batting average (.352).

Schiefelbein pitched the shutout for Corona in its 5-0 win over Harvard-Westlake that clinched the CIFSS title and the 30-3 final record. Hernandez didn’t get a hit, but earlier in the playoffs he had several signature outings. In a 3-1 victory in eight innings in the second round vs Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Seth went 7 1/3 innings with just three hits allowed and eight strikeouts. He also had an RBI single. In a 3-1 win in the semifinals over Huntington Beach, Hernandez tossed a four-hitter over six innings with six strikeouts and he went 2-for-3 at the plate with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored.

It’s safe to say that if Hernandez had not done that much in those playoff games that it may not have been enough for him to gain the state’s top honor. And if his teammates had not come through in those early CIFSS playoff games (one was 0-0 going to the seventh and the other was extra innings), an early exit also would have prevented it. That all happened and all that was needed because there was a returning player in California this year, Harvard-Westlake’s Bryce Rainer, who has been in the No. 1 spot for the Class of 2024 and did nothing to give it up.

Rainer, the state freshman, sophomore and junior of the year for the 2021-2023 seasons, had another stellar campaign with a sizzling .505 batting average playing in one of the top three leagues in the state. He was not only strongly considered to get the final Mr. Baseball slot coming into the season but will go into the archives as the 2024 Senior Player of the Year. The folks at California Prep Baseball Report still selected Bryce as its player of the year. Hernandez has previously been named as the Gatorade State Player of the Year and L.A. Times Player of the Year (both of which could have gone to Rainer).

Another player who was considered a strong finalist was Stanford-bound Parker Warner from Granada of Livermore, the top pitcher and one of the leading hitters for a team that went 32-1 and won the CIF NorCal D1 championship.

Of the previous juniors who’ve been Mr. Baseball, the only one who was able to repeat the following year as a senior was Chavez, who followed up his 1995 season with another series of great outings for Mt. Carmel in 1996.

Hernandez also is only the fourth Mr. Baseball winner from the Inland Empire going back to the first season on the all-time list, which is for 1899. The last one was Mike Stodolka from Corona Centennial in 2000, who followed Ryan Christianson from Arlington of Riverside from the previous season (1999). The only other one is Gordon Maltzberger of Colton for 1932, who is for a season in between immortals Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

More big news at Corona from Hernandez being named Mr. Baseball is that teammate Anthony Murphy this week also has been named as Sophomore State Player of the Year. This marks the first time since the sophomore honors began in 1988 and go back to 1950 that one school has had both the junior and sophomore state players of the year at the same time.

Hernandez has said that he became a fan of the Vanderbilt University program in Nashville during a recent College World Series. He has committed to the Commodores, but of course if all of those 2025 MLB Draft projections are correct he’ll likely be getting a rather large pro contract. Regardless of where he goes after next season, the future sure looks bright for our 2024 Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year.

“Everybody I came across this year that had already known Seth had nothing but the same great type of things to say about him,” Wise said. “He comes from a great family and he has a great support system. It will be exciting to watch him continue to grow in his game.”


(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

Trent Caraway had a record-breaking season in 2023 for JSerra. Photo: @Trinity_BSB /

2024 – Seth Hernandez, Corona P-INF (Jr.)
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, East Bakersfield 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.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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