5 players to watch at National High School Invitational baseball

5 players to watch at National High School Invitational baseball


5 players to watch at National High School Invitational baseball


The National High School Invitational begins Wednesday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. with eight games.

Among the 16 teams in the field, only Walton (Marietta, Ga.) is currently in the Super 25, at No. 11. Huntington Beach (Calif.) was ranked No. 4 in the preseason but has gotten off to a tough start and fell out of the rankings last week.

Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), which won the event in 2012 and 2013, becomes the first team to compete three times. The 2014 champion, The First Academy (Orlando), is also in the field.

RELATED: Matchups set for National High School Invitiational

Here are five players to watch:

Huntington Beach pitcher Hagen Danner (Photo: Matt Masin, Orange County Register)

Hagen Danner (Photo: Matt Masin, Orange County Register)


School: Huntington Beach, Calif.

Position: Righthanded pitcher

Why we are watching: The junior righthander went 7-2 with a 1.15 ERA last season, striking out 65 in 61 innings and was named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Preseason Team. He already has committed to UCLA. Danner and teammate Nick Pratto, a lefthanded pitcher/outfielder, helped lead USA Baseball’s U18 team to a World Cup title over the summer.

Carter Keiboom (Photo: Walton Baseball)

Carter Keiboom (Photo: Walton Baseball)


School: Walton (Marietta, Ga.)

Position: Infielder

Why we are watching:  The Clemson signee was co-MVP of the Under Armour All-America Game last summer and is a member of the ALL-USA Preseason Team. Although he could be a high draft choice, Carter would be the third Kieboom brother to play for Clemson if he suits up for the Tigers next season.

Blake Rutherford (Photo: Eric Dearborn)

Blake Rutherford (Photo: Eric Dearborn)


School: Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.)

Position: Outfielder

Why we are watching: An ALL-USA Preseason selection, he hit .435 last season and stole 22 bases and played on the U18 team in the World Cup. He has been a UCLA commit since ninth grade but is expected to be one of the top high school prospects drafted in June.

Brax Garrett (Photo: Emily Taylor)

Brax Garrett (Photo: Emily Taylor)


School: Florence, Ala.

Position: Lefthanded pitcher

Why we’re watching: The 6-3 Vanderbilt signee was 7-1 last season with a 0.73 ERA and had 141 strikeouts with just 11 walks. An ALL-USA Preseason selection, he was named Alabama’s Mr. Baseball and went on to win a gold medal with Team USA last summer.


School: Flanagan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)

Position: Shortstop

Why we’re watching: Vientos has a chance to be one of the top high school players selected in the 2017 draft. He committed to Miami in September 2014 and is a veteran of USA Baseball, having played in the 15U World Cup in 2014. At 6-3, he can hit for power and average and has the size and skill to remain a shortstop at the next level.


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