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High School  | General  | 2/9/2024

Pacific Region Dream Team & Top Tools

David Rawnsley     

California is in the midst of outstanding run of baseball talent that continues to solidify its status as the top baseball state in the country.  Nine members of the 2024 class were Perfect Game All-Americans and 13 currently rank in the Top 100 in the 2024 class rankings nationally.  And the talent in the 2024 class seems a bit behind the 2025 class, which boasts of an incredible 17 players ranked in the Top 50 nationally, including 6 of the top 11.

That talent is naturally reflected in the Perfect Game Top 50 team rankings, where California schools hold down 8 of the top 50 slots, with Corona HS checking in at second overall, Orange Lutheran HS at fourth and Harvard-Westlake at seventh.  Those three schools combine for six All-Region selections, with Corona having three in junior shortstop Brady Ebel, senior left-hander Ethan Schiefelbein and junior right-hander Seth Hernandez.

Hawaii is also a member of this region and would have had the starting catcher on the team in Aukai Kea (Sr., IMG Academy) if Kea hadn’t decided to spend his senior year at IMG Academy in Florida.  Junior shortstop Bruin Agbayani (Jr., Iolani HS, Haw.) should be a strong consideration for next year’s All-Region team.

 C – Trent Grindlinger (Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif.)

Grindlinger is the middle brother of the baseball Grindlinger’s, with older brother Brad a freshman pitcher at Charleston Southern and younger brother Jared the fourth ranked player in the 2027 class.  Trent is a physical 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver who already has two plus tools in his arm strength and his raw power and is the second ranked catcher in the 2025 class nationally and 63rd overall. 

1B – Nicholas Montgomery (Sr., Cypress HS, Calif.)

Montgomery has been a primary catcher on defense thus far but has extensive experience at first base and profiles best there at the next level, whether that be at Arizona State or in professional baseball.  He has some of the best raw bat speed and raw power in the 2024 class and was a participant in the MLB High School Home Run Derby.

MIF – Brady Ebel (Jr., Corona HS, Calif.)

Ebel and his sophomore brother Trey created a big wave in SoCal baseball circles this fall when they transferred from Etiwanda HS to Corona HS, joining All-Pacific Region hurler Seth Hernandez on a potential powerhouse program for the next two years.  Ebel is the 5th ranked prospect nationally in the 2025 class and hit .367-2-17 as a sophomore while going 5-0 on the mound.

MIF – Charlie Bates (Sr., Palo Alto HS, Calif.)

Bates is a defense first middle infielder with very smooth actions and the ability to play on the run.  He’s flashed some pop in his left-handed bat and projects to have some strength as he fills out his 6-foot-1 frame.  A PG All-American, Bates is signed with Stanford, which is literally right across the street from Palo Alto High School.

3B – Quentin Young (Jr., Oaks Christian HS, Calif.)

Young was originally a Class of 2026 player but reclassified to 2025, his age appropriate class, last year.  He is nephew of former big leaguers Dmitri and Delmon Young, both of whom were considered right at the top of their high school prospect lists, so Quentin’s number two ranking in the 2025 class is consistent with his family background.  Young’s best tools are his enormous raw bat speed and power, his 6-foot-5, 215-frame and a mid-90’s throwing arm.

OF – Derek Curiel (Sr., Orange Lutheran HS, Calif.)

Curiel has been both Orange Lutheran’s starting center fielder since the beginning of his freshman year and a fixture atop the Perfect Game 2024 class rankings.  This is his third year in the Pacific All-Region outfield as well.  He’s a polished performer in all regards and only needs to add more power to his game to become a five-tool player.

OF – Josiah Hartshorn (Jr., Orange Lutheran HS, Calif.)

Hartshorn, who is still 16 years old, is a physical specimen at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds and has very solid run/throw tools for his age and size at 6.73 in the sixty with a 94 mph outfield arm.  His best tools, however, are all on the offensive side, where the right-handed hitter has outstanding raw power and solid barrel skills.  He hit .316-3-24 as a sophomore starter at Orange Lutheran High School and .426-3-21/1.303 OPS in 24 PG tournament games.  His batting practice at the 2023 PG Underclass All-American Games was one of the most impressive of the entire year at PG events.

OF - Logan de Groot (Sr., Santa Margarita Catholic HS, Calif.)

de Groot is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-handed hitter who had a strong 2023 summer and fall and enters the spring with some momentum in the scouting community.  He’s a 6.54 runner with a 93 mph outfield arm but the UCLA signee’s best tool is his bat speed and overall offensive potential.

LHP Boston Bateman (Sr., Camarillo HS, Calif.)

Bateman is a physical presence on the mound at 6-foot-8, 240-pounds and his 90-94 mph fastball gets on hitters quickly.  He’s gone 5-2, 1.60 with 101 strikeouts in 57 innings over the past two springs for Camarillo High School and is ranked 61st overall in the Perfect Game 2024 class rankings.

RHP Seth Hernandez (Jr., Corona HS, Calif.)

Hernandez is the top ranked pitcher nationally in the 2025 class and compares well with many of the most elite high school pitchers of the last decade.  He works comfortably in the 93-95 mph range and his change up and upper 70’s curveball are already plus pitches.  Hernandez allowed only 5 hits in 20 PG innings in 2023 while striking out 36 hitters.

RHP Levi Sterling (Sr., Notre Dame HS, Calif)

Sterling has made his long-anticipated switch from the middle infield to the mound, where the 6-foot-4 athlete has an electric arm with a 92-94 mph fastball and a quality array of three solid secondary pitches.  Working out the bullpen as a junior last spring, Sterling went 1-1, 0.55 with 59 strikeouts and only 10 walks allowed in 38 innings.  He’s also one of the youngest top prospects in the 2024 class and won’t turn 18 years old until long after the draft.

LHP Ethan Schiefelbein (Sr., Corona HS, Calif.)

Schiefelbein is the second ranked left-handed pitcher in the 2024 class nationally and one of the most dominant pitchers in the country.  He struck out all six hitters he faced at the PG National Showcase, leading to a berth in the Perfect Game All-American Classic.  As a junior at Corona High School, Schiefelbein went 7-1, 0.64 with 94 strikeouts and only 15 walks allowed in 55 innings.  He relies on a low 90’s fastball that will touch 94-95 mph to go with a very well tunneled upper 70’s curveball that gets lots of swing and miss.

LHP Mason Brassfield (Sr., Bakersfield Christian HS, Calif.)

Brassfield is a very athletic 6-foot-4, 190-pound southpaw who has been a two-way prospect for many years before finally asserting himself as a pitcher in 2023, including a dominating appearance at the Perfect Game All-American Classic.  The TCU signee features a 92-94 mph fastball and an outstanding slider that combines both velocity (84-87 mph) with sharpness and depth.  He went 9-1, 2.07 with 145 strikeouts in 67 innings as a junior at Bakersfield Christian, with his only shortcoming being 52 walks.

UT – Bryce Rainer (Sr., Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.)

Rainer is ranked 21st nationally in the 2024 PG class rankings, primarily as a 6-foot-3, 190-pound left-handed hitting middle infielder with big juice in his bat.  But he may be a 50/50 guy with the scouting community as a right-handed pitcher even though he has limited recent experience on the mound.  Rainer will fill the closer’s role for Harvard-Westlake this spring and has been regularly 94-96 with a nasty curveball in pre-season scrimmages.

Pacific Region Top Tools

Best Hitter for Average: Derek Curiel (Sr., Orange Lutheran HS, Calif.)

Curiel has always hit better with wood bats in the summer and fall than with metal bats in the spring, an encouraging sign for his development as a hitter.

Best Hitter for Power: Nicholas Montgomery (Sr., Cypress HS, Calif.)

Montgomery gets the nod here based on present power and track record, not to mention mature strength.  But in six months either Quinten Young or Jacob Hartshorn could have easily surpassed him.

Best Runner: Matthew Priest (Sr., Maranatha Christian School, Calif.)

Priest missed most of the 2023 season with a leg injury but had already established himself as one of the fastest, if not the fastest, runner in high school baseball nationally.  He ran a 6.15 sixty at the 2022 Junior National Showcase with a 1.46 10-yard split and, if anything, that speed plays up on the bases.

Best Defensive Catcher: Jack Giordano (Sr., Patrick Henry HS, Calif.)

Giordano is a four-year starter behind the plate for Patrick Henry High School and stands out for his quickness and athleticism behind the plate, along with his 82 mph arm.  He is signed with hometown U. San Diego.

Best Defensive Infielder: Charlie Bates (Sr., Palo Alto HS, Calif.)

There are 11 shortstops listed in the Top 50 in the Perfect Game 2024 class rankings and Bates is probably the only one who scouts feel is a sure thing to stay at shortstop in the long term.  That speaks highly of his all-around tools and skills.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Derek Curiel (Sr., Orange Lutheran HS, Calif.)

Curiel is a pure centerfielder who gets outstanding jumps and shows plus range with a long and easy stride that covers lots of ground.  His arm is only MLB average but he makes very accurate throws with a quick release.

Best Defensive Arm: Mason Greenhouse (Jr., Aquinas HS, Calif.)

Greenhouse threw 99 mph during drills at the 2023 PG Junior National Showcase without much effort and showed the same type of strength and accuracy in the games.  Interestingly, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Miami commit has limited experience on the mound despite his profile pitcher’s build and huge arm strength.

Best Fastball: Duncan Marsten (Sr., Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.)

Marsten came back last year from Tommy John surgery but has really taken another step in his development this off-season, regularly working 97-99 in bullpens and pre-season scrimmages.  His injury history and the fact he will be 19.2 on draft day may put a ceiling on his draft stock but the 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander is sure to be one of the hardest throwers in the country.

Best Off-Speed Stuff: Levi Sterling (Sr., Notre Dame HS, Calif)

For someone who has had more limited repetitions on the mound than most of his peers, Sterling’s ability to throw three different secondary pitches for strikes, and especially a quality change up, is one of the reasons that scouts are so high on him going into the spring.

Best Pitchability: Tommy Bridges (Sr., Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.)

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Bridges draws obvious Greg Maddux comparisons for his size and his pitching style.  He has precision command of an 88-92 mph fastball that may be his third best pitch following is change up and slider.  Bridges went 7-1, 0.59 as Harvard-Westlake’s lead starting pitcher as a junior.

Best Multi-Sport Athlete: Matthew Priest (Sr., Maranatha Christian School, Calif.)

Priest qualified for 2022 California state track and field championships as a sophomore with a 10.64 100 meters and 22.13 200 meters to his credit.  2026 shortstop Jacob Webster (Oak Hills HS, Calif) could win this distinction the next two years, as the 6-foot-3, 190-pound shortstop is the 115th ranked player in the 2026 class and is already getting serious recruiting attention as a quarterback.