LOS ANGELES (BVM) – Baseball season is in full swing and the state of California is a hotbed of elite high school talent. From Power 5 pledges to legitimate MLB prospects, the Golden State is littered with athletes who will shine on the diamond at the next level.
Although many more deserve recognition, here are California’s top 10 baseball players in the Class of 2022.
- Nick Dugan – RHP, St. Bernard’s
Dugan officially signed his national letter of intent to play at Stanford University back in November after verbally committing to the Cardinal as a sophomore. A Perfect Game 2021 preseason underclass All-American, Dugan led St. Bernard’s to a 10-2 regular season record and a perfect 10-0 mark against conference opponents during an abridged spring season as a junior. He was listed as Perfect Game’s top junior-year prospect in California following the season and the righthander has impressed once again as a senior. Dugan is 4-0 on the mound with a 1.25 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched. He’s also batting .615 (fifth best in the state) with four home runs and 20 RBIs as the Crusaders remain undefeated in conference play.
‘22 RHP Nick Dugan (CA) methodically working 89-90 to both sides & ripping off a tight mid-70s 12/6er 👀👇out of the same window.
— Shooter Hunt (@ShooterHunt) August 11, 2021
- Austin Charles – SS/OF, Stockdale
One of the most feared hitters in the state, the 6-foot-6 Charles put his bat on display during a win over Bakersfield in late March. He went a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of three-run home runs and seven RBIs in the 22-6 win that was called after five innings. It was Charles’ second multi-home run, seven-RBI game of his senior campaign. He’s batting .500 with five home runs, 30 RBIs and 27 runs scored on the season. Charles will take his talents to the next level at UC Santa Barbara.
1st in Section
9th in California
27th in 🇺🇸
📸 | ellieurmston / vsm pic.twitter.com/z4HnUgCO6B
— valleysportsmedia.com (@valleysportsmda) March 25, 2022
- Tyler Gough – RHP, JSerra
Despite missing most of the 2021 season with an injury, Gough reminded many scouts why he has one of the top arms in the state this summer on the travel ball circuit. The Oregon State commit has a fastball that tops out at 96 mph and his Perfect Game grade of 10 projects him as a potential very high draft pick and/or elite level college prospect. Gough’s teammate, David Horn, also deserves consideration for this list, but both guys will be special at the next level and beyond.
Tyler Gough (‘22, Cali.) enters out of the bullpen & shoves. FB 88-92 with pinpoint command. CB in low-70’s with 11-5 shape getting S&M. 5 punchouts in 2 innings of work. #WWBA #OregonState commit @California_PG pic.twitter.com/CAhYOeXZb4
— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) July 6, 2021
- Christopher Paciolla – SS, Temecula Valley
Paciolla is one of the best middle infielders in the state and showed as much at the SoCal ProCase. The UCLA commit’s defense is his calling card, but his improved hitting makes him an excellent prospect with the ability to play in the outfield as well. Paciolla is batting .381 with four home runs and 21 RBIs this season. He’ll be a name to watch when he suits up for the Bruins at the next level.
— Perfect Game California (@California_PG) March 11, 2022
- Braeden Sloan – LHP, Woodcreek
Sloan had a breakout summer, flashing his overpowering fastball at the California State Games and the Area Code Games. The 6-foot-4 southpaw has carried the momentum into his senior season where he has been dominant. Sloan finished with a complete game no-hitter in early April and a week later, struck out 10 batters in 5.2 innings of work. The USC commit is 4-0 this season with a 1.05 ERA and 51 strikeouts over 26.2 innings pitched.
Nasty work tonight 😤 LHP Braeden Sloan (@BraedenSloan) struck out 10 over 5.2 innings of work. Showed off an overpowering fastball and good off-speed.
— Five Tool Baseball (@FiveTool) April 12, 2022
- Henry Bolte – OF, Palo Alto
Bolte might be the best power hitter on this list and look no further than a broken dorm room window due to one of his opposite field home runs at last summer’s Area Code Games for evidence. The 6-foot-3 Texas commit homered in the first game of his senior campaign and has kept the momentum going. Bolte hit a pair of home runs to go along with six RBIs in a win over Santa Clara on March 30 for his second multi-home run game of the season. He’s batting .500 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in his final high school season before heading off to Austin.
So this just happened. NorCal ‘22 U and @TexasBaseball commit @henrybolte2 hit a 400’+ bomb oppo that broke a third story window in the dorms at USD! That is freaky stuff. @NorCalBaseball @_JeremyBooth pic.twitter.com/qqEsjC1uva
— NorCalU (@NorCalU1) August 9, 2021
- Jaden Noot – RHP/OF, Sierra Canyon
Noot is on one of the most talented teams in the state, and maybe the country, with seven Division I commits on the Sierra Canyon roster, but Noot truly stands out. The LSU commit has real two-way ability and his nine strikeouts over six innings on April 12 allowed the Trailblazers to improve to 21-0 on the season. A month prior, Noot struck out 10 batters with no walks across six innings in a shutout victory. His excellence on the mound has been nearly matched by his prowess at the plate, and it’s this versatility that makes Noot one of California’s best in the Class of 2022.
This ball was Nooted… Jaden Noot of Sierra Canyon High School with a quality at bat, working the count full and showing a nice two strike approach. Noot is an @LSUbaseball commit and a @PGAllAmerican. @SCBaseball_Var @B_Sakowski_PG @VCervinoPG @PG_Scouting pic.twitter.com/iQVe9nKo30
— Perfect Game California (@California_PG) February 23, 2022
- Cutter Coffey – SS/RHP, Liberty
Perhaps the most athletic on this list, Coffey’s ability at shortstop and on the mound makes him a legitimate two-way prospect for the next level. The 6-foot-2 Texas commit is 3-1 on the bump this season with a 1.19 ERA and 29 strikeouts across 17.2 innings pitched while his 34 runs scored rank fourth in the state. Coffey is also smooth in the infield, boasting a .920 fielding percentage, and he’s racked up 19 home runs and 86 RBIs with a .409 batting average throughout his career at Liberty High School.
‘22 Cutter Coffey (@LHS_Patriots) smokes one down the line and stretches it to 2B. Lean, athletic build w/ some barrel whip. High level two-way ability. #Texas commit. #PGHS #PGDraft pic.twitter.com/RGmTszCSkl
— Perfect Game California (@California_PG) April 12, 2022
- Mikey Romero – SS, Orange Lutheran
The top-ranked team in California also fields the top shortstop in the state. Romero is a premier defender who compiled a perfect fielding percentage as a junior. The LSU commit has a batting average of .321 over the last two seasons with 15 extra base hits, 27 RBIs and 28 runs scored. But in a state and on a team full of talent, Romero’s defense stands head and shoulders above the rest. He’ll be a name to watch in Baton Rouge and beyond.
ICYMI, Pre Season All American lists dropped yesterday with regional teams (CA here: https://t.co/p00OqywtFO . Headlined by @olubaseball SS Mikey Romero who had 2 triples yesterday at Servite. The top ranked SS in CA is committed to @LSUbaseball@PG_Scouting @VCervinoPG pic.twitter.com/2LhndGp2ri
— Perfect Game California (@California_PG) March 16, 2022
- Malcom Moore – C, McClatchy
One of the nation’s premier left-handed hitters, Moore’s value trumps all other players in the Golden State. His raw power is obvious and has led to an impressive senior campaign. Moore leads the state in slugging percentage (1.682), is second in batting average (.634) and home runs (11) and fourth in on-base percentage (.727). He’s blasted 25 home runs and knocked in 130 runs on a .495 batting average throughout his career at McClatchy. The reigning Sacramento Bee Player of the Year has a bright future ahead of him.
Out in Ramona, CA, to see C Malcolm Moore. Stanford recruit didn't waste any time, launching his ninth home run of the season to right-center field in his first at-bat.@PBR_California | @prepbaseball | @ShooterHunt | #mlbdraft | #PBRBombSquad pic.twitter.com/eSOn9rWHnI
— Nathan Rode (@NathanRode) April 13, 2022