Orange County has a rich history of producing Major League Baseball players.
Among the first was Walter Johnson, who went to Fullerton High School before embarking upon a career that included 5,917 innings, 417 wins and 3,509 strikeouts. Fullerton High had another Hall of Famer, Arky Vaughan. Another Hall of Famer, Gary Carter, played at Sunny Hills.
Garry Templeton led the National League in hits in 1979 and finished his MLB career with 2,096 hits. He played at Santa Ana Valley. Western’s Andy Messersmith won 20 games for the Angels and for the Dodgers, and Brea Olinda’s Randy Jones won the National League’s Cy Young Award in 1976.
The current Orange County players in the major leagues include Gold Glove winners, World Series champions and a Cy Young winner and a Most Valuable Player. Orange County also has a couple of MLB managers and several MLB coaches.
Here’s a look at Orange County players who are on MLB 40-man rosters this season:
ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS ON MLB 40-MAN ROSTERS
Player, Position, MLB Team, High School
Kolby Allard, P, Texas, San Clemente HS: Allard was a dominating left-handed pitcher for San Clemente and was selected in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft by Atlanta. He made his MLB debut with the Braves in 2018 and has been up and down in the Texas system since 2019.
Former El Toro High star Nolan Arenado is now a star third baseman and Gold Glove winner for the St. Louis Cardinals. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Nolan Arenado, Inf, St. Louis, El Toro HS: He batted .517 with 45 hits in 28 games in his senior season of 2009 at El Toro where he played the same high quality defense he played in the big leagues, having been drafted by Colorado in ‘09. A Gold Glove recipient for all eight of his previous MLB years and a six-time All-Star, Arenado made his MLB debut with Colorado in 2013 and now is with the Cardinals.
Laguna Hills High graduate Shane Bieber was the unanimous winner of the American League Cy Young Award in 2020. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)
Shane Bieber, P, Cleveland, Laguna Hills HS: A 7-5 record as a senior at Laguna Hills in 2013 might have kept his profile lower than deserved, but his 75 strikeouts in 78 innings showed the potential. Bieber was drafted out of UC Santa Barbara in 2016 and has been great since making his MLB debut in 2018 with an 11-5 record and won the American League’s Cy Young Award in 2020 when he posted a WHIP of .0866 and averaged 14 strikeouts per nine innings.
Brad Boxberger, P, Milwaukee, Foothill HS: Boxberger was 12-0 with a 1.17 ERA at Foothill in his senior year of 2006 and also was an outstanding hitter. After pitching at USC he was drafted by Cincinnati in the first round in 2009, make his MLB debut with San Diego in 2012, was an All-Star with Tampa Bay in 2015 and now is a Brewer.
Angels pitcher Griffin Canning starred at Santa Margarita High and UCLA. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Griffin Canning, P, Angels, Santa Margarita HS: Canning was a strikeouts master at Santa Margarita in 2014 with 123 strikeouts in 88 innings. After continued success at UCLA Canning was taken by the Angels in the second round of the 2017 draft, made his MLB debut with the Angels in 2019 but injuries have slowed his development.
Matt Chapman, Inf, Toronto, El Toro HS: He is not the best third baseman from El Toro, only because Nolan Arenado went to El Toro, but what a great career Chapman has had since being drafted by Oakland out of Cal State Fullerton in the first round in 2014 and making his MLB debut in 2017. He is a three-time Gold Glove winner, hit 24 or more home runs in three seasons and was traded to Toronto in March.
New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole starred at Orange Lutheran High and UCLA before becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors for the last decade. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Gerrit Cole, P, New York Yankees, Orange Lutheran HS: As a senior at Orange Lutheran in 2008 Cole allowed only five earned runs in 75 2/3 innings in which he had 121 strikeouts with only 118 walks. He was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the ’08 draft, opted to go to UCLA and was taken in the first round of the 2011 draft by Pittsburgh, make his MLB debut with the Pirates in 2013, and has been one of the game’s top pitchers ever since.
Hans Crouse, P, Philadelphia, Dana Hills HS: Crouse was the Orange County pitcher of the year in 2017 when he had a 1.17 ERA and struck out 103 batters in 66 innings. He made his MLB debut with the Phillies in 2021 and is on their 40-man roster this season but has spent 2022 in the minors so far.
Hagen Danner, P/C/1B, Toronto, Huntington Beach HS: Danner was the Orange County player of the year in 2017. He was drafted out of Huntington Beach by Toronto in the second round of the ’17 draft, is on the Blue Jays 40-man roster and has pitched, caught and played first base in their minor-league system.
Noah Davis, P, Colorado, Huntington Beach HS: He capped his 8-2 senior year at Huntington Beach by striking out 10 in his complete-game win over Hart in the 2015 CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game. Davis went to UC Santa Barbara, was drafted from there in the 11th round by Cincinnati in 2018 and now is in the minor-league system of Colorado that has him on its 40-man roster.
David Fletcher, Inf, Angels, Cypress HS: Fletcher was an All-Orange County shortstop at Cypress in his senior year of 2013. He went to Loyola Marymount, was drafted by the Angels in sixth round in 2015, made his MLB debut in 2018 and has started at a variety of positions, mostly second base, for the Angels.
Freddie Freeman finished his career at El Modena High by being named the Orange County baseball player of the year in 2007. Freeman was named the National League MVP on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. (File photo: Orange County Register/SCNG)
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Dodgers, El Modena HS: He was the Orange County player of the year in 2007 when he batted .417 and was 6-1 on the mound with a 1.27 ERA. Atlanta drafted Freeman in the second round in 2007, he made his MLB debut in 2009, was the National League MVP in 2020, is a five-time All-Star, a star of the Braves’ 2021 World Series championship team and signed with the Dodgers before this season.
Austin Hedges, C, Cleveland, JSerra HS: Hedges was an All-Orange County catcher as a senior at JSerra in 2011. He was drafted out of JSerra by San Diego in the second round, made his MLB debut with the Padres in 2015, has started more than 480 games as a major-league catcher and has been the Guardians No. 1 catcher the past two seasons.
Kyle Hendricks, P, Chicago Cubs, Capistrano Valley HS: Hendricks was an All-County pitcher at Capistrano Valley, was drafted by the Angels in the 39th round of the 2008 draft, opted to go to Dartmouth instead of signing, and was drafted in the eighth round by Texas in 2011. He had a league-best 2.13 ERA for the Cubs in their 2016 World Series championship season and has made more than 200 starts for them since making his MLB debut in 2014.
Kyle Higashioka, C, New York Yankees, Edison HS: He was drafted out of Edison by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. Higashioka spent 12 seasons in the Yankees minor league system before making his MLB debut with them in 2017 and seen more action as the Yankees catcher over the past two seasons.
Cole Irvin, P, Oakland, Servite: An outstanding lefty pitcher for Servite, Irvin was drafted in the 29th round by Toronto after his senior season of 2012 but he opted to go to Oregon before signing with Philadelphia after being selected by them in the fifth round of the ’16 draft. He made his MLB debut with the Phillies in 2019 and has been in the starting rotation for the A’s last season and this season.
James Kaprielian (11) of Beckman pitches a no hitter against University during a Pacific Coast League baseball game in 2012.File: Steven Georges, for the Orange County Register/SCNG
James Kaprielian, P, Oakland, Beckman: He was All-Orange County first team as a senior in 2012 when he was 12-2 with a 0.84 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings. The New York Yankees selected Kaprielian in the first round of the 2015 draft, made his MLB debut with the A’s in 2020 and has been in their starting rotation the past two seasons.
Ian Kennedy, P, Arizona, La Quinta HS: Kennedy was a great pitcher for the La Quinta team that won a CIF championship in 2003. He pitched at USC from where he was a first-round pick of the Yankees and has appeared in more than 450 games for a variety of teams with a standout season of 2011 when he was 21-4 for Arizona.
Royce Lewis is a standout with JSerra Catholic this season. He turns a double play against Servite.Lewis will be a top first round draft pick in the June 12th MLB draft.(Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)
Royce Lewis, Inf, Minnesota, JSerra HS: A three-time Trinity League first-team selection and a Gatorade state player of the year, Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut this season after recovering from an ACL tear but is back on the injured list again after tearing the same knee ligament while playing center field May 29.
Michael Lorenzen, P, Angels, Fullerton HS: An outstanding pitcher and fine hitter at Fullerton High, Lorenzen was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 10th round in 2010, decided to play at Cal State Fullerton and was drafted out of CS Fullerton by Cincinnati in the first round in 2013. He was mostly a reliever for the Reds and became a member of the Angels starting rotation this season.
Ryan McMahon, Inf, Colorado, Mater Dei HS: McMahon was the Orange County player of the year as a senior in 2013 at Mater Dei where he also started a few varsity football games at quarterback. He was drafted by the Rockies in the second round in 2013, made his MLB debut with the club in ’17 and has been their starting third baseman for much of his career.
Tyler Mahle, P, Cincinnati, Westminster HS: Mahle was All-County in 2013 as a senior at Westminster where his brother Greg also was an outstanding pitcher and had a brief stay in the major leagues. Mahle was drafted out of high school by Cincinnati in the sixth round in ’13, made his MLB debut with the Reds in 2017 and has since made more than 100 starts for them including a team-high 33 starts in 2021.
Tyler Matzek, P, Atlanta, Capistrano Valley HS: Matzek had an incredible Orange County player of the year senior season at Capistrano Valley in 2009 when he was 13-1 with a 0.96 ERA and pitched a complete game and homered in the Cougars 1-0 win over Edison in a CIF championship game at Angel Stadium. Colorado drafted him in the first round a couple of weeks later and Matzek made his MLB debut for the Rockies in 2014, had control issues that kept him out of the majors for a few seasons but he came back to become an important pitcher in the Braves bullpen.
Dylan Moore, Inf/OF, Seattle, El Dorado HS: Moore batted .446 his senior year at El Dorado in 2011, played at Cypress College for two years and then went to Central Florida before being drafted by Texas in the seventh round in 2015. He made his MLB debut in 2019 and continues to play a variety of positions for the Mariners.
Andre Pallante, P, St. Louis, San Clemente HS: Pallante helped San Clemente win the National High School Invitational tournament as a junior in 2015 and was All-County in ‘16. He was an All-American pitcher at UC Irvine, was drafted in 2019 by the Cardinals and made his MLB debut with them in April.
Nick Pratto, Inf, Kansas City, Huntington Beach HS: Pratto, also a fine pitcher at Huntington Beach where he was Sunset League player of the year and a multi-season All-County selection, was drafted in the first round by the Royals a couple of weeks after his senior season in 2017. He is on the Royals 40-man roster and has played first base and in the outfield in the team’s minor league system.
Rob Refsnyder, OF, Boston, Laguna Hills HS: Refsnyder was an All-CIF baseball and football player at Laguna Hills, and was an all-state football player for the Hawks, and played baseball at the University of Arizona. He made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2015, has played for Minnesota, Texas, Toronto and Tampa Bay and revived his career with the Red Sox this season.
Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval, a Mission Viejo High product, throws to the plate during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Indians at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Patrick Sandoval, P, Angels, Mission Viejo: He pitched a complete game for the Diablos in their 3-1 win over Chino Hills in a CIF championship game in 2015 when Sandoval was 9-3 with a 0.97 ERA and named to the All-County team. Sandoval was drafted by Houston in the 11th round in 2015, was traded to the Angels in 2018 and made his MLB debut in ’19 and is one of the team’s more dependable starters this season.
Connor Seabold, P, Boston, Newport Harbor: He was a standout pitcher for Newport Harbor, was drafted by Baltimore in the 19th round out of high school in 2014, and was an outstanding pitcher at Cal State Fullerton before he was drafted by Philadelphia in the third round in 2017. Seabold was traded to the Red Sox in August 2020, made his MLB debut with them last year and made his second MLB start this season.
Trayce Thompson, OF, Dodgers, Santa Margarita: Unlike his brothers Mychel and Klay, Trayce did not play basketball at Santa Margarita and instead became an outstanding outfielder for the Eagles. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox a couple of weeks after his Santa Margarita senior season ended in 2009, made his MLB debut with the White Sox in 2015, played two seasons with the Dodgers and played elsewhere before returning to the Dodgers this season.
Managers who played Orange County high school baseball
Aaron Boone, New York Yankees, Villa Park HS: Boone was an excellent infielder at Villa Park where he was a Century League player of the year. He played at USC, was taken by Cincinnati in the third round of the 1994 draft, made his MLB debut with the Reds in 1997 to start a 12-year career in the majors, became a broadcaster and was hired as Yankees manager in 2017 and has led them to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons.
Phil Nevin, Angels, El Dorado HS: Nevin was a terrific baseball and football player at El Dorado, was a punter and kicker at Cal State Fullerton where he also was a star on the Titans baseball team and was drafted by Houston in the first round of the 1992 MLB Draft. He played in the majors for 12 seasons, was a minor-league manager for several years including one with the Orange County Flyers, was an MLB coach including with the Angels this season before becoming the team’s interim manager when Joe Maddon was fired on June 7.
Coaches who played Orange County high school baseball
Howie Clark, Chicago White Sox, Huntington Beach HS: Clark was a hard-hitting first baseman at Huntington Beach High. He played parts of six seasons in the major leagues and is now a White Sox assistant hitting coach.
Hank Conger, Minnesota, Huntington Beach HS: Conger was an All-County catcher at Huntington Beach, was an Angels first-round draft pick in 2006 and started many games for the Angels before finishing his career with Tampa Bay in 2016. He is the Twins first base and catching coach.
Chris Cron, Oakland, El Dorado HS: Cron was a dangerous run-producing hitter at El Dorado. He was drafted by Atlanta out of Santa Ana College in the third round in 1994. Cron played six games for the Angels in 1991 and six for the White Sox in ’92, and now is an assistant hitting coach for the A’s.
Mike Hessman, Detroit, Mater Dei HS: Hessman was a great pitcher and hitter for Mater Dei where he was a two-time All-Orange County selection. He was drafted out of high school by Atlanta in 1996, played 109 MLB games over five years, is the career leader in minor-league home runs and is an assistant hitting coach for the Tigers.
Jeff Pickler, Cincinnati, Foothill HS: Pickler, from a great Orange County baseball family, was an outstanding second baseman and top-of-the-order batter at Foothill. He played minor-league baseball for several seasons and now is a Reds outfield coach.
Skip Schumaker, St. Louis, Aliso Niguel HS: Schumaker was an All-County third baseman at Aliso Niguel. He was drafted out of UC Santa Barbara by the Cardinals in the fifth round and played eight seasons for them, two for Cincinnati and one for the Dodgers, was the first-base coach for the Padres and now is the bench coach for the Cardinals.