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The Top 10 High School Baseball States



Jimmy Rollins is one of 53 American Family Insurance ALL-USA first team selections who played high school baseball in California. / Ben Margot, AP

The following is one man's mostly unscientific, highly subjective ranking of the Top 10 high school baseball states in the country. Does your state deserve to be on this list, or should it be ranked higher? Make your case in the comments. 

1. CALIFORNIA
California's climate – not to mention its size – makes it a hotbed for high school baseball talent. Players can comfortably practice outside year-round in most parts of the state. California has produced 53 American Family Insurance ALL-USA first team selections since 1989 –  by far the most of any state. The Golden State is the gold standard for baseball.

Best Current High School Prospect: Dominic Smith, OF-1B-RHP, Serra (Gardena)
The senior hit .551 with nine home runs and 49 RBI last season. On the mound, he posted a 1.22 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 34.1 innings.

Best Former American Family Insurance ALL-USA Selection: Jimmy Rollins, 1996
The Philadelphia Phillies shortstop starred at Encinal (Alameda) and was selected in the 1996 MLB Draft out of high school.  

Best All-Time: Barry Bonds
Love him or hate him, believe him or not, Bonds was one of the greatest to ever play the game. Bonds attended Junipero Serra (San Mateo), where he batted .467 as a senior in 1982.

2. FLORIDA
There's a rich baseball tradition in Florida, where the weather rivals California. That's one of the main reasons it's one of two states that host Major League Baseball teams – the other is Arizona – for spring training every year.

Best Current High School Prospect: Oscar Mercado, SS, Gaither (Tampa)
The Florida State recruit is one of the slickest-fielding shortstops in the country.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Chipper Jones, 1990
The future Hall of Famer, who retired at the end of last season, batted .488 as a senior at The Bolles School (Jacksonville). The Atlanta Braves made Jones the first pick of the 1990 MLB Draft.

Best All-Time: Steve Carlton
Carlton was born and raised in Miami and attended North Miami High School and Miami-Dade Community College. The 10-time All-Star and four-time Cy Young winner was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994.

3. GEORGIA
While it can get brutally humid in the summer, the Georgia climate allows for year-round training. Are you noticing a trend? Georgia, which boasts 18 all-time American Family Insurance ALL-USA first team selections, regularly has multiple teams in the Super 25.

Best Current High School Prospect: Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson (Loganville)
The five-tool player is considered one of the top prospects in the country.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Jason Heyward, 2007
The former Henry County (McDonough) slugger is one of baseball's rising stars.

Best All-Time: Ty Cobb
The "Georgia Peach" was born in Narrows, Ga., and began his professional baseball career after graduating high school.

4. TEXAS
Football is king and basketball is gaining in Texas, but the state produces some awesome baseball talent, too. Especially hard-throwing pitchers.

Best Current High School Prospect: Kohl Stewart, RHP, Pius X (Houston)
Also an elite quarterback, Stewart has a 95 mph fastball. He struck out 72 in 54.1 innings last year.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Clayton Kershaw, 2006
The Los Angeles Dodgers lefty, who attended Highland Park (Dallas), won the NL Cy Young Award in 2011.

Best All-Time: Tris Speaker
The longtime Cleveland Indians outfielder batted .345 for his career, ranking sixth all-time even though he last played in 1928.

5. SOUTH CAROLINA
Using a roster loaded with homegrown talent, the University of South Carolina won back-to-back College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011 before losing in the championship series last year.

Best Current High School Prospect: Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington
Ciuffo, a senior who hits for power in addition to playing solid defense behind the plate, has committed to South Carolina.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Preston Wilson, 1992
The former Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg) star, who hit 189 home runs during his major league career, was a first-round pick in the 1992 draft.

Best All-Time: Jim Rice
The Anderson native played for the Boston Red Sox from 1974-89 and was named 1978 AL MVP.

6. OKLAHOMA

Best Current High School Prospect: Jonathan Denney, C, Yukon
The Arkansas commit is a potential first-round draft pick.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Dylan Bundy, 2011
Bundy, the 2011 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Player of the Year, was selected fourth overall in the 2011 draft. After dominating the minor leagues last season, he will compete for a rotation spot with Baltimore this spring. 

Best All-Time: Johnny Bench
The 14-time All-Star and Hall of Fame catcher starred at Binger High School before the Cincinnati Reds made him the 36th overall pick of the 1965 draft.

7. NORTH CAROLINA

Best Current High School Prospect: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bandys (Catawba)
The son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, Hunter throws his fastball in the low-90s and also has a curveball and changeup in his repertoire.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Josh Hamilton, 1999
The 2010 AL MVP, who signed with the Anaheim Angels during the offseason, starred at Athens Drive (Raleigh).

Best All-Time: Buck Leonard
The Rocky Mount native and power-hitting first baseman starred in the Negro Leagues for the Homestead Grays and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

8. LOUISIANA

Best High School Prospect: Justin Williams, OF, Terrebonne (Houma)
The senior is considered one of the top power-hitting prospects in the country.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Josh Booty, 1994
The former Evangel Christian (Shreveport) star was drafted by the Marlins with the fifth pick of the 1994 draft.

Best All-Time: Mel Ott
Born in Gretna, the Hall of Famer hit 511 career home runs with the New York Giants from 1926-47.

9.  NEW JERSEY

Best High School Prospect: Rob Kaminsky, LHP-OF, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale)
The North Carolina commit was 8-2 with three no-hitters and a 0.20 ERA last season.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Rick Porcello, 2007
The Detroit Tigers pitcher threw a perfect game as a senior at Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) in 2007.

Best All-Time: Goose Goslin
Goslin, a leftfielder who played 18 years in the big leagues, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968.

10. PENNSYLVANIA

Best High School Prospect: A.J. Bogucki, RHP, Boyertown
The North Carolina commit struck out 74 in 52.1 innings last season.

Best Former ALL-USA Selection: Neil Walker, 2004
The former Pine-Richland (Gibsonia) star and current Pittsburgh Pirate has emerged as one of the top second basemen in the National League.

Best All-Time: Christy Mathewson
The right-hander won 373 games and had 79 shutouts during his major league career and is considered one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game.

 

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