Five baseball players who played for local Catholic schools in 2018 were among more than 1,000 selections in the annual Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, held June 4-6.
Unlike 2017, local Catholic high school stars were not selected 1-2 in this year’s draft, though scouts and organizations devoted to tracking baseball talent were laudatory in their assessments of the five who were chosen.
Two were members of this year’s Loyola Marymount University squad: third baseman Niko Decolati, chosen in the sixth round (186th overall) by the Colorado Rockies, and outfielder Billy Wilson, selected in the 28th round (853rd overall) by the Cleveland Indians.
Decolati, a 6-1, 215-pound right-hand hitter from Las Vegas, started 54 of 55 games for the Lions, batting .271 with a team-leading 6 homeruns and 38 runs scored, and was an honorable mention West Coast Conference All-Academic selection.
Wilson, a 6-foot, 200-pound left-hand batter from Arizona, was honorable mention All-WCC in 2018, batting .270 with 32 RBIs and leading the Lions in triples (6) and stolen bases (15); 32 RBI, while becoming LMU’s all-time leader in hit-by-pitch (51).
Two 2018 draft choices played for St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, though left-hand-hitting outfielder Julian Boyd’s playing time was limited by an injury suffered during football season. A 26th-round pick by the Chicago Cubs (788th overall), the Compton native — who hit .310 as a junior in 2017 — has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Nevada.
The other Brave chosen was left-hand-hitting catcher Kameron Guangorena, in round 36 by the Toronto Blue Jays. The 6-1, 185-pounder from La Mirada, who has committed to Cal State Fullerton, drew praise from scouts for his defensive skills, mechanics, arm strength and quickness in getting rid of the ball.
Round 38 saw the selection of right-handed pitcher Chandler Champlain of Santa Margarita High School by the Los Angeles Angels. The 6-5, 215-pounder from Coto de Caza, a USC commit, “has the frame to get very strong with work,” according to one assessment, with an 89-mile-an-hour fastball and a “mature approach on the mound.”
The number one choice in the 2017 draft, shortstop Royce Lewis from J.Serra High School, was hitting .288 (57 hits in 50 games) at the start of this week for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
No. 2 selection Hunter Greene, from Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks, started slowly for the Dayton Dragons (Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds), but the young pitcher has posted a 1.86 earned run average in his last four starts, with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.