Despite what we’ve seen for about 40 or so of the Padres now-50 years of existence … San Diego is a tremendous baseball town.
The amount of talent that this place produces is off the charts. In the last 19 MLB Drafts a San Diegan has been picked first overall five times:
2000 – Adrian Gonzalez (Eastlake H.S.)
2004 – Matt Bush (Mission Bay H.S.)
2009 – Stephen Strasburg (SDSU)
2014 – Brady Aiken (Cathedral Catholic H.S.)
2016 – Mickey Moniak (La Costa Canyon H.S.)
It’s six if we count Bryce Harper, the 1st overall selection in 2010 who came over from Las Vegas to play with the Show and the Stars because San Diego’s travel ball programs are so good.
So it’s not a big surprise that even our Division-II college teams are loaded with baseball studs. Point Loma and U.C. San Diego both have players that are expected to make an impact as professionals.
Sea Lions junior outfielder Micah Pries was named the Division-II National Preseason Player of the Year by Baseball America. That’s an awfully big honor but warranted when you consider Pries raked as a sophomore, hitting .386 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. He finished in the top-10 in the PacWest Conference in every major offensive category.
In recent years several players have come out of D-II schools to find big league success, including All-Stars Nick Markakis and J.D. Martinez so scouts are taking players from “smaller schools” a lot more seriously these days. Pries is obviously on the list of Baseball America’s top 2019 D-II draft prospects.
He’s joined by U.C. San Diego 3rd baseman Alex Eliopulos, another left-handed hitter who put up big numbers with the Tritons last year and is expected to help them back to the D-II College World Series for the 3rd straight season.
Baseball America has the Tritons ranked 3rd in the nation and the Sea Lions in what amounts to the “Receiving Votes” section, putting both programs on the national stage.