If Monday’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby featuring Major League stars is the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert event, then Saturday’s MLB-USA Baseball High School Home Run Derby’s opening act comp would be HAIM.
Since 2013, Major League Baseball has invited some of the best high school sluggers in the country to participate in a long ball competition, with the two finalists invited to take swings Monday during the main event.
This year’s field of eight performers has a chance to put on a real show in the 10th edition of event, which is set to take place on Saturday, July 8, at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET), streaming live on MLB.com:
Konnor Griffin, OF, Jackson Preparatory (Florence, Miss.): One of the best all-around players in the class, Griffin is a 6-foot-4 right-handed hitter with tremendous bat speed and all-around tools. He reclassified and is committed to LSU.
Jaydon Kea, C, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus (Kapolei, HI): A bat-first backstop, Kea gained some fame with a walk-off and bat flip in the Little League World Series. There’s a ton of power and lift on the swing. He’s committed to Vanderbilt.
PJ Morlando, OF, Summerville (S.C.) HS: He might have the best combination of bat-to-ball skills and raw power in the class, with a simple setup and explosive contact from the left side.
Andre Modugno, 3B, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): This Duke commit is 6-foot-5 and is super athletic. There’s swing-and-miss in his game, but he could have plus-plus power in the future.
Nick Montgomery, C, Cypress (Calif.) HS: Big for a catcher at 6-foot-4, Montgomery is committed to Arizona State and uses an open stance and leg kick from the right side of the plate. He has very quick hands that generate excellent bat speed.
Dante Nori, OF, Northville (Mich.) HS: This Mississippi State recruit is a good athlete who runs well and has more of a reputation for being a hit-over-power type, but his ability to barrel up the baseball consistently could work to his advantage.
Samuel Richardson, 3B/OF, Lewisburg HS (Olive Branch, Mo.): Richardson has a good power profile, with an open stance and setup that reminds some of Manny Machado. The Missouri recruit uses a bat waggle to unleash excellent bat speed and strength.
Noah Sheffield, SS, Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit: Fans of his dad, Gary, might recognize the signature stance and bat wiggle. The younger Sheffield has bat speed, too, that could help in an event like this. He’s committed to Florida State.
Keeping track of these participants is important for next year’s Draft and beyond. Over the previous nine editions, several big leaguers have taken their hacks, including Alex Verdugo, Josh Naylor, Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis, Nolan Gorman, Bobby Witt Jr. and Riley Greene.
Last year, Max Clark (No. 5 Draft prospect) and Aidan Miller (No. 13) participated, and both are expected to be first-round picks in this year’s Draft. Termarr Johnson and Elijah Green took their hacks in 2021 and went Nos. 4 and 5 overall in last year’s Draft, respectively.
Here’s a complete list of past winners:
2022: Aidan Miller
2021: Jared Jones and Sal Stewart (tie)
2019: Blaze Jordan
2018: Bobby Witt Jr.
2017: Nolan Gorman
2016: Nick Brueser
2015: Andrew Yerzy and Ron Washington Jr. (tie)
2014: Luken Baker
2013: Jake Gatewood