Only five baseball players from the five Orange County-based Trinity League high schools have been selected in the first round of the Major League Draft.
Cole Winn, a right-handed pitcher for Orange Lutheran, is expected to be the sixth.
If that happens on June 4 in Secaucus, N.J., it would mark the first time a player from the Trinity League was picked in the first round in back-to-back years.
JSerra shortstop Royce Lewis was taken No. 1 overall by the Minnesota Twins last June.
Lewis’s climb up the college recruiting rankings and then the Major League draft boards was well documented during his four years at JSerra.
Winn, however, came out of nowhere.
He starred for Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colo. his first three years of high school, earning Gatorade Colorado Baseball Player of the Year as a junior after posting a 9-0 record and 0.73 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. He struck out 95 batters and walked just nine.
Winn’s father, Randy, offered his son the opportunity to move to Southern California for his senior year and compete in one of the toughest league’s in the state.
Winn leaped at the opportunity, and the Lancers welcomed him with open arms.
He didn’t disappoint, compiling a 6-2 record during the regular season and allowing just 22 hits and two earned runs in 58 innings for a 0.24 ERA. He struck out 100 batters and walked eight.
“I think I’ve had to raise my level a little bit,” Winn told the USA Today last month. “Obviously, I want to show what I could do out here and prove what I did in Colorado I can do anywhere. In Colorado, every once in a while you would face a guy who would be going Division I. Out here, you face lineups of guys who are going D-I.”
Winn had scholarship offers from USC and Arizona State while still in Colorado, but committed to Mississippi State early in his junior year.
The possibility of Winn ever attending class in Starkville is looking more remote than ever.
Jim Callis, executive editor Baseball America, predicted on May 11 that Winn would be drafted No. 11 overall by the Baltimore Orioles
“Winn is a prep righty with positive momentum and he has excelled all spring,” Callis wrote on MLB.com
FanGraphs.com predicted Winn would go No. 19 overall to the St. Louis Cardinals, but added this clause.
“Winn is in play at a number of picks before this one, so he probably won’t make it this far. Prep righties tend to fall, however. If he does, he’d be great value for St. Louis here.”
In addition to Lewis, the other players from current OC-based Trinity League schools who were drafted in the first round were Dwayne Peltier and Steve Buechele of Servite, Sergio Santos of Mater Dei and Gerrit Cole of Orange Lutheran.
Peltier was selected No. 23 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1972, but the infielder never made it to the Major Leagues.
Buechele was chosen No. 9 overall by the Chicago White Sox in 1979, and the third baseman played 11 years in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Pirates and Chicago Cubs.
Santos was taken No. 27 overall in 2002 by the Arizona Diamondbacks and the right-hander pitched in the majors from 2010-2015.
Cole was selected No. 28 by the New York Yankees in 2008, but elected to attend UCLA. He currently pitches for the Houston Astros.