Two Santa Clarita Valley products, each a star in their respective baseball sphere, were among 55 players on the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List, released on Wednesday. Stevenson Ranch resident Hunter Greene, arguably the best high school baseball player in the country and a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in June’ MLB Draft, was one of two high schoolers on the list of hopefuls for the award honoring the nation’s top amateur baseball player. Valencia High graduate Keston Hiura, now a star at UC Irvine, made the list for the second straight year. The award will be handed out on June 29.
MORE BASEBALL: COC baseball has no need to worry with Kleszcz at batBetween now and then, Greene hopes to obliterate batters and intimidate pitchers while playing for Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks. He’s already enamored scouts with his 100-plus-mph fastball, home-run power and slick skills at shortstop. It’s unclear whether the 17-year-old UCLA signee will play the field or stick to the mound as a professional. It is clear what Wednesday’s honor meant to him. “I’m humbled by it,” Greene told The Signal via Twitter. “There’s a lot of great names on that list, and it’s an honor just to be mentioned in the same breath of the past winners of the award. I’m excited to see what happens, but either way, I’m excited just to be a part of the history.” Past winners include MLB MVPs Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Buster Posey, and CY Young winners David Price and Tim Lincecum. Hart High graduate Trevor Bauer won the award as a UCLA Bruin in 2011. Hiura could be the first Valencia grad to win it. The Irvine junior, who has played infield and outfield at Irvine, is a top college prospect for this summer’s MLB Draft, but as reported in a Baseball America story in January, a lingering elbow issue has obscured where exactly Hiura could be selected. His hitting ability certainly isn’t in question. A freshman All-American in 2015, Hiura came out swinging as a sophomore. He led the Anteaters in batting average, hits, runs, home runs, RBI, total bases, walks and sacrifice flies. He finished with the best slugging percentage in the Big West Conference and reached base in a nation-best 52 consecutive games, including a 19-game hitting streak. He’s the No. 20 prospect in Baseball America’s top 100 college prospects for the draft. UC Irvine opens its regular season Friday at home against Minnesota.