Over the next three days, more than 1,200 amateur baseball players will get the call of a lifetime in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft where as usual a handful of Hawaii ball-players have played their way into the projections.
Per KHON2 tradition, a panel of MLB scouts, scouting directors, scouts, coaches, and analysts compiled a top-ten list for Hawaii prosepcts.
2019 MLB DRAFT – HAWAII’S TOP PROSPECTS
1. Shane Sasaki – OF – Iolani
2. Dylan Thomas – RP – University of Hawaii
3. Micah Yonamine – C/INF – Iolani
4. Dylan Spain – P – UH Hilo
5. Codie Paiva – P – Kamehameha / LMU
6. Bubba Akana – Util – Saint Francis / UH 2020 commit
7. Maaki Yamazaki – INF – University of Hawaii
8. Bryson Ewaliko – P – Kailua
9. Christian Kapeliela – INF – Hawaii Pacific University
10. Ethan Lopez – 3B – University of Hawaii
The first two rounds got underway on Monday with the next eight set for Tuesday.
Among the players anticipating a call is the state’s best hitter, recent Iolani graduate Shane Sasaki. The outfielder hit .565 on the season, showing what one scout called plus-strength with a full bag of tools. The Mililani native is humbled that no matter what happens, the hard work has already paid off.
“Yeah, just looking back at it, I’m very thankful for all the past coaches and the way I was brought up and just all these other times that made me fall in love with the game. Just everything comes together and that’s why I have such a passion for it, it’s because of all the past baseball I had in my life,” Sasaki told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
“It’s something I dreamed of since I was a kid, so this experience is unreal to me.”
Sasaki has been told that he is projected to be taken anywhere from the second to fifth rounds, and having already committed to play collegiately at Cal Poly, where he is taken will ultimately decide on whether he signs to play professionally.
“Growing up watching Kolten Wong, I was like wow, that’s amazing, he’s going to get drafted and stuff like that. All the past guys before me too and right now in this position it’s a very crazy experience,” said Sasaki.
At the 2018 Perfect Game Sunshine West Showcase, Sasaki was scouted as a prospect with a medium frame with a strong build and square shoulders. He Ran a 6.50 second 60-yard dash. Worked out defensively as a primary outfielder. Smooth paced and clean close to the ball. Funnels out front with soft hands. Long arm circle in back with good arm strength and solid carry to the bag. Throws topping out at 94 miles per hour during workouts. Right handed hitter with an open stance. Quick hands through the zone with present bat speed. Attacks the ball with pop off the barrel. Stays to left center field with approach. Good student as well. Named to the 2018 Sunshine West Showcase Top Prospect List.
“Just going up to the mainland these countless years and even this past summer and past fall, playing with the top guys in the nation, I know I belong there and I did pretty good, so I feel like I can do it,” said Sasaki.
MLB Draft Schedule
Monday, June 3: Rounds 1 and 2 (1 p.m. HST, MLB Network)
Tuesday, June 4: Rounds 3-10 (7 a.m. HST, MLB.com)
Wednesday, June 5: Rounds 11-40 (6 a.m. HST, MLB.com)