High-SchoolBaseball: Stephen Gonsalves

Byron BuxtonMike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesAppling County (Baxley, Ga.) senior outfielder Byron Buxton showcased all his skills this season en route to being named The Diamond Gem, given to the nation's top player based only on on-field performance.
All season, ESPNHS searched for the nation’s top high school baseball player, regardless of school year and based solely on on-field performance. And every two weeks, we ranked the best nine players in order in The Starting Nine.

Well, The Starting Nine got off to a tough start when the preseason No. 1, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) right-hander Lucas Giolito, went down with a season-ending injury.

After Giolito went down, a number of other top players made compelling cases to grab the top spot. But ultimately, the No. 1 position came down to Appling County (Baxley, Ga.) outfielder/right-handed pitcher Byron Buxton and Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) right-handed pitcher/shortstop Lance McCullers Jr.

In the end, it was Buxton who edged out McCullers Jr. for The Diamond Gem, our award given to the nation’s most outstanding player, based on his dominating season both at the plate and on the mound.

The Starting Nine — Final Edition

1. Byron Buxton, Appling County (Baxley, Ga.)
OF/RHP, Senior
Preseason spot:
No. 3
What he did: The No. 1 player in the ESPN 100 capped off his high school career by striking out 18 in a decisive third-game victory over Pierce County (Blackshear, Ga.) in the Class AA state championship. Buxton finished the year hitting .513 with a .628 on-base percentage, three homers, 35 RBIs, 17 doubles, 68 runs scored and 38 stolen bases. He was 10-1 on the mound with a 1.90 ERA, five saves and 154 strikeouts in 81 innings.

2. Lance McCullers Jr., Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
RHP/SS, Senior
Preseason spot:
No. 4
What he did: The Gatorade National Player of the Year allowed just two earned runs all season while going 13-0 with a 0.18 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. Opponents hit just .106 off McCullers, who also hit two homers and had 21 RBIs and led Jesuit to the Class 5A state semifinals. The No. 7 player in the ESPN 100 was drafted No. 41 overall by Houston.

3. Kyle Carter, Columbus (Ga.)
OF/LHP, Senior
Preseason spot:
No. 8
What he did: Carter played a huge role in Columbus, No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50, earning its third straight state title and 12th overall this season. Rated No. 58 in the ESPN 100, Carter went 12-2 with a 0.98 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 86 innings. He also hit .302 with 14 homers and 31 RBIs.

4. Gavin Cecchini, Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
SS, Senior
Preseason Spot:
No. 6
What he did: A first-round pick of the New York Mets, Cecchini hit at a .467 clip this year while using a wood bat for the majority of the season. Named Gatorade State Player of the Year for the second straight season, Cecchini also had a .527 OBP, seven homers, 32 RBIs and 31 stolen bases while leading Barbe to the Class 5A state championship.

5. Courtney Hawkins, Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas)
RHP/OF, Senior
Preseason spot:
No. 9
What he did: Hawkins, who was drafted No. 13 overall by the Chicago White Sox, led Carroll to the Class 5A state semifinals. He hit .421 on the year with a .563 OBP, 11 homers, 39 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He also went 5-2 on the mound with a 0.95 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

6. Kyle Marsh, Spruce Creek (Port Orange, Fla.)
RHP, Sophomore
Preseason spot:
Not ranked
What he did: Marsh was spectacular in leading Spruce Creek to a Class 8A state title. He was particularly impressive in postseason play, throwing a perfect game in the district semifinals, a no-hitter in the regional quarterfinals, a two-hitter against then-FAB 50 No. 1 Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) in the regional finals and another two-hitter in the state semifinals. The Central Florida commit finished 11-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 72.2 innings while pitching in Florida’s highest classification.

7. Ty Hensley, Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)
RHP, Senior
Preseason spot:
On Deck
What he did: The first-round pick of the New York Yankees went 10-0 this season in leading Santa Fe to the Class 6A state semifinals. Hensley, who was named Gatorade State Player of the Year, fanned 111 in just 55.1 innings and was also a force at the plate, hitting .447 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs.

8. Joey Gallo, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
3B/RHP, Senior
Preseason spot:
No. 2
What he did: The power-hitting Gallo slugged 21 homers this season while hitting .509 and driving in 80. The No. 11 player in the ESPN 100 had four multi-homer games and led Gorman to its seventh consecutive state title. The Gatorade State Player of the Year was drafted No. 39 overall by the Texas Rangers.

9. Stephen Gonsalves, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)
LHP, Junior
Preseason spot:
Not ranked
What he did: Rated No. 5 in the ESPN 60, the 6-foot-5 southpaw pitched a three-hitter with 8 K’s to lead the Dons to their second straight CIF San Diego Section Division III title with a 3-1 win over El Capitan (Lakeside, Calif.). Gonsalves finished the year 10-0 and struck out 79 in 66 innings.

On Deck

Matt Olson, Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
1B/RHP, Senior
Preseason spot:
On Deck
What he did: Olson led the Panthers to their second straight Class AAAAA state title with a two-game sweep of Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.). Olson outdueled first-round pick Lucas Sims on the mound and added a two-run homer in the first game and then hit the game-winning homer in the second. He finished the season with a .407 average, 11 homers and 52 RBIs and went 12-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 85.1 innings. Rated No. 97 in the ESPN 100, Olson was drafted No. 47 overall by the Oakland A’s.

Taylor Hawkins
C, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.)
Preseason spot:
Not ranked
What he did: Hawkins was dominant this season, hitting .391 with 28 homers and 81 RBIs in leading Carl Albert to its third state title in six years. Hawkins was drafted in the 12th round by Tampa Bay.

The Starting Nine: June 7th edition

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
10:22
AM ET
Stephen GonsalvesBrian Westerholt/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesJunior left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, the No. 5 player in the ESPN 60, went 10-0 this year and helped lead Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) to its second straight section title.
ESPNHS continues its search for the nation’s top high school baseball player, regardless of school year and based solely on on-field performance. Every two weeks, we’ll rank the nine players in order in The Starting Nine. And at the end of the season, whoever is in the top spot will be crowned The Diamond Gem, our award given to the nation’s most outstanding player.

There’s one more week to go in the high school baseball season, which means this year’s campaign for the top spot in The Starting Nine is nearing an end. Courtney Hawkins is still making a push for the top of The Starting Nine and will lead Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas) into the Class 5A state semifinals on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, pair of talented underclassmen — junior left-hander Stephen Gonsalves of Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) and sophomore right-hander Kyle Marsh — joined The Starting Nine thanks to outstanding seasons.

Check back on June 21 to see how the final Starting Nine plays out.

The Starting Nine — June 7th Edition

Through games of June 4

1. Byron Buxton, Appling County (Baxley, Ga.)
OF/RHP, Senior
Previous spot:
No. 1
What he’s done: The No. 1 player in the ESPN 100 capped off his high school career by striking out 18 in a decisive third-game victory over Pierce County (Blackshear, Ga.) in the Class AA state championship. Buxton finished the year hitting .513 with a .628 on-base percentage, three homers, 35 RBIs, 17 doubles, 68 runs scored and 38 stolen bases. He was 10-1 on the mound with a 1.90 ERA, five saves and 154 strikeouts in 81 innings. Buxton was drafted No. 2 overall by Minnesota. Season complete.

2. Lance McCullers Jr., Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
RHP/SS
Previous spot:
No. 2
What he’s done: The Gatorade National Player of the Year allowed just two earned runs all season while going 13-0 with a 0.18 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. Opponents hit just .106 off McCullers, who also hit two homers and had 21 RBIs and led Jesuit to the Class 5A state semifinals. The No. 7 player in the ESPN 100 was drafted No. 41 overall by Houston. Season complete.

3. Kyle Carter, Columbus (Ga.)
OF/LHP, Senior
Previous spot:
No. 4
What he’s done: Carter played a huge role in Columbus, No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50, earning its third straight state title and 12th overall this season. Rated No. 58 in the ESPN 100, Carter went 12-2 with a 0.98 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 86 innings. He also hit .302 with 14 homers and 31 RBIs. Season complete.

4. Gavin Cecchini, Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
SS, Senior
Previous Spot:
No. 5
What he’s done: A first-round pick of the New York Mets, Cecchini hit at a .467 clip this year while using a wood bat for the majority of the season. Named Gatorade State Player of the Year for the second straight season, Cecchini also had a .527 OBP, seven homers, 32 RBIs and 31 stolen bases while leading Barbe to the Class 5A state championship. Season complete.

5. Courtney Hawkins, Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas)
RHP/OF
Previous spot:
No. 6
What he’s done: Hawkins and Carroll face A&M Consolidated in the Class 5A state semifinals on Thursday. Rated No. 5 in the ESPN 100, Hawkins carried into the game a .437 average, 11 homers and 39 RBIs. He is 5-2 on the mound with a 0.96 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 36.1 innings. Hawkins, who was named Gatorade State Player of the Year, Hawkins was drafted No. 13 overall by the Chicago White Sox.

6. Kyle Marsh, Spruce Creek (Port Orange, Fla.)
RHP, Sophomore
Previous spot:
Not ranked
What he’s done: Marsh was spectacular in leading Spruce Creek, No. 8 in this week’s FAB 50, to a Class 8A state title. He was particularly impressive in postseason play, throwing a perfect game in the district semifinals, a no-hitter in the regional quarterfinals, a two-hitter against then-FAB 50 No. 1 Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) in the regional finals and another two-hitter in the state semifinals. The Central Florida commit finished 11-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 72.2 innings while pitching in Florida’s highest classification. Season complete.

7. Ty Hensley, Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)
RHP, Senior

Previous spot: No. 7
What he’s done: The first-round pick of the New York Yankees went 10-0 this season in leading Santa Fe to the Class 6A state semifinals. Hensley, who was named Gatorade State Player of the Year, fanned 111 in just 55.1 innings and was also a force at the plate, hitting .447 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs. Season complete.

8. Joey Gallo, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
3B/RHP, Senior
Previous spot:
No. 8
What he’s done: The power-hitting Gallo slugged 21 homers this season while hitting .509 and driving in 80. The No. 11 player in the ESPN 100 had four multi-homer games and led Gorman to its seventh consecutive state title. The Gatorade State Player of the Year was drafted No. 39 overall by the Texas Rangers. Season complete.

9. Stephen Gonsalves, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)
LHP, Junior
Previous spot:
Not ranked
What he’s done: Rated No. 5 in the ESPN 60, the 6-foot-5 southpaw pitched a three-hitter with 8 K’s to lead the Dons to their second straight CIF San Diego Section Division III title with a 3-1 win over El Capitan (Lakeside, Calif.). Gonsalves finished the year 10-0 and struck out 79 in 66 innings. Season complete.

Dropped Out

No. 3 Wyatt Mathisen, Calallen (Corpus Christi, Texas)
C/SS/RHP, Senior

Mathisen had a tremendous year, hitting .433 with three homers and 40 RBIs while going 11-1 on the mound with seven saves and 98 strikeouts in 79 innings. But he struggled in a season-ending loss to Boerne-Champion (Boerne, Texas) in the Class 4A regional semifinals. Mathisen allowed two earned runs (four total) and six hits over seven innings and went 0-for-3 at the dish. Season complete.

No. 9 Ty Moore, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
RHP, Senior

Hard to knock the Gatorade State Player of the Year for what he did the entire season — hitting .406 with three homers and 23 RBIs and going 12-1 with a 0.83 ERA. But like Mathisen, he struggled in his last game, going 1-for-4 in an upset loss to Newbury Park (Calif.) in the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals. Season complete.

On Deck

Matt Olson, Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
1B/RHP, Senior

What he’s done: Olson led the Panthers to their second straight Class AAAAA state title with a two-game sweep of Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.). Olson outdueled first-round pick Lucas Sims on the mound and added a two-run homer in the first game and then hit the game-winning homer in the second. He finished the season with a .407 averaged, 11 homers and 52 RBIs and went 12-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 85.1 innings. Rated No. 97 in the ESPN 100, Olson was drafted No. 47 overall by the Oakland A’s. Season complete.

Taylor Hawkins
C, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.)
What he's done:
Hawkins was dominant this season, hitting .391 with 28 homers and 81 RBIs in leading Carl Albert to its third state title in six years. Hawkins was drafted in the 12th round by Tampa Bay. Season complete.

Gonsalves is nation’s best junior LHP

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
10:18
AM ET
Stephen GonsalvesBrian Westerholt/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesCathedral Catholic (San Diego) junior Stephen Gonsalves is the nation's top left-handed pitcher in the Class of 2013.
Each week from now until the end of April, we’ll take a look at the elite Class of 2013 baseball prospects by ranking the Top 5 players at each position. This week, we continue with the Top 5 left-handed pitchers, which is topped by Stephen Gonsalves of Cathedral Catholic (San Diego). The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder has started this year 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 18 innings.

1. Stephen Gonsalves, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)
Gonsalves, a University of San Diego, is up to 92 mph with his fastball and offers projection and a potential first-round profile. He uses his 6-foot-5 frame to create plane on the fastball and finishes his delivery with consistency.

2. Trey Ball, New Castle High School (Ind.)
Ball has big upside, sitting 88-92 mph and touching 93 with his fastball and offering a low-to-mid 80s slider and a changeup. He's 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, but also possesses good athleticism. He runs well and brings a fluid delivery to the mound. Ball is committed to Texas, but has first-round abilities.

3. Dylan White, Sarasota High School (Fla.)
White, a Miami commit, is well built, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds. He sits in the 87-90 mph range with a four-seam fastball, but there may be quite a bit more velocity in the arm as he matures. and since he's not throwing 95 mph now, a firm low-90s reading could impact his draft stock significantly.

4. Evan Anderson, Dale High School (Okla.)
Anderson, who stands 6-foot-5, has four pitches, including a fastball in the upper-80s. He's grazed 90 on the radar gun and is also a power bat. He's most likely to be drafted as an arm, however, and the Ole Miss commit has a shot to pitch his way into an early selection.

5. Garrett Williams, Calvary Baptist (Shreveport, La.)
Williams has been pitching in the upper-80s with his fastball since he was 15 and is teasing the low-90s as a 17-year-old junior. He also offers a curveball and is known for working both sides of the plate. There's projection there -- he's 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds -- and he's built a strong reputation as a smart pitcher.

Others to Watch
Connor Jones, Johns Creek (Ga.)
John Kilichowski, Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
Scott Moss, DeLand (Fla.)
Jonah Wesely, Tracy (Calif.)

Jason A. Churchill covers scouting, player development and the MLB draft for ESPN Insider, as well as Prospect Insider, where he's the founder and executive editor. You can follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider and email him at churchill@prospectinsider.com.

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