Bryce Rainer is ready to become first-round MLB draft pick

Major-league baseball's amateur draft begins on Sunday, and former Harvard-Westlake shortstop Bryce Rainer is projected to be taken in the first 10 picks.

He has decided to stay home in Simi Valley and watch the festivities with friends and family rather than be in Arlington, Texas.

From the moment he stepped on Harvard-Westlake's Studio City campus as a freshman, greatness had been predicted. He went unbeaten on the mound that first season as the Wolverines won the Southern Section Division 1 championship. He didn't pitch as a sophomore, with the decision to preserve his arm, allowing him to focus on hitting. He resumed pitching mostly in relief as a junior and senior, with his hitting and fielding skills blossoming.

"I think it's pretty cut and dry he's the best high school player I've ever seen," Harvard-Westlake coach Jared Halpert said. "There were guys on the mound and at-bat in specific areas maybe nudged him a but, but when you're talking all-around athlete, I've never seen a kid as well-rounded as he is."

Rainer has played third base, shortstop and center field in high school. While some speculate whether he'll be a pitcher or position player as a professional, it's pretty clear hitting is where his true love rests. He batted .505 this past season with 49 hits as the Mission League MVP. He also had nine saves.

What was impressive about Rainer's senior year was his growth in maturity. He was more steady and focused, with few highs or lows displayed. It was clear he wanted to be a professional and demonstrated those characteristics for scouts to see.

"He took the team's success and the growth of the other players and submerged himself in their growth and knew if we had a chance we needed younger guys to step up," Halpert said. "He really just buried himself in the team this year. Bryce Rainer freshman to Bryce Rainer senior is one of of the biggest transitions we've seen — growth, maturity, professionalism, the character of a boy becoming a man."

Rainer is expected to become the latest Harvard-Westlake grad to be a first-round draft pick, following the path of Jack Flaherty, Max Fried, Lucas Giolito and Pete Crow-Armstrong.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.