Kahaloa, Tom headline Hawaii’s top 10 MLB draft prospects

Ian Kahaloa

It’s been quite the spring for recent Campbell grad Ian Kahaloa.

Following leading his school to its first HHSAA state championship since 1978, the senior right-hander is ready to become Hawaii’s next hot shot prospect in Major League Baseball.

Kahaloa, ranked as the 138th best prospect in the country by mlb.com, looks to be the highest selected local player when the draft runs from June 8 through the 10th.

KHON2, along with a handful of anonymous MLB scouts and baseball scouting directors, compiled an MLB Top 10 list for Hawaii prospects heading into this week’s draft.

Hawaii’s Top 10 MLB Draft Prospects

1. Ian Kahaloa – RHP – Campbell 
The 6’1″ 195 lb. Saber finished his 2015 campaign with a 15 strikeout, 10 inning gem in the HHSAA state semifinals vs. Kamehameha. His fastball has been clocked up to 98 miles-per-hour by scouts, but it generally sits in the low to mid 90’s. Kahaloa also provides advanced pitch ability on a sharp slider, as well as good command for his fastball. Kahaloa is committed to the University of Hawai’i, and San Jacinto (Tx.) College.

2. Ka’ai Tom – IF/OF – University of Kentucky (Saint Louis) 

Tom, a 2014 All-SEC first team selection, had an encore season in 2015 hitting .375 with 5 home runs and 51 RBI. The 5’9 185 lb. former Crusader is lauded for an advanced hitting approach, and lightning quick hands. Tom, a junior, still has a year of eligibility at Kentucky.

3. Quintin Torres-Costa – LHP – University of Hawai’i (Waiakea)

After having UCL surgery in the spring of 2013, the former Gatorade state player of the year out of Waiakea realized his high ceiling as a closer in 2015 for the Rainbow Warriors. Torres-Costa, standing at 6’0″ 190 lbs, struggled in his role in the starting rotation to begin the season, posting an ERA over 10 through 3 starts. When the left-hander was promoted to the closer role out of the bullpen, the Big Island native responded by firing 18 2/3 scoreless innings through the rest of the season. In that span, Torres-Costa notched 26 strikeouts and 8 saves, earning 2nd team All-Big West honors. The Redshirt Sophomore sill has two years of eligibility remaining.

4. LJ Brewster – RHP – University of Hawai’i 

Brewster, a converted infielder, spent his first full season as a pitcher as the Friday night starter for the Rainbow Warriors. After logging fastballs in the mid-90’s in the spring and fall of 2014, Brewster’s velocity dipped into the upper 80’s throughout the 2015 season. His production didn’t witness any dip, as the Huntington Beach, CA native tossed 94 2/3 innings with a 2.95 ERA. The reliable Brewster didn’t have a start with less than 5 innings pitched, striking out 63 batters on the season. Brewster flashes a serviceable curve ball and change-up, which are considered advanced in regards to his inexperience on the mound.

5. Tyler Brashears – RHP – University of Hawai’i

The unquestioned ace of the Rainbow Warrior rotation is the most polarizing prospect on this list. Brashears has been projected from rounds 4 to the late 20’s by scouts. Brashears sports a major league ready fastball at 90-93 MPH with life and excellent command. He also flashes an above average breaking ball, and a work-in-progress change-up. Brashears wiry frame (6’2″ 170 lbs) worries scouts due to durability concerns, as well as his unconventional throwing motion. The Lake Forest, CA native posted one of the best seasons in Rainbow Warrior history in 2015, earning All-Big West 1st team honors with a 1.86 ERA in 101 2/3 innings pitched with 68 strikeouts. Brashears will be a senior in 2016.

6. Harley Holt – RHP – HPU (Kamehameha)

Holt, a Kamehameha-Kapalama product, threw 61 2/3 innings for Hawai’i Pacific after spending 3 seasons at Cal State Northridge. The 6’0 170 senior logged a 2.63 ERA with 50 strikeouts. The Honolulu native’s best performance came in a complete game win over UH Hilo in April. Holt threw 7 innings or more in half of his 10 starts.

7. Ka’eo Aliviado – OF – University of Hawai’i (Saint Louis)

A long time fan favorite in Manoa, Aliviado was a four-year starter for head coach Mike Trapasso. Despite his size (5’6″ 165 lbs), Aliviado led the Rainbow Warriors with 5 home runs, hitting .248 with 31 RBI. Scouts have compared his tool set to former Rainbow Kolten Wong, but with less explosiveness and power. Aliviado was a wizard in center field for Hawai’i fielding .981 through his 4 years as captain in the outfield.

8. Kekai Rios – C –  Kamehameha-Kapalama

Rios, a University of Hawai’i commit, is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the western region. A strong  5’10 200 lbs, Rios is also a dangerous hitter, smacking 3 home runs in 62 at-bats while hitting .355 for the Warriors. Rainbow Warrior head coach Mike Trapasso said of the catcher: “Kekai will help us immediately as a freshman. An Area Code Games participant, he is a tremendous receiver and thrower, and is quickly developing into a excellent offensive threat.”

9. Kobi Candaroma – OF – Kamehameha-Hawaii 

Hawai’i island has been a hotbed of talent recently, and Warrior outfielder Kobi Candaroma is the next in line. Also a University of Hawai’i commit, many close to the program believe Candaroma is good enough to take over the center field position for Aliviado in 2016. Trapasso had this to say about the blazing runner: “Kobi is a very exciting player that has a chance to make an immediate impact. He runs a 6.6 60-yard dash and brings tremendous speed to our lineup. His speed will impact us offensively and defensively, as he plays a great outfield as well. Our fans are really going to enjoy watching Kobi.”

10. Rico Garcia – RHP – HPU (Saint Louis)

The Shark ace finished off a 2015 campaign in which he was named Division II West Region Second Team by leading the Pac West conference with a 2.18 ERA. The powerful 5’11” 185 lb. Garcia holds the career (218) and season (87) strikeout records in Hawai’i Pacific history. Garcia, a junior, has a year of eligibility at HPU remaining.

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