California prep shortstop Jamal O’Guinn was a sophomore in high school when he committed to Fresno State in 2014. He wanted to remain close to home, but as his high school days continue to tick away and college grew near, O’Guinn realized Fresno State wasn’t the best fit for him.
Instead, he realized University of Southern California was where he wanted to continue his education and baseball career, beginning in fall 2017.
“I grew up a big USC fan,” O’Guinn said. “My family is kind of from that area. It just felt like the right fit for me there.”
O’Guinn committed to the Trojans on Sept. 19, 2016, but he may never step foot on USC’s campus as a student-athlete. Baseball America ranks the senior shortstop as the 68th-best prep prospect in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft class.
“I feel a team should select me because I’m a game changer and someone that can be relied on,” O’Guinn said. “I think I bring a lot to the table. Good energy and leader. I feel like I have a lot to offer on and off the field.”
O’Guinn is known for his hitting ability. At the plate, he makes consistent, hard contact and possesses solid power that will only get better.
“Hitting is a really big part of my game,” O’Guinn said. “I love to hit, get on base and run. Hitting is the biggest tool scouts look for.”
An explosive athlete, O’Guinn has solid range and improving arm strength at shortstop. But, some professional scouts feel he profiles better defensively at third base.
O’Guinn disagrees with the notion that he can’t play shortstop and envisions sticking at the position long-term.
“I’ve improved every year on everything in general,” O’Guinn said. “I feel like I could be a shortstop for the rest of my life.”
With June’s MLB Draft looming and his senior season of high school baseball in full swing, O’Guinn is doing his best to not worry about the future. Instead, he wants to finish his high school career off on a high note.
O’Guinn plays for Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., which is one of the top high school teams in the country this spring. Last season, Buchanan High went 30-1 and won a championship in California’s CIF Central Section.
“My biggest goal this year is to win another championship,” O’Guinn said. “Play hard and give it everything I have because you don’t get this time back.”
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