Prep Baseball Report

2024 Preseason Preview: Mater Dei

By: Isaiah Glidden
Staff Writer


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The 2024 California high school baseball season is quickly approaching and, as usual, excitement is abound throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across California.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in their respective CIF Section Championship Game, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across California. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews, eventually releasing our Preseason Power 25 rankings that’ll carry us into the opening week of action and the Third Annual Prep Baseball California Spring Invitational.

Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across California. Each week we will be releasing our Power 25, Players of the Week, Diamond Notes, Podcasts and much more.

Our 2024 preseason coverage continues today.

High School: Mater Dei Monarchs
Head Coach: Richard Mercado
CIF Section: CIF-SS, Division 2
Conference League: Trinity League
2023 Record: 17-13-1
Team X Handle: @mdhs_baseball

Team Strengths: Return a lot of our lineup from last year and have some quality front line arms
No. of Returning Starters: 10
No. of Returning Pitchers: 3
Areas of Improvement: Offensive production



+ ‘24 C Johnny Elliott - USC - 6’3 207 lbs.
+ ‘24 RHP Wylan Moss - UCLA - 6’3 180 lbs.
+ ‘24 MIF Braden Ruiz - St. Mary’s - 6’0 155 lbs.
+ ‘24 INF Brody Connors - Old Dominion - 6’0 192 lbs.
+ ‘25 RHP Landon Gordon - USC - 6’0 180 lbs.
+ ‘25 RHP/1B Brandon Thomas - Washington - 6’3 108 lbs.
+ ‘25 MIF Dylan Wetzel - California - 6’1 185 lbs.
+ ‘25 MIF Bradley Beaudreau - Fordham - 6’0 175 lbs.


+ ‘25 C Lawson Olmstead - 6’1 175 lbs.


Class of 2026

+ ‘26 OF Ezekiel Lara - 6’0 165 lbs.
+ ‘26 RHP Kai Bratton - 6’2 175 lbs.

Class of 2027

+ ’27 LHP/1B Luke Armijo - 6’1 200 lbs.
+ ‘27 UTIL Austin Gerken - 5’11 190 lbs.


The Mater Dei Monarchs possess a star studded roster in 2024 and will look to compete for a league title in the ultra-competitive Trinity League. On the mound, the Monarchs will be led by a number of Division 1 commits. UCLA recruit ‘24 Wylan Moss is a low-90s arm with a high-end three-pitch mix. Southern California commit ‘25 Landon Gordon and Washington commit ‘25 Brandon Thomas are a pair of power arms that are expected to see large workloads in 2024, with Thomas also seeing time at the plate, too.

Another Southern California commit, ‘24 Johnny Elliott will take on responsibilities behind the plate and will also provide consistency in the Monarchs’ order too. They will also deploy a number of lockdown infield defenders in ‘24 Braden Ruiz, ‘24 Brody Connors, ‘25 Dylan Wetzel and ‘25 Bradley Beaudreau, all of which will also be relied upon offensively as well. Uncommitted ‘25 Lawson Olmstead is another backstop to know on this team as he will look to provide whatever he can during his junior campaign.

As for underclassmen, a pair of sophomores, ‘26 Ezekiel Lara and ‘26 Kai Bratton will make contributions this season. Lara is a ranked prospect inside both our Class of 2026 state and national rankings, who also earned some valuable experience last season as just a freshman. As for Bratton, he will look to make some big contributions on the mound during his first year at the varsity level. Two nationally ranked freshmen prospects, ‘27 Luke Armijo and ‘27 Austin Gerken are two young names that could see quality time on the varsity level this season.

Coach Richard Mercado’s Expectations: “We should be able to compete this year if we stay healthy. We have some good front line arms and a lot of returning players. I think our experience returning on the field should help us be competitive all year. We played in a lot of close tough games last year and this group has had some playoff experience and success. We have a chance to make a run if we stay consistent. ”