Elite Alumni Among Players on the Best High School Teams in Nation
February 12, 2013
Baseball America 2013 Preseason High School Top 25 Capsules
While most are panning the level of talent for the 2013 draft, it won’t make the high school season any less interesting. Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.) had to grind through a tough schedule to finish as the top team in the country last year and faces a tall task in repeating. Several teams have the resume of being a No. 1 team, but the Panthers start their title defense atop the Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association Top 25.
Campolindo High (Moraga, Calif.), Spruce Creek High (Port Orange, Fla.) and American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.) all finished 2012 in the top 10 and return several key players that keep them there in the preseason poll. Everyone knows pitching is a major factor in getting through any postseason so San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic should be watched closely with five Division I arms in the Dons’ rotation, who check in at No. 3.
As always, major tournaments will play a big role in how the rankings shake out. The USA Baseball National High School Invitational is in its second year and has eight Preseason Top 25 teams in its field, as well as nine players from the High School Top 100. The 2012 NHSI didn’t disappoint with plenty of drama and this year doesn’t figure to be any different. It will be played March 27-30 in Cary, N.C., at Team USA’s National Training Complex.
Another event that will grab a lot of attention is hitting the high school stage in 2013—the Boras Baseball Classic, which will feature 32 California teams. They will be divided into two brackets, North and South, with the winners of each facing each other in mid-April. The North portion will be played March 25-28 at Elk Grove (Calif.) High while the South will be hosted by Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) and JSerra Catholic High (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) from April 2-5. The final championship will be played at the University of Pacific on April 13.
The staff of Baseball America and the NHSBCA compile the Top 25 rankings. In-season polls will be conducted every two weeks and released every other Tuesday during the season. The first in-season poll will be released on March 12. The final poll will be released in June. Records below are from 2012 and do not include ties. The number in parenthesis indicates 2012 final rank.
1. Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga., 31-6 (1)
The reigning national champion, Parkview will have to prove itself on the mound, but has several players returning that played key roles on back-to-back state championship teams. For more on Parkview, click here.
2. Campolindo HS, Moraga, Calif., 23-4 (6)
Campolindo climbed the 2012 rankings on its way to a third consecutive Northern Section title and returns five seniors that are Division I signees, seven starters in all. The pitching staff only loses righthander James Marvel, an unsigned 37th-rounder that is now at Duke. Lefthanders Trent Shelton (7-1, 1.29; Oregon State) and Matt Ladrech (6-0, 1.80; California) lead the rotation now while outfielder Brett Stephens (.407-1-7; UCLA and infielders Robbie Tenerowicz (.423-5-31; California) and Denis Karas (.360-2-25; California) provide the offense. Their biggest challenge will come when they return to Southern California for the Anaheim Lions Tournament to face some good competition.
3. Cathedral Catholic, San Diego, 30-5 (NR)
Pitching is the story for the Dons and it’s a long read. Five arms are committed to D-I programs. They’re led by two lefthanders—all-American Stephen Gonsalves (9-0, 1.91; San Diego) and junior Brady Aiken (6-1, 1.32; UCLA)—and all 30 of the team’s wins return on the mound. Righthanders Michael Martin (7-2, 0.90; UC Irvine) and Alex Schick (4-1, 1.04; California) and lefthander Andrew Wright (2-0, 0.75; Pepperdine) round out the staff. The only question is offense as most of those players will also be counted on to produce with the bat too. Gonsalves hit .348 and Aiken hit .303. Both knocked in 11 runs while Michael Martin drove in 18 with his .374 clip. They’ll look to prove themselves on the national stage at the NHSI in March.
4. Spruce Creek HS, Port Orange, Fla., 28-4 (8)
The Hawks won their final 12 games in 2012 on the way to winning Florida’s 8-A state title. Six starters from that team are back including junior righthander/shortstop Kyle Marsh (11-0, 0.31; Central Florida), who struck out 110 last season and is a top prospect for the 2014 draft class. Senior righthander Griffin Fuller (10-1, 0.99; Stetson) is the No. 2 while senior outfielder Austin Hays (Seminole State) will lead the offense. A strong cast of juniors will give Spruce Creek a chance at repeating in 2013 as well as 2014.
5. Dulles HS, Sugar Land, Texas, 27-8 (NR)
After dropping a decisive third game in the 2012 region quarterfinal series, Dulles brings back seven starters for another run at the Texas playoffs with a group of seniors. Outfielder Darryn Sheppard (Baylor), shortstop Caden Williams (Houston) and third baseman Nick Hernandez (Alvin CC) pace the offense while Williams will also see some time on the mound.
6. American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla., 27-4 (4)
After losing in the semifinals of the NHSI, the Patriots cruised to a 5-A state title. They won 13 straight games after the one-run loss to Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.), including a 3-0 decision over then No. 1 Jesuit High (Tampa) in the state semifinals. American Heritage has six starters back with catcher/first baseman Zack Collins (.443-4-28; Miami) leading the offensive charge. Scouts love his bat despite questioning his skills behind the plate. Righthander Shaun Anderson (6-1, 0.77; Florida) is the team’s ace. He works in the high 80s and has flashed a sharp breaking ball in the past.
7. Carroll HS, Southlake, Texas, 25-13 (NR)
A region finalist in 2012, the Dragons bring back a strong group of seven starters in hopes of capturing their first state title. They last went to the state tournament in 2008 when they lost to Plano (Texas) West High in the finals. Senior lefthander Tyler Alexander, the No. 67 high school prospect in the country, is committed to Texas Christian and heads the pitching rotation with support from righthander Sean Thompson (Texas Tech). Senior third baseman Kenny Hill (Texas A&M) is Carroll’s big bat.
8. Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif., 24-6 (17)
Mater Dei was making a national title run in 2012 after winning the NHSI, but ultimately fell short after losing the ever-competitive Trinity League to rival Orange (Calif.) Lutheran and falling to eventual Southern Section champion Newbury Park (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) in the semifinals. Losing outfielder/righthander and UCLA recruit Ty Moore to graduation is big, but the Monarchs will roll out a potent offense again in 2013. They have two Top 100 position players and Southern California recruits in catcher Jeremy Martinez (.388-0-18) and third baseman Ryan McMahon (.356-4-23). They’ll get support from outfielders Austin Grebeck (.262-2-12; Oregon) and Tyler Adkinson (.315-0-11) as well as sophomore shortstop Brandon Perez (.230-0-10; Oregon). After stifling perennial power Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas) and hitting the game-tying home run in the championship game of the NHSI, righthander/first baseman Davis Tominaga (6-2, 3.05; Portland) will serve as the staff ace.
9. Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga., 27-9 (NR)
While the Rams have been heavy hitters in the high school football rankings, the baseball team is relatively new to the national scene. The school is just 12 years old, but boasts the 2013 draft’s best prospect in outfielder Austin Meadows (.390-4-28; Clemson) and has eight starters returning from a team that lost to Brookwood High (Snellville, Ga.) in the state final four in 2012. Righthander Taylor Allum (9-0, 1.57; Kennesaw State) fronts a rotation that also features righthanders Korey Anderson (2-2, 1.94; Western Carolina) and Jack Banda (4-2, 2.18), who is committed to Arizona to play football. Each arm also hit over .300 at the plate and will get support from shortstop Brandon Benson (.301-0-19; Georgia College and State University) and second baseman Jeril Dawson (.441-1-17).
10. The Woodlands (Texas) HS, 24-8 (NR)
A perennial contender in the Lone Star State, The Woodlands’ last state championship came in 2006 and also netted a national crown. Blue Jays righthander Kyle Drabek was the star of that team and the Highlanders have another wave of talent coming through. They are looking to avenge an early exit from the 2012 playoffs and return five starters. Lefty Ryan Burnett will move into the No. 1 role after righthander Kevin McCanna, now at Rice, graduated. Burnett went 6-1 and struck out 53 in 38 innings last season. He is committed to TCU. Catcher Alex Dunlap (.370-6-32; Stanford) is a four-year starter and will pace the offense while stepping into a full-time role behind the plate. The X-factor could be Chris Andritsos, who broke out as a freshman last year. He hit .333 with 27 RBIs and figures to be a prized recruit. He will also see some time on the mound.
11. Venice (Fla.) HS, 24-8 (25)
The Indians have two Florida state titles, 2007 and 2012, under head coach Craig Faulkner—a former Louisiana State and minor league catcher. One of his assistants is former LSU teammate and big league lefthander Mark Guthrie so the Indians are getting a taste of pro ball in their coaching. Faulkner’s top player, Nick Longhi, is committed to his alma mater and a Top 100 prospect for the 2012 draft. Longhi plays first base and the outfield, but also can get into the low 90s on the mound. He hit .330 with one home run and 16 RBIs last season. Five other D-I signees will make Venice a favorite to repeat. Juniors Dalton Guthrie (Florida), Mike Rivera (Florida) and Ryan Miller (Florida Atlantic) could make pitching around Longhi a challenge while Cooper Hammond (10-1, 0.56, six saves; Miami) and Tyson Albert (7-4, 2.32; St. Petersburg JC) should stifle opposing hitters. Hammond is a submarine righty while Albert allowed just four walks in 57 innings last season. The Indians have a second two-way threat in Brandon Elmy (.352-1-20; 3-0, 1.36), who was the top hitter in 2012 and can pitch in the upper 80s.
12. Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, 23-10 (NR)
It wasn’t long ago that Rancho Bernardo head coach Sam Blalock was almost forced out of his position by school administrators, but parents and players put up a fight to keep him around. The Broncos haven’t missed a beat as Blalock earned his 800th career win last year and is looking to lead his team to a seventh San Diego section title after falling short in 2012. They’ll make their bid with a strong returning group that includes one of the country’s best players in junior catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson (.400-17-36). Second baseman Gosuke Katoh (.355-11-31; UCLA), shortstop Matt Jervis (.314-0-17) and outfielder Preston Sands (.374-1-19) will give Rancho Bernardo plenty of punch around Jackson. Three experienced righthanders return in Parker Bugg (7-1, 2.28), Matt Osborne (9-1, 2.01) and Casey Henderson (4-2, 2.01).
13. Jenks (Okla.) HS, 24-18 (NR)
Owasso High has had a stranglehold on the distinction of being Oklahoma’s top program, but other teams have broken through and are giving the Rams a run for their money. Jenks looks up to the challenge for 2013 with its entire lineup returning from a trip to the state tournament and a deep pitching staff. The Trojans’ ace is Thomas Hatch, a righthander committed to Oklahoma State. He was ranked 95th on the High School Top 100 and went 7-2 with 64 strikeouts and 11 walks in 42 innings last season. Two other D-I bats will pace the offense—infielders Trey Michalzcewski (.397-6-37; Oklahoma) and Alan Beer (.372-2-19)—with help from outfielder Grant Maxey (.388-4-21; Central Arkansas) and third baseman (.408-4-34; Connors State JC). The Trojans’ No. 2 will be junior righty Bryce Ward. He is verbally committed to Oral Roberts and went 6-2 with 43 strikeouts and seven walks in 38 innings in 2012 so Jenks’ opponents better be ready to swing the bat.
14. Loganville (Ga.) HS, 31-9 (23)
In 2012, the Red Devils started the season in the Top 25 and stumbled early, but rebounded to capture their second Georgia state title. Seven starters return, but mostly on offense, which will be led by the No. 2 high school prospect in the country—outfielder Clint Frazier (.424-24-58; Georgia). Opponents are likely to pitch around Frazier more than they did last season, but he’ll have support from infielders David Mayo (.377-9-48; Georgia State), Andy Clay (.320-0-21) and Kyle Hall (.404-2-26). Offense doesn’t seem to be a problem and head coach Jeff Segars has righthander Avery Fagan (7-3, 3.00; Georgia Southern) as an ace, but he needs some underclassmen to step up and fill voids on the mound.
15 . Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La., 35-6 (14)
A mainstay on the national stage for two decades, Barbe claimed its sixth state title in 2012 and is looking to contend for more over the next couple seasons. Seven starters return with the strength being in the junior class. Shortstop Kenon Fontenot (.413-5-32) has some big shoes to fill with Gavin Cecchini gone, but he’s an excellent athlete that was named the state MVP as a quarterback. Twin brothers Bryce (.303-0-20) and Beau Jordan (.346-5-26) are verbally committed to LSU and center field Trey Quinn (.284-1-10) will be a coveted recruit as well. Those four combined for 89 stolen bases last year so all they need to do is get on base. The pitching staff will be young with arms like righthander Erin Baldwin, but expect veteran head coach Glenn Cecchini to get the most out of his players.
16. Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif., 24-5 (26)
Last season the Wolverines had their chips on a dynamic one-two punch in righthander Lucas Giolito and lefthander Max Fried. Though Giolito was lost to injury early in the season, both ended up being first-round picks and Harvard-Westlake made it to the NSHI finals and Southern Section D-II quarterfinals. The elite pitching is gone, but a potent offense is back with an extra year of experience. Righthander/shortstop Jack Flaherty is verbally committed to North Carolina as a junior and will lead the attack on both sides of the ball after going 6-1, 1.77 and hitting .397 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 2012. Catcher/third baseman Arden Pabst (.375-4-35; Georgia Tech) and first baseman Joe Corrigan (.416-4-21; Southern California) round out the core of the batting order. Righthanders Hans Hansen (4-0, 1.17; Emory) and Conor Cuse will be leaned on to fill out the rotation. Hansen doesn’t light up radar guns, but throws tons of strikes and shut down American Heritage in the NHSI semifinals. Cuse pitches in the mid 80s and has improved his command since last year.
17. Cypress (Texas) Woods HS, 21-9
Swept in the region quarterfinal in 2012, Cy-Woods brings back five starters including all-American Casey Meisner, a righthander committed to Texas Tech. Fellow Red Raider recruit Matt Broadbent leads the offense with support from righthander/catcher Chad Donato (West Virginia). Only open since 2006, the Wildcats are seeking their first Texas state title.
18. Cherry Creek HS, Greenwood Village, Colo., 24-3 (27)
With a strong group of sophomores in 2011, Cherry Creek lost in the state finals to Regis Jesuit High of Aurora and returned to win it all in 2012. Those players are seniors now and eying the program’s first consecutive championships since a dominating run from 1995-1999. Righthander/first baseman Derik Beauprez is the headliner as a Miami recruit and No. 58 on the High School Top 100 as a pitcher. He went 3-1, 2.62 while hitting .349 with five home runs and 25 RBIs last season. He will be backed by another two-way man in righthander/third baseman Griffin Jax (4-0, 2.15; .404-6-38; Air Force) as well as catcher Lane Milligan (.400-3-19; New Mexico).
19. Gainesville (Ga.) HS, 32-2 (49)
The Red Elephants were 31-0 and climbed to No. 11 in the Top 25 before losing to Ringgold High in the state semifinals. They lost David Gonzalez, now at Georgia, to graduation, but bring back six other starters including junior righthander/outfielder Michael Gettys. A top prospect for 2014, Gettys is verbally committed to Georgia and went 12-0 last season with 78 strikeouts in 62 innings while hitting .389 with nine home runs and 45 RBIs. Hunter Anglin, a righthander/third baseman, gives Gainesville a second two-way force. He hit .432 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs in 2012 while going 5-1, 2.16 with five saves in 2012. He is committed to Lipscomb. Senior catcher Skyler Weber, also a Georgia recruit, is back after hitting .373 with three home runs and 34 RBIs.
20. Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS, 23-5 (16)
With pro prospects Gerrit Cole and Brandon Maurer among its alumni, Orange Lutheran has quietly become a standout program in Southern California. The Lancers beat Mater Dei out for the Trinity League title last season, but got bounced from the playoffs in the section quarterfinals. Six starters are back and five are signed to D-I schools. Senior outfielder Jason Martin (.366-0-14; Long Beach State) and junior shortstop Josh Morgan (.316-1-15; UCLA) will lead the offense. After throwing a complete game on 63 pitches—53 for strikes—in the NHSI, righthander Garrett King (4-0, 0.45; Nebraska) looks ready to step in as the team’s ace.
21. Hamilton Chandler, AZ, 23-9 (NR)
Hamilton opened its doors in 1998 and the Huskies’ first season came the following spring. They went 5-24 that season and followed it up with a 17-14 campaign. Since then, Hamilton has won three state championships and won 20 games or more every season. They finished fourth in the state in 2012 and look to add some hardware with six returning starters and most of the pitching staff. Righthander Patrick Murphy is committed to Oregon and went 5-1 last year, but he’s out with an injury. First baseman/lefthander Cody Bellinger is also an Oregon recruit and is the team’s top player. He hit .447 with four home runs and 31 RBIs last season while also logging 13 innings on the mound. Righthander Sean Rackowski (5-1, 1.20; Kansas) and lefthander Tyler Erwin (3-1, 2.06), a Grand Canyon (Ariz.) signee, will anchor the rotation. Junior outfielder Ryan Peep is verbally committed to Arizona State and a newcomer, but he is expected to be a strong contributor on offense too.
22. Tullahoma (Tenn.) HS, 27-13 (NR)
Just four starters return from a team that fell one game shy of the state tournament, but two important pieces return in the Sheffield brothers. Jordan, a 2013 righthander, was ranked No. 7 on the High School Top 100 and has first-round buzz for the draft. He went 6-1, 0.99 last season while hitting .373 with five home runs and 17 RBIs. His younger brother, Justus, is a lefthander and could approach the same hype in 2014. He can handle the bat as well, hitting .311 with two home runs and 27 RBIs in 2012. Both are committed to Vanderbilt. Head coach Brad White also got a nice surprise during Christmas break when Troy recruit Dalton Davis transferred in from Alabama. Davis is a corner infielder and righthander with a hard, sinking fastball, but he’ll fit nicely into the middle of the lineup with his lefthanded bat and 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame.
23. Jesuit HS, Tampa, 28-2 (11)
The Tigers have been regulars in the Top 25 in recent years, but haven’t sealed the deal on a state championship since 2000. They were runners-up in 2010 and 2011 to Southwest Ranches’ Archbishop McCarthy and were eliminated in the 2012 semifinals by American Heritage. However, Jesuit has reloaded again and has to be considered a heavy favorite to claim a crown. Seven seniors are signed to D-I programs and two underclassmen have verbal commitments. Losing an arm like Lance McCullers Jr., is a big hit, but this team is still dangerous. Shortstop/righthander Spencer Trayner (.288-0-14; 6-0, 0.69; North Carolina) is a two-way threat and will be part of a good staff that also includes lefthander John Kilichowski (4-0, 0.83; Vanderbilt) and righthanders Jordan Parnell (0-0, 3.65; High Point and Daniel Portales (South Florida). Catcher/third baseman Adrian Chacon (.342-4-27; North Carolina) will provide most of the lineup’s punch.
24. North Florida Christian HS, Tallahassee, Fla., 17-10 (NR)
The Eagles are looking to make a state championship run after losing in the region semifinals in 2012. Of their 10 losses, six were by two runs or less, most of which were to eventual state champions or runners-up. Eight starters return and five are committed to D-I colleges. Lefthander Carson Sands (8-2, 0.83; Florida State) is one of the top juniors in the country and will be the staff ace, ahead of senior southpaw Drew Fainitch (4-3, 1.55; Central Florida). Righthander/shortstop M.T. Minacci (Florida State) missed much of last season with a should strain, but had a strong summer and will be the starting shortstop while also closing and picking up spot starts. Health will be key for North Florida Christian as outfielders Matthew Railey (Florida State) and J.D. Huggins also missed significant time with injuries in 2012.
25. Coronado HS, Henderson, Nev., 29-10 (NR)
For the past seven years, Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High has been the team to beat in Nevada. The Gaels will surely still be a tough opponent, but Coronado High has its sights set on changing that after losing to them in the state finals last year. Seven starters return from that squad and the pitching staff has 21 wins back. Dylan Myers (10-0, 2.51; San Diego), Chandler Blanchard (4-2, 3.18; Pepperdine), Julian Burrola (4-0, 2.52) and Michael Maiello all can get their fastballs into the low 90s. The offense will rely mostly on speed with outfielder Miles Bice (.373-0-38, 19 SB) and infielder Tyler Brown (.414-2-22, 11 SB) at the top of the lineup.