Video: Preseason Top 25 baseball rankings
Florida has the edge with 14 teams, with Jesuit (Tampa) coming in the highest at No. 5. California, meanwhile, comes in second with 13 teams including the No. 1 overall team in Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.
MaxPreps Top 100 national high school baseball rankings
1. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
Coach: Tom Dill
2019 Record: 24-7, Mission League champion
2019 National Ranking: 37
All-American candidates: Lucas Gordon, LHP/1B (.366, 1.39 ERA, 56 Ks, 5-1, Texas).
Other key returners: Devan Ornelas, Sr., CF/SS (.423, 20 RBI, 2 HR, TCU); Daylen Reyes, Sr., 2B (.398, 17 RBI, UCLA); Tyler Stromsborg, Sr., RHP (1.58 ERA, 36 Ks, 6-0).
Toughest games: National High School Invitational, April 1-4; Boras Classic, April 13-17; Harvard-Westlake, April 21, 22 and 24.
Outlook: The Knights check every box necessary to win a national championship: 1. They were successful last year, winning the always-tough Mission League; 2. They return a multitude of starters, including their top eight offensive performers as well as 20 pitching wins; 3. Those returning players have plenty of talent with Gordon, Reyes and Ornelas all ranked among the top 35 players in the state of California; 4. They play a national schedule, participating in the nation’s toughest tournament — the National High School Invitational — along with the Boras Classic South; 5. They face tough playoff competition, as the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs may be the toughest playoff bracket in the nation. If the Knights can get through those three tournaments relatively unscathed, there’s no reason they won’t be the No. 1 team in the nation at the end of the 2020 season.
2. Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
Coach: Glenn Cecchini
2019 Record: 38-3, Class 5A state champions
2019 National Ranking: 5
All-American candidates: Brody Drost, Sr., CF/LHP (.364, 11 DB, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 8-0, 0.98 ERA, 52 K, LSU).
Other key returners: David Meche, SS/RHP, Sr. (.354, 11 DB, 3 HR, 39 RBI, 0.64 ERA, Mississippi State); Ben David, C, Sr. (.308, 17 RBI, McNeese State); Bailey Juneau, 2B, Sr. (.333); Kyle Debarge, 3B, Jr. (.388, 27 RBI, Louisiana); Adam Guth, LHP, Jr. (5-0, 0.56 ERA, 44 Ks, Louisiana).
Toughest games: Southwest Louisiana Tournament, March 5-7; Sam Houston, March 24/26; Sulphur, March 28/31; Lafayette, April 16-18.
Outlook: The Buccaneers posted the second-best record in school history last year with a 38-3 mark and a Class 5A state championship. National Coach of the Year Cecchini returns the majority of that team, including three starting pitchers, the entire infield and five hitters who batted over .500 last year. The Buccaneers will miss all-state junior pitcher Jack Walker, who is recovering from a UCL injury. Barbe has some tough games in its own district, including Lafayette and returning Class 5A runner-up Sam Houston. Barbe has great team speed this year, can hit for power and had great team chemistry, according to the coaching staff.
Coach: David Jeans
2019 Record: 29-1, North Coast Section Division 1 champions
2019 National Ranking: 2
All-American candidates: Kyle Harrison, P/1B, Sr. (MaxPreps All-American, .286, 24 RBI, 10-0, 1.26, 103 Ks).
Other key returners: Charles McAdoo, 3B, Sr. (.333, 26 RBI); Vince Bianchina, SS, Sr. (.419); Keoni Coloma, OF, Sr. (.386); Ben Parker, C, Sr.; Ryan Barger, Sr., P; Mason Carvacho, Sr., P; Joey Donnelly, Jr., C/1B (.286); Zeke Berry, Soph., CF (.250); Blake Burke, Jr., P/OF (.395, 4 HR, 34 RBI); Anthony Martinez, Soph., C/1B.
Toughest games: Bellarmine College Prep, Feb. 29; Elk Grove, March 4; Saint Francis, March 7; All Faith Classic (Las Vegas), April 6-9.
Outlook: The Spartans are looking to make their 10th straight trip to the North Coast Section championship game. The past two seasons, De La Salle has finished No. 2 in the MaxPreps national computer rankings and the top player from those two teams, Bay Area player of the year Harrison, is back for his senior season. He is 19-1 on the mound the past two seasons including wins over Bishop Gorman, Monte Vista (Danville), Jesuit (Sacramento) and Heritage (Brentwood). The Spartans get a serious test in the All Faiths Tournament in Las Vegas, a tournament that features some of the top Catholic and Christian private schools in the country. Almost the entire infield returns for the Spartans along with the entire outfield.
4. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
Coach: Mke Woods
2019 Record: 26-7, Arizona Division 1 champions; 2019 National Ranking: 30
All-American candidates: Michael Brueser, Sr., OF (12 HR, 36 RBI).
Other key returners: Tyler Wilson, Sr., 1B/C (.412, 7 HR, 31 RBI); Brock Selvidge, LHP/OF (4 HR, 21 RBI); Will Maxey, Sr., 3B (.419, 16 RBI); Isaiah Adams, MIF, Sr. (.367); Logan Saloman, Soph., RHP/1B (5-1, 1.35 ERA).
Toughest games: Boras Classic, March 12-14; Mountain View, March 7; Corona del Sol, March 24.
Outlook: The Huskies have won seven state championships, including four of the past six titles (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019). Six starters return from last year’s squad, including one of the nation’s top home run hitters in Brueser. He accounted for 12 of the team’s 32 home runs last year, but Hamilton has 23 home runs returning, including Wilson with seven and Selvidege with four. The pitching staff should be solid with sophomore Saloman back on the mound after an outstanding freshman season (5-1 record). Hamilton gets a test in the Boras Classic in March and the always competitive Arizona Division 1 playoffs in April.
5. Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
Coach: Miguel Menendez
2019 Record: 27-5, Class 6A state champions; 2019 National Ranking: 46
All-American candidates: Camden Minacci, Sr., P (12-1, 1.12 ERA, 85 Ks, 62.2 IP, Wake Forest)
Other key returners: Bennett Lee, C, Sr. (.442, 19 RBI, 12 DB, 7 TR, 3 HR, Tulane); Cole Russo, 1B, Jr. (.342, 27 RBI, 3 DB, 2 HR, Central Florida); Bradke Lohry, Jr., SS (.250); Nick Rodriguez, Jr., 3B (.375); BJ Graham, Jr., LF (.357, 18 RBI, 9 DB, 1 HR); Jonathan Shoop, Sr., CF (.235, 14 RBI, Butler); Josh Mallitz, Sr., P (2-1, 24 Ks, Ole Miss); Justin Clark, Sr., P (5-0, 2.95 ERA, 58, Ks, West Virginia); Turner Thompson, Sr., P (1-1, 2.45 ERA, 35 Ks, Tulane); Alex Bryant, Sr., P (3-1, 1.62 ERA, 26 Ks, Holy Cross); Tripp Russo, Sr., P (1.29 ERA, 22 Ks, Adrian); AJ Karabenick, Sr., P (2.71 ERA, 2-0, 15 Ks, Wesleyan); Dominic Castellano, Jr., P (1-1, 12 Ks, Central Florida).
Toughest games: Calvary Christian Academy, March 6; Calvary Christian, April 17; Venice, April 21.
Outlook: The Tigers are loaded, especially in the rotation where every single pitching win returns from last year, including Class 6A state player of the year Minacci. The starting lineup isn’t quite as stacked as the pitching staff, but Jesuit has one of the state’s top catchers in Lee along with three other every day starters who have committed to play Division 1 next year. At least eight pitchers who figured in a decision last year will play college ball as well. Toughest opponents will come at the end of the season at the Saladino Tournament and matchups with Calvary Christian and Venice in late April.
6. Carroll (Southlake, Texas)
Coach: Larry Vucan
2019 Record: 33-11, Class 6A state champions
2019 National Ranking: 12
All-American candidates: Justin Grech, Sr., OF (.318, 17 RBI);
Other key returners: Cade Manning, Sr., 3B (.432, 28 RBI); Riley Garcia, Sr., 2B (.337, 28 RBI); Grant Golomb, Sr., 1B (.337, 20 RBI); Jaxon Osterberg, Sr., SS (.237); Homer Bush Jr., Sr., CF (.208); Brandon Howell, Sr., LF (.369, 31 RBI); Yanluis Ortiz, Sr., C (.317, 28 RBI).
Toughest games: Prosper, Feb. 21; Keller, March 17/20; Colleyville Heritage, March 28; Coppell, April 25.
Outlook: After struggling at the beginning of the season last year (3-8 after the first three weeks), Carroll righted the ship to go 30-3 over the final three months en route to its second straight Class 6A state championship. The title came a year ahead of schedule, considering Carroll had lost nearly its entire lineup from the 2018 championship and played mostly underclassmen in 2019. Now, nearly the entire lineup is back to make a run at a third straight championship. The feat would be a first as no school has won three straight Texas baseball state championships in the largest classification. Grech earned state tournament MVP honors last year while Howell was second team all-state and Manning was honorable mention all-state.
7. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Coach: Kason Gabbard
2019 Record: 26-1
2019 National Ranking: 6
All-American candidates: Mac Horvath, Sr., SS/RHP (North Carolina); Brandon Llewellyn, Sr., RHP (0.28 ERA, 1-0, 27 Ks, Notre Dame).
Other key returners: Jake Gelof, Sr., 3B/OF (.397, 21 RBI, Virginia); Kevin Karstetter, Sr., SS/3B (.467, 36 RBI, 8 doubles, 3 HR, FAU); Heston Tole, Sr., RHP (6-0 record, 51 Ks, 1.34 ERA, Arkansas); Billy Underwood, Sr., OF/LHP (.366, 15 RBI, 0.78 ERA, Coastal Carolina); Michael Kluska, Sr., IF (.431, West Virginia); Corbin Morrison, Sr., LHP (2-1, 15 Ks, Tennessee); Jordan Miller, Sr., IF (.400, Georgia State); Trey Rucker, Jr., OF (.366, 18 RBI).
Toughest games: Perfect Game Showdown, March 5-7; Coach Bob Invitational, March 18-21; IMG National Classic, March 24-27; Calvary Christian Academy, April 10; Doral Academy, April 11.
Outlook: Last year, the Ascenders beat teams with a devastating pitching staff that allowed just 20 runs in 27 games. IMG Academy also had three players chosen among the top 52 players in the MLB draft and set a record with six players chosen overall. This year’s squad won’t be nearly as talented at the top end of the rotation, but there are still plenty of reasons to think that IMG Academy will be among the top teams in the country. For one, the offense might be better with the return of players like Gelof, Karstetter and Underwood and the addition of All-American candidate Mac Horvath from Minnesota. Some of the players on this year’s team saw action on the IMG Academy Black team, which went 17-5 and finished ranked No. 20 in the state by the MaxPreps computer rankings. The Ascenders will also be toughened by a national schedule that includes tournaments in Florida, Georgia and Arizona.
8. Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)
Coach: Eric Borba
2019 Record: 27-5; Trinity League champions
2019 National Ranking: 1
All-American candidates: Max Rajcic, RHP/IF, Sr. (8-1, 63 IP, 0.55 ERA, UCLA); Christian Rodriguez, RHP, Sr. (4-2, 52.2 IP, 52 Ks, 1.60 ERA, Cal-State Fullerton).
Other key returners: Chad Born, Sr., OF (.253, 15 runs, Miami); Elijah Buries, Sr., 3B/OF (.262); Justin Decriscio, Jr., SS (.241, San Diego); Tank Espalin, Sr., 2B (.250, USC)
Toughest games: Cypress, Feb. 15; La Mirada, Feb. 19; Valley Christian, Feb. 29; Santa Margarita, March 17/18/20; National High School Invitational, April 1-4; Boras Classic, April 13-17, Servite, April 27/28/30.
Outlook: Perhaps no team in the country plays a tougher schedule than Orange Lutheran, which will not only face defending Southern Section Division 1 champion Cypress early in the season, along with Top 25 teams La Mirada and Valley Christian during the first month of the season. Add to that a Trinity League schedule that had all six teams ranked among the top 73 schools in the state by the MaxPreps computer ratings, including five in the top 38 (Orange Lutheran was No. 1). The Lancers also play in two of the toughest tournaments in the nation in the NHSI, where they are the three-time defending champion, and the Boras Classic. According to Lancer coach Eric Borba, Orange Lutheran could have one of the best teams the school has ever had, thanks to five starters with at least two years experience and two pitchers, Rajcic and Rodriguez, that rank among the top 55 pitchers in the nation, according to Perfect Game.
9. Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.)
Coach: Chan Brown
2019 Record: 36-4, Class AAAAAAA champions
2019 National Ranking: 7
All-American candidates: Miles Garrett, Sr., RHP (8-0, 2.17 ERA, 84 Ks, Vanderbilt); Xander Stephens, Sr., RHP (10-1, 0.68 ERA, 82 Ks, Georgia Tech).
Other key returners: Jon Ponder, Sr., OF (.274, 18 RBI, 3 HR, Georgia State); Daylon Carleton, Jr., OF (.278, 10 RBI); Sam Smith, Jr., OF/1B (.212); Graham Yntema, Sr., LHP (2-0, 3.15 ERA, 12 Ks, Lawson State).
Toughest games: North Gwinnett, Feb. 17; Loganville, Feb. 24; Georgia Peach Tournament, Feb. 29; Perfect Game Spring Showdown, March 5-7; National High School Invitational, April 1-4.
Outlook: The pitching staff should be spectacular for Panthers, who return over 20 wins from last year’s squad, including a pair of all-state candidates in Garrett and Stephens. The offensive might not be as powerful as last year, considering that 36 of the team’s 42 home runs from last year have graduated. However, Chan Brown isn’t the MaxPreps coach of the decade for nothing. He’s put together nine regional champions, five state champions and three national champions over the past decade. Consider that last year’s senior group hit only eight home runs as juniors in 2018. Parkview will play one of its toughest schedules, starting with the season opener against highly-regarded North Gwinnett, which Parkview defeated in the semifinals last year. Parkview will also participate in the Perfect Game Showdown and the NHSI — two of the toughest tournaments in the nation.
10. Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Coach: Matt Buckner
2019 Record: 42-3, Class 3A state champions
2019 National Ranking: 9
All-American candidates: Ryan Hagenow, Sr., RHP (12-1, 96 Ks, Kentucky).
Other key returners: Andrew Patterson, Sr., LHP (4-0, 2.72 ERA, 34 Ks, Tennessee); Adam Birkholz, Sr., LHP (2-0, 45 Ks, 1.38 ERA, ETSU); Angus Pence, Jr., SS (.297, 19 RBI, Tennessee); Hunter Merrick, Jr., LHP/OF (.292, 25 RBI, 9 DBL, ETSU); Carter Gillete, Jr., OF (.305, 29 RBI, Tusculum); Bryce Burkey, Jr, OF (.455).
Toughest games: Flanagan, March 18; Baylor, April 24
Outlook: Winners of nine state titles this century, Farragut had one of the highest win totals in the nation last year while finishing 42-3 and winning the Class 3A championship. Farragut begins the season as the favorite to win other state crown thanks to a pitching staff that’s loaded with Division 1 arms and returns over 20 wins from last year. The Admirals have one of the state’s top players in Hagenow, who struck out 11 in the state championship game against Bradley Central.
11. Baylor (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Coach: Greg Elie and Mike Kinney
2019 Record: 27-6, Division II-AA champion
2019 National Ranking: 43
All-American candidates: Vytas Valincius, Jr., 1B/3B (.417, 12 DB, 3 HR, 41 RBI, South Carolina);
Other key returners: Colin Ahearn, Sr., P/OF (8-0, 71 Ks, 7 HR, 37 RBI, Tennessee); Gehrig Ebel, Sr., 3B/C (.361, 30 RBI, 4 HR, Virginia Tech); Christian Martin, Sr., (.409); Daniel Corona, Jr., SS (.394, Wake Forest); Cooper Kinney, Sr., 2B/3B (.371, 30 RBI, 5 HR); Jay Dill, RHP/OF, Sr. (5-1, 47 Ks, Missouri); Nick Kurtz, LHP/OF (3 HR, 20 RBI, 3-0, 36 Ks, Wake Forest).
Toughest games: National High School Invitational, April 1-4; Farragut, April 24.
Outlook: The Division II-AA state champions return five players from last spring’s Best of Preps team selected by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. They included Ahearn, Martin, Ebel, Corona and Kinney. Baylor might have the best infield in the nation with Ebel, Corona and Kinney joining transfer Valincius, who comes to Baylor via St. Laurence, where he helped the team to a 32-6 record. In Ahearn, Baylor has one of the top returning pitchers in the state as he was a Mr. Tennessee Baseball finalist as a junior. A two-time defending state champion, Baylor will find out where it stands on the national stage when it participates in the NHSI in April.
12. Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.)
Coach: Jared Smith
2019 Record: 45-11, Class 7A runner-up
2019 National Ranking: 21
All-American candidates: Dylan Ray, Sr., RHP/OF (All-state, 7A Hitter of the Year, .403, 64 RBI, 11 DB, 9 HR, 5-1, 3.19 ERA, Alabama);
Other key returners: Caden Rose, Sr., SS/RHP (All-state, .444, 31 RBI, 51 runs, 20 DB, 7 HR, Alabama); Cam Hill, Sr., 1B (All-state, .383, 51 runs, 40 RBI, 16 DB, 9 HR, 7-1, 2.96 ERA, Auburn); Mitchell Daly, Sr., SS/2B (All-state, .321, 52 runs, 33 RBI, 18 DBL, 8 HR, Texas); Slate Alford, Jr., 3B (.298, 34 RBI, 10 DB, 3 HR, Auburn); Sam Maynard, Sr., RHP (3-0, 1.71 ERA, Southern Union); Stuart Edge, Sr., OF/RHP (3-0, 2.37 ERA, Union College); Nick Brown, Sr., RHP (Wisconsin-Milwaukee); Tyler Jones, Sr., OF/2B.
Toughest games: Smiths Station, April 17; Perfect Game Showdown, March 5-7; National High School Invitational, April 1-4
Outlook: The Patriots had an explosive offense last year, leading the nation in hits (492) and doubles (132) and finishing second in runs (425), according to the MaxPreps leaderboards. The majority of those run producers return, including All-American candidate Ray in the outfield. The offense returns 38 home runs from last year as Bob Jones lost two players who saw substantial playing time last year. The Patriots will also play in two of the toughest tournaments in the nation, participating in the Perfect Game Showdown and the NHSI. The entire infield returns along with 24 wins on the pitching staff.
13. La Mirada (Calif.)
Coach: Jimmy Zurn
2019 Record: 26-7
2019 National Ranking: 72
All-American candidates: Jared Jones, P (.457, 16 RBI, 3 HR, 7-1, 0.77 ERA, 94 Ks, Texas)
Other key returners: Emilio Morales, RHP/C (.308, USC); Eugene Jeon, 3B (.375, 27 RBI, 13 DB, Santa Barbara); Jacob Sharp, Sr., RHP/OF (.324, 5 DBL, 3-1, 0.76 ERA, 22 Ks, Hawaii); Michael DeHaro, Sr., RHP (6-0, 0.29 ERA, 67 Ks, .304, 21 RBI, 5 DBL, Santa Barbara); Jimmy Blumberg, Sr., SS (Long Beach); Dominic Martinez, Sr., 2B (.404, 5 DB, 16 RBI); Memo Pacheco, Sr., RHP (5-3, 1.29 ERA, 53 Ks); Noah Rodriguez, Soph., Ut (.375, 3 DBL).
Toughest games: Orange Lutheran, Feb. 19; Coach Bob Invitational, March 18-21; Boras Classic, April 14-17.
Outlook: The Matadors finished one game away from the Southern Section Division 1 championship last year, falling to eventual champion Cypress 1-0 in the semifinals. Seven of the team’s top nine offensive players return, led by Jeon with 27 RBI and 13 doubles. The pitching staff is outstanding with 21 wins returning, including one of the top pitchers in the nation in Jones. The MaxPreps Junior of the Year and Sophomore of the Year the past two seasons, Jones is ranked No.3 in California by Perfect Game and No. 23 in the nation. With Orange Lutheran and Notre Dame both making the trip back to the NHSI, don’t be surprise if La Mirada is the favorite at the Boras Classic the following week.
14. Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.)
Coach: John Diatte
2019 Record: 29-4
2019 National Ranking: 15
All-American candidates: Jonathan Cymrot, Jr., 1B/P (.310, 20 RBI, 8-1, 1.11 ERA, Kansas);
Other key returners: Eddie Park, OF, Sr. (.377, 10 DB, 17 RBI, 4-0, 26 Ks, Stanford); Trevor Haskins, Jr., SS (.309, 21 RBI, Stanford); Stephen Hom, Sr., 3B (.275, 23 RBI); Jack McGrew, 2B, Sr. (.306, 22 RBI); Nick Thomson , P, Sr. (Northwestern Nazarene); Griffin Allen, P/1B, Jr.; Jaxon Wall, Jr., C; Jacob Hudson, Fr., P/OF.
Toughest games: North Gwinnett, Feb. 28; Orange Lutheran, Feb. 29; Archbishop Mitty, March 17; Saint Francis, March 21.
Outlook: The Warriors finished the season with 16 straight wins and head into the 2020 season with a team loaded with experienced players. Cymrot, Haskins, McGrew and Hom are all in their third seasons on the varsity while Park is in his fourth. Both Haskins and Park are headed to Stanford while Cymrot, one of the top juniors in the nation, is Kansas bound. The Warriors have won three straight Central Coast Section Division I championships and are favored to win a fourth.
15. Kingwood (Texas)
Coach: Kelly Mead
2019 Record: 31-7-2
2019 National Ranking: 178
All-American candidates: Masyn Winn, IF/P, Sr. (13-0, 137 Ks, 0.46 ERA, .439, 26 RBI, 2 HR).
Other key returners: Justin Long, C, Sr.; Nick Luckett, P, Sr.; Parker Hemphill, P/1B, Sr.; Carson Irvin, IF/P; Riley Bender, Jr., IF.
Toughest games: The Woodlands, Feb. 28; Cypress Ranch, March 12.
Outlook: Armed with one of the top pitching prospects in the nation in Winn, Kingwood could advance farther than the Class 6A regional finals, where it lost to Ridge Point last year. The offensive took a bit of a hit when Tre Richardson, the Houston Chronicle Hitter of the Year in 2019, graduated early to begin his freshman year at Baylor. Pitching will be Kingwood’s strength, however, as it has eight pitchers with experience.
16. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.)
Coach: Jared Halpert
2019 Record: 27-6-1
2019 National Ranking: 13
All-American candidates: Pete Crow-Armstrong, Sr., OF (.395, 23 RBI, 3 HR, 5 DBL, Vanderbilt); Drew Bowser, Sr., SS (.391, 34 RBI, 11 DBL, 2 HR, Stanford).
Other key returners: Sam Biller, Sr., OF/LHP (.241, 9 RBI, Cal-Poly SLO); Tyler Ganus, Sr., 1B/OF/RHP (.362, 12 RBI, Oregon); Thomas McCaffrey, Sr., C (.250, Irvine); JP Wong, Sr., RHP (Williams); Jacob Galloway, Soph., C (.397, 20 RBI); George Cooper, Jr., 2B (.310, 15 RBI).
Toughest games: National High School Invitational, April 1-4; Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), April 22/24.
Outlook: Last year, the pitching staff was its strength, thanks to the arm of Sam Hliboki. This year, defense and hitting will be the key as nearly every starter returns. Leading the pack are a pair of All-American candidates in Crow-Armstrong and Bowser. Crow-Armstrong is tabbed as a possible first round draft pick while Bowser is ranked as the No. 33 overall player in the Class of 2020 by Perfect Game. Harvard-Westlake makes the trip back to Cary (N.C.) to participate in the NHSI, where it finished second last year.
17. DeSoto Central (Southaven, Miss.)
Coach: Mark Monaghan
2019 Record: 34-3
2019 National Ranking: 8
All-American candidates: Blaze Jordan, Sr., IF (.440, 11 DB, 10 HR, 46 RBI).
Other key returners: Cade Smith, Sr., RHP (10-1, 1.14 ERA, 85 Ks); Kyle Booker, Sr., OF (.365, 17 RBI, 42 runs).
Toughest games: Providence School, Feb. 28; Cullman, March 5; Briarcrest Christian, April 11.
Outlook: The Jaguars return three players who made substantial contributions to last year’s Class 6A state championship team, but what a trio. Third baseman Jordan has reclassified to the Class of 2020 and is ranked as a possible first round draft pick in June. He’s one of the top power hitters in the nation and had 10 dingers as a sophomore. Add in outfielder Booker, who scored 42 runs and is ranked among the top players in Mississippi by Perfect Game. Meanwhile, Smith is the top returning pitcher with 10 wins as a junior.
18. Smiths Station (Smiths, Ala.)
Coach: Mike Ferry
2019 Record: 23-13
2019 National Ranking: 476
All-American candidates: Carson Swilling, P, Sr. (.367, 11 DBL, 2 HR, 27 RBI, Auburn)
Other key returners: Zane Faulk, C, Sr.; Hunter Donaldson, SS, Sr. (South Alabama); Jackson Huguley, 1B, Sr.; Trent Hodgdon, RHP, Jr. (West Virginia); Caden Hare, RHP, Jr.; Ellis Yohn, C, Jr. (Tennessee-Martin); Javi Marrero, RHP, Jr. (Troy).
Toughest games: Bob Jones, Feb. 17; Decatur, March 6; Hewitt-Trussville, March 12; Faith Academy, March 28
Outlook: Although Smiths Station failed to make the Class 7A playoffs last year, it has a ton of talent returning, including two all-state players and the No. 2 player in the state in pitcher Swilling. The pitching staff is particularly deep with four pitchers expected to advance to the Division 1 level next season.
19. Reagan (San Antonio)
Coach: Chans Chapman
2019 Record: 33-8
2019 National Ranking: 337
All-American candidates: Travis Sthele, P/SS, Sr. (9-2, 1.12 ERA, .407).
Other key returners: Luke Hoggatt, C, Sr. (.288, 33 RBI); Stayton Ankrom, SS, Jr. (.381, 42 RBI); Britt Moore, OF, Soph. (.250); Will Carsten, Sr., P (9-0, 1.64 ERA); Zane Raba, OF, Sr. (.306, 21 RBI); Hogan Heller, 1B, Jr. (.275); JT Moeller, Sr., P/OF (.240, 7-2, 1.39 ERA).
Toughest games: Round Rock, March 7; Johnson, March 17/April 9
Outlook: Reagan has won 30 or more games five of the past six seasons, reaching the regional semifinals last year before falling to Alexander (Laredo). The top three pitchers, and a combined 25 wins, return, led by district MVP Sthele. The Rattlers also return seven starters in the field. Look for Reagan to be the top 6A team coming out of Region 4.
20. North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.)
Coach: Ryan Moity
2019 Record: 31-8
2019 National Ranking: 88
All-American candidates: Corey Collins, C, Sr. (16 HR, .474, 16 DB, 50 RBI, 48 runs, Georgia).
Other key returners: Brandt Pancer, RHP, Sr. (11-1, 84 Ks, 1.33 ERA); John Anderson; Josh Shuler, OF, Sr. (.333, 6 2B, 6 HR, South Carolina); Max Luke, RHP/1B, (.424, 7 DB, 20 RBI); Cole Smith, IF, Sr. (.328, 13 DB, 3 HR, 26 RBI); Jarrett Burney, IF (.404, 6 2B, 24 RBI).
Toughest games: Parkview, Feb. 17; Valley Christian, Feb. 28; Mater Dei, Feb. 29.
Outlook: The balance of power in the Georgia AAAAAAA division could be determined in the very first game of the season when North Gwinnett takes on defending state champion Parkview. North Gwinnett lost to Parkview in the state semifinals last year. North Gwinnett has a balanced attack on offense and defense with one of the leading home run hitters in the nation in Corey Collins leading the offensive attack along with outfielder Shuler. The pitching staff has Pancer, who is headed to Stanford, leading the way. North Gwinnett will also head to the West Coast to take on some of the top teams in California, including Valley Christian and Mater Dei.
21. Miami Springs (Fla.)
Coach: David Fanshawe
2019 Record: 27-4
2019 National Ranking: 398
All-American candidates: Carlos Rey (.481, 21 RBI, 8 DBL, 9-0, 2.01 ERA, 65 Ks).
Other key returners: Lazaro Hernandez (.351, 12 RBI); Jason Torres, Soph. (.425, 27 RBI, 6 HR); Josemanuel Llavore (.500, 11 DBL, 21 RBI); Brandon Villabrile, P, Jr., (4-1, 1.73 ERA, 25 Ks); Danny Fernandez, Soph., P (3-0, 17 Ks).
Toughest games: Flanagan, March 13; Calvary Christian Academy, April 14
Outlook: Miami Springs was one of the surprise teams in Florida last year, reaching the state championship game before falling to Jesuit. The Golden Hawks have a good balance of returning starters in the field and on the mound. However Miami Springs plays in Class 6, which figures to have some of the top teams in the state, including Jesuit and American Heritage.
22. American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Coach: Carm Mazza
2019 Record: 29-3
2019 National Ranking: 121
All-American candidates: Ryan Bruno, LHP, Sr. (.333, 19 RBI, 2 HR, 3-2, 1.85 ERA, 49 Ks).
Other key returners: Samuel Murrison, LF, Sr. (.378, 15 RBI, 5 DBL), Bailey Uderitz, CF, Sr. (.359, 19 RBI, 8 DBL, 4 HR)., Steven Andrews, RF, Sr. (.357, 9 DBL, 17 RBI), Nicholas Romano, 3B, Jr., Jacob Lojewski, SS, Sr. (.303, 25 RBI, 4 HR), Stanley Demartinis, 2B, Sr. (.330, 12 RBI, 8 DBL), Dylan King, C, Jr. (.277, 13 RBI), Nelson Berkwich, LHP, Sr (10-0, 0.45., 110 Ks), Carsten Finnvold, LHP, Jr. (4-1, 0.54, 41).
Toughest games: Archbishop McCarthy, Feb. 10; Calvary Christian Academy, March 13; Flanagan, April 21; Stoneman Douglas, April 23.
Outlook: The Stallions return 10 of the top 12 offensive players from last year’s team that reached the Class 4A championship game. A total of 21 wins from the pitching staff are also back, including 10 from pitcher Berkwich. The pitching staff shined during the playoffs, throwing three straight shutouts before falling to Calvary Christian (Clearwater) in the championship game.
23. Mountain Pointe (Phoenix)
Coach: J.J. Sferra
2019 Record: 22-8
2019 National Ranking: 220
All-American candidates: Ethan Long, 3B, Sr., (.469, 8 DBL, 30 RBI, 9 HR);
Other key returners: Carsen Tucker, SS, Sr., (.453, 24 RBI, 8 DBL); JR Flores, OF/P, Sr., (.226, 14 RBI); Devon Dixon, P, (.302, 3-0, 1.62 ERA); Tyler Kearney, OF/UT, (.293); Cade Westerlund, C, Jr., (.371, 20 RBI, 6 doubles, 5 HR), Jacob Beltran, P/UT, Jr. (.308, 10 RBI); Nathan Ward, P, Sr., (4-3, 3.47 ERA, 41 Ks),
Toughest games: Corona del Sol, April 21/23; Mountain Ridge, April 27.
Outlook: The Pride lost in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs last year, but the return of some of the top players in the state make Mountain Pointe a team to watch in 2020. The left side of the infield is stellar with Long at third and Tucker at shortstop. Long is ranked No. 1 in the state by Perfect Game while Tucker is No. 5. Meanwhile, catcher Westerlund is one of the state’s top juniors.
24. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
Coach: Bruce Aven
2019 Record: 19-6
2019 National Ranking: 423
All-American candidates: Enrique Bradfield, Sr., CF (.542, 1 HR, Vanderbilt); Gavin Casas, 1B, Sr. (.288, 5 HR, 24 RBI, Vanderbilt); Devin Futrell, LHP, Jr. (6-1, 1.74 ERA, Vanderbilt).
Other key returners: Jordan Carrion, SS/P (.265, Florida); Matt Ruiz, RF, Sr. (.316, 3 HR, 21 RBI, South Florida); Gio Ferraro, 3B, Sr. (.310, 22 RBI, Miami); Kolbe Aven, C, Sr. (.271, 12 RBI, Furman); Hunter D’Amato, 2B, Sr. (.367, Fairleigh-Dickinson).
Toughest games: Venice, Feb. 22; Archbishop McCarthy, March 12; Doral Academy, March 13; National High School Invitational, April 1-4; Flanagan, April 9.
Outlook: Traditionally one of the top teams in Florida, American Heritage suffered a rare season when it did not contend for a state title. That’s not to say the Patriots weren’t competitive. They posted a 19-6 record and the losses were to some of the top teams in the state. Experience will be the key this year as the infield returns, including power hitter Casas at first base. The outfield should also be stellar with All-American candidate Bradfield in centerfield. The pitching staff also has one of the state’s top arms with Vanderbilt-bound Futrell.
25. St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
Coach: Matt Petry
2019 Record: 34-9-2, Division 2 state champion
2019 National Ranking: 112
All-American candidates: Logan Wood, LHP, Sr. (10-0, 1.07 ERA, 138 Ks, Michigan); Alex Mooney, SS, Jr. (.444, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 15 DBL, Duke)
Other key returners: Nolan Schubart, 1B, Soph. (.394, 42 RBI, 13 DBL, 5 HR, Michigan); Brock Porter, P, Soph .(Clemson); Jack Crighton, 3B, Soph. (Michigan); Anthony Felt, LHP, Sr. (Akron); Mike Gall, RHP, Sr. (Saginaw Valley State).
Toughest games: Divine Child, April 4; Brother Rice, April 8; Saline, May 8.
Outlook: The Eaglets might be a year ahead of schedule here as they have some of the top underclassmen in the nation in their starting lineup, including shortstop Mooney, ranked No. 13 in the nation for the Class of 2021 by Perfect Game. St. Mary Prep also has three of the state’s top sophomores, including Schubart who is ranked No. 10 in the nation for the Class of 2022. The Eaglets do have some senior talent as well with pitcher Wood, a two-time all-state pick who is ranked No. 2 in the state.
26. Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.)
Coach: Greg Olsen
2019 Record: 26-4
2019 National Ranking: 23
Top Returning Players: Pierce Chambers, Sr., C (.436, 29 RBI, 3 HR, TCU); Vince Smith, Sr., SS (.315, 23 RBI, 11 DBL, 4 TRI, FSU); Samuel Gordon, Sr., CF (.422, 18 RBI, 3 HR, State College of Florida); Kyle Flynn, Sr., 1B (.304); Peter Stavrakos, Sr., LF (.271, Eckerd College); Tommy White, 3B, Jr. (.426, 36 RBI, 13 DBL, 4 HR, NC State); Charles Stevens, Jr., RF; Bo Planeta, Sr., OF/1B (Lafayette College); Jack Cebert, Jr., RHP (3-1, 2.58 ERA, Stetson); Jack Speights, Sr., UT (Seminole State); Kevin Blowers, Jr., IF; Tyler Dietz, Jr., RHP (USF).
Toughest Games: Venice, Feb. 28/March 12; Calvary Christian Academy, March 7; St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio), April 13; Jesuit (Tampa), April 17; Mitchell, April 23.
Outlook: One year after seeing its 60-game win streak come to an end in the Class 4A playoffs, Calvary Christian won the state championship in 2019, making it two in three years. The Warriors return nine of the top 11 offensive players from last year, but they will have to replace the pitching of All-American Nolan Hudi, who went 34-1 in his three-year varsity career.
27. Huntington Beach (Calif.)
Coach: Benjamin Medure
2019 Record: 25-7
2019 National Ranking: 22
Top Returning Players: Jake Vogel, Sr., CF (UCLA); Jag Burden, Sr., RF/LHP (Cal-Berkeley); Thomas Babineau, Sr., RHP (San Marcos); Shane Stafford, Jr., OF/LHP (San Diego State); Blake Penso, Jr., 1B; Ryan Navarro, Sr., C (San Marcos); Joe Yost, Sr., 3B (Cal-Baptist).
Top Newcomers: Caden Aoki, RHP/2B, Jr. (Notre Dame); Tyler Conant, Sr., RHP (Long Beach State); Ralphae Velazquez, Frosh.
Toughest Games: JSerra Catholic, March 3.
Outlook: The Oilers have a deep pitching staff with three top arms back from last year. They also have one of the Southern Section’s top outfielders in Vogel, an All-Southern Section pick from last year. The Oilers reached the Southern Section Division 1 semifinals before falling to Harvard-Westlake.
28. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
Coach: Mike Rogers
2019 Record: 37-5
2019 National Ranking: 50
Top Returning Players: Kal Edmundson, Sr., P (6-0, 1.26 ERA); Parker Guerin, Sr., SS (.271, 21 RBI); Stormy Heirholtzer, Sr., P/1B (8-2, 65 Ks); Kaeden Kent, Soph., 3B (.250); Plans revealed for a £32 million Barry high school
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