Northeast Regional Feature: Don Bosco Preps Tops in NJ
This is the eighth of a ten-part series previewing all ten regions of the United States. The schedule is as follows:
Battle for NYC
The top two teams in the city, George Washington and Poly Prep, remain the same from a year ago. Poly Prep got the better of GW a year ago, winning their head to head matchup on May 10 by a 1-0 score. George Washington opens the season at No. 10 and Poly Prep at No. 40. Their April 21 matchup (see below) is one to circle on your calendars.
The Clippers had the nation’s longest winning streak until Martensdale-St. Mary’s (IA) ran their streak up to 87 over the summer. Portsmouth currently sits at 83 in a row and April 25 (see below) is their fifth scheduled game for the 2012 season. The team merits watching and could make it 100 straight later in the year.
The 2011 NE class was very strong with RHPs Tyler Beede (21st overall) and Kevin Comer (57th) going in the first round. In 2012, the top draft prospects are George Washington teammates C Nelson Rodriguez and OF Fernelys Sanchez along with toolsy BB&N (MA) OF Rhett Wiseman. There also always seem to be a NE pitcher that comes out throwing very well and generating draft buzz. Some of the candidates are listed in the Northeast Dream Team.
The most competitive state title race might be the Quaker State. Conestoga rolled to a title last year and look like the early favorite to be the top team in the state. They will be tested by Council Rock North, Twin Valley, Norwin among others. Top Philadelphia schools look to be Chestnut Hill Academy and Malvern Prep, and the Pittsburgh area boasts Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland, and Butler.
The sports powerhouse looks to avenge last year’s early playoff exit. Jeff Dahn profiles one of the country’s top teams here.
April 12 Xaverian Brothers (MA) @ Lincoln-Sudbury (MA)
Traditional powerhouse Lincoln-Sud looked to be the top team in the state for much of 2011. They will have to overcome the loss of LHP Andrew Chin (5th round, Blue Jays), Dan Cellucci leads the 2011 squad. Xaverian will be very strong led by 2013 RHP/SS Austin DeCarr.
April 13 Seneca Valley (PA) @ Pine-Richland (PA)
This Pittsburg area battle could decide the WPIAL AAAA Section 1 title. A year ago, Seneca Valley won the league going 10-4, with Pine-Richland just behind at 9-5. Seneca Valley is led by RHP/OF Matthew Smith, and Pine-Richland by C/RHP Russell Clark.
April 21 Poly Prep Country Day (NY) @ George Washington (NY)
Probably the game of the year in the Northeast Region. The two top teams in 2011 look to be even stronger in 2012 and they both begin the year in the PG National Top 50. Poly Prep RHP Andrew Zapata will face a GW lineup led by Nelson Rodriguez and OF Fernelys Sanchez.
April 25 Windham (NH) @ Portsmouth (NH)
This could be the game that Portsmouth reclaims the longest win streak in the nation. Weather permitting, they could reach an astonishing 100 straight wins later in the year.
May 6 Gloucester Catholic (NJ) @ Don Bosco Prep (NJ)
The matchup of the top two teams in New Jersey. Both teams feature rosters loaded with D1 signees. The pitching matchup could pit RHP Michael Shawaryn (Gloucester) vs. RHP Tom Burns (Don Bosco).
Northeast High School Dream Team
C Nelson Rodriguez, Sr. George Washington (NY)
The big, strong catcher is one of the leaders on the team currently No. 10 in the PG National High School Top 50. He is very strong and has power to all fields. He also shows arm strength behind the plate with a top velocity of 82 mph and is currently ranked No. 58 in the PG Class of 2012 Rankings and committed to Central Arizona CC. Other catchers of note: Kevin Martir (NY), Scott Williams (PA), Joseph Frey (NJ), Billy Walker (RI), Matthew Thaiss (NJ), Chris Melillo (PA), Ryan Summers (MA), and Buck McCarthy (MA).
1B Joe Dudek, Jr. Christian Brothers Academy (NJ)
Dudek is one of the best overall players in the NE region. He has been clocked as high as 87 as a pitcher from the left side but it is his power bat that is his best tool. He has stood out at a number of PG events starting with the 2010 15u WWBA playing for the Indiana Prospects. He has a very good approach at the plate, driving the ball to all fields with power and good backspin. Javoni Thomas (NY), Matthew Dacey (NJ), Christopher Shaw (MA), Shane Dressler (PA), Justin Bellinger (MA).
2B Brian Almand, Sr. Paul VI (NJ)
Almand is a strong steady athlete who showed very well at the 2012 World Open Uncommitted Showcase in early January. He is a solid runner, and has a short line drive swing at the plate. A very good defender, he has smooth actions and 87 mph arm strength. Other second baseman: John Fussell (NY), Henery Rodriguez (NY), David Leiderman (NY), Brett Matzen (NJ), and Brett Connors (CT).
SS Andrew Velazquez, Sr. Fordham Prep (NY)
Velazquez is one of the most exciting players in the class. He is a pesky leadoff hitter who makes contact nearly every at bat and loves to use his speed and quickness. He is a very good base stealer and has shown plus defensive skills both in the OF and at SS. He is committed to Virginia Tech. Others: George Iskenderian (NJ), Jose Cuas (NY), Kevin Bradley (NJ), Matthew Tietz (NJ), Kenny Koplove (PA), Devin Wenzel (PA), Stephen Alemais (NY), Dylan Manwaring (NY) and Will Savage (NY).
3B Joe DeCarlo, Jr. Garnet Valley (PA)
DeCarlo has a classic 3B build with athleticism, strength and shows quick actions and arm strength across the diamond. His bat is one to follow closely as he has simple swing mechanics and a good plane and lots of power in his bat. He has committed to Georgia. Other 3B: Grant Van Orden (NJ), Danny Rosenbaum (PA), Brett Hileman (PA), Ryan Sullivan (MA), Christian Helsel (PA).
OF Fernelys Sanchez, Sr. George Washington (NY) 2-time NE Dream Team
OF Rhett Wiseman, Sr. Buckingham, Browne & Nichols (MA)
OF Jarrett DeHart, Jr. Shawnee (NJ)
A star-studded OF. Fernelys Sanchez has enticed scouts for years with his long, athletic frame and running speed (60-yard dash as low as 6.27). He had his best showing to date at the 2012 World Showcase showing bat speed and HR power from both sides of the plate to go along with his usual defensive prowess. Wiseman had a breakout performance at the 2011 PG National Showcase and was selected to the PG All-American Game. He is a plus defensive outfielder with speed and great instincts. His left handed swing is a bit unorthodox but the results cannot be questioned. DeHart is an underclassmen to watch closely. He showed athleticism as well as a smooth, easy left-handed swing with present power and more to come. An LSU commit, he has a chance to put himself high on scouts radar with a big summer/fall. Other OF deserving mention: Thomas Pannone (RI), Joseph Uccello (CT), Parker Bean (PA), Joshua Almonte (NY), Harrison Bader (NY), and Edgar Lebron (NY).
UTIL Matthew Vogel, Jr. Patchogue-Medford (NY)
Vogel sits in the 90-92 range on the mound and his future is probably as a pitcher. In high school and showcase season he is a very good two way prospect with his athleticism and arm strength at shortstop as well as smooth swing from the right side. The South Carolina commit is one of the top players in the 2013 class. Other top two-way players: Juan Carlos Pena (NY), Austin DeCarr (MA), Joe Dudek (NJ), and Christopher Shaw (MA).
P Karl Keglovits, Sr. RHP, Nazareth Area (PA)
P Jake Drossner, Sr. LHP, Council Rock North (PA)
P Jared Price, Sr. RHP. Twin Valley (PA)
P Patrick Delano, Sr. RHP, Braintree (MA)
P Robert Kaminsky, Jr. LHP, St. Joseph Regional
Pitching is deep in the region in 2012. Keglovits is a big, strong righty who has been up to 92 in the past. He throws on a downhill plane and has showed feel for both a curveball and changeup. Drossner is a long limbed lefty with lots of room to fill out. He has shown velocity up to 91 and a hard curveball with downer shape. Pitchers with the present skills as well as projection are highly sought and Drossner is no exception. Some pitchers seem to tire over a summer of tournaments, showcases and lots plane and car rides. Price was an exception as he seemed to get better as the summer went along. He has sat in the low 90s, touching 93 with his fastball and also showcases one of the better breaking pitches of the region, a 75-78 mph curveball with downer spin. Delano is a big right hander from one of the top schools in Massachusetts. He has a strong, sturdy frame with good present velocity in the low 90s, topping at up to 94. Kaminsky is a young arm to follow. He is a compact lefty with consistent velos in the low 90s. Other pitchers: Alex Robinson (NY), Austin Solecitto (NJ), Nolan Long (CT), Quinn Carpenter (NY), Anthony Rosati (NY), Jesus Colon (NY), Max Tishman (MA), Michael Sheppard (NJ), Andrew Schorr (NJ), Andrew Zapata (NY), Luke Fernandes (ME), Chris Oakley (NJ), Michael Shawaryn (NJ), Jesse Roth (NJ), Karl Blum (NJ), Jextin Pugh (PA), Bobby Moretti (CT), Austin DeCarr (MA).
Northeast Region Best Tools
Best Hitter For Average Christopher Shaw, Sr. 1B, Lexington (MA)
Shaw is a big strong, hitter with easy bat speed. He has the strength and bat speed to hit for big power, but currently employs a line drive swing, driving the ball all over the field. He is one of the toughest outs in the Northeast. Others considered. Joe Dudek (NJ), Matthew Dacey (NJ), Kevin Bradley (NJ), Rhett Wiseman (MA), and Matt Tietz (NJ).
Best Hitter For Power Nelson Rodriguez, Sr. C, George Washington (NY) 2-time NE Best Power
Very few hitters in the class have the raw strength of Rodriguez. He stands 6’3 230 with lots of strength in his lower half. He routinely drives the ball with all fields, showing power from foul pole to foul pole. The ball has a different sound when coming off Rodriguez’ bat, almost a “boom” rather than a crack. Others: Chris Shaw (MA), Fernelys Sanchez (NY), Justin Bellinger (MA), and Scott Williams (PA).
Best Baserunner Andrew Velazquez, Sr. SS, Fordham Prep (NY)
Very few runners have the raw speed of Velazquez and even fewer have his instincts and quick first step. His speed is his biggest asset and he uses it by pressuring the defensive while at bat and when on base. His speed also allows him to be a very good defender at SS and CF. Others: Rhett Wiseman (MA), George Iskenderian (NJ), and Kevin Bradley (NJ).
Best Defensive Catcher Scott Williams, Sr. C, Conestoga (PA)
Williams is a well-rounded backstop similar to Midwest Dream Team C Jason Goldstein. He has a smooth, power swing but really stands out with his defense. He receives and blocks very easily and has very good feel for the position. His arm strength is good with accuracy and carry. Others: Joseph Frey (NJ), Joseph Burns (CT).
Best Defensive Infielder Stephen Alemais, Jr, SS, All Hallows (NY)
Alemais is a strong all around player but stands out in the field. His total package is similar to 201 AFLAC All American Christian Lopes. Alemais has quick and confident defensive actions with good body control and arm strength that definitely plays at the position. Other players considered: George Iskenderian (NJ), Kevin Bradley (NJ).
Best Defensive Outfielder Rhett Wiseman, Sr. OF, Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols
Wiseman has the athleticism and the speed to match up with almost any player in the country. He is raw with his defensive actions but it is easy to project him as a very strong defensive CF with more time on the field and already plays as hard as any player we have seen. Other top defensive OF are Fernelys Sanchez (NY) and Parker Bean (PA).
Best Infield Arm Kenny Koplove, Sr. SS, William Penn Charter (PA) 2-time NE Best IF Arm
Koplove is seen by some scouts and coaches as a pitching prospect. He has a lean, loose build and raw arm strength that has been clocked as high as 94 across the infield. He has good fielding actions at SS and the arm allows him to take more time than others on groundballs. Others: Danny Rosenbaum (PA), George Iskenderian (NJ), Andrew Velazquez (NY), Matthew Vogel (NY) and Juan Carlos Pena (NY).
Best Outfield Arm Joshua Almonte, Sr. OF, Long Island City (NY)
Almonte came out of nowhere at the 2012 World Open Uncommitted Showcase. He showed a long, athletic build and ran a 6.74 sixty but it was his loose, easy arm strength, up to 93 mph from the outfield that really got scouts’ attention. Almonte is currently ranked No. 305 in the 2012 class and has committed to Miami Dade College. Others: Edgar Lebron (NY) and Juan Carlos Pena (NY).
Best Fastball Jared Price, Sr. RHP, Twin Valley (PA)
A number of pitchers in the region have been in the low 90s, but Price leads the way as he was up to 93 with life at the 17u WWBA. His fastball showed movement and he was able to maintain the velocity for multiple innings, an attribute that may be just as important as touching the velocity in the first place. Other hard throwers: Matt Vogel (NY), Karl Keglovits (PA), and Jesus Colon (NJ).
Best Offspeed Stuff Jesus Colon, Sr. RHP, Phelps School (NJ)
Colon has as much potential as any pitcher in the 2012 class. He is athlete with loose arm action, repeats his delivery well and has good present velocity. He has very good arm strength and a downer curveball at 78-79 with good spin and shape. He also showed a very good changeup at 81-83 with plus movement. Others: Jared Price (PA), Alexander Robinson (NY), Michael Shawaryn (NJ).
Best Command Jake Drossner, Sr. LHP, Council Rock North (PA)
Drossner throws downhill with loose arm action and good extension. That allows him to have very good command of his 88-90 mph fastball that has touched 91, a 1/7 curveball with good spin and depth and changeup with good arm speed. He is athletic and is able to repeat his delivery. Drossner is consistent with his mechanics and arm slot, making it a lot easier for him to throw strikes consistently. Other pitchers: Mark McCoy (NJ), Michael Sheppard (NJ), Andrew Zapata (NY).
Best Pitchability Max Tishman, Sr. LHP, Lawrence Academy (MA)
Tishman is one of the most underrated arms in the 2012 class. He is lean and projectable and should add more velocity as his body fills out. He has as good a current repertoire you could ask for, a fastball that sits 86-89 touching 91, a changeup that he turns over well and a slider at 77-79 with sharpness. His left-handedness is just icing on the cake. With life on his fastball and feel for three pitches, Tishman figures to get a lot of outs whatever level he is pitching at. Others: Jake Drossner (PA), Michael Sheppard (NJ), Matthew Tulley (MA).
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Northeast Top 25 Regional Rankings