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Tournaments  | Story  | 10/5/2022

Jupiter Champion Staff Picks

Photo: Ostingers Baseball Academy 2022 (Perfect Game)
Jupiter Pool Preview

Who is going to win it all? Some of our scouting staff pick who they think has what it takes to take home the ultimate championship in amateur baseball, but as we all know far too well, anything can happen in Jupiter!

Winner: Ostingers Baseball Academy 2023

In the span of the last 12 months, the Ostingers won the 2021 WWBA World Championship, won the 17u WWBA National Championship, and had a PG All-American in shortstop Arjun Nimmala. The Ostingers are a team with a super high floor as their arms throw strikes, their hitters rarely expand, and in a very clichéd voice, they make teams beat them. The offense is deep, including one of the best two-way players in the event in 17u MVP Evan Dempsey, while all eyes will be on Nimmala nearly every at-bat. Nimmala is the hitter who delivered the walkoff win to the Ostingers last year, and this year’s crew looks as strong as ever to repeat.

-Vinnie Cervino

Winner: MLB Breakthrough Series 2023

Escaping Pool J will be a challenge in and of itself with the three teams they'll have to lock horns with, including Power Baseball, but there's no doubting that Breakthrough has the talent and depth to do so. Kendall George and his 6.16 speed will set the table and provide as good of a leadoff hitter as you'll find in the tournament while PG All-Americans Dillon Head, Zion Rose and Nazzan Zanetello, Louisville-bound catcher George Baker and standout underclassmen Aidan Harris, Donovan Jeffrey, and David Hogg II make for one of the more formidable rosters. Right-handers Mekai Griffin, Boston Flannery and Rodney Pena can all bring it on the mound and MLB will need big performances from each if they are going to take home the title. 

-Jheremy Brown

Winner: FTB/Philadelphia Phillies ST 2023

In a tournament filled with so much talent, having a great group of standouts on both sides can separate certain squads. That is the reason I'm going with FTB, as they have a premier collection of arms and position players that really stand out from the rest. It's a deep group of arms, but a blend of high-end athletes and physical bats capable of leaving the park at any moment. Having that diversity on both sides can pay dividends facing similar rosters. They're coached well and bring a ton of energy to every game. FTB has established itself as one of the most quality travel baseball programs in the entire country, for quite some time now and they are my pick to go the distance.

-Isaiah Burrows

Winner: TG D-Backs

The roster is the same that was the runner-up at the 17U WWBA National Championship during the summer and it is bringing their top arms down to Florida to compete. Luke McNeillie, Cason Engert, Jeffrey “Mac” Heuer, Francesco Capocci, Garrett Lambert and youngster Ford Thompson bring a ton of firepower to a rotation that will rival any at the event. Catchers Walker Barron and Tyler Minnick have been handling these arms for years and have good chemistry. Landon Stripling’s left-handed bat is lethal and always seems to produce. Colin Houck and Kyle Henley are so explosive and can produce or take runs away in the blink of an eye. Carson Kerce is another experienced player with leadership qualities and grit.

-Jered Goodwin

Winner: CBA Marucci

Going with my Southern California roots, CBA Marucci is filled with 19 commits on their roster and is my pick to win the WWBA. CBA always brings a well-coached and prepared ball club and this year is no different. Pool J features some tough teams that feature a majority of underclassmen that could work toward CBA lining up their pitching rotation for bracket play. They are a well-balanced roster on both sides of the ball, and any team that features a pair of All-American Classic players in Eric Bitonti (Oregon) and Brandon Winokur (UCLA) on the left side of the dirt, is going to be a tough team to beat. To win the WWBA, a team needs an efficient pitching staff and solid defense, and CBA Marucci is traveling to Jupiter with a club to do that.

-Jason Phillips

Winner: Alpha Prime 23

Alpha Prime made a strong run at last year’s event, losing a tough one-run game in the semifinals. With a lot of that roster returning, it would not be a surprise if they took home the title this year. One of those players returning is PG All-American Classic MVP Ryder Helfrick, who will lead a powerful lineup that also includes the likes of Nolan Stevens, Nolan Souza, Carson McEntire, and plenty more. The pitching staff is just as impressive. Vanderbilt commit Austin Nye has the ability to shut down any lineup. Wade Mountz, Kaden Taque, and Quinn Larson all have swing and miss stuff and should provide quality innings. It is a team loaded from top to bottom and should be able to compete with anyone. 

-Tyler Henninger

Winner: South Charlotte Panthers 2023

Don Hutchins, who founded the South Charlotte Panthers organization in 1998, returns to the dugout for his annual trek to Jupiter with his “super squad,” as he calls it. He will take the field with a roster that ranges from 2023 to 2025 grads and seemingly endless talent. The expectation will be to play hard-nosed, fundamentally sound baseball and still be in town on the final day of the event. The tone and mentality of this club will revolve around 2022 PG All-American, Walker Jenkins, the No. 2 player in his class as he puts his 5-tool skill set on display. Luke Nixon, Isaac Armstrong and Devin Parks are just a few of the talented sticks that will surround Jenkins in their potent lineup that averages 8 runs per game. Chance Mako is an NC State commit and will anchor the rotation with his low-90s fastball and invisible slider. Tyler Baird, Samuel Cozart and Parker Lakey may be the best stock of 2025 arms on the same staff this week and are part of a unit that boasts a dozen arms that reach 90 mph or better. The Panthers will go as far as their pitching and defense takes them, but this club has had a flare for the dramatic. A variety of different players have stepped up in huge moments for this team, they know how to win and 2022 could be their year to take home the hardware.

-Craig Cozart

Winner: Dirtbags

Andy Partin and the Dirtbags have been here before, as they took home the coveted “Jupiter” title in 2016. This year’s group will be led by a lineup with exceptional depth, some thump in the middle and more than enough arms to make a deep run. Ethan Gibson, Perry Hargett and the talented two-way Dalton Wentz provide catalyst qualities wherever they are deployed within the lineup, while Samuel Stafura and Luke Stevenson can lose a ball at any given moment. Experienced backstops in Max Kaufer and David McCann will provide leadership behind the dish and power-armed righties like Nathan Teague and Jackson Dilorenzo can stymie any lineup when locked in. Their whole attitude or mindset embodies the name accordingly, as they will do whatever it takes to hoist that trophy.

-Johnnie McAdams

Winner: Canes National/NY Mets Scout Team

If there’s a program that’s in discussion for taking home the title year-in and year-out, it’s the Canes, as they bring an abundance of talent and depth to Jupiter every year and regularly hold a large target on their back. This team made an impressive run through the UBC East, beating a number of the programs regarded as favorites for this event and with much of the same group coming back to South Florida, it’s clear they’ve got a good chance. Kevin McGonigle may be the best hitter at the event while a couple more All-American hitters in Trent Caraway and Macon Winslow give them three of the country’s best just in the lineup alongside guys like Jonny Farmelo, Gavin Gallaher, Campbell Smithwick and PJ Morlando. Add in potentially the best pitching staff at the event with almost 20 guys in the low-90s and committed to Power 5 programs, with a large handful peaking in the mid-90s like Cal Randall, Steven Echavarria, Tucker Holland, Alex Kranzler, and Chase Meyer, and you’ve got a ridiculous roster on paper that certainly fits the mold of a Jupiter Champion. 

-Tyler Russo

Winner: Top Tier 5 Star Roos Mafia

Winning Jupiter is about any number of things, and there’s no foolproof formula in an event like this. However, over the years, there have been some common threads amongst Jupiter champions, including but not limited to: Extreme depth of talent, well-balanced player variations on the roster, familiarity with one another, history of success, etc. This combo club of Top Tier and 5 Star, appropriately dubbed Top Tier 5 Star Roos Mafia, has all of the above in spades. The talent of the lineup stands way out, and this should be an offensive club with no real breaks 1-9 (or 1-10/1-11), and there’s a lot of star power in the middle with Aidan Miller, Alfonsin Rosario, Drew Burress, and AJ Ewing all projected to the top/middle of the order, with depth behind them. Liam Peterson, Wesley Mendes, and Landen Maroudis are all top-100 ranked arms in the ’23 class, and all of this without mentioning a solid handful of 2024s on this roster as well. They are loaded and check all the requisite boxes of a Jupiter champ, and are my pick to win as a result.

-Brian Sakowski

Winner: GBG Navy

The old adage, 'hitting and offense wins games, but pitching and defense wins championships' couldn’t be more true. GBG Navy demands the respect of it opponents, period. The Garciaparra Baseball Group will rely on its offense to put runs up on the board, no doubt, and they’re really good at doing that. UCLA commit Boston Baro, UCI commit Anthony Huezo, and Long Beach State commit Owen Martin will be leading the way in that department. However, making a serious run at the PG WWBA title is all about run prevention. GBG’s arsenal of arms is deep and experienced. PG All-American, Justin Lee will be expected to take care of business and show the national scouting community why he's in the 2023 MLB Draft discussion. Lee’s supporting cast of starting pitchers like ASU commit Jaden Alba, Cal Berkeley commit Oliver Boone, USC commit Mason Edwards, Long Beach State commit Owen Geiss, and the other role pitchers will determine their overall success in Jupiter.

-Steve Doherty

Winner: Power Baseball 2023 Marucci

Power is really interesting as they roll into Jupiter. A senior-laden event, they combined their 2023s and 2024s into one roster. The 2023 bats have plenty of fire power with Perfect Game All-American Braden Holcomb, left-handed slugging Collin Priest, speedster Jaden Bastian, and toolsy AJ Goytia, and they bring some composure to the Jupiter lineup. The 2024 class has finished runner-up at the last two WWBA National Championships over the summer for their age group and just won the WWBA Underclass World Championship last weekend. Austin Jacobs can pick it at shortstop and brings bat-to-ball skills to the lineup, Tyler Head has a good blend of on-base skills and left-handed juice, and Talan Bell has real left-handed bat speed, and he is a two-way player during the event. Speaking of Bell, he is tough as nails and attacks hitters with big confidence in his heater that can peak at 90 with big deception. Ryan Ashford, Eli Fleming, Matthew Heyl, Anthony Wilkie and Dylan Jordan should all log intense innings if Power makes the run they are primed for.

-Tyler Kotila

Winner: Scorpions/Giants Scout Team

The Scorpions/Giants Scout Team always seems to be in the thick of things when it gets to bracket play, and we saw it again during a deep run at the WWBA National Championships before winning the BCS over the summer. They are a disciplined group that can grind out at-bats and produce by moving runners around. Catcher Alex Sosa has star potential, Dallas Dale II can impact the game on both sides, Robert Nedry can really hit, Logan Hughes has big power, and new-comer Sebastian David is very well-rounded. The pitching staff has tons of gritty veterans that fill the zone up and can pitch backwards. Logan Bevis, Taylor Rabe, Grayson Smith, Adekide Adetuyi, Hudson Calhoun, Daniel Hartley, and Austin Waring will all be called upon to roll lineups during the gauntlet. This group knows how to win together.

-Todd Coffey

Winner: USA Prime National

USA Prime can line up with any team in the tournament in regards to depth and Power 5 commitments. The lineup should be very balanced with speed and power throughout. Antonio Anderson was a Perfect Game All-American over the summer and has juice from both sides of the dish, Steven Milam is another switch-hitter and earned back-to-back MVP honors at WWBAs a couple falls ago, Landon Greenhouse and Ashton Larson are both twitchy athletes that produce, and underclassman Rustan Rigdon can bring a quick spark at any time. On the bump, look for Garren Rizzo, Ryan Lynch and ’24 Ryan McPherson to attack the other top lineups in the pool.

-Cameron McElwaney