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High School  | Rankings  | 1/31/2023

Preseason HS Rankings: 20-11

Tyler Russo      Cameron McElwaney     
Photo: PG HS Top 50
Preseason HS Rankings: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21

20. Auburn (Auburn, Ala.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Matt Cimo

Notable Prospect(s): OF Cade Belyeu (Auburn), SS Jace Norton (Mississippi State), RHP Patrick Davidson (Air Force), RHP Caleb Maxwell (Wallace Dothan), 3B Henry Allen (Mississippi State), 3B Tanner Waldrop (Auburn), RHP Michael Daniel

This program has regularly been one of the best in the state of Alabama and they’re hungry to avenge a deep playoff loss from a year ago. They bring back some of their best hitters from last year’s roster as Belyeu, Norton, Cosby and youngsters Allen/Waldrop are all returning to their strong lineup while some spots where the seniors made a big impact will have to be filled; the bulk of their long balls come back with the returners at least. There’s some questions when it comes to the rotation as they lost their top four inning-throwers from last year’s group, but Davidson and Maxwell found success in short looks and some of the bats can pitch it well too.

19. Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Glenn Cecchini

Notable Prospect(s): OF Donovan Lasalle (Oklahoma State), 1B Jon Cassidy Vanek, RHP Landon Victorian (LSU), SS Owen Galt (LSU), OF John David Alexander

Barbe had a surprisingly early exit in the playoffs a year ago as falling short of the state finals is not something that happens often for the program, and they lost a big piece with Guidry’s exit to LSU. While this roster may not look as deep as some that they’ve had in the past, Coach Glenn Cecchini knows how to turn his group into winners and gets the most of his core. Lasalle and Vanek are the big seniors for them this year who will likely shoulder the offense alongside youngster Owen Galt and some others, but the biggest thing they have going for them is the big return of Landon Victorian who had one of the best years in the country in 2022 and he looks primed for yet another impressive year as the ace of one of the country’s prestigious programs.

18. Sinton (Sinton, Texas)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Adrian Alaniz

Notable Prospect(s): C/RHP Blake Mitchell (LSU), 1B Jaquae Stewart (Houston Baptist), RHP Braeden Brown (Sam Houston State), 2B Efrain Villasana (Oklahoma)

This program is coming off one of the best seasons in Texas’ 4A history as they lost just a single game on their way to the state title, running the table in impressive fashion. While they do lose some key pieces from that group, there’s still plenty of parts returning and they’ve got the guys to win it all again. The star here is potential first rounder Blake Mitchell, the top catcher in the country for the ‘23s who led the team in hits a year ago and can blow mid to upper-90s on the mound. Gonzales, Brown and Stewart are all back too, three of their higher-end hitters from in 2022 and while they lose their top inning thrower from last year, every other arm that threw innings for them is back giving them a plenty deep enough staff to make the big run to a title.

17. Mt Paran Christian (Kennesaw, Ga.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Kyle Reese

Notable Prospect(s): RHP Tate McKee (Georgia Tech), RHP Paul Farley (Georgia), 1B Pete Craska (Georgia Tech), LHP Luke Dotson (Mississippi State), LHP Jake Tucker (Georgia Tech), OF Bryce Adams, OF Henry Akopov, RHP Michael Fredette (Kennesaw State)

They lost in the final four to a really talented Wesleyan team last year, but this group looks on paper to compete as one of the best in Georgia, regardless of class. They’ve got a really good group of senior arms as four Power 5 commits headline the staff with Tate McKee, Paul Farley, Luke Dotson and Jake Tucker. That blend of exciting talent and experience is a good recipe for success. While Tyler Minnick being enrolled early at Georgia Tech is a big blow to the offense, the addition of Pete Craska brings an exciting element to the heart of their lineup. They’ll have to rely on some others to manufacture runs, but Bryce Adams and Henry Akopov are a couple underclass guys that certainly have the talent to make an impact in this lineup.

16. Villa Park (Villa Park, Calif.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Burt Call

Notable Prospect(s): OF Gavin Grahovac (Texas A&M), LHP Brandon Luu (UC Irvine), 3B Zachary Brown (Ohio State), RHP Andrew Krodel (UC Santa Barbara), RHP Thomas McGuire, RHP Andrew Grove (UC Irvine)

This is a team that had a really nice year in 2022, winning the SoCal Boras Classic and beating a handful of good teams over the course of the spring and while they do lose a chunk of their big contributors, a lot of key pieces are back this year making them a dangerous team. Senior Gavin Grahovac led the team in hits last year and he’s on track to be one of the better hitters in the area this spring, while there’s gonna be some room for people to step up around him with a lot of seniors in last year’s lineup. The big piece to this team is that they return their entire rotation from a year ago and can go 4-5 deep with really talented arms, plenty of firepower to compete as one of the best teams in the gauntlet of Southern California.

15. Doral Academy (Doral, Fla.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Ralph Suarez

Notable Prospect(s): SS Adrian Santana (Miami), LHP Frank Menendez (Florida), C Justin Ruiz (High Point), OF Robert Rodriguez (FIU), OF Keanu Rodriguez, RHP Keyler Gonzalez, SS Pedro Acosta, OF/LHP Michael Torres (Miami), C Alejandro Ludeiro, OF Sebastian Berrios (FIU), 3B Jonathan Vazquez, RHP Marcelo Rodriguez, C Rene Ramirez, 2B Gabriel Milano (Miami)

Coach Suarez’s program is always competitive and their ability to string together strong records against the always difficult schedule they build is impressive. They won a state title last year and what makes this team so good is that they bring back almost that entire roster from a year ago, just with another year of experience under their belt. Adrian Santa is as dynamic of an athlete as any, Frank Menendez is a true ace on the mound, they’ve got a handful more senior bats who can swing it with some juice and junior Michael Torres is one of the top underclass prospects in the country and can lead the team both with the bat and on the mound. This is a really strong group with experience winning together and the firepower to win a lot of games.

14. Pearland (Pearland, Texas)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: David Rogers

Notable Prospect(s): LHP/1B Caden Ferraro (Texas A&M), LHP Cayden Schmidt (Blinn), SS Anthony Avalos (Houston), OF Brett Smajstrla (Sam Houston State), LHP Ryler Smart (Tennessee), 1B Jaden Barfield, RHP Jacob Mader-Cooper (Rice), SS Isaiah Castaneda, SS Nicholas Partida (Arizona State), C Cade Adams, C Brady Brewer

The bulk of the roster made a strong run to the regional semifinals last year before eventually falling and if they can play similar baseball to 2022 with another year of development under their belt, it makes it clear why they’re regarded as the top team in the state of Texas going into 2023. A lot of last year’s team is back, especially in critical areas. The senior crop is a good one with Ferraro, Schmidt and Avalos, among a few others, but they should get some pretty serious contributions from their underclass guys. Ryler Smart is one of the top arms in the state, while the combination of Barfield and Mader-Cooper on the mound gives them excellent depth. Add in the dynamic talent that is Nicholas Partida and all the pieces in between and you’ve got a team very well-built for the long season that is playing in 6A in the powerhouse state of Texas.

13. Santa Margarita Catholic (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Chris Malec

Notable Prospect(s): C Luke Lavin (Stanford), C Blake Balsz (UCLA), LHP Sammy Cova (Oregon), OF Drew Rutter (San Diego State), RHP Jack Svinth (Stanford), SS Blake Wilson (Washington), C Bryce Humphry (San Fransisco), OF Logan de Groot (UCLA), C Jake Lavin (California), 3B Aidan Stevenson, RHP Cole Grey, RHP Hayden George, C Lucas Owens, OF Jacob Wicker

When you look at this roster on paper, it is impressive. They are littered with guys committed to big programs all over the west coast and the bulk of them are juniors and seniors. They play in the Trinity League which means they’ve got one of the toughest schedules in the country, but this roster looks to be built to withstand it in 2023. They’ve got two of the state’s best catchers on one roster with Lavin and Balsz, while both will be impactful in the lineup. There’s a solid group of arms in their crop with Cova likely to provide the bulk of the quality innings as their ace and looking at the younger crop, they’ve got underclass talent that can give them innings and the lineup real depth too. This is a fun roster with tremendous upside if they can put it all together.

12. Tampa Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Miguel Menendez

Notable Prospect(s): LHP Wesley Mendes (Ole Miss), OF Jake Kulikowski (Miami), RHP John Abraham (FSU), OF Clay Thompson, RHP Brooks Chamberlin, 3B Grant Jordan, RHP Derek Westfall (Queens University of Charlotte), C Yvan Douglas, LHP McCall Biemiller (East Carolina), OF Jackson Thomas, OF Jack Clark (High Point), OF Daniel Pirela, OF Zane Pestalozzi (Campbell), RHP Aden Knowles (NC State), OF Jack Earnest, SS Jacob Lozano, C Vincent Decarlo (NC State), RHP Wilson Andersen

This is a program that just about anybody that follows high school baseball is familiar with and they won yet another state title in 2022. As one of the country’s consistently top programs with big talent top to bottom, that’s what they look like yet again. Wes Mendes is a highly regarded two-way prospect who can lead on both sides of the ball, Kulikowski has big left-handed juice, Abraham was Jupiter’s MV-Pitcher and they have a significant amount of junior depth with the outfield group of Thomas, Clark, Pirela and Pestalozzi alongside the arms of Biemiller and Knowles. Throw in one of the top freshman arms in the country, Wilson Andersen, who looks the part of an upperclassman with his stuff, and you’ve got a team built for winning another.

11. Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)
2022 Record:
Head Coach: Tim Held

Notable Prospect(s): OF CJ Richard (Ohio State), C Nathan Manley (Wright State), RHP Clay Burdette (Ohio State), SS Toby Hueber (George Mason), SS Connor Christenson (Air Force), 3B Ethan Sweat, RHP Carson Marsh, SS Charlie Niehaus (Cincinnati), IF David Hagen, OF Conlan Daniel (Wright State), RHP Kellan Klosterman (Notre Dame), 1B Joey Heenan, LHP Luke Pappano (Kentucky), RHP Zion Theophilus (Duke), SS Carter Christenson (West Virginia), RHP Tucker Wilburn, SS Matt Ponatoski (Missouri), 3B Conner Cuozzo

When you look at this deep roster, it’s really easy to like. They don’t have the junior or senior star power that some other programs in this range boast, but they’re chalked full of guys that play the game really well and it gives them the kind of well-rounded roster that should win a whole ton of games and be a favorite to win a state title. Their seniors are all guys that saw time in the lineup a year ago and have been productive in their careers, while they’ve got tons of athleticism from top to bottom. They’ve got a solid array of arms with two key innings guys from 2022 back this year and there’s some real up-and-coming stars in Luke Pappano and Zion Theophilus that are a couple of the best sophomore prospects in the country. This should be a fun team to watch and don’t be surprised if they find a way to lose even less games than 2022.