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High School  | General  | 12/4/2023

Finest in the Field: Class of 2024

Brian Sakowski     
This time of the year, every year, out staff looks back at some of the defensive standouts, from their showings both in a showcase setting and live action, and assemble the Finest in the Field beginning today with the Class of 2024. 

P - Cam Caminiti, Saguaro HS (Ariz.)

Caminiti possess quality athleticism in general as well as legitimate two-way talents that include defensive chops as he's still seeing time in the outfield. He has good fielding actions with natural athleticism and inherent balance, allowing him to be defensive assets from the mound. The LSU signee also won the PG Two-Way Player of the Year this past summer at the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

C - Drew Rogers, Hamilton HS (Arizona)

Rogers has been a known player on the circuit for a few years now, but really sort of blew the top off of PG National with his performance throwing out runners throughout his portion of the event. It’s an above-average arm with a quick release and good accuracy, showing pop times below 2.00 consistently in-game and continuing to throw well throughout the summer. 

1B - Noah Franco, IMG Academy (Fla.)

Franco is a two-way guy who could have fit in the Pitcher category of this list as well, but we’ll keep him on the positional side for this exercise. He’s a talented athlete who could likely play an outfield corner long-term were he to ever stop pitching. His hands are quick and clean with good footwork and lateral agility, making him a defensive asset at 1B. 

MIF - Ty Southisene, Basic HS (Nev.)

Southisene has maybe the quickest feet on the defensive side of any of the prep infielders in this class, with wheels that never seem to stop churning. He has excellent balance as a result along with above-average range and solid hand actions, showing a very quick release that is accurate from multiple slots as well as off-platform throws. He’s seemingly a lock to stay at second base should he ever move off of shortstop in the future. 

MIF - Charlie Bates, Palo Alto HS (Calif.)

Widely considered to be the best pure prep shortstop defender in the class, Bates is extremely smooth and a fun defender to watch play. He glides with range and clean footwork in any direction, has the makings of plus hands and shows quality arm strength with accuracy and release repeatability. The makings of a big league defender at the shortstop position are here. 

3B - Carter Johnson, Oxford HS (Ala.)

Johnson has every chance to play shortstop into the long-term future but we needed a spot for him on this list, so third base it is. A longer-bodied and rangy defender in the middle infield, Johnson has a good combination of smoothness and quick-twitch ability to go along with plenty of arm strength and some of the better hand actions in the class. He’s got a chance to be a first round prep shortstop next July. 

OF - Konnor Griffin, Jackson Prep (Miss.)

Griffin is one of the most tooled-up and physically-capable players in the entire class, hence his lofty ranking, and make no mistake that a significant portion of his portion are his abilities as a defensive outfielder. He’s a plus runner who glides into gaps and can really cover ground in center field to go along with a plus throwing arm that has a chance to be plus-plus. He should stay in center field for a long time and bring value there. 

OF - Derek Curiel, Orange Lutheran (Calif.)

Curiel has been one of the best defenders in this class for years now, back to before he was even running plus times. His natural instincts in center field are excellent, with great breaks on the ball and naturally direct routes, with plus closing speed and ability to finish plays. As he’s gotten older, his speed has jumped and added even more range to his defensive game in center. He has a chance at the first round next summer, due in no small part to his glove.

OF - Braylon Payne, Lawrence E. Elkins HS (Texas)

Payne has some of the best pure range and instinctual ability in the outfield of anyone in the class, and is yet another of these three who is a true center fielder. He stands out chasing balls down into both gaps and can go back on the ball with great hips and subsequent speed. His body projects to continue getting bigger but he should pretty easily retain the twitch and speed to play center for a long time, which is what we project him to do. 

UT - Bryce Clavon, Kell HS (Ga.)

Clavon earns the nod here in the utility spot thanks to his abilities both on the infield and in the outfield, as he’s seen time all over the diamond and can impact the game defensively from numerous spots. He’s a ball of twitch with explosive movements and big range in the outfield, and he shows quality infield actions with quick feet and a big arm at shortstop. His future position could potentially be anywhere in the middle of the diamond given how impactful of an athlete he is.