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High School | General | 1/3/2018

Finest in the Field: 2019 Class

Brian Sakowski        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 PG/Rawlings Finest in the Field: 2018

2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Finest in the Field, Class of 2019

Pitcher: Brennan Malone (Porter Ridge HS, Matthews, N.C.)
When one starts to break down defensive ability from a pitcher, the first thing that usually warrants analyzing is athleticism. Of course, one can be a good defender without being a plus athlete, but Brennan Malone has that athleticism in spades and makes it work from a defensive standpoint on the mound quite well. Malone has the quick twitch necessary to explode out from his landing position to field weakly hit grounders and bunts, and the body control necessary to make accurate throws on the run.

Hunter Barco also warrants mention here and will be detailed in greater detail as a first baseman. Isaiah Bennett (Pine Forest HS, Fayetteville, N.C.) also stands out defensively at multiple positions on the field.

Catcher: Raymond Torres (IMG Academy, Charlotte, N.C.)
Lots of things go into making a good defender behind the plate, including but certainly not limited to athleticism, flexibility, arm strength, accuracy and receiving ability. Raymond Torres immediately catches the evaluative eye with his raw arm strength, the best in the class behind the plate as of right now, which he has honed in terms of accuracy to make for a plus tool. He’s got the necessary quick feet and flexibility to allow for his arm tool to play up, and his receiving skills have noticeably improved over the last year as well.

Gabe Briones (Martin Luther King HS, Riverside, Calif.) also warrants consideration here as he’s long been one of the better catchers in the class, handling a talented CBA pitching staff with relative ease and essentially shutting down opposing running games every time he takes the field.

First Base: Hunter Barco (The Bolles, Jacksonvile, Fla.)
While technically a primary lefthanded pitcher (and the No. 2 player in the class), Barco is also an extremely talented hitter and an excellent defender at first base, not unlike Jonathan Gates of the 2018 class. With clean hand actions out front and solid basic athleticism and footwork, Barco is more than capable of making the consistently routine play as well as several tough ones from that position, where his lefthanded bat and prodigious lefthanded power would make him a legitimate prospect even if he were not an exemplary pitching prospect.

Middle Infield: Bobby Witt, Jr. (Colleyville Heritage HS, Colleyville, Texas)
The No. 1 player in the class of 2019 for awhile now, there isn’t much on a baseball field that Witt can’t do. Even stepping aside from his offensive ability, he’s an outstanding defender in the middle infield, with a rare combination of athleticism, twitch, superb actions and plus arm strength that combine to form a potentially rare defensive talent. He’s very light on his feet with lots of range to both sides, and his hands are excellent as well. The arm is a big tool that is noted both for strength and accuracy, as well.

Middle Infield: Nasim Nunez (Collins Hill HS, Lawrenceville, Ga.)
Nunez is one of the top pure infield defenders in the class, and it shows on every single ground ball hit his way. He has outstanding balance and body control when fielding, able to contort and twist as needed to make the plays, and his range and athleticism also stand out. He’s also the owner of a big-time arm, capable of making the throws from deep short, even when off balance, and is consistently accurate with lots of zip across the diamond.

Isaac Nunez (Lake Brantley HS, Orlando, Fla.) and Myles Austin (Westlake HS, Smyrna, Ga.) definitely warrant mentioning here as the 2019 class looks to be pretty deep on good infielders at this juncture.

Third Base: Rece Hinds (Niceville Senior HS, Niceville, Fla.)
Hinds is the No. 4 player in the class, mostly based on the fact that his righthanded raw power (that plays in games, often) is simply ridiculous to behold. With that being said, he’s also toolsy in other areas, given that he has a tremendous throwing arm that plays extremely well from third base (as well as in the outfield). He’s a very good athlete overall who can play shortstop right now as well, though as he continues filling out his body he’s likely to end up at third base long term, where he has the potential to be a truly impactful defender.

Outfield: Jasiah Dixon (Orange Lutheran HS, Riverside, Calif.)
It’s relatively rare to see a truly impactful outfield defender at an early age, as it takes such a long time to develop instincts and reads to go along with requisite athleticism and speed to be a good glove out there. However, Jasiah Dixon is a very special defender in the class of 2019, making it look easy in center field on a whole host of difficult plays. He has plenty of range and solid arm strength, but his best individual defensive attribute at this point are his uncanny instincts, which allows the rest of his package of tools to play up even more.

Outfield: Jerrion Ealy (Jackson Preparatory HS, Carthage, Miss.)
Potentially the best dual-sport prospect in the class, Ealy is committed to Mississippi to play both football and baseball and has the ability to potentially be a professional in either one due to his athletic ability. Ealy is a 6.3 runner in the 60-yard dash and that speed is on display constantly in the outfield, to go along with a cannon of an arm that has been clocked as high as 92 mph. He’s still learning the finer points of route-taking and reads off the bat, but his raw tools give him arguably the highest potential upside.

Outfield: Logan Britt (All Saints Episcopal HS, Benbrook, Texas)
Britt fits the “power-hitting right fielder” archetype to a tee, as the young Texan has tremendous raw power and arm strength to go with solid athleticism and outfield instincts, all the makings of a premier prospect in that vein, which is what he’s becoming at present. He has good athleticism for being a big, physical prospect, and has the makings of a good defender in right field, where his prodigious arm strength is a big weapon as well.

Utility: Carter Young (Selah HS, Selah, Wash.)
One of the few underclassmen on the USA National Team who took Gold in Thunder Bay this past summer, Carter Young fits the utility tag to a tee, given his prowess at multiple positions. He’s a true infielder, which is likely where his long-term home will be once he gets to Vanderbilt, but he’s also a capable outfielder who has also seen time behind the plate, where we’ve liked him at previous Perfect Game events.

Sansone Faltine III (William B. Travis HS, Richmond, Texas) also warrants mention here given his two-way ability, as the young Texan is a legitimate prospect in the middle infield as well as on the mound.

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