High School : : Rankings
Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 National HS Rankings: 6-10

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game



2018 Perfect Game High School Preview Index


6. Orange Lutheran Lancers


Orange, Calif.
CIF Southern Section Division I Trinity League
Head Coach: Eric Borba
2017 Result: 18-12, Division I playoffs

Key Losses: OF Garrett Mitchell (UCLA), SS Tristan Hanoian (Texas Christian), SS Brenden Avventino (UC Riverside), 1B Zach Busalacchi (Oregon State)

Top Players: RHP Cole Winn (Mississippi State), SS Zachary Lew (Cal State Fullerton), C Caleb Ricketts (San Diego), OF Jasiah Dixon (Southern California), RHP Johnathan Guzman (San Diego State), SS Tank Espalin (Southern California), RHP Christian Rodriguez (Miami), RHP Max Rajcic (UCLA)

After capturing the 2017 NHSI crown, the Orange Lutheran Lancers are back in 2018 with one of the most talent-laden rosters across the country. The Southern California powerhouse has immense depth and talent throughout the ranks and respective classes.

Transferring in from Colorado is dominant righthander Cole Winn, who, at No. 33 in the country, is the top-ranked high school pitcher in the draft from California and should slot right into the No. 1 slot in the rotation. Winn is a huge addition to an already supremely talented roster and should be joined by underclassmen Johnathan Guzman and Christian Rodriguez in the rotation. 

The big loss for the Lancers heading into the 2018 season is that of former PG All-American Garrett Mitchell, who was listed as the top-ranked freshman on the Top 50 College Freshmen list, as well as three other seniors, including the team's leader in batting average Tristan Hanoian, to Division I baseball. The lineup is more than able to step up as senior Zachary Lew should man a position up the middle while Caleb Ricketts will be behind the plate. 

The underclassmen on this team are supremely talented and are headlined by outfielder Jasiah Dixon. The fast-twitch, rangy junior has an elite skill-set across the board and is currently the 17th-ranked player overall in the class of 2019. Tank Espalin is another infielder who should also see lots of playing time as he is one of the top-ranked sophomores in the country. Righthander Max Rajcic will also see time in the late innings, as he features a hammer breaking ball and a low-90s fastball and will likely close for the Lancers to start the year. 

Orange Lutheran has one of the most complete rosters in the country with the requisite depth and talent for a state-title run. They do face one of the tougher schedules in the country, however, which includes being in the same league as Mater Dei, the 10th-ranked team.



7. Reagan Rattlers

Porter Brown (Photo by Donald J. Boyles)
San Antonio, Texas
UIL 6A Region IV District 26
Head Coach: Chans Chapman
2017 Result: 31-9, 6A State Runner-Ups

Key Losses: C/OF Cade Bormet (Missouri), LHP Jake Hoggatt, SS Ramon Garza

Top Players: OF Porter Brown (Texas Christian), OF Seth Morrow (Wichita State), SS Hilton Brown (Northwestern State), LHP Cal Carver (Wichita State), RHP Dalton Brieger (Northeast Texas CC), RHP Travis Sthele (Texas) 

The Rattlers of Reagan High School have been so close to the state title multiple times over the past few years, and the 2017 season was especially close as they finished as runner-up. With the depth of their team in 2018, it looks as if the Rattlers have the talent to become the first San Antonio high school team to win a state championship in 6A in nearly 50 years. 

Seniors will dictate the road ahead for the Rattlers as they are led by outfielder Porter Brown and lefthander Cal Carver. Brown is one of the top pure hitters in the state, and in addition to being talented in his own right, Carver has a ton of experience including starting the game in which Reagan lost the state championship a year ago. Seth Morrow, Hilton Brown and Dalton Brieger are all seniors who will go on to play college baseball next year and provide a wealth of experience and talent heading into 2018. 

The Rattlers will lose some key starters, including Cade Bormet, as he will play at Missouri this spring. Jake Hoggatt, who was affectionately nicknamed "Mr. May" after his playoff heroics, and Ramon Garza both graduated, but the depth of the squad should be enough to continue pushing this squad onward. 

The Rattlers also boast one of the most talented sophomores in the country in righthander Travis Sthele. In addition to boasting a low-90s fastball, Sthele also guided the Rattler varsity football team to a 9-3 record as only a sophomore and put up impressive numbers including an 18-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio and a 109.3 QB rating. 

Texas, as per usual, is lining up to be one of the most competitive states in the country and Reagan enters the rankings as the No. 2 team in the state with an excellent chance at capturing the state crown. 


8. Hattiesburg Tigers

Dexter Jordan
Hattiesburg, Miss.
MHSAA 5A Region 7
Head Coach: Joe Hartfield
2017 Result: 26-11, 5A Regional Semifinals

Key Losses: NA

Top Players: OF Joe Gray Jr. (Mississippi), Dexter Jordan Jr. (Louisiana-Lafayette), RHP A.J. Stinson (Alabama State), OF Kameron Wells (Miami-Dade College), RHP Landon Rascoe (Uncommitted)

The Hattiesburg Tigers boast the rare trio of success in the past season, elite talent and multiple returning starters which culminates into what should be an exciting season in Hattiesburg. 

The obvious place to start is with the star-power as the Tigers will trot out PG All-American Joe Gray, Jr. and the highly-ranked Dexter Jordan Jr. into the outfield. Gray is a dynamic talent and is a top-end MLB draft prospect, currently slotted at No. 24 in Perfect Game's Top 250 Draft Prospects. Jordan also offers an exciting presence, particularly offensively, and comes in at No. 240 on the list as both have the chance to be the first draft picks from the school in over a decade. 

A.J. Stinson and Landon Rascoe will likely be featured heavily in the rotation. Stinson will work his fastball up into the low-90s while Rascoe will work in the upper-80s and both feature strong two-way presences offensively. Kameron Wells and Gray will both see time on the mound as well as they have both pitched in the past. Gray's raw arm strength allows him to work in the low- to mid-90s which could be useful in late-game situations. 

Eight seniors graduate and move on from the Tigers heading into 2018, however, the underclassmen who return this year have a wealth of experience, not only from that Final Four, but from also being state runner-ups in 2016. The experience from this senior class is an invaluable resource for Hattiesburg heading into this spring. 

The Tigers made a deep run in the 5A state playoffs a year ago, falling in the semifinals after winning the first game in a best-of-three series. Hattiesburg returns a good wealth of their talent from a year ago and have enough on the front end to be as complete of a team as you are going to see in the state. 


9. Barbe Buccaneers

Lake Charles, La.
LHSAA 5A District 3
Head Coach: Glen Cecchini
2017 Result: 29-6, 5A Bi-District Playoffs


Key Losses: LHP Adam Goree (McNeese State), RHP Brandon Rushing (Hutchinson CC), RHP Slate Fuller (LSU-Eunice)

Top Players: IF Antonio Lorenzo Gauthier (New Orleans), SS Bryan Lawrence (Southeastern Louisiana), OF Carter Quinn (South Alabama), LHP Dylan Beier (Uncommitted), RHP Isaac Duplechain (Uncommitted), OF/LHP Brody Drost (Louisiana State), SS Davis Meche (Mississippi State)

The Buccaneers followed up their state title in 2016 with an uncharacteristic finish last season, as Barbe closed out the year with the No. 2 seed in the state playoffs and fell in the first round.

Coach Glen Cecchini will look to get his 2018 team focused and ready to push onward as Barbe looks poised for another state championship run this spring. The big loss for Barbe will be from the rotation as they lose three of their top starting pitchers to graduation and collegiate baseball.

The pitchers who will be replacing the departed seniors are young but talented arms. Look for Dylan Beier, Isaac Duplechain, and 14u PG Select Festival participant Brody Drost to all play key roles on the mound throughout the year for the Buccaneers.

The crop of position players is as talented as ever with seniors Antonio Gauthier and Bryan Lawrence leading the way. They should both occupy the infield while underclassman Carter Quinn will patrol the outfield. Sophomores like Brody Drost and Davis Meche will also be counted upon to help out offensively as well.

Youth is a big theme for the Barbe Buccaneers, however, there is a strong mix of senior experience and talent to go along with gifted underclassmen which should combine for Barbe to be one of the top teams in the Southeast, and on the path back to the state championships. 


10. Mater Dei Monarchs

Santa Ana, Calif.
CIF Southern Section Division I Trinity League
Head Coach: Burt Call
2017 Result: 21-12, Division I Final Four

Key Losses: C Blake Hunt (2nd Round, Padres), 3B Jonathan Schiffer (Washington), OF Steven Kotkosky, OF Michael Peabody (UC Irvine)

Top Players: OF Vinny Tosti (Oregon), SS Emilio Rosas (Southern California), OF Grant Burton (Stanford), 2B Maxwell Foxcroft (Oregon), C CJ Rodriguez (Vanderbilt), RHP Hunter Cranton (Arizona), SS Chad Call (Uncommitted), 1B Joey Nicolai (San Diego), RHP Hunter Cope (San Diego), RHP Cameron Wheeler (UC Irvine), RHP Kyle Scott (Uncommitted)

The Trinity League in the CIF Southern Section historically turns out some of the best talent and teams in the country. However, this season the stakes are raised as Mater Dei enters as the second team from the league in the Top 10 and they are oozing with talent entering the 2018 season. 

The Monarchs get a big boost in the form of a senior transfer as PG All-American Vinny Tosti will suit up in the red and gray for the 2018 season and be able to provide an immediate impact near the top of the order and in the outfield. Tosti has a diverse set of tools and should be monitored as a high draft prospect as well. 

Emilio Rosas and Grant Burton will be suiting up on the varsity team for their fourth seasons, being varsity lettermen since they were freshmen. Rosas is one of the most agile and versatile defenders in the entire in the class with an excellent feel to hit to boot; he will be one of the Monarch's top MLB draft prospects as well. Burton is an excellent athlete with a complete tool set as well, running a 6.6-second 60-yard dash and throwing 90-plus from the outfield. Maxwell Foxcroft is the fourth senior to be committed to a Division I college. 

The underclassmen for Mater Dei are some of the top in the country. C.J. Rodriguez is one of the most talented backstops in the country while Chad Call and Joey Nicolai should be important contributors to the lineup. On the mound Hunter Cranton is a standout as he will work his fastball up to 90 mph and the 6-foot-11 Hunter Cope is the picture of projection with incredible balance. 

Mater Dei is clearly one of the top teams in the country and should be followed throughout the year as they have one of the most purely talented rosters across America. 


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