High School : : General
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Regional HS Preview: Florida

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Perfect Game

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2018 Perfect Game High School Preview Index

Top 15 Florida High Schools

Rk. Nat'l School '17 Rec. '17 Finish
1 1 American Heritage 20-7 6A Regional Quarterfinal
2 4 Calvary Christian 30-0 4A State Champs
3 12 Monsignor Edward Pace 26-6-1 5A Regional Finals
4 14 The Bolles School 21-10 5A State Champs
5 20 Calvary Christian Academy 23-8 4A State Semifinals
6 26 Trinity Christian Academy 19-7 No Playoffs
7 36 Tampa Jesuit 25-7 6A State Finals
8 42 North Broward Prep 9-14 No Playoffs
9 NR Columbus 28-3 9A Regional Quarterfinals
10 NR Canterbury 27-5 3A State Title
11 NR Eau Gallie 26-4 6A Regional Finals
12 NR Niceville Senior 19-11 7A Regional Quarterfinals
13 NR George W. Jenkins 21-8 8A Regional Finals
14 NR Providence 25-6 4A Regional Finals
15 NR Marjory Stoneman Douglas 22-6 9A Regional Finals

Nat'l denotes rank on the Preseason National High School Top 50

The level and depth of talent in the Florida high school baseball ranks at this time is exceptional, with 16 Floridians ranking in the top 100 in the PG 2018 national class rankings and an even 50 players (25 percent) of the top 200 coming from the state. That leaves a multitude of talented players, including undoubtedly some future big leaguers, off the All-Region team. And that doesn't even include what looks to be a very strong 2019 class of juniors.

Throw into the mix that Florida is the defending NCAA champion and Chipola is the reigning NJCAA champion and it's no wonder that scouts and college recruiters flood the state every spring.

Florida High School Dream Team

C - Adrian Del Castillo, Sr., Gulliver Schools, Miami
Del Castillo has been a two-year standout for Gulliver on both sides of the ball. He is a strong lefthanded hitter who both hits for a high average and has the power and lift in his swing to drive the ball out of the park to all fields, and he not only performs well during the spring high school season but also on the summer circuit. The Miami signee is also very athletic for a catcher with very good quickness behind the plate and a strong throwing arm. Del Castillo is currently the 115th-ranked player in the PG class of 2018 national rankings.

1B – Triston Casas, Sr., American Heritage HS, Pembroke Pines
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Casas plays plenty of third base for No. 1 nationally ranked American Heritage High School, where he hit .446-4-18 as a junior, but he plays mostly first base on the summer circuit and projects as a first baseman at the next level. In addition to playing at the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic, Casas was also the first baseman on the gold medal winning USA National 18u team and was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Championship after hitting .250-3-13 in nine games.

MIF – Nander De Sedas, Sr., Montverde Academy, Montverde
De Sedas, who is the second-ranked player nationally in the 2018 and the top position prospect, comes from an unusual background in that he was born and raised in Panama and only moved to the United States with his family while in high school. He is a true middle infielder with outstanding defensive tools, including one of the strongest throwing arms in the high school ranks, but is also a switch-hitter who has bat speed and power from both sides of the plate to go along with 6.6 speed in the 60-yard dash. De Sedas is signed with Florida State.

MIF – Xavier Edwards, Sr., North Broward Prep, Wellington
Edwards, who father, Jovon, played five seasons of minor league baseball, started playing in Perfect Game tournaments as a 125-pound eighth grader and has competed at eight PG showcases over the years. While he has always stood out for his superior defensive actions, Edwards has matured into a 6.5 runner who impacts the game in every way and is a switch-hitter with surprising juice in his bat for his size. He is signed with Vanderbilt.

3B – Rece Hinds, Jr., Niceville Senior, Niceville
Although the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Hinds is still listed as a shortstop, he is a future third baseman or potentially a corner outfielder in most people's minds. His big tool is his righthanded power and his ability to get to it consistently, even against upper level pitching. Hinds hit .318-11-24 as a sophomore to go with a strong summer and could see those power numbers rise over the next two years if he isn't pitched around too much in the spring. Hinds is the fourth-ranked player in the PG 2019 national class rankings and is verbally committed to Louisiana State.

OF – Justin Fabian, Jr., Trinity Catholic HS, Ocala
Florida's junior class is outstanding, with five members of the All-Region team coming from the 2019 class and all five being ranked among the top 11 players nationally in the 2019 class. The lefthanded throwing Fabian checks in at 11th, largely on the strength of his high ceiling bat, of which he hits righthanded. Fabian, hit .333 with four home runs, 19 walks and 35 runs scored as a sophomore at Trinity Catholic High Schoo,l and, like fellow junior Riley Greene, excelled on the summer circuit at WWBA events. Fabian has a verbal commitment to defending National Champion Florida.

OF – Riley Greene, Jr. Hagerty HS, Oviedo
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Greene is the third-ranked player nationally in the 2019 class and one of the most projectable physically as well. He has an extremely smooth and easy lefthanded swing that combines high contact rates with the ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark. Greene hit .374-2-19 with 33 runs scored as a sophomore at Hagerty High School in the Orlando area but well outperformed that in the summer, being named to four WWBA All-Tournament teams while playing for FTB. He has a verbal commitment to Florida.

OF – Connor Scott, Sr., Plant HS, Tampa
Scott has been a four-year starter for the heralded Plant High School program along with being a 2017 Perfect Game All-American. He's a very well rounded athlete who will show all five tools at times, including a loose and fluid lefthanded swing that produces plenty of bat speed and future power. Scott, as fits the theme of the Florida All-Region team, is also a quality two-way prospect who has been up to 92 mph on the mound and could play on both sides of the ball should he make it to Florida next fall.

UT – Hunter Barco, Jr., The Bolles School, Jacksonville
Barco would make the cut for the All-Region team strictly as a lefthanded pitcher after going 22-3, 1.29 so far in his high school career, including a 3-1 mark as an eighth grader, but he also swings a powerful lefthanded bat and hit .303-4-18 as a sophomore. A Virginia commit, Barco currently ranks second in the 2019 national class rankings and had an outstanding fall and summer. He works in the low-90s on the mound with an outstanding breaking ball from a silky smooth delivery that enables him to throw to spots and work very low pitch count outings. He reminds some scouts of a young Madison Bumgarner physically.

SP – Slade Cecconi, Sr., Trinity Prep, Oviedo
Cecconi looks the part of the standout pitcher with a very projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound build and lots of natural athleticism, including sub-7.0 speed in the 60-yard dash. His fastball works in the low- to mid-90s and has topped out at 96 mph and the Miami commit throws a full complement of secondary pitches, including a mid-80s slider that is his best breaking ball when he's throwing it at full velocity. Cecconi is also one of the top students among the 2017 Perfect Game All-Americans with classroom credentials as strong as his baseball tools. He is signed with Louisiana State.

SP – Joseph Charles, Jr., The First Academy, Celebration
Charles is a very athletic two-way player, something that Florida's current baseball population seems to be full of, and would be a college prospect as an outfielder with a strong righthanded swing and an absurdly strong right field throwing arm. Of course, that arm also comes into play on the mound and makes Charles the ninth-ranked player in the PG class of 2019 national rankings. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthander works regularly in the 90-93 mph range with a very lively fastball he hides very well from hitters, and he complements that with a sharp breaking 80 mph slider that should evolve into a plus pitch. Charles has a verbal commitment to North Carolina.

SP – Mason Denaburg, Sr., Merritt Island HS, Merritt Island
Denaburg entered last summer as a primary catcher and secondary pitcher but it quickly became obvious to everyone that his highest ceiling was on the mound, and by the end of the fall Denaburg was actually playing far more outfield than catcher when not pitching. The highly athletic righthander's fastball worked steadily in the mid-90s all summer, topping out at 97 mph, to go with a power curveball and a solid feel for pitching for someone with his relative experience on the mound. He is currently the 16th-ranked player in the 2018 class nationally and is signed with Florida.

SP – Jonathan Gates, Sr., Nature Coast Tech, Brooksville
In an era of power pitchers Gates is more of a command and control lefthander who can spot solid pitches with precision for a high school hurler, a combination that proved to be dominant against the top hitters in the country during last summer's competition. Gates will work his fastball in the 89-92 mph range consistently and gets to both low corners at will. He also throws a sharp biting slider up to 84 mph along with a pretty solid changeup. Gates also carries a .468 career high school batting average as a slugging first baseman and is one of the best defensive first basemen in the class. He is signed with Miami.

SP – Carter Stewart, Sr., Eau Gallie HS, Melbourne
Stewart's curveball has been measured as the hardest-spinning breaking ball by TrackMan at any level of baseball, amateur or professional, foreign or domestic, with spin rates consistently in the 3,500 rpm range and touching higher. But Stewart isn't a one-pitch guy, as he also works his fastball in the 89-92 mph range and has very good command of both pitches. The most promising thing about Stewart is that he is an exceptionally loose and projectable 6-foot-6, 185-pound athlete who should continue to grow his raw stuff as he gets stronger. He is signed with Mississippi State.

Florida Top Tools

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