High School : : General
Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Year in Review: High School

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Argyle High School (Argyle HS Athletics)

Year in Review: PG Events | MLB Draft | College

2018 High School Players of the YearFinal 2018 National High School Top 50

As part of Perfect Game's annual Year in Review seires we look back at some of the more intriguing high school-related storylines from 2018.


Jupiter upset

The Canes arrive in Jupiter year-after-year as one of the perennial favorites in the event, but in 2018 they were toppled by the upstart Florida Burn Platinum. The Burn benefitted from the culmination of shutdown pitching and timely hitting to defeat the Canes in the championship round by a score of 2-0.

Co-MVP of the WWBA World Championship was Josh Rivera of the Burn as he enjoyed a big boost not only to his team but also to his overall draft stock. The Burn have long been one of the top programs both in the state of Florida and nationally and their ability to run through bracket play in Jupiter was truly a sight to behold.


Montverde, Blessed Trinity secure PG HS Showdown titles

The Perfect Game High School Showdown was split into two categories in 2018 and the two champions that emerged were familiar faces as Montverde Academy (Fla.) ran through the Blue Bracket and Blessed Trinity (Ga.) got revenge on Providence (Fla.) to secure the title in the Red Bracket.

Montverde was led by superstar PG All-American Nander De Sedas, flamethrower Kerry Wright and star underclassmen such as Jake Holland. De Sedas and Wright could both be very high picks out of Florida State and Louisville, respectively, as both were on the 2021 Top 50 Draft List. Blessed Trinity spent a long time in the National High School Top 50 and were led by star 2019 shortstop CJ Abrams, a PG All-American who is a projected first round pick next June that has signed with Alabama.

There were a number of elite draft prospects present during the HS Showdown, securing the event’s role as one of the big checkpoints for pro scouts. Anthony Seigler, a catcher from Cartersville (Ga.) who was as eventual first round pick of the Yankees, attended the event while Xavier Edwards from North Broward Prep (Fla.) was selected in the comp round by the Padres. Some other notable draft selections were Parker Meadows of Grayson (Ga.) to the Tigers with the first pick of the second round, Will Banfield of Brookwood (Ga.) to the Marlins in the second round, Taj Bradley of Redan (Ga.) to the Rays in the fifth round, Lawrence Butler of Westlake (Ga.) to the Athletics in the sixth and Cabera Weaver of South Gwinnett (Ga.) to the White Sox in the seventh.


JSerra captures Boras Classic

The Boras Classic continues to make waves as one of the premier West Coast events in terms of professional scouts attending to evaluate prospects. JSerra (Calif.) captured the championship of the South Division and the event itself was loaded with prospects. Cole Winn and Brice Turang, of Orange Lutheran (Calif.) and Santiago (Calif.) respectively, were the two first rounders of the event.

There was numerous underclassmen on hand as well led by PG All-American Darius Perry of La Mirada (Calif.) while Michael Curialle led the way with a huge tournament weekend for the eventual champion JSerra squad. The trio of talent for the 2020 class looks special from California as Jared Jones, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Drew Bowser appear to be bona fide stars heading into the 2019 season.

Besides JSerra capturing the title in the South Division, Bellarmine Prep (Calif.) claimed the North Division and eventually the entire state as they downed JSerra. Basic Academy (Nev.) is coming off back-to-back state titles and was the champion of the Arizona Boras Classic.


Orange Lutheran repeats at NHSI

The National High School Invitational (NHSI) is another high-profile high school tournament that is ran by USA Baseball and takes place at their facility in Cary, N.C. Orange Lutheran was the sixth-ranked team in Perfect Game Preseason National High School Top 50 and captured back-to-back titles at the event.

Orange Lutheran was (and continues to be) loaded with talent and leading the way was the the 10th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Cole Winn. Besides Winn, Jasiah Dixon should garner draft attention for the Lancers this season and their 2020 class has a chance to be special with the trio of Christian Rodriguez, Max Rajcic and Chad Born.

The NHSI featured a number of teams that were ranked in the HS Top 50 throughout the season including Orange Lutheran, Calvary Christian Academy (Fla.), American Heritage (Fla.), Florence (Ala.), George Jenkins (Fla.) and Hattiesburg (Miss.).


High school POYs put up video game numbers

The three honorees of the Perfect Game High School Players of the Year – Player of the Year Jeremiah Jackson, Pitcher of the Year Matthew Liberatore and Two-Way Player of the Year Ryan Weathers – put up some pretty eye-opening numbers en route to their eventual draft selections. Jackson of St. Luke’s (Ala.) hit a robust .644 with 15 home runs and even had to endure being intentionally walked 11 times in 13 at-bats in the semifinal round. Jackson was eventually selected in the second round by the Angels and his athleticism and tools jump off the board.

Liberatore, who was selected 16th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, was a must-watch in nearly every start for Mountain Ridge (Ariz.) over the course of the season. He finished with a final record of 8-1 with a sub-1.00 ERA to go along with an absurd 104 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings. Weathers got a late start on the baseball season thanks to his state championship efforts on the basketball court, but he quickly made up for lost time. Weathers, who was eventually selected seventh overall by the Padres, had an ERA you needed a microscope to look at with a mark of 0.11. Weathers also hit near .500 on the season.


Adams’ coming out party

Green Hope (N.C.) center fielder, and eventual first round selection by the Angels, Jordyn Adams, had a sensational performance at the NHSI and the event served as his de facto coming out party on the national scene. Adams made waves throughout the spring as he was thought to be unsignable initially as a 4-star football recruit who was set to play at North Carolina under his father. However, he elevated his stock to that of a first-round talent and is now one of the premier prospects of the Angels system.

Along with Cole Winn, Brice Turang and Adams, the presence of Matthew Liberatore of Mountain Ridge (Ariz.), Nolan Gorman of O’Connor (Ariz.) and Triston Casas of American Heritage (Fla.) gave the NHSI six eventual first round picks.


Perfect Argyle

Argyle (Texas) ascended into the PG rankings following the first update of the high school season and continually ascended up the rankings before settling in the No. 2 slot for the majority of the season behind Calvary Christian (Fla.) of Clearwater. Argyle put on a terrific run to finish the season as the sole undefeated program in the rankings while also capturing the state title and earning the No. 1 ranking on the Final National High School Top 50.

Argyle follows in the footsteps of Calvary Christian (who finished sixth in the nation) and Shawnee (Okla.) from 2017 as undefeated teams to finish at the top of the end-of-season rankings. Argyle retains a lot of talent from their state championship squad and should be firmly near the top of the list heading into the 2019 spring season.


Battle of the Calvary’s

After each starting in the top 20 of the rankings, Calvary Christian of Clearwater and Calvary Christian Academy battled all season long for the top slot in Florida’s 4A class. The Clearwater Calvary team was coming off an undefeated 2017 season that culminated in a state championship and the No. 2 slot in PG’s final 2017 HS Top 50 before coming into 2018 as the No. 3 team in the country. Calvary Christian Academy started at No. 20 before notching some very impressive wins including one against top-ranked (at the time) American Heritage.

Following the victory over Heritage in mid-March, Calvary Christian Academy leap-frogged Calvary Christian of Clearwater for the No. 1 slot in the rankings. Academy eventually dropped significantly due to some forfeit losses, but the two teams matched up in the state finals with the state championship and a Top 5 ranking on the line. Academy ended up victorious with a 5-1 victory and settled that in 2018 Calvary Christian Academy was the better of the two Calvary’s.


Preseason Top 10, in hindsight

The PG Preseason Top 10 featured its fair share of hits and misses, as preseason rankings normally do, as each team took a unique route to their finish on the 2018 season. American Heritage started out as the preseason No. 1 team with a loaded roster but unfortunately finished just short of a state championship. They fell to Merritt Island (Fla.) following the return of their ace, and eventual Nationals first-round pick, Mason Denaburg. As a result, American Heritage finished the season ranked 22nd overall nationally.

Parkview (Ga.) continued to show that they are the class of the Peach State as they started at No. 2, finished at No. 2 and notched another state title along the way. Calvary Christian of Clearwater’s season was detailed above with their No. 3 start, while Bishop Gorman (Nev.) and Cypress Ranch (Texas) both had very hot starts to the season while eventually cooling off towards the end; they were the preseason Nos. 4 and 5 teams, respectively.

Orange Lutheran finished at No. 11 after starting the season at No. 6 following their state semifinal loss while Reagan (Texas) in San Antonio dropped to No. 29 after losing in the state championship; Reagan opened the year ranked seventh overall in the national preseason rankings. Hattiesburg (Miss.) started at No. 8 and made some waves throughout the season despite some losses while Barbe (La.) had another typically strong season in Louisiana with a 30-9 overall record and a loss in the state semifinals.

Mater Dei (Calif.) started at No. 10 and had significant talent on their roster. An uncharacteristically down season with a overall 10-19 record led to them missing the state playoffs.



Copyright 1994-2019 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.