High School : : Rankings
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

​Behind the PG class rankings

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Zack Greinke (Perfect Game)

High School Class Rankings: 2019 2020 2021 2022
PG in the Pros: AL Central NL Central NL East AL East NL West AL West

One of the most scrutinized and followed features on the Perfect Game website are the high school player rankings by graduation year. The rankings date back to 2002 and extend at present through the current 2022 high school freshman class.

In addition to the Top 500 for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 classes, and Top 200 for the 2022 class, there are additional lists of Top 1000, High Follows and Follows. Classes can also be sorted by state or position and all of this information is shared on the individual player profiles.

While the class rankings are understandably closely followed by the players and their parents, the lists are probably most heavily used by college coaches, travel team coaches and professional scouts. As the recruiting process has extended to younger and younger players, and as Perfect Game has expanded its own schedule to include more events for younger age groups, it has become more and more important to expand and continuously refine the class rankings for the younger age groups such as this year's 2022 class.

The Recipe

Compiling the lists is a year round effort by the entire Perfect Game staff. In addition to the grades given at every PG showcase, there are field scouts at every PG tournament and roaming Perfect Game scouts who go from field to field evaluating players. The introduction of the DiamondKast scorekeeping software has enabled Perfect Game to track, sort and evaluate statistics from its tournaments far more accurately and deeply than ever before.

One of the more commonly asked questions about the rankings is "Do you have to play in a Perfect Game event in order to be ranked?" The answer is absolutely not.

However, in order to properly evaluate and rank a player it is obviously very important to actually see that player on the field. Perfect Game scouts attend everything from major non-PG events to individual high school games all over the country throughout the year and are in constant contact with college recruiting coordinators, travel team coaches and professional scouts about players in general and especially players that might be flying under the radar or who have been under-evaluated. It is not uncommon at all to be contacted by a travel team coach and told about a new prospect they uncovered and how we need to get eyes on him.

All this information on tens of thousands of players around the country is compiled in the PG database and organized into lists by PG Vice President of Showcases and Scouting Greg Sabers. Those initial lists are then circulated internally throughout the Perfect Game staff for suggestions and additions before eventually being published on the PG website.

Another of the most commonly asked questions by parents is "Why did my son move down in the rankings?"

The answer to that well intended question is at the very core of the lists and of the scouting/player evaluation process as a whole.

Player lists that are updated on, for instance, July 1, represent a snapshot in time of Perfect Game's opinion on that specific date. One of the fundamentals of evaluating players, especially at the high school age level, is that they are consistently changing. Young men hit different maturity and growth points at different ages and changes or improvements in mechanics or conditioning can make a tremendous difference in a young player's ability to show his physical tools. And there are always new players and significantly improved players who have come to light between the finalizing of every list. Prospect lists are a continually evolving process that feed on new information, just as any one player's talent is continually changing and evolving. The best prospect lists are the ones with the most information behind them.

In other words, players can sometimes drop even when our opinion of them remains the same.

A Historical Perspective

As mentioned above, the Perfect Game prospect lists date back to 2002, when lefthander Scott Kazmir was the top-ranked player in the final rankings at the end of the 2002 spring season. Keep in mind that the class rankings are not an attempt to predict the draft, they represent what Perfect Game's opinion is on the top high school talent as of approximately late May in any given year.

We've compiled some historical year-by-year summaries of each high school class from 2002 until 2016, highlighting some of the top rankings along with some of the notable lower-ranked players. The numbers associated with each player are where they ranked in the final class rankings, not anything related to their draft status.

One of the concerns that players and parents have with the class rankings is that they feel that a lower ranking means there is no professional or Major League future possible. As the historical perspective below shows, the rankings are just a snapshot in time and that players do and will improve as they get older. Whit Merrifield (ranked 454th in his class) led the American League in hits and stolen bases last year. Brendan McKay (475) received over $7 million after three years at Louisville. Casey Mize (351) was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft after three years at Auburn. Nick Ahmed (443) won a Gold Glove last year. Pat Mahomes (389) was, oops, that's another sport!

And part of scouting and evaluation is always to look at players from the past and apply the why's and why not's of past evaluations to future evaluations and the compiling of future prospect lists. That's an ongoing process at Perfect Game.


 
2002

Top Ranked Player: LHP Scott Kazmir (Houston, Texas)
Second Ranked Player: SS BJ (Melvin) Upton (Chesapeake, Va.)
Notable Player 3-25: RHP Zack Greinke (5, Apopka, Fla.)
Notable Player 26-100: RHP Matt Cain (100, Collierville, Tenn.)

Notes: The first available class rankings, PG only listed the Top 100 prospects but there were plenty of standouts in the 2002 class. Other ranked players included OF Denard Span (9), LHP Jon Lester (11), LHP Cole Hamels (19), C Brian McCann (24), 1B Prince Fielder (47) and OF Alex Gordon (96). Current PG CEO Brad Clement's son, Jeff Clement, was ranked 12th and would go on to be the third pick in the 2005 draft.


2003

Top Ranked Player: OF Ryan Harvey (Palm Harbor, Fla.)
Second Ranked Player: OF Lastings Milledge (Palmetto, Fla.)
Notable Player 3-25: SS Adam Jones (13, Spring Valley, Calif.)
Notable Player 26-100: RHP Chris Perez (55, Holmes Beach, Fla.)

Notes: Still only 100 players ranked. 2003 was a notably down year in the high school ranks and had few impactful future big leaguers. OF Delmon Young (3) ended up as the first overall pick by Tampa Bay and has made numerous appearances at PG events over the years as a coach and broadcaster. LHP Andrew Miller (5) blossomed at North Carolina but was already ranked fifth in the PG rankings.


2004

Top Ranked Player: RHP David "Homer" Bailey (LaGrange, Texas)
Second Ranked Player: SS Chris Nelson (Decatur, Ga.)
Notable Player 3-25: LHP Gio Gonzalez (5, Hialeah, Fla.)
Notable Player 26-100: LHP David Price (51, Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: 3B Josh Donaldson (145), RHP Chris Carpenter (229), RHP Corey Kluber (298), 3B Matt Carpenter (348), C Tyler Flowers (736)

Notes: The rankings expanded significantly for this class. Eventual first overall pick SS/RHP Matt Bush checked in at third overall. While the 2004 class was short on future superstars near the top, it had plenty of future big league talent, including 17 of the first 21 on the PG rankings. Mark Trumbo (24) was highly ranked, except as a righthanded pitcher; he Angels immediately switched him to the outfield. The late Nick Adenhart was ranked 100th, reflecting that he missed his senior year after TJ surgery.


 
2005

Top Ranked Player: SS Justin Upton (Chesapeake, Va.)
Second Ranked Player: OF Cameron Maybin (Arden, N.C.)
Notable Player 3-25: OF Andrew McCutchen (6, Fort Meade, Fla.)
Notable Player 26-100: RHP Buster Posey (32, Leesburg, Ga.)
Lower Ranked Surprises:RHP Lance Lynn (256), C Jason Castro (419), RHP Bryan Shaw (462), RHP Dan Hudson (493), RHP Chris Rusin (796)

Notes:The 2005 class was known in advance for its depth of outfielders. Upton was acknowledged as a future outfielder and additional first round picks included John Drennen (12), Colby Rasmus (19) and Jay Bruce (52), along with Austin Jackson (24), who had first round talent but slid to the eighth round due to his basketball talent and signability. Buster Posey's position was a moving target in high school, as he was also an excellent shortstop. LHP Brian Matusz, who went one pick ahead of Posey in the 2008 draft, was ranked 87th. The 2008 second overall pick, 3B Pedro Alvarez, was ranked 106th.


2006

Top Ranked Player: RHP Kyle Drabek (The Woodlands, Texas)
Second Ranked Player: LHP Brett Anderson (Stillwater, Okla.)
Notable Player 3-25: LHP Clayton Kershaw (3, Dallas, Texas)
Notable Player 26-100: RHP Chris Archer (49, Clayton, N.C.)
Lower Ranked Surprises:LHP Mike Minor (112), RHP Stephen Strasburg (138), RHP Alex Cobb (185), 3B Kyle Seager (224), C Yan Gomes (236), Mike Leake (288)

Notes: Clayton Kershaw didn't really blossom on the mound until his senior year and was actually more of a first baseman when attending PG events. Kershaw's high school and occasionally summer teammate Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions) was listed as a follow in the PG rankings. The 2006 class rankings did feature future NFL players Jake Locker (19), Riley Cooper (38) and Toby Gerhart (57), not to mention LSU wide receiver and 2009 White Sox first round pick Jared Mitchell (59).


2007

Top Ranked Player: RHP Rick Porcello (Chester, N.J.)
Second Ranked Player: OF Jason Heyward (McDonough, Ga.)
Notable Player 3-25: LHP Madison Bumgarner (5, Lenoir, N.C.)
Notable Player 26-100: 2B DJ LeMahieu (82, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: 1B Freddie Freeman (121), 1B Mike Stanton (125), 1B Anthony Rizzo (160), RHP Cody Allen (204), RHP Addison Reed (424), 2B Whit Merrifield (454)

Notes: Perfect Game veterans generally feel the best collection of talent at a PG National Showcase was the 2006 National at the University Arkansas featuring the 2007 class. It is notoriously difficult to evaluate young first basemen, as it all depends on their future development as a hitter, but at least future stars Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo were at the National and ranked. Rizzo, in fact, was the final player invited to the National Showcase to fill an open first base slot. That "Mike" Stanton is, of course, Giancarlo Stanton, who was better known as a football player (tight end) in high school and was interestingly listed as a first baseman.


2008

Top Ranked Player: C Kyle Skipworth (Riverside, Calif.)
Second Ranked Player: RHP Gerrit Cole (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Notable Player 3-25: 1B Eric Hosmer (4, Cooper City, Fla.)
Notable Player 26-100: LHP Brad Hand (42, Chaska, Minn.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (222), 2B Kolten Wong (318), 3B Anthony Rendon (330), OF George Springer (396), SS Nick Ahmed (443), C Austin Barnes (487)

Notes: This was not an especially strong high school class looked at a decade later, although at the time it was believed to be. Kyle Skipworth was widely considered to be one of the best catching prospects of the generation and went sixth overall. Anthony Rendon would have been a first rounder if the draft had been held after the 18u WWBA National Championship in July, and the Braves offered him that type of money after seeing his bat speed during that event. UConn was gifted with two future big league starters that scouts overlooked in the Northeast in George Springer and Nick Ahmed. All-Pro NFL guard Kyle Long, a PG All-American and one of the strongest prospects ever, checked in at 40th in the rankings but never played professional baseball despite beginning his college career at Florida State playing baseball.


2009

Top Ranked Player: LHP Tyler Matzek (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
Second Ranked Player: LHP Matthew Purke (Spring, Texas)
Notable Player 3-25: OF Mike Trout (8, Millville, N.J.)
Notable Player 26-100: 3B Nolan Arenado (56, Lake Forrest, Calif.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: RHP Marcus Stroman (118), IF Max Muncy (337), OF Michael Taylor (370), UT Chris Taylor (470)

Notes: Perfect Game had Mike Trout ranked significantly higher than most teams evidently did on their draft boards, as baseball's best player went 25th overall. OF Randal Grichuk, who the Angels picked right ahead of Trout with their back-to-back picks, was ranked 26th. Top-ranked Tyler Matzek lasted until the 11th overall pick. His Jupiter duel with sixth-ranked Shelby Miller was one of the most heavily scouted pitching matchups in WWBA World Championship history. Many teams toyed with the idea of converting Nolan Arenado to catcher. 2009 was noted for the strength of the high school catching class but only Mike Zunino (79th) and Tucker Barnhart (131) have become big league regulars. Future first overall pick RHP Mark Appel checked in at 75th before heading to Stanford.


2010

Top Ranked Player: RHP Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Texas)
Second Ranked Player: 3B/RHP Kaleb Cowart (Adel, Ga.)
Notable Player 3-25: SS Manny Machado (3, Hialeah, Fla.)
Notable Player 26-100: OF Christian Yelich (30, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 3B Kris Bryant (39, Las Vegas, Nev.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: OF Joc Pederson (95), LHP Robert Ray (96), OF Hunter Renfroe (119), RHP Jon Gray (177), 3B Brandon Drury (493)

Notes: This class stands out due to its combination of future superstars and the well below average number of future big leaguers past the 100 ranking. First overall pick Bryce Harper would have been a member of the 2011 class but skipped his junior and senior years to attend the College of Southern Nevada. The 2018 NL East champion Braves pitching staff was well represented in the Top 50, with Kevin Gausman (17), Mike Foltynewicz (19), Luke Jackson (27) and Jesse Biddle (46). RHP Karsten Whitson was ranked eighth overall and went ninth to the Padres but turned down $2-plus million and ended up throwing only seven innings professionally after his college career at Florida.


2011

Top Ranked Player: C Bryce Harper (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Second Ranked Player: RHP Dylan Bundy (Sperry, Okla.)
Notable Player 3-25: SS Francisco Lindor (3, Clermont, Fla.), RHP Jose Fernandez (7, Tampa, Fla.), IF Javier Baez (9, Jacksonville, Fla.)
Notable Player 26-100: SS Trevor Story (28, Irving, Texas), RHP Aaron Nola (90, Baton Rouge, La.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: LHP Amir Garrett (111), LHP Blake Snell (118), OF/QB Jeff Driskill (125), LHP Carlos Rodon (154), SS-RHP Jake Junis (292), IF Mookie Betts (307), C Kyle Schwarber (385)

 
Notes: Harper's unique school/draft situation, as he was originally a class of 2011 member, was handled by ranking him as the top player even though he en route to hitting .297-18-58 with 26 steals in High A/AA when his class was graduating. There may have never been a more accomplished Top 10 ever than the 2011 edition, with only Bubba Starling (6) not reaching the big leagues. 2011 is assuredly the only time a Wyoming player has been highly ranked, as OF Brandon Nimmo was 30th. RHP Pat Connaughton (99) has reached the big leagues, but in the NBA, where he's rotation player with the Milwaukee Bucks after starring in two sports at Notre Dame. Mookie Betts was unbelievably listed at 6-foot, 170-pounds in his PG profile.


2012

Top Ranked Player: SS Carlos Correa (Santa Isabel, P.R.)
Second Ranked Player: RHP Lucas Giolito (Santa Monica, Calif.)
Notable Player 3-25: 3B Corey Seager (24, Kannapolis, N.C.)
Notable Player 26-100: SS Alex Bregman (42, Albuquerque, N.M.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: 1B Matt Olson (100), SS Dansby Swanson (151), OF Christin Stewart (324), LHP AJ Minter (391)

Notes: Perfect Game bucked the industry consensus that generally had OF Byron Buxton (3) in the top spot. 2012 was a career year for Puerto Rico, as they not only had Correa going first overall but had two fast-track righthanded pitchers, a rare commodity from Puerto Rico, in Edwin Diaz (43) and Jose Berrios (45). Jameis Winston (48) gave baseball a try at Florida State but got too good in football to keep developing his baseball talents. OF Anthony Alford (82), on the other hand, didn't develop as a college quarterback and went back to baseball. RHP Hayden Hurst (113) washed out at baseball after two minor league season and resurfaced as an NFL tight end. RHP Walker Buehler (67) refined his delivery and got stronger during three years at Vanderbilt.


2013

Top Ranked Player: OF Clint Frazier (Loganville, Ga.)
Second Ranked Player: LHP Robert Kaminsky (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.)
Notable Player 3-25: LHP AJ Puk (23, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Notable Player 26-100: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger (93, Chander, Ariz.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: LHP Eric Lauer (120), OF Corey Ray (176), RHP Dakota Hudson (238), OF Andrew Benintendi (347)

Notes: This is the first class where it is almost too recent to get a feel for their future impact on Major League Baseball. The highest ranked already established MLB regular is 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger. Andrew Benintendi broke all-time hitting records in his native Ohio and was a star for the Midland Redskins but didn't develop his power until college at Arkansas, finishing his career as the Golden Spikes Award winner as a draft-elgible sophmore. Kacy Clemens (79), Torii Hunter Jr. (202), Manny Ramirez Jr. (207) and Preston Palmeiro (232) all had big league bloodlines.


2014

Top Ranked Player: LHP Brady Aiken (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.)
Second Ranked Player: RHP Tyler Kolek (Shepherd, Texas)
Notable Players 3-25: RHP Touki Toussaint (5, Coral Springs, Fla.), RHP Michael Kopech (16, Mount Pleasant, Texas), LHP Justus Sheffield (23, Tullahoma, Tenn.)
Notable Player 26-100: RHP Jack Flaherty (32, Burbank, Calif.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: RHP Alex Lange (134), 1B Pavin Smith (137), RHP Kyle Wright (196), RHP Griffin Canning (224), RHP Clarke Schmidt (230), RHP Tanner Houck (276), RHP Patrick Mahomes (389), LHP-1B Brendan McKay (475)


2015

Top Ranked Player: SS Brendan Rodgers (Longwood, Fla.)
Second Ranked Player: OF Daz Cameron (McDonough, Ga.)
Notable Players 3-25: OF Kyle Tucker (9, Tampa, Fla.), RHP Donny Everett (13, Clarksville, Tenn.), 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes (19, Tomball, Texas)
Notable Players 26-100: LHP Logan Allen (57, Fletcher, N.C.), 3B Austin Riley (61, Hernando, Miss.), SS/OF Kyler Murray (68, Lewisville, Texas), SS Jonathan India (70, Coral Springs, Fla.), RHP Mike Soroka (79, Calgary, Alb.)
Lower Ranked Surprises: IF Nick Madrigal (101), C Joey Bart (120), 3B Alec Bohm (157), SS Nico Hoerner (166), RHP Nate Pearson (206), RHP Jordan Hicks (228), OF Greyson Jenista (244), LHP Daniel Lynch (314), RHP Casey Mize (351)


2016

Top Ranked Player: LHP Jason Groome (Barnegat, N.J.)
Second Ranked Player: RHP Riley Pint (Lexexa, Kan.)
Notable Players 3-25: RHP Ian Anderson (4, Rexford, N.Y.), OF Alex Kirilloff (8, New Kensington, Penn.), RHP Forrest Whitley (15, San Antonio, Texas)
Notable Players 26-100: SS Bo Bichette (32, Tierra Verde, Fla.), LHP Jesus Luzardo (40, Parkland, Fla.), RHP Bryse Wilson (93, Hillsborough, N.C.)



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