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High School  | General  | 1/3/2020

Finest in the Field: 2023 Class

Jheremy Brown     
Photo: Steven Milam (Perfect Game)

2019 PG/Rawlings Finest in the Field: 2020 Class
 | 2021 Class | 2022 Class

2019 Perfect Game/Rawlings Finest in the Field, Class of 2023

Pitcher: Thomas White (Philips Academy, Rowley, Mass.)
White checks in as the No. 1 prospect in the initial and subsequent updates of the 2023 class rankings and his status as a prospect stems from the liveliness of his left arm and the overall ease of operation on the mound. Pitchers, especially at the younger age groups, don’t necessarily have a track record for their defensively abilities on the mound, and like others in the 2023 class, White has excelled at other positions and has two-way potential. Already up to 92 mph, White’s delivery is as fluid as they come at this age with balance and body control, factors that aided in him hitting nearly .500 last summer.

This position proved to be an especially tough one to pick as the talent and athleticism runs deep on the mound in 2023 as righthanders Ethan Robinson and Dylan Lonergan (an accomplished QB prospect as well) were both in contention.

Catcher: Brady Neal (North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, Fla.)
Neal caught the attention of the baseball world last summer, not only for his lefthanded swing, but even more so for his defensive aptitude and overall polish behind the dish. A strongly built backstop, Neal has already made his commitment to Louisiana State and the Tigers have a quality cornerstone piece to build their class around. Neal has shown no signs of struggle when it comes to receiving velocity and he’s able to stick pitches on either side and the bottom of the zone while exhibiting advanced catch-and-throw skills with plenty of arm strength.

First Base: Jackson McKenzie (Pace HS, Pace, Fla.)
Like many at the 14u level, McKenzie’s ultimate position won’t be decided upon for another couple of years as he excels as a power hitting first baseman but also shows some of the best pitchability in the class on the mound. The Mississippi State commit’s ability to do both at a high level speak to his overall athleticism which he shows with his footwork around the bag, flexibility through the hips and in the softness of his hands as he picks balls from the dirt with confidence.

Middle Infield: Steven Milam (Centennial HS, Las Cruces, N.M.)
Tabbed as the Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year during the 14u PG Select Festival, Milam was a staple on the national circuit this summer displaying some of the best infield actions at the 14u level. Milam may not be the most physical of players at 5-foot-8, 155-pounds, but the first-step quickness, lateral range and overall balance to his actions allow the young New Mexico native to make the difficult ranging play look like a routine ground ball hit right at him. There’s plenty of softness to his hands, through the funnel and exchange and he displays quality carry across the diamond as well.

Middle Infield: Dylan Cupp (Cedartown HS, Cedartown, Ga.)
Think of any superlative to describe an infielder’s actions and odds are they were spoken about Cupp at some point throughout last summer and fall. With broad shoulders and long limbs, Cupp is far from reaching his physical ceiling but already displays some of the smoother actions in the class. His time in the 60-yard continues to improve and he brings that quickness and flexibility in his hips to the infield dirt, showing refined footwork working to and through the ball. Cupp’s ability with the glove and its overall softness stand out, as does his ability to manipulate his release point.

Third Base: Aidan Miller (JW Mitchell HS, Trinity, Fla.)
He may just be starting his freshman season at JW Mitchell, but Miller’s skill on the diamond excel regardless of where he’s playing, impacting a game one way or another. As Miller’s 14u Two-Way Player award suggests he’s as much as weapon on the mound as he is at the hot corner, though the combination of athleticism and his ability to impact the baseball offensively will likely win out in the end. The combination of balance, coordination and top-of-the-class arm strength all make it easy to envision Miller making the hot corner a long-term home while making an offensive impact.

Outfield: Drew Burress (Houston County HS, Perry, Ga.)
The offensive exploits of Burress have long been documented in great detail en route to winning the 14u Offensive Player of the Year, but it’s important not to overlook his abilities in center field. His overall IQ and feel for the game quickly show themselves with his reads off the bat, which help his foot speed play up in the outfield, taking efficient routes with good closing speed. As he showed during the 14u PG Select Festival with a diving catch in center field, going full extension is far from uncommon while also showing a quality arm with online carry and accuracy.

Outfield: Owen Egan (Yucaipa HS, Yucaipa, Calif.)
Like others in this defensive exercise, Egan already shows a tool-set that can impact a game in a variety of ways, and as impressive as his tools at the plate are, the young California native already stands out while patrolling the outfield. Though he’s already physically built at 6-foot, 180-pounds, Egan moves well on his feet, allowing him to cover solid ground, and like Burress, he isn’t afraid to leave his feet. Egan has already attended three PG showcases and at each of the three he has shown one of the better outfield arms in the class with excellent arm strength and carry.

Outfield: Derrick Mitchell (Prestonwood Christian Academy, Plano, Texas)
There’s no doubting the overall upside on the diamond for Mitchell, who is already committed to Arizona State, and while he has been on the national scene for a good bit of time he continues to evolve his all-around game. A long-limbed 6-foot-3, Mitchell’s athleticism stands out even in his movements and how well he controls his body at a young age and that’s before watching him go get a ball in the outfield. During the 14u PG World Series the Texas native looked like he could field the entire outfield by himself, showing big range to either side with long, gliding strides and plenty of closing speed on fly balls.

Utility: Zion Rose (Brother Rice, Chicago, Ill.)
Rose may be the youngest player to make this Finest in the Field but don’t mistake that for developing strength or tools as the Chicago native is as physical as any player above. Having already posted a 6.75 in the 60-yard dash, his fast-twitch muscle and athleticism are evident and those are two traits that allow the young Louisville commit to excel all over the field. A primary catcher, Rose shows lots of flexibility behind the plate and a strong arm, though his athleticism and overall tool-set may also stand out in the outfield long term where he can track fly balls with ease.