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High School | General | 11/27/2020

A Look Ahead into the 2022 Prep Class

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Tucker Toman (Perfect Game)
There is increasing focus within the Perfect Game scouting staff on the Class of 2022 now that the Class of 2021 have moved into their senior season.  It’s not too early to break down the class into different positions and look at the top players at each and what positions look especially strong and what positions to expect some surprises before next summer, especially with work already underway evaluating the top 300 players in the class in advance of the 2021 PG National Showcase next June.

Here’s a look at who and what positions stand out right now, with the caveat that a similar list could look much different by the middle of next summer, just like it does every year.


CATCHER

Catcher is one of those positions where there are sure to be players emerge over the next year, as there are currently only five receivers, all listed below, in the top 125 in the class rankings.  By comparison, the 2021 class has nine catchers in the top 125 and 14 in the top 200.

Malcolm Moore (Sacramento, Calif.)
Moore’s performance at the WWBA World Championships for the runner-up Canes 17U Prospects team, which included two playoff home runs, three doubles and a 1.441 OPS over seven games, vaulted him into being the top ranked catcher in the class.  

Jared Jones (Marietta, Ga.)
In a class full of high-level performers, none may be better than the 6-foot-4, 230 pound Jones.  He played in 79 games of WWBA tournaments in 2020 and hit .410-6-84 with 31 doubles and 53 walks, numbers that are in line with his high school numbers as a freshman and sophomore and his previous PG performance.  Jones also plays first base in addition to catching on defense.

Luke Heyman (Longwood, Fla.)
Heyman is a primary catcher who is a true two-way player with a 93 mph fastball off the mound.  His defense really stands out behind the plate and he’s athletic enough to play all over the field.  

Karson Bowen (Anaheim Hills, Ca.)
Bowen may be the top present defensive catcher in the class, with a very mature set of skills and tools to go with a strong 5-foot-11, 205 pound prototypical catcher’s build.  He has plenty of strength in his right-handed bat.

Ethan Anderson (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Anderson is one of the strongest players in the class, with a chiseled 6-foot-2, 210 pound build but he’s also quick, flexible and athletic behind the plate on defense.  He’s also that rarest of prospects, a catcher who projects to stay behind the plate but who is also a legitimate switch-hitter with a high offensive ceiling.


FIRST BASE

High School first basemen are usually not big targets for professional scouts but college coaches are always happy to get a big bat on campus to park in the middle of their lineup.  Interestingly, the two top ranked first basemen in the 2022 class are both committed to Florida and both bring big left-handed bats.  Looking a bit further down the list, the fourth ranked 2022 first baseman, two-way standout Blaydon Plain (Greenville, Fla.) is also a Florida commit.

Xavier Isaac (Kernersville, N.C.)
Take one look at the 6-foot-4, 240 pound left-handed hitting Isaac and you know exactly what his big tool is; foul pole to foul pole power.  But Isaac is also a very good athlete for his size, with nimble feet at first base defensively, and has solid bat control, evidenced by his .375 average with five walks at the WWBA World Championships in October.

Yoel Tejeda Jr (Davie, Fla.)
Tejeda is listed at 6-foot-6, 205 pounds but appears even taller than that.  He has huge left-handed power at the plate but may have a higher ceiling on the mound, where he’s been up to 92 mph with huge physical projection still remaining.


THIRD BASE

Third basemen at the high college and professional levels are often middle infielders who migrate over to the corner as they get stronger and slower.  Toman and Stewart are two present third basemen who already fit the offensive profile for the position moving forward.

Tucker Toman (Columbia, S.C.)
Toman, the son of long-time college coach Jim Toman (South Carolina, Liberty, College of Charleston, Middle Tennessee State), is the highest ranked switch-hitter in the class, although his elite level left-handed bat speed is what really stands out.  He could end up at either third base or second base in the future.

Sal Stewart (Miami, Fla.)
Stewart is a big and strong 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-handed hitter who developed faster than many of his peers and has been a standout in the class since it was first tracked.  His best tool is his offensive game and he has both present barrel skills and plenty of power potential.


MIDDLE INFIELD

Middle infield was without a doubt the biggest strength of the 2021 class, claiming five of the top 13 spots in the current class rankings, including the top two slots in Jordan Lawler and Brady House.  Not much is different in the 2022 class, though, as four players check in the top 13.  The 2022 group stands out notably as hitters, with some of the highest offensive ceilings of the entire 2022 class regardless of position.

Termarr Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.)
Johnson first made his mark as a prospect with his mature and often spectacular defense in the middle infield but he has really gotten stronger in the past two years and if anything his left-handed bat has surpassed his defense.  He has one of the tightest comps in the class with former National League Most Valuable Player Terry Pendleton.

Jayson Jones (Savannah, Texas)
Jones is big and strong at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds but moves gracefully in the middle infield with easy athleticism and solid defensive instincts.  His big tool, however, is his right-handed bat.  The Arkansas commit has outstanding present bat speed and an advanced feel for hitting and barreling up the ball.

Cole Young (Wexford, Penn.)
Young is simply one of those prospects who it would be almost shocking to expect him to do anything else but hit well at the highest levels of the game.  He’s a career .444-8-76 hitter in 87 total PG tournament games over the last four years and has a proven ability to both turn on balls with power and work middle away with maturity.  

Gavin Kilen (Milton, Wisc.)
Wisconsin has been producing some hitters the past couple of years, with former first round PG All-American Jarred Kelenic and Gavin Lux standing out, and the left-handed hitting Kilen is the next in line.  He has plenty of present pop in his bat despite a young 5-foot-11, 175 pound build and showed that power playing up at the WWBA World Championships, hitting three doubles and a home run in six games.

Nazier Mule (Patterson, N.J.)
Mule has tools across the board to go with a lean and strong 6-foot-3, 205 pound build.  Many think his future is on the mound, as Mule has been up to 96 mph on the mound to go with a power slider that is a potential plus pitch.  He didn’t leave New England during the summer and fall, so he hasn’t been seen as much as some of his peers.


OUTFIELD

The inclusion of Elijah Green and Andruw Jones in this outfield class makes it a potentially great one all by itself, as the first and third best prospects, respectfully, in the class both have the elite tools and outstanding performance records to make them top of the first round picks.  The outfield class runs deep as well, with 11 prospects in the top 50 and 23 in the top 100.

Elijah Green (Windermere, Fla.)
The top ranked player in the 2022 class, Green has a chance to be a generational talent with his 6.20 speed, plus right-handed bat speed and the strength of a 6-foot-3, 215 pound uber-athlete.  And it’s a complete package, too, as Green is a 4.0 student in the classroom and has elite genetics through his dad, Eric, a three-time NFL Pro Bowl tight end.

Andruw Jones (Suwanee, Ga.)
Jones, too, has impressive genetics with his five-time MLB All-Star father but he also has an absurd five Most Valuable Player awards from Perfect Game tournaments in his career to go with a career .436-9-155 line in 199 PG games for the 643 DP Cougars that also includes 92 stolen bases and 179 runs scored.

Nolan Schubart (Durand, Mich.)
The left-handed hitting Schubart announced his presence early last summer with a loud grand slam at the PG Junior National Showcase and continued his strong hitting all summer.  The 6-foot-5, 210 pound athlete also plays first base and could eventually end up at that position full-time.

Riley Stanford (Gainesville, Ga.)
Stanford has prototypical right field tools, with one of the strongest throwing arms in the class, 6.90 speed and big right-handed power at the plate.  In fact, Stanford’s arm is so strong, including throwing 98 mph from the outfield and 97 mph off the mound, that he may end up being a primary pitcher at the next level.

Paxton Kling (Roaring Spring, Penn.)
Kling is one of the top speed players in the class, with 6.45 speed in the sixty to go with a strong throwing arm in the outfield but his bat speed and offensive potential is just as impressive.  At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, he projects to get even stronger and add more right-handed bat speed as he matures.


RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER

One thing that can be assured about high school right-handed pitchers is that many of them are going to dramatically improve in the year between the summer leading to their junior and senior seasons.  Pitchers who are hardly ranked today will be trying on an All-American jersey at the 2021 PG National Showcase.  This is a particularly fluid class of arms right now, much the same as the outstanding 2021 class of right-handers was at the same stage.

Dylan Lesko (Buford, Ga.)
Lesko is possibly the most dominant pitcher in the history of Perfect Game tournaments, with a career record of 26-3, including 15-0 over the last two years, to go with 300 strikeouts in 186 innings.  He has impeccable command of a 92-94 mph fastball that will touch higher, perhaps the best change up in the class and a solid curveball.

Nick Dugan (Eureka, Calif.)
With the pandemic limiting what players from California could do, Dugan only threw in one PG event this summer but what a performance it was.  The Stanford commit threw a complete game shutout for Meta Prime in the playoffs at the WWBA Underclass World Championship, allowing only one hit and striking out 12 while working in the 91-95 mph range with a plus curveball.

Ian Ritchie Jr. (Bainbridge Island, Wash.)
Ritchie follows Oregon’s Mick Abel, a 2020 first round pick, as an elite level arm from the Northwest.  The 6-foot-2, 185 pound Ritchie worked in the 92-96 mph range at both his fall PG tournaments, including the WWBA World Championships, a jump from his low-90s velocity of the summer.  He’s a high-level athlete who has plenty of physical projection remaining.

Brock Porter (Milford, Mich.)
Porter pairs with outfielder Nolan Schubart at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (Mich.) to form the 2022 class’s top teammate duo.  The right-hander has made big strides this summer and fall to make his pitching mechanics more consistent and better command his 91-95 mph fastball and mid-70s curveball.

Tyler Gough (Perris, Calif.)
Gough really stood out at the WWBA World Championships, working up to 96 mph on his fastball and throwing his heater for strikes.  There are some elements of 2020 PG All-American and 100 mph arm Chase Petty in Gough with his 6-foot-1, 180 pound athletic build and his fast and whippy arm.


LEFT-HANDED PITCHER

This is one of the better groups of left-handed pitchers that has come along in recent years and is notably full of projectable arms just beyond the top prospect horizon who are working in the upper-80s with advanced secondary stuff just waiting to get stronger and see the inevitable velocity jump.  

Brandon Barriera (Coconut Creek, Fla.)
Barriera is the Dylan Lesko of the left-handed pitchers, with a similar young athletic body, smooth and fluid pitching mechanics and an array of pitches he can spot with maturity.  Barrriera works in the low-90s with his fastball to go with a plus change up and a hard breaking ball that he has very good feel for moving around the zone.  The Vanderbilt commit struck out 52 hitters in 35 innings at PG tournaments in 2020 while allowing only eight hits.

Tristan Smith (Chesnee, S.C.)
Smith is the rear back and fire power pitcher among the top 2022 southpaws, with a strong athletic body and a blazing fastball that can reach 95 mph with more to come.  He was unhittable at major tournaments when throwing strikes in 2020, striking out 40 hitters in 20 innings but also issuing 21 walks.

Noah Schultz (Aurora, Ill.)
Schultz is every left-handed hitter’s worst nightmare and not much better for right-handed hitters, either.  The 6-foot-8, 205 pound southpaw throws from a mid to low-3/4 arm slot with a fastball that will reach 92 mph, with plenty more velocity to come, to go with a high spin rate knee buckling slider.  It’s impossible not to think of Randy Johnson and what he was like at the same age when watching Schultz on the mound.

Jackson Ferris (Mount Airy, N.C.)
Ferris was unhittable all summer and fall, winning the Most Valuable Pitcher award at the WWBA 16U National Championships while striking out 43 hitters against nine walks in 24 innings, allowing only five hits.  His stuff improved the entire travel season as well and he was working in the 90-93 mph range to go with a dominant curveball and change up at the WWBA World Championships in October.

Trenton Shaw (DeSoto, Texas)
Shaw is a physical presence on the mound at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and has big stuff to go with his big body, working up to 92 mph with his fastball while mixing a mid to upper-70s curveball and changeup.  The Oklahoma State commit pitched in five PG tournaments in 2020, striking out 33 hitters in 18 innings and allowing only six hits.

 

 
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