High School | General | 1/6/2021

Finest in the Field: Class of 2024

Jheremy Brown        
Photo: Ty Southisene (Perfect Game)
Finest in the Field: Class of 2021 | Class of 2022 | Class of 2023

Pitcher: Jackson Sanders (Valley HS, Opelika, Ala.)
Sanders burst onto the national scene this summer, delivering several loud performances while picking up strikeouts by the handful. Already committed to Auburn, the young southpaw has run his fastball up to 91 mph on the mound but has also showed impressive arm strength in the field, setting the 14u National Showcase record with a top outfield throw of 94 mph while running a 7.11 and showing solid bat speed as well. While he’ll likely end up on the mound long term, there’s some solid present two-way ability with Sanders, though he isn’t the only pitcher to impress on both sides as arms like Jack Frankel, Landon Victorian and Zach Edwards were all in consideration as well. 

Catcher: Cade Arrambide (Tomball HS, Tomball, Texas)
A two-time PG Select Festival pick, Arrambide took home an impressive piece of hardware from the 14u iteration of the game this past September in Oklahoma City as he was tabbed the Rawlings 14u Defensive Player of the Year. Equipped with a rare skillset at such a young age, Arrambide stands out behind the plate in all facets of his game, from the flexibility and overall quickness to his feet, to his soft hands and receiving skills, and most certainly for his arm strength which is perhaps the best in the 2024 class amongst backstops. It’s scary to think he still has another four years left to refine his craft prior to graduation and it isn’t hard to see why the Florida Gators went out of state to lock up Arrambide. 

First Base: Nic Abraham (Pleasant Grove HS, Elk Grove, Calif.)
Abraham may not have been on the national scene as much as some of the other names in this exercise, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t made an impression whenever Perfect Game laid eyes on the young NorCal product. At 6-foot-4, Abraham is an obvious target for his infielders to throw to but that’s just the start of what he brings to the table defensively. He moves around the bag with balance to his footwork and his overall athleticism stands out, remaining free and easy with his movements while showcasing solid arm strength across the diamond. While Abraham’s left-handed power at the dish along with his abilities around the bag may be too loud long term, he’s also up to 86 mph on the mound with an advanced changeup, providing some real two-way potential.  

Middle Infield: Ty Southisene (Basic HS, Henderson, Nev.)
Southisene has impressed with the glove ever since Perfect Game first saw the young San Diego State commit and he hasn’t stopped wowing ever since. Like Arrambide above, Southisene shined as the inaugural 13u Select Festival, as well as last year’s 14u Select Festival, and to put it simply, his defensive actions are just different. While not the most physical of players in the class, his footwork, internal clock, and overall actions stack up against any defender in the class. Thanks to a quick first step and almost knowing where the ball is going to be hit prior to contact, Southisene is able to position himself behind the ball more often than not with fluidity to his footwork and more than enough arm to make the play while throwing from a variety of slots. 

Middle Infield: Manuelle Marin (Doral Academy, Hialeah, Fla.)
Many of the adjectives and description above used for Southisene are fitting for Marin as well, a lean and twitchy 6-foot, 160-pound shortstop from South Florida. A staple on the left side of the infield as well as the middle of the order for Elite Squad this past summer, the young Miami commit shows all the requisite tools to project him sticking on the left side, whether it’s his footwork and lateral range, or arm strength and carry which was recorded amongst the best in the 2024 class during the 14u National Showcase. As he adds strength, Marin will only see his defensive skillset continue to take steps forward, though he’s already ranking as one of the best in the country amongst his peers. 

Third Base: Matthew Champion (JSerra Catholic HS, Fontana, Calif.)
Champion came on strong this summer, proving himself as one of the top two-way players in the entire country, culminating with a top-10 national ranking in the latest update. Lean and athletic with his 6-foot, 160-pound frame, Champion mans the hot corner with confidence and fluidity as he could just as easily slide over to shortstop and not look out of place at national-level events. His footwork is as smooth as it is quick and he possesses soft hands that can pick the tough hop cleanly while possessing plenty of arm strength across the diamond. The same athleticism that plays in the dirt translates to his abilities on the mound as he can vary his tempo and looks with confidence, filling the strike zone while showing big time arm speed and a full arsenal of offerings. 

Outfield: Derek Curiel (Orange Lutheran HS, Covina, Calif.)
Curiel is currently the top ranked player in the country and while that lofty ranking is in part to his left-handed swing and frequent rate of finding the barrel, it also stems from his defensive abilities in center field where he looks at home chasing balls down gap-to-gap. Long limbed and high waisted at 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, Curiel has continued to see his foot speed improve with added strength, which in turn plays extremely well in the outfield with a quick first step and solid reactionary skills off of the barrel, showing big closing speed to either gap while looking as though he could patrol the entire outfield on his own. In back-to-back years at the Select Festivals, Curiel showed off his defensive prowess with a diving catch in center field, taking away what looked like a base hit off of the bat. 

Outfield: Michael Mullinax (North Cobb Christian, Canton, GA)
In terms of pure metrics, not many in the 2024 class can match what Mullinax brings to the table, especially when considering the uncommitted Georgia native seems to elevate his game every time we see him. His most recent outing, the National Underclass Main Event, saw Mullinax bump his 60-yard dash time down to 6.50 seconds (second fastest in the country amongst 2024 graduates) which he uses to patrol center field with a sense of ease and fluidity. He repeats his actions extremely well, approaching the ball with confidence before showing one of the better arms in the class, recording as high as 90 mph with real carry and accuracy on his throws. 

Outfield: Slade Caldwell (Valley View HS, Jonesboro, Ark.)
Just like Curiel and Mullinax above, Caldwell is a natural table setter atop a lineup where his loose and quick lefthanded stroke has repeatedly sprayed barreled contact around the field at Perfect Game events. The Ole Miss commit is younger for the grade meaning he’ll be able to play at the 14u level once again this upcoming summer, like he did this past circuit, where both his swing and defense stood out despite playing up an age group. Naturally, as a leadoff-type hitter, you’d expect Caldwell to bring some foot speed to the offense and that he does, a tool that plays up even more than his 60-yard suggests. He’s plenty athletic, getting good routes in the outfield with near immediate jumps, covering plenty of ground to project him as an impact defender down the road. 

Utility: Chris Newstrom (Chapparal HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.)
It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to see Newstrom as an impact defender up the middle, though he’s equally as impressive behind the plate where he split a majority of his time throughout the summer. Long and projectable at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Newstrom fits the utility spot in this exercise well as he excelled all over the diamond, showing soft hands and lateral agility as well as loose, flexible actions behind the plate with sound receiving skills and an overall skillset that’ll only continue to refine with added reps. His arm strength is another standout tool all over the diamond, especially behind the plate, as well as on the rubber, where he has already been upwards of 86 mph. 
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