2021 High School Baseball Preview
HS Team Breakdowns: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21
11. Stoneman Douglas Eagles (Fla.)
2020 Record: 6-2
Notable Standout(s): 3B Gavin Conticello (USF), OF Roman Anthony (Ole Miss), C Santiago Ordonez (Florida State), RHP Jake Clemente (Florida), OF Chris Arroyo (FIU), OF Christian Rodriguez, SS/RHP Rolando Lujo, OF/RHP Derek Yahel Rodriguez
After a promising start to the season last year, the Eagles will have to replace the production of graduated Coby Mayo, Carter Brady and Colin Flynn, but what they bring in this spring is an impressive set of new faces. Senior Gavin Conticello is one of the most accomplished hitters on the Florida travel ball circuit, while juniors Roman Anthony, Santiago Ordonez, Chris Arroyo and Rolando Lujo bring their own respective levels of power making what should be a very physical South Florida lineup. Throw in the established athletes that Derek and Christian Rodriguez are to go with some younger talented names, and you have as much depth as there is talent. Jake Clemente should lead the way in terms of innings on the mound, but guys like Kyle Morse, Tyler Novik and previously mentioned two-ways Derek Yahel Rodriguez, Chris Arroyo and Christian Rodriguez should round out a versatile staff with enough innings to fill out a deep schedule.
12. Baylor Red Raiders (Tenn.)
2020 Record: 1-0
Notable Standout(s): 2B Cooper Kinney (South Carolina), SS Daniel Corona (Wake Forest), 1B Vytas Valincius (South Carolina), 3B James (Jay) Dill (Missouri), 1B Nick Kurtz (Wake Forest), SS Henry Godbout (Virginia), OF Caleb Hampton (South Carolina)
After back-to-back state titles, the Red Raiders were in a good position personnel-wise to make a run at another had last spring played out. Now, they return most of those same players that were set to make an impact a year ago and, on paper, hold what may be one of the country’s most dangerous lineups. Seniors Cooper Kinney, Daniel Corona, Vytas Valincius, James Dill and Nick Kurtz all have the potential to impact the game in a big way on the offensive end, while fellow Power 5 committed underclassmen Henry Godbout and Caleb Hampton add talented depth to that lineup. On the mound, right-handed senior Chris Campanella and junior Patrick Johnson should see the bulk of innings out of the listed primary arms, while a number of the formerly mentioned offensive stars should also see time on the mound, including Corona and Dill, who have both been into the low-90s on the tournament circuit previously, and Kurtz and Godbout who can run it close to that mark.
13. Orange Lutheran Lancers (Calif.)
2020 Record: 8-0
Notable Standout(s): SS Matthew Polk (Vanderbilt), SS Mikey Romero (Arizona), C Karson Bowen (TCU), 1B Gabe Miranda (TCU), RHP Louis Rodriguez (TCU), 3B Casey Borba, RHP Evan Miranda (Long Beach State)
Consistently a premier program on the West Coast, the Lancers head into this spring once again having to replace graduated production but have talent of all ages ready to jump in and make an early impact. Senior Matthew Polk should set the pace both in the lineup and up the middle defensively, while fellow seniors Justin DeCriscio and Chris Canada bring experience in their own respect. Where the bulk of talent rests is in the underclassmen with guys like Mikey Romero, an athletic hit-tool type, Karson Bowen, a polished catcher with the ability to really impact the baseball, and physical corner infielders Gabe Miranda and Casey Borba. Where the innings come from may be the biggest question mark as they graduate the three who threw the most in the shortened spring last year, but guys like Louis Rodriguez and Evan Miranda, along with some two-ways, should step up and keep them on pace to win games with the bats.
14. Don Bosco Prep Ironmen (N.J.)
2020 Record: N/A
Notable Standout(s): RHP Kevin Jaxel (Virginia), RHP Caden Dana (Kentucky), RHP Zach Stichweh (Maryland), SS Pablo Santos (Rutgers), C JP Kuczik (Fairfield), RHP Charles Batista, 3B Allen Hernandez (FGCU), SS Eric Becker (Virginia), OF Nick Locurto (Virginia Tech), 3B Andre’ Modugno (Duke)
Don Bosco is a consistent competitor for the New Jersey state title and this group they have fits that mold of a state title contender. With veteran experience paired with young talent, the roster is a good one. Seniors Charlie Granatell, Nicholas Carr and Noah Rodriguez bring the most experience on the roster and will deploy a good level of leadership on the underclass talent. From an underclass standpoint, names like Pablo Santos, JP Kuczik, Allen Hernandez, Eric Becker, Nick Locurto, Johnny Pilla and high-end freshman Andre Modugno litter the lineup with performers while the rotation surprisingly still stands out as the deepest part of the roster. Kevin Jaxel should lead the way as a right-hander who has been into the low-90s, but not far behind him are the likes of guys like Caden Dana, Zach Stichweh, Charles Batista and Clayton Poliey, all of which will help in the grind of a compact Northeast season.
15. Parkview Panthers (Ga.)
2020 Record: 13-2
Notable Standout(s): SS Ryan Spikes (Tennessee), OF Jayden Talik, SS Colin Houck, 1B Landon Stripling, RHP Garrett Lambert, C Samarion Ward
One of the country’s most consistent programs in recent memory, Parkview once again has a group talented enough to compete for a state title but there will be a lot of production to make up for that they graduated last year. Senior Ryan Spikes is one of the most talented players in the country, bringing an array of tools and athleticism to the lineup, defensive side and even the mound where he’s been up to 93 mph previously. While he’ll set the pace across the diamond with fellow senior Bryson Stripling behind the plate, underclassmen will be the make-or-break for success this spring. Brothers Jayden and Wyatt Talik and physical swinger Jabari Daniely are the juniors who should bring some level of experience to the lineup while guys like Colin Houck, Landon Stripling and Samarion Ward are young but talented bats that should give the lineup some depth. Again, the graduating class took many of the innings thrown from the shortened spring with them, but Mason Brown got a good amount of innings last year and he, combined with Jordan Lowery, Spikes and youngsters Garrett Lambert and Colin Houck, should be enough to get the Panthers plenty of tallies in the win column.
16. Rockwall-Heath Hawks (Tex.)
2020 Record: 2-3
Notable Standout(s): C Kevin Bazzell (Dallas Baptist) OF Zach Rike, SS Karson Krowka, RHP Jax Ortiz (McLennan CC), SS Jett Williams (Texas A&M), RHP Cade Sharp (Texas Tech), 3B Jonathan Lowe (McLennan CC), RHP Joshua Hoover, RHP Andrew Daniels, RHP Caleb Hoover
The Hawks are the fourth Texas school to be unveiled in this year’s rankings. Look for this group to try and get off to a hot start as they are looking to capture their fourth-straight league title. Behind the plate senior Kevin Bazzell figures to be a big part of the offense as the DBU commit is coming off a summer where he hit .365 in PG events with an OPS of .1.092 and two home runs. He will be joined in the lineup by outfielder Zach Rike who could be used as a table-setter towards the top of the lineup. Middle infielder Karson Krowka could very well be one of the guys counted on as a big run producer for this team as he is coming off a summer hitting .320 at PG events and 13 runs driven in. Juniors Jett Williams, a Texas A&M commit, and Cade Sharp, a Texas Tech commit, both figure to see time on the mound as well as in the lineup. Williams is coming off a summer where he hist .313 and reached base at over a .500 clip while also striking out 19 in 12 innings and running his fastball up to 92 mph. Sharp, a primary pitcher, will run his fastball up into the upper-80s with downhill plane from his long frame and can get it done a bit from the right side of the plate hitting over .400 in his last PG event. The rotation will be rounded out by a combination of Jax Ortiz, a McLennan commit, Joshua Hoover, Andrew Daniels, and don’t be surprised if freshman Caleb Hoover makes an appearance as he is capable of running his fastball up to 87 mph.
17. Alfred M. Barbe Buccaneers (La.)
2020 Record: 11-3
Notable Standout(s): RHP Jack Walker (Mississippi State), SS Kyle Debarge (Louisiana Lafayette), LHP Adam Guth (Louisiana Lafayette), OF Ethan Medlin (East Mississippi CC), OF Kameron Edwards, (Eastern Kentucky) SS Gavin Guidry (Louisiana State), LHP Jon Cassidy Vanek (Louisiana State), OF Donovan LaSalle (Louisiana Lafayette)
The Bucs find themselves in the Preeason Top 25 for the fifth consecutive year, this year checking in at No. 17. Barbe may have lost a lot in senior talent from last year but you would never know by looking at this roster. Senior Jack Walker, a Mississippi State commit, returns and figures to be one of the leaders on the mound as well as left-hander and Louisiana Lafayette commit Adam Guth. Jon Cassidy Vanek, an LSU commit, will give the staff a good balance as he is able to pound the zone with his whole arsenal having struck out 14 in 2020 and walked just four at PG events. Primary shortstop and LSU commit Gavin Guidry could have his fair share of innings as well. He is capable of running his fastball into the low-90s but it will be up to the coaching staff if they want to take his glove away from short. Joining him on the infield will be ULL commit Kyle Debarge. Debarge is coming off a summer where he hit .304 at PG events and had an OPS of .945. In the outfield East Mississippi commit Ethan Medlin looks to be joined by Eastern Kentucky commit Kameron Edwards as well as ULL commit Donovan LaSalle. These three in the outfield all bring tremendous speed to the game and will look to use that to their advantage on both sides of the ball.
18. Jackson Prep Patriots (Miss.)
2020 Record: 12-4
Notable Standout(s): SS Kelly Crumpton (Mississippi), RHP Mason Nichols (Mississippi), SS Riley Maddox (Mississippi), SS Jeffrey Ince (Mississippi State), 1B Connor Westfall, SS Thaxton Berch (Louisiana Tech), RHP Will Gibbs (Mississippi State), OF Thad Bridges, OF Rives Reynolds (Mississippi State), C Elijah (Eli) Berch
The Partiots come in at 18th in this year’s rankings and the second ranked team from the state of Mississippi. This year’s squad will be led by their three senior Ole Miss commits and three Mississippi State commits. On the mound Riley Maddox, Mason Nichols, Kelly Crumpton, and Will Gibbs will be tough to top as far as high school arms go in the state of Mississippi. Each is capable of running their fastball into the low-90s. Maddox led the team in innings a year ago and recorded 17 strike outs in 12 2/3 innings. On the infield this year’s group appears to be as sure-handed as any with three Division-I shortstops on the roster in previously-mentioned Crumpton, Jeffrey Ince, and Thaxton Berch. Maddox will also play the infield as a primary third baseman leaving the Patriots coaching staff with plenty of options as guys go to the mound. Rives Reynolds and Thad Bridges will hold down two of the outfield spots as they each are capable of bringing some pop to the lineup. Behind the plate, Eli Berch could be next in line as the sophomore looks to step in for Reed Kellum. Look for this year’s squad to get off to a hot start behind the leadership of their solid senior class.
19. American Heritage Patriots (Fla.)
2020 Record: 10-0
Notable Standout(s): LHP Devin Futrell (Vanderbilt), 3B Juhlien Gonzalez (Florida International), OF Justin Quintana (Army), RHP Justin Webster (Kansas State), LHP Anthony Nelson (Army), LHP Brandon Barriera (Vanderbilt), RHP Evan Dobias (Virginia), 1B Brandon Gonsalves (UCF), SS Spencer Butt (Florida State), C Mateo Serna
The Patriots start the season inside the Top 25 for the fifth-straight year. This is a group that was off to a hot start in 2020, outscoring their opponents 72-23 though 10 games before the shutdown. The arms on this year’s team will look to continue that pace as many of them are back with another year’s experience. Vanderbilt commits Devin Futrell and Brandon Barriera return with the most innings from last year’s squad and are both capable of running their fastballs into the low-90s and both have advanced feel for their changeup. After them, Anthony Nelson had totaled six innings last year and allowed just one baserunner via the walk while striking out eight. The arms on this team truly are an embarrassment of riches as they still have talented arms after those three with Justin Webster and Evan Dobias. At the plate they will be looking to replace some talented seniors as they lose their top three batting average leaders from a year ago. Juhlien Gonzalez and Justin Quintana will be seniors that the club looks to to step up as well as younger guys like Brandon Gonsalves and Spencer Butt who saw limited time last year and sophomore Mateo Serna who will join the varsity team for the first time in 2021.
20. Santa Margarita Catholic Eagles (Calif.)
2020 Record: 3-7
Notable Standout(s): OF Colby Wallace (Washington), LHP Ethan Flanagan (UCLA), C Jack Collins (Cal State Northridge), RHP Matthew Porchas (Texas), SS Ryan Nopper, SS Trent Caraway (Oregon State), OF Jackson Kemmerer, C Luke Lavin (Stanford), 1B Spencer Shannon
The Eagles are preparing for what should be another ultra-competitive year in the Trinity League. This year’s group is as talented on the mound and at the plate as any Santa Margarita Catholic team in resent years. On the mound, senior Ethan Flanagan will lead the way as the UCLA commit prepares for his fourth year on the mound for the Eagles. He will be joined in the rotation by Texas commit Matthew Porchas. Porchas brings a quick arm and easy velocity as he is capable of running his fastball into the low-90s and pairs it with a quality breaking ball. Both Flanagan and Porchas should find themselves in the lineup as well. Same could be said for sophomore Trent Caraway, an Oregon State commit who has been into the low-90s off the bump as well and has good feel for the barrel at the plate. Senior outfielder and Washington commit Colby Wallace brings even more versatility to the lineup as his left-handed bat will provide some pop and he is capable of giving the Eagles some innings on the mound. Jack Collins, a Cal State Northridge commit, will add depth to the lineup and should find himself behind the plate. Ryan Nopper brings versatility as one of his top skill sets as the switch-hitting middle infielder could fill a multitude of roles. Luke Lavin, a Stanford commit, should also factor in as a offensive impact player as well as outfielder Jackson Kemmerer and Spencer Shannon.