As high school baseball is starting to get going across the country in most regions, with some states actually heading into the playoffs, it all means the summer circuit is right around the corner. Over the next several weeks we will look at the top-ranked players at each position, in each class, while also taking a look at some gut-feel players that could be big risers. With players having more access to individual development, things will undoubtably change at a rapid pace in the early months of the Perfect Game schedule. This provides a good look at some of the top performers coming into 2021 who look primed to continue dominance or make their mark on a national level.
Malcolm Moore (Calif.)
6-1 200, L/R
Commitment: Stanford University
PG Events: 4
Key Stats: .412-2-7, 1.441 OPS
Short Story: Moore came on in a big way at the end of the summer and carried it through the fall. He is a strong-framed, left-handed hitting catcher who can also play first base. The massive profile with the bat is extremely enticing with seemingly unlimited run-producing potential.
Big Moment: The complete domination from start to finish at the 2020 WWBA World Championship against older competition tells the story. He hit a pair of mammoth home runs at spacious Terry Park that gave a glimpse of what his one-swing, game-changing potential could be.
Bold Prediction: Moore spent his time in the winter and spring honing his skills behind the dish and the defense, left-handed stick, and in-game production give him one of the best profiles and resumes in the entire class heading into the next evaluation period.
Jared Jones (Ga.)
6-4 230, R/R
Commitment: Louisiana State University
PG Events: 44
Key Stats: 183 games, .416-15-176, 1.238 OPS
Short Story: Jones is affectionately nicknamed “Bear” and for good reason based on his physical stature. The opposite-field power that lies in the powerful right-handed bat might be unmatched in the class. All eyes will be on the development behind the dish as the offensive upside is not in question.
Big Moment: It’s the consistency. The LSU commit just hits in the low-.400s every year, hits for power, and takes his walks. You can look at the history and realize the type of middle-of-the-lineup production you are going to get from Bear.
Bold Prediction: Jones comes out showing the tools behind the plate to take the next step, he continues to rake as he always does, and challenges at every step that he is the top catching prospect in the land.
Luke Heyman (Fla.)
6-3 202, R/R
Commitment: University of Florida
PG Events: 34
Key Stats: 110 games, .361-2-78, 1.004 OPS
Short Story: Heyman has one of the best arms of any catcher in the class, even bumping 93 mph on the mound. The power arm/power bat combination is unrivaled at this point and he can only build on that reputation.
Big Moment: He led his team to the final four of the 16U WWBA National Championship, showing durability behind the plate and handled velocity with ease. The power and patience at the plate during the event was impressive to watch.
Bold Prediction: The pitch recognition, ability to control the zone, and defensive chops continue to shine while he starts to lift the ball more regularly. The overall tool set pops as he starts to climb to his ceiling, making the output and end result pretty special.
Karson Bowen (Calif.)
5-11 210, R/R
Commitment: Texas Christian University
PG Events: 26
Key Stats: 45 games, .327-2-28, 1.250 OPS
Short Story: Bowen is young for the class and already made his mark at the Perfect Game Select Festival. He is strong and durable with advanced mechanics behind the plate. Offensively he has a professional, grind-it-out approach with budding power.
Big Moment: The WWBA World Championship can expose many prospects or show what type of potential they possess. Bowen seemed to thrust himself into the conversation of the top catchers in the class.
Bold Prediction: The power shows up in a big way. That’s it. The power is in there and Bowen should tap into it at every stop.
Rylan Galvan (Texas)
5-11 175, R/R
Commitment: University of Texas
PG Events: 9
Key Stats: 23 games, .453-0-13
Short Story: Galvan was starting to build one of the best resumes in the country before the pandemic. A PG Select Festival alum, he was putting up impressive raw numbers that matched his in-game performances.
Big Moment: The right-handed slugger hit .500 with a 1.417 OPS at the 2019 PG 15U World Series which would ultimately be his last event played before the weird 2020 travel circuit.
Bold Prediction: Nothing more than Galvan getting back on the circuit and displaying the immense ability he was showing at a young age. The only thing that will change will be showing up and doing what he does at the biggest events on the calendar.
Ike Irish (Mich.)
6-2 200, L/R
Commitment: Auburn University
PG Events: 24
Key Stats: 84 games, .358-3-46, 1.055 OPS
Short Story: Irish has unique size to go with huge physical tools and a left-handed bat that should produce huge power as he develops.
Big Moment: When you throw 86 mph during drills and pop a 1.90 at the PG Junior National while putting up a 99 mph exit velocity, it’s going to raise some eyebrows. He also found multiple loud barrels during game play at the event.
Bold Prediction: It all comes together. After a spring of playing with some of the best prospects in the 2021 and 2022 classes this spring at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep, the big tools will shine during the summer. Iron sharpens iron, helping Irish start to reach his potential.
Santiago Ordonez (Fla.)
5-9 189, R/R
Commitment: Florida State University
PG Events: 28
Key Stats: 92 games, .327-0-51, .904 OPS
Short Story: Ordonez has huge leadership skills, handles a staff that has enormously talented arms, and seems to thrive in the most stressful spots of a game or event.
Big Moment: At the 16U BCS National Championship he was a clear “alpha” on a roster of huge talent. He banged his way through the tournament, chipping in a number of big hits.
Bold Prediction: The consistency shines on both sides of the ball. The receiving behind the plate continues to be the calling card, but the overall talent starts to get the credit it certainly deserves.
Cannon Peebles (Va.)
5-11 195, S/R
Commitment: Old Dominion University
PG Events: 13
Key Stats: 42 games, .286-0-27, 23 walks
Short Story: Peebles has natural ability to transfer and throw with elite quickness and matching arm strength. Not many catchers, in any class, can catch and release the way Peebles does routinely.
Big Moment: A 1.77 pop times during drills at the PG Underclass All American Games put Peebles in elite country in the 2022 class. The metrics produced in the swing, from both sides, gave plenty of hope leading into the fall.
Bold Prediction: The way he produced at the WWBA World Championship will pave the way for a big summer, producing for power from both sides of the plate. The must watch will remain the must watch and he can throw the pill from behind the plate.
Nate Voss (Ill.)
5-11 195, R/R
Commitment: University of Michigan
PG Events: 17
Key Stats: 79 games, .330-0-44, .997 OPS
Short Story: Voss has all the tools behind the plate to be a premium catcher. The soft hands, timing, and arm all check boxes of a high-level game caller. The consistency with the bat is coming on strong.
Big Moment: He jumped on the scene at the 2019 WWBA Sophomore World Championship when he hit .600 with four extra-base hits. That type of production combined with the defensive prowess thrust Voss onto a different platform than before.
Bold Prediction: The strength, mobility and arm strength don’t change. It just proves what has been witnessed over the years. The doubles pop, however, turns into home run pop and things get very interesting quickly.
Brody Donay (Fla.)
6-5 215, R/R
Commitment: Virginia Tech
PG Events: 23
Key Stats: 85 games, .292-4-52
Short Story: Donay has as much physical projection remaining in his frame as any position prospect, at any position, in the 2022 class. Donay has an absolute hand cannon and big loft power in the right-handed bat.
Big Moment: The 16U PF WWBA National Championship gave a glimpse of what Donay is capable of producing. He hit .500 with a couple doubles and another couple homers. He also jumped on the mound and ran his heater up to 93 mph.
Bold Prediction: With one of the strongest complete seasons of any catcher in 2020, the added strength continues the upward trend. The only wrench in the plan could be his mid-90s fastball he has shown during the high school season this spring.
Gut Feel Risers
Adam (AJ) Shepard (Va.)
The Indiana commit might be the unsung hero in an absolutely loaded summer lineup. He looks super-human in a uniform with his 5-11, 205-pound frame and has lots of torque in his right-handed swing. He has accuracy with the barrel and some of the highest exit velocities produced on the circuit.
Hayden Christiansen (Ill.)
The Illinois native brings a physical presence with middle-of-the-order potential to a lineup. With as big of a frame as he has, his feet are quick and the smooth exchange gives him all the tools that should propel him during a full summer of competing.
Zachary Yorke (Calif.)
The resume is not long, but the bloodlines are big. He has two brothers, Joe and Nick, with Joe playing at Boise State and Nick going in the first round of the 2020 MLB draft. Zachary has big left-handed power and excellent feel for the barrel. Whether he stays behind the plate or not, the bat might be so big it doesn’t matter.
Will Vierling (Wis.)
The Louisville commit fits the riser profile: strong, left-handed, and shows sub 2.00 pop times in drills. As he matures and develops, the flexibility and consistency should provide plenty for evaluators to be excited about.
Austin Younce (Va.)
There is quite a bit of versatility that comes to Younce’s game that it will be interesting to follow during the 2021 campaign. If he can prove he belongs behind the plate with the elite, the bat seems to be a ticking time bomb that is ready to produce in a big way; both make things very interesting come July.