Draft | Story | 7/8/2021

The Accuracy of Perfect Game's Rankings

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Brady House (Perfect Game)
Rawlings - Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans | Perfect Game Top 500 Draft Prospects

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- For fans of amateur baseball, and additionally, the MLB Draft, there is a lot of information out there the days, weeks, and months leading up to the draft.
There is a list for everyone, with those lists including different names and different orders of prospects waiting to hear their name called. It’s information overload for a process that is decidedly an inexact science.
However, if you want as close to a definitive list of top MLB Draft talent all in one place, historically speaking, Perfect Game’s Preseason All-American list is your one-stop shop at the beginning of the spring, and the Perfect Game Top 500 list should be the book of record.
Each year, Perfect Game, along with Rawlings, creates the Preseason All-American lists with the help of Perfect Game scouts who have seen these prospects play more than anyone else on the circuit. With knowledge dating back to when these prospects were 13 or 14 years old, PG designates First, Second, and Third Team lists, as well as Honorable Mention before these players even step on the field for their final prep season. These lists mostly mirror the Perfect Game High School Player Rankings, which are meticulously produced with updates throughout each year.
The proof that these lists are the closest thing you’ll find to definitive is in the comparison between them and the results of the MLB Draft.
In the 2020 draft, every single high school first round pick was a PG Preseason All-American. Eleven of those 13 first round selections were Preseason First-Team All-Americans. Those names include Robert Hassell III, Zac Veen, and Pete Crow-Armstrong, just to name a few.
It gets more conclusive the more you look.
In 2019, all but two of the high school players drafted in the first round were Preseason First Teamers. In 2018, the first eight high school selections were all on the First Team, the year before that, in 2017, the first 10 high school prospects drafted were earlier named Preseason First Team All-American by Perfect Game, and in 2016 that number was 12.
On average, since 2007, there are 15 Perfect Game Preseason First-Teamers drafted in the first round each year.
There have been 214 total in that time frame, with recent names like Bobby Witt Jr (2019), Jarred Kelenic (2018), Royce Lewis (2017), and Ian Anderson (2016), as well as older names like Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor (2011), Manny Machado and Christian Yelich (2010), Mike Trout (2009), Eric Hosmer (2008), and Madison Bumgarner (2007).
All of those averages and names thrown out just now are only Preseason First-Teamers drafted in the first round. If you expand a bit and take a look at the second round of the MLB Draft, there have been 118 Preseason First-Team All-Americans selected since 2007, averaging more than eight per year.
If you include First, Second, Third Team, and Honorable Mention selections in your query, there are roughly 23 first round picks each year who were selected by Perfect Game as a Preseason All-American.
A number of the players selected for the Preseason All-American teams ahead of their senior year choose to go to college instead of signing a pro contract, of course, and a large amount of those players turn into first round picks down the road. Guys like Garrett Mitchell in last year’s draft, Nick Lodolo in 2019, and Jonathan India in 2018, just to name a recent few.
This year, prep shortstop prospects like Brady House, Jordan Lawlar, Marcelo Mayer, Kahlil Watson, and Alex Mooney graced the First-Team list, as did pitchers Jackson Jobe, Chase Petty, Andrew Painter, and two-way Bubba Chandler. Prep outfielders Will Taylor and Benny Montgomery were also named Preseason First-Team All-Americans. Fast-forward to the release of Perfect Game’s Top 500 list just ahead of the draft, and all 10 of these prep players are top-25 overall draft prospects and likely to become first round picks.
House has played in 40 Perfect Game events, dating all the way back to the 2015 12u Invitational. Prep catcher Harry Ford, another Preseason First-Teamer, has played in 49 Perfect Game events, his first coming in 2015 like House. Ford is currently the No. 11 overall draft prospect. Benny Montgomery has played in 22 PG events since 2015, and Joe Mack, the No. 34 prospect on the Top 500, has been to 38 events since his first in 2017.
Perfect Game scouts have typically had eyes on these players for a longer period of time than anyone else, and have followed their progression as closely as possible. That’s why it’s possible to produce the Preseason All-American lists before these players step on the field for their senior seasons and have them stand up when it comes draft time later that summer.
Although many looks at a player is obviously not a bad thing, it’s also not a requirement to be put on any of these Perfect Game lists. One good look at any of Perfect Game’s events, and a prospect can find himself on the Preseason All-American list. Carson Williams, the No. 29 overall prospect for the upcoming MLB Draft, was named a First-Team Preseason All-American having only attended four PG events in his career. Colson Montgomery, the No. 31 prospect for the draft, was a Preseason All-American having only attended six PG events. If you have the necessary talent, Perfect Game scouts will find you.
You can view the lists of Perfect Game Preseason All-Americans dating back to 2007, as well as the 2021 Perfect Game Top 500 Draft Prospects.
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