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General | Blog | 3/16/2022

PG International Rankings

Photo: Michael Kovala (Perfect Game)
Perfect Game is growing and expanding their reach on amateur baseball once again, providing yet another platform for players across the world to realize and fulfill their baseball goals and aspirations. After a few successful events in Europe, we at Perfect Game are upping the ante with the first-ever iteration of European rankings, going 50 players deep, while identifying plenty more who can be found within the rankings portal. With the help of the PG International Scouting Committee, which includes Zach Graefser, Bill Bavasi and Bob Fontaine, the initial Top 50 rankings are certain to expand with even more depth following every in person look. Each of the three showcases linked below, all of which will follow a 12u, 15u and 18u tournament, will ultimately lead to the Euro Select in Italy, which is the European equivalent of the Perfect Game National Showcase. Each event is certain to be filled with talent, some of whom the PG staff will lay eyes on for the first time and thus will join the rankings in the next update and expansion. 

While some players in the rankings have been in negotiations with MLB clubs, others have their sights set on playing in the NCAA stateside, joining the likes of right-hander Matteo Bochi of Parma, Italy who threw for the University of Texas or the powerful bat of Vojtek Mensik, who was a stalwart in the NC State lineup and a native of Brno, Czech Republic. 



Three additional names were set to factor into the rankings when we first began putting them together in left-hander Peter Bonilla (Spain/Los Angeles Dodgers), right-hander Enrique Sevilla Milanes (Russia/Los Angeles Dodgers) and infielder/right-hander Lou Helmig (Germany/Philadelphia Phillies), but ultimately signed professional contracts during the January signing period. 

Questions about an event? Comments about the rankings? Want to recommend a prospect?
Contact Vice President of International Development Ben Ford via his email, benford@perfectgame.org. 

2022 European East Showcase | May 8 | Brno, Czech Republic
2022 European Central Showcase | July 15-16 | Haarlem, Netherlands
2022 European West Showcase |
October TBA | Barcelona, Spain
2022 Euro Select |
November TBA | Messina, Italy

Top 50 Breakdown by Country

Czech Republic: 9
Italy: 9
Netherlands: 9
Germany: 8
France: 5
Spain: 4
Austria: 2
Belarus: 1
Bulgaria: 1
Sweden: 1
Switzerland: 1

To view the complete Top 50 rankings, click HERE
 
Top 10 at a Glance 

Rank Name Position Country Rank Name Position Country
1 Michal Kovala RHP Czech Republic 6 Amarensio Franka MIF Netherlands
2 Raydley Legito MIF Netherlands 7 Dominic Scheffler LHP Switzerland
3 Tobias Kiefer RHP Austria 8 Yoanis Aleksandrov C/1B/OF/RHP Bulgaria
4 Diego Jiminez RHP Spain 9 Jesus Montano OF Spain
5 Dorian Lippens RHP Netherlands 10 Boris Vecerka RHP Czech Republic


Top 10 Prospect Breakdown


1. Michal Kovala, RHP, Czech Republic

Kovala burst onto the scene last summer and quickly cemented himself as a name to know with a strong showing at various Perfect Game tournaments, as well as an eye opening performance at the Junior National Showcase. A native of the Czech who currently attends the Combine Academy in North Carolina and has aspirations of playing collegiate baseball should he not get drafted or sign, the 5-foot-10, 163-pound Kovala certainly has the stuff to compete at the next level and he showed it while squaring off against some of the best, posting two scoreless frames with 5 strikeouts at the Junior National. Throughout the summer his fastball velocity continued to climb from the upper-80s to a peak of 93 mph at the 16u WWBA World Championship, setting the stage for what should be an impressive outing during the 2022 High School Showdown-Academies at the start of March. While the heaters possesses some heavy life through the zone, the changeup is a true difference maker as he turns it over with confidence, generating late tumble while pairing it with a late biting slider to the bottom of the zone. To learn more about Kavala and his story, read his feature article from the Junior National Showcase here

2. Raydley Legito, MIF, Netherlands

Easily the best player on the field every time he’s out there, what Legito lacks in size he makes up for in athleticism. Defensively he has quick feet and excellent range to both sides and he does a great job syncing his hands and feet with a quick release. His arm grades out as average but it's very accurate and shows excellent footwork around the bag with great reads off the bat. His baseball IQ is above average, always looking for the play ahead and knowing what to do with the baseball before he gets it. Offensively Legito is a prototypical leadoff type hitter with plus speed. In the 2021 European Championships he hit .348 and lead the team with 4 stolen bases, helping to deliver the Netherlands the championship. He plays situational baseball with the bat, working counts as the leadoff hitter, moving runners over as needed and he's never afraid to bunt when the situation warrants. He has a short, controlled swing with quick hands and excellent barrel manipulation. While he needs to get stronger to advance his game to the next level, there's no doubting he has an extremely bright future ahead of him.

3. Tobias Kiefer, RHP, Austria

There hasn’t been a much more dominant pitcher in Austria than Kiefer. At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Kiefer has a very athletic delivery to the plate and uses his size to his advantage. He has a very clean arm action and great whip with extension to finish. All of his pitches are downhill, and he gets a lot of run on his fastball and change-up. All four pitches can be thrown for strikes and he isn’t afraid to pitch inside. His delivery is direct to the plate and he likes to work quickly, keeping hitters off balance. He needs to work on his endurance as he seems to run out of gas quickly, however he is also the starting shortstop for his team in Austria which is a statement to his athleticism. He's still young and projects well physically, all of which plays in his favor as there's a ridiculous amount of room for growth moving forward.

4. Diego Jiminez, RHP, Spain

Jiminez made a big splash in the 2021 European Championships shutting out the Czech Republic in his first game with Spain. In total he threw 7 2/3, striking out 14 in 3 appearances, showing an extremely quick arm with a very easy delivery to match. He hides the ball well and it really jumps on hitters at release as a results. He steps across his body and could get into his lower half just a little better, but the arm quickness and pitchability are there. He throws 3 pitches for strikes with the slider being his go-to in any count. Jiminez has been up to 92 with his fastball and consistently sits between 86-91 mph with a 78 mph slider to match. He isn’t done growing yet and there's definitely more in the tank.


5. Dorian Lippens, RHP, Netherlands
College Commitment: Cisco Community College

Dorian is a huge upside pitcher with a very bright future ahead of him. While his numbers at the 2021 Euros weren’t the greatest, he showed flashes of something very special. He sits at a very sneaky 88-91 with a lot more there in the future. He is tall off the post with a little hip curl that takes the top side with. He steps across his body a little and has a difficult time duplicating the delivery. Dorian has an extremely fast arm at a high ¾ arm slot that is effortless from start to finish. He really gets into his legs well and the body syncs up timing wise. The curveball is a swing and miss pitch, very tight and late breaking. As he works on the command improving, the velocity will no doubt jump even more and he’s going to be a dangerous pitcher when it all comes together.

6. Amarensio Franka, MIF, Netherlands

Franka is by far the youngest player in the top-10 at 15 years old but he may have the highest upside. He hit .400 at the U15 European Championships this year and showed next level tools throughout the tournament. He’s very physically advanced for his age and extremely smooth with his actions as his hands are very sure and smooth up the middle, showing aggressiveness to the ball and he isn’t afraid to make a mistake. His feet sync up well with his hands and he has a short, quick arm action with a quick release. He has a tendency to get around the ball a little too much but will get better as the speed of the game increases. Offensively he has very fast hands and a quick swing with some pop. While he'll get a little off balance on the stride, it's an easy fix once he gets into his lower half better. He is a plus runner for his age and got great jumps stealing bases. The talent is impressive for his age and he’s going to be a very exciting player to watch in the future.


7. Dominic Scheffler, LHP, Switzerland
College Commitment: Seattle University 

Of all the players ranked within the top 50, none come with a bigger mystery than the 6-foot-3 left-handed Scheffler as he continues to make a name for himself on the international scene as well as in the states as he committed to Seattle University at the start of the year. Though a member of the Switzerland National Team, Scheffler hasn't been seen nearly as much as some of the other top guys, though the stuff speaks for itself as he already possesses a heater that works in the upper-80s with plenty more in the tank as he continues to physically develop. Pro scouts are aware of the Swiss southpaw and as he continues to get more reps, you can expect his stock to continue to rise at an exponential rate. 

8. Yoanis Aleksandrov, C/OF, Bulgaria

A native of Bulgaria, Aleksandrov already has two Perfect Game showcases under his belt as he first attended the 2021 Miami Prospect Showcase before earning an invite to the World Showcase at the start of the 2022 calendar. In terms of physicality, you'll have a difficult time finding anybody on the list more impressive than the 6-foot-3, 229-pound Aleksandrov who knows how to implement that strength into his right-handed swing while retaining looseness and athleticism to his overall game. The power in his right-handed swing will immediately catch one's attention, driving the ball with authority to both the middle and pull side parts of the field with plenty of bat speed and strength in his hands. He posted a 6.77 in the 60-yard which speaks to his athleticism despite the strength on his frame and he maintains mobility behind the plate, showing clean actions with big arm strength (77 mph), all of which he repeats well. He could ultimately find himself in the outfield at the next level however, where once again, his athleticism and arm strength will suit him well as he profiles as a power hitting corner outfielder with some serious thump in his bat. 

9. Jesus Montano, OF, Spain

Like Jiminez, Montano turned heads very quickly at the U18 Euros this summer where the 17-year-old hit .563 with 5 RBI during the tournament with a home run and 16 total bases in just 5 games. He's a very toolsy, physical player with raw strength and speed. Offensively he does a great job recognizing pitches and staying back, utilizing a slight leg kick with great balance to get into his lower half nicely. Montano possesses a very strong top hand and keeps his back elbow tight for a compact, powerful swing and though he's a bit of a pull hitter, showing solid power in batting practice. As he gets stronger, there is room for improvement with a little more linear movement in his stride. Defensively the center fielder does a great job of directing traffic and is a leader on the field. He gets great jumps on the ball and has a plus arm, showing excellent accuracy to the intended bag. He is a smooth runner with an easy stride and tracks very well.

10. Boris Vecerka, RHP, Czech Republic

Of all the players in the initial Top 50 European rankings release, Vecerka may have been the first to appear in a Perfect Game event, with his PG debut coming in 2017 during Freshman PG Series Classic Challenge in Fort Myers, Florida. He looks a little different now in terms of physicality from when we saw him standing at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds as he’s now listed at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and that fastball we saw bumping 70 mph back is 2017 is now topping out at 96 mph via reports of his latest bullpen. There’s no doubting the upside as the frame and outstanding arm speed stand out, though he’ll have to continue to streamline his delivery and overall direction towards the plate. Along with the big fastball, Vecerka shows some present feel for a slider which he can rip into the upper-70s, but like the heater, will need to refine his overall command. All that said, the overall combination of stuff, athleticism and arm speed, as well as bloodlines as his older brother was signed by the Royals, Vecerka is a must-see arm out of the Czech.
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