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High School  | Rankings  | 11/15/2022

2024 Rankings Risers: Hitters

Craig Cozart      Kyler Peterson     
Photo: Erik Parker (Perfect Game)
Class of 2024 Player Rankings

Erik Parker, Suwanee, Ga.
No. 29 ➡️ No. 26

Things get really crowded when you try to push your way into the top-25 nationally, but Parker has impressed enough to jump three spots. The South Carolina commit is an elite runner and has barrel feel like few, as he has walked more than punched out in his almost 400 plate appearances in PG events. Mechanically he is simple, works directly to the ball and his hands are a blur through the zone. There is little doubt with his physicality that he will hit for average and power before it’s all said and done.

Dalton Wentz, Madison Heights, Va.
No. 44 ➡️ No. 28

Wentz walks on the field and draws your attention immediately from a pure physicality standpoint, as he is already 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. He is a no-doubt two-way talent and is a legitimate switch-hitter as well. From the left side he creates natural loft and drives the ball foul line to foul line with a classic stroke. The right side produces lower, line drives and is plenty good to justify working from this side of the plate. The South Carolina commit looks like a Big League third baseman, but he is more than capable of playing in the middle of the field. The power is coming on rapidly and he rarely strikes out, as he values moving the ball with two strikes.

Samuel Richardson, Olive Branch, Miss.
No. 50 ➡️ No. 33

Richardson has some of the best power/speed talent in the entire class and the power side has come on in a big way this year. Mechanically he has refined his pre-pitch movements, simplifying his ability to be on time and the result is elite, raw bat speed. While there is still a bit of swing-and-miss to his game, it is justified with the juice he has at contact. He can leave the yard foul pole to foul pole, which is scary since he is also a 6.5 runner in the 60-yard dash. The Missouri commit is trending upward in a big way and is a joy to watch.

Perry Hargett, Peachland N.C.
No. 43 ➡️ No. 41

When it comes to quick twitch, Hargett embodies that in every aspect of his game. He is compact and well developed muscularly at 6-foot, 180 pounds, which serves him well at the plate and in the field. He has nice rhythm with the stick, accelerates the barrel to impact in a blur and gets on plane, creating easy power to the pull side. While he may be the best runner in the class, he still profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat with his run production. The UNC commit doesn’t get cheated at the dish, but with his speed tool, moving the ball will put massive pressure on opposing defenders.

Jd Dix, Whitefish Bay, Wis.
No. 97 ➡️ No. 45

Dix has been a bit of a streaky hitter this summer and fall, but that is what makes the Alabama commit so intriguing. When he is on, he is a holy terror for opponents to deal with. He is a lean, explosive type hitter that has natural feel for the barrel and is adept in swinging from both sides of the plate. He’s at the plate to hit, moves the ball at a high rate and as he refines his pitch selection, will put up loud numbers consistently. His tools and physical projection with a broad frame, are so loud he is one of the biggest movers in the class.

Tanner Waldrop, Auburn, Ala.
No. 53 ➡️ No. 50

Waldrop continues to methodically move himself up the rankings as he stays true to his skill set as a middle-of-the-order power bat from the left side. The hometown product Auburn commit has some of the best natural power in the class for left-handed hitters. He stays on time with a slightly open stance and loads quietly with an inward turn of the upper body before unleashing the hands into a blur of bat speed. When he stays in the oppo gap, he is an impossible out and the pull-side power plays more naturally at that point. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, he is already physical but with ample projection left for the future.

Dante Nori, Northville, Mich.
No. 99 ➡️ No. 57

Nori makes a big jump in the rankings as he has turned himself into a complete player with the ability to do it all with the stick. The left-handed hitter uses a high hand set to create hard contact with good backspin and peppers the ball gap-to-gap. Arguably the fastest runner in the class, the Mississippi State commit is an on-base machine and swipes bags at will. However, he still leans on balls and has easy extra-base power through his dense hand strength. He is the kind of top-of-the-lineup bat that is scary for opponents to deal with and will be the spark plug for his team’s offense.

Wyatt Sanford, Frisco, Texas
No. 219 ➡️ No. 64

Unofficially the biggest riser in the class this time around, Sanford showed himself more than capable of performing against older competition. He has the classic, smooth left-handed swing that gives you the feeling he can just roll out of bed and collect three hits every day. At 6-foot, 160 pounds, there is plenty of projection and he has that special whip and looseness to his swing that convinces his production is here to stay. The Texas A&M commit gets extended through contact and elevates with ease. Expect big things here in 2023.

Austin Jacobs, Geneva, Fla.
No. 125 ➡️ No. 101

Jacobs is the type of player that gives coaches security because they know what they’re going to get when they put his name in the lineup. He has tools across the spectrum for sure, but he is methodically consistent and quietly impacts the game every day. The FSU commit stays on the barrel, displays quick hands with a nicely extended high finish, as he regularly creates loud contact in the middle of the field. He walks more than he punches out and hits with runners on, exuding confidence in the box. Jacobs is a ball player in the purest form.

Matt Conte, Andover, Mass.
No. 130 ➡️ No. 104

Conte has the look of an offensive backstop with a big, strong frame at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and generates easy juice in his bat head. The Wake Forest commit uses an upright stance to create significant leverage with a power-oriented approach. Starting with high hands and a hanging leg lift, he muscles the bat head through the zone and the impact is loud. He doesn’t have to get much stronger to transition to the next level and as the barrel accuracy continues to grow, the power production will be impressive.

-Craig Cozart

Owen Paino, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
No. 12 ➡️ No. 8

After raking at every stop in 2022, Paino slid into the top-10. The Ole Miss commit possesses some of the best upside in the class with his bat. The left-handed stick uses a smooth and refined stroke, finding the barrel often with effortless strength.

Brendan Lawson, Toronto, Ontario
No. 48 ➡️ No. 27

Moving up 21 spots is the Canadian shortstop Lawson. He showed out big at the WWBA 16U National Championship, batting .467 with two bombs during the tournament. The hit tool stands out in a big way and the juice will continue to blossom as he continues to fill out.

Charlie Bates, Palo Alto, Calif.
No. 89 ➡️ No. 30

Bates is another left-handed hitting shortstop who made a big leap in the rankings. With an innate feel for the barrel, the Stanford commit hit .421 across PG events in 2022. Bates’ bat isn’t the only noteworthy tool at his disposal, as the glove and actions play and project well at short.

Rustan Rigdon, Metter, Ga.
No. 58 ➡️ No. 49

Up nine spots is the switch-hitting shortstop Rigdon. With a very hitterish look and a pure stroke from both sides, the Vanderbilt commit’s bat is the carrying tool. The Georgia native also has plenty of athleticism and arm to stick at short moving forward.

Elbert Craig, Mansfield, Texas
No. 148 ➡️ No. 89

William Hampton, Richmond Hill, Ga.
No. 131 ➡️ No. 109

Two powerful first basemen in Craig and Hampton made steady rises. Standing at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Craig brings top-of-the-class strength to the table. Left-handed Vanderbilt commit Hampton also possesses big-time strength and was a huge performer in ’22, batting .419 with five long balls over 28 games.

Gabriel Tirado, Newington, Conn.
No. 137 ➡️ No. 121

Tirado continues to mash his way up the rankings. With lightning quick hands and significant strength, the backstop produces big exit velocities on a consistent basis. Using the whole field with authority, the power projects to all fields and the bat is fun to watch.

-Kyler Peterson