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High School  | General  | 12/6/2023

Finest in the Field: Class of 2026

Jered Goodwin     
This time of the year, every year, out staff looks back at some of the defensive standouts, from their showings both in a showcase setting and live action, and assemble the Finest in the Field beginning today with the Class of 2026.

Pitcher: Wilson Andersen, Tampa Jesuit (Tampa, FL)

Andersen has a high-level 2-way acumen and shows coordination and athleticism in the field that he consistently takes to the mound. He has soft hands and can change arm angles to get outs when the ball is in hurry zones. He also has a very good baseball IQ that helps in the finer parts of the game that come up in leverage situations of a game.

Catcher: Dillon Moss, IMG Academy (Atherton, CA)

The consistent development over the last couple years has put Moss in the upper echelon of the class in terms of overall prospects in the ’26 class. He combines flexibility in the hips, soft and sure hands, and innate timing to help steal strikes for his pitchers. His quick feet and transfer with a very good arm help control the running game as well. Moss is well rounded and seems to embrace the accountability it takes to run a pitching staff.

First Base: Kruz Schoolcraft, Sunset HS (Beaverton, OR)

The long 6-8/210 frame gives infielders lots of confidence to infielders when they are making hurry plays on any part of the diamond given his ability to go get the ball on the air or on the edges. He also has soft hands and is very coordinated with the limbs to be able to pick it out of the dirt or move to both sides to defend batted balls. As he starts to fill out the frame, he will add even more burst resulting in extended range.

Middle Infield: Grady Emerson, Argyle HS (Argyle, TX)

In a class that seems loaded with middle infielders at the top, Emerson overall ability could separate him in many ways. He has a quick first step and the ability to adjust and cut angles to record outs. He moves with fluidity and decisiveness on batted balls and the range and ability maintain balance while throwing from multiple arm angles at the short stop position. He makes both the routine and the movement plays look easy and natural. 

Middle Infield: Alex Harrington, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA)

There are very few players, regardless of class, that play with a better combination of IQ and energy. He has spring to his movements and when the projection in the 6-2/175 frame begins to really add strength he should have even more burst to take away hits on the dirt. There is real confidence in his glove, and he should with his smooth transfer and ability adjust when necessary. The overall athleticism and timing also make the shortstop extremely accurate as well. 

Third Base: Jacob Lombard, Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest, FL)

Lombard is a listed shortstop and really shouldn’t move off the position as he continues to mature and develop. However, he slid to third at times this fall during the Sophomore WWBA and proved his ability to be an excellent defender on the left side. He has the makings of a very sound approach to the ball and pairs that with good instincts on batted balls. Coming from a deep-rooted baseball family, he also sports one of the better baseball IQ’s in the class.

Outfield: Brady Harris, Trinity Christian Academy (St Augustine, FL)

There is a unique blend of projection and current ability that put Harris in the small bucket of top prospects in the entire class. Defensively, he has the physical tools between his ability to run and throw that portend his ability to roam centerfield at every level he move up too. Harris also does all the little things that are required when it comes to quarterbacking the outfield in every way possible.

Outfield: Anthony Murphy, Corona HS (Corona, CA)

One of the more exciting defenders to watch during the circuit was the California native, Anthony Murphy. The excitement comes down to really one thing, his ability to just go and get the ball. He has feel to accelerate and run down would-be hits regardless of the batted ball velocity or angle. There is even comfort roaming back toward the wall and making tough catches while adjusting and making the grab over the shoulder. He is a difference maker.

Outfield: Malachi Washington, Parkview HS (Stone Mountain, GA)

Washington gets the nod here for his fearless play in the outfield. Given his two-sport resume, it shows on the baseball field when you watch him have no regard for his body when he sprawls to make a diving catch and take away hits. He is an explosive athlete and should stay in the middle of the diamond, with plenty of arm strength to cut down runners hoping to advance.

Utility: Jorvorskie Lane Jr., O D Wyatt HS (Fort Worth, TX)

An athlete that one could see playing at an elite level in the outfield or catcher is always going to get a ton of attention. Lane is always thinking one step ahead of hi competition and it shows with his ability to do all the little things when it comes to calling games, holding runners, and blocking balls in the dirt. He is a tough kid and plays with a chip on his shoulders. There is just a high ceiling no matter where he is slotted on defense.