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High School  | General  | 12/7/2023

Finest in the Field: Class of 2027

Tyler Russo     
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 2027.

P | Jose Partida, La Jolla Country Day HS (Calif.)

It’s hard to decipher high-level defenders at the pitcher position at this age due to the lack of opportunities to shine in that regard, so Partida takes this spot for the overall ability to keep runners off bases with his strike-throwing, which comes from the cleanest operation in the class right now.

C | Will Brick, Christian Brothers HS (Tenn.)

There’s a few different guys that could’ve gone in this spot as this class is a really strong one at the top at the catching position, but Brick brings an exciting blend of receiving ability with a big arm, real grit behind the plate in his blocking and the overall ability to command the diamond at a high level at this age.

1B | Jared Grindlinger, Huntington Beach HS (Calif.)

Grindlinger is a top-scale two-way prospect at this juncture who won an award for it given the high-end numbers offensively and on the mound, but his overall athleticism allows him to be a really impactful defender at first base with good movement, confident picks and a big arm too.

MIF | Brayden Landry, Puyallup HS (Wash.)

Anytime you can remember multiple events where someone who is only 13 has shined on the defensive end, it’s easy to place them here. Landry is a dynamic athlete who can impact a game in various ways, especially so on the dirt where his quick feet and standout range makes him a star up the middle, showing just enough young arm strength to turn in web-gem plays already.

MIF | Max Hemenway, Puyallup HS (Wash.)

Hemenway won the Defensive Player of the Year award at the 14U Select Festival, and for good reason as his steadiness on the dirt is hard to match showing all the necessary tools to fit at the premium position from first step quickness to soft hands to arm strength; pretty high-level stuff.

3B | Matthew Kelley, Carlsbad HS (Calif.)

Kelley also fits in that category of being one of the steadier defenders we have seen across the circuit, easily fitting at shortstop himself but slotting at third base in this exercise. He’s a fluid mover who plays with confidence on the dirt, showing softness to the hands and arm strength up to 90 mph across, which is comfortably amongst the top in the entire class in that category.

OF | Caden Dawson, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS (Ga.)

Dawson is a well-rounded outfielder which allows him to excel across any outfield position, using good routes and overall high-end IQ to play the position at a high level, but his arm strength is a big component here as he’s up to 93 MPH in that regard, a huge number for only 14.

OF | Joshua Priest, La Jolla Country Day HS (Calif.)

Priest is one of the best overall athletes in this entire class, showing top-level speed as a 6.7 runner already, and it plays up when he’s in the outfield. He glides from gap to gap as a true centerfielder with excellent recognition/jumps on the baseball, while also having a solid arm.

OF | Jordin Griffin, Alfred M. Barbe HS (La.)

Griffin is also an excellent athlete who has good foot speed, which is a good piece for being able to track the baseball, but his twitch/overall athleticism gives him not just first step quickness to be able to get to balls in the gaps, but also gives him good body control to make the tough plays.

UTIL | Chase Fuller, Maclay HS (Fla.)

Fuller is the top-ranked prospect in the class which often he means he does a lot of things right and that’s certainly the case. He fits as a solid defender on the left side with good hands and a huge arm, while also having the overall athleticism that could fit just about anywhere on the diamond if needed, as well as having the ability to impact a game in a big way from the mound.