High School : : General
Monday, February 25, 2013

Regional HS Preview: Mid-Atlantic

Jheremy Brown        
Photo: Perfect Game

2013 Perfect Game High School Baseball Preview Index

Mid-Atlantic Region:
Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

Two Way Talents on Display

Every year there is a strong group of players that excel at more than one position, leaving 
scouts to dream on a player even more once they settle into one position. This year's high school crop in the Mid-Atlantic has more than its fair share of promising two-way prospects including Bryce Harman, Ryder Jones, Cory Thompson, Ryder Ryan, Taylor Widener and Jordan Gore.

With Harman’s frame, it is easy to envision him throwing much harder than he currently does, but at the same time he has incredible power potential, which leads most to think he will stick at first base.

Ryder Jones is a primary shortstop, but made a big impression on the mound for everybody that was in attendance during the 2012 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla. A Stanford commit, Jones put all his skills on display, particularly against the Yak squad, launching a three-run home run and closing out the game, sitting at 91-92 with his fastball. Ryan is a versatile player with the ability to play several positions, but he still has another year and a half to decide his ultimate position. Listed as a primary catcher, many see him moving from behind the plate for either the mound or third base, his main position in high school. There is no doubting his arm strength, a reason why some think the mound is his most likely eventual and permanent destination.

Three of the six players above – Thompson, Widener and Gore – are University of South Carolina commits. Both Thompson and Widener look certain to have promising futures on the mound, while Gore is a little tougher to determine where his future lies.

Widener has a three-pitch mix with which he consistently pounds the strike zone, and he should only get better as he continues to fill out, add strength, and as a result of that, velocity.

Thompson showed well at the World Showcase as a shortstop, displaying quick actions in the field and one of the best infield arms of the 2013 class, throwing 90 mph across the diamond. In addition, when he takes to the mound he shows off his electric, easy arm strength and has topped out at 93 in the past. He also throws a hard, downward curve.

Like Cory Thompson, Gore has a lot of arm strength from shortstop to go along with his quick hands and smooth actions in the field. He is a switch hitter at the plate, and on the mound delivers low-90s fastballs from a high three-quarters delivery. Gore attends Conway High School, where he teams up with Grant Holmes to make a formidable 1-2 punch.

Mid-Atlantic High School Dream Team

Based on present tools

C - Nick Ciuffo, Sr., Lexington (SC)
Currently ranked as the 16th best draft-eligible high school prospect in the country and a Perfect Game All-American last summer, Nick Ciuffo is one of the best catchers in an extremely deep 2013 class. Behind the plate, Ciuffo is a leader on the field and knows how to control his pitchers. Soft hands, good receiving skills, and a quick transfer are only half his game, as he shows real potential at the plate as well. From the left side, he has a powerful swing, bringing his hands straight to the ball and through the zone. A South Carolina commit, Ciuffo has all the tools one would look for in an elite talent.

1B - Braxton Davidson, Jr., TC Roberson (NC)
Davidson offers a young bat with some of the best power in the 2014 class. Getting good extension in his swing and the ability to quickly get his bat through the zone, he already shows power to all fields and projects for more as he gets a little stronger. He is primarily a first baseman with soft hands and good awareness and instincts around the bag. It was hard to leave Bryce Harman off of the Dream Team for the Mid-Atlantic Region, a testament to just how good Davidson is.

MIF - Ryder Jones, Sr., Watauga (NC)
A Stanford signee and a legit two-way player, Jones makes the list for his skills at shortstop, although he would also be in consideration for one of the five pitching spots, as well as the utility role. With his frame, he may be forced to move over to third at some point, but for now his skills work up the middle. He moves laterally well, possesses quick, soft hands and has a strong arm to get the ball across the infield. A left-handed batter, Jones has a high hand set and a longer swing, but makes up for it with a quick bat, resulting in hard contact and the ability to drive the ball long distances.

MIF - Andy McGuire, Sr., James Madison (VA)
McGuire has one of the strongest infield arms in the 2013 class, an obvious attribute to his overall defensive package. Quick on his feet, McGuire is able to get to balls in the 5-6 hole and make the throw across the diamond with plenty of carry. He has simple swing mechanics at the plate and the ability to turn on the ball and produce solid contact. Cory Thompson deserves to be in the mix for both the middle infield as well as a pitcher, as he has fluid actions in the field and top of the line arm strength. Also keep an eye on Weston Wilson and Eli White, a pair of shortstops who have both signed with Clemson.

3B - Charlie Cody, 3B, Jr., Great Bridge (VA)
The second junior on the list, Cody has one of the best pure bats in his class. He has a high hand set and simple swing mechanics, but his bat speed allows him to drive the ball to all fields. At third base, he is quick on his feet with soft hands, and his throws have been clocked at 84 mph across the diamond showing plenty of carry and online delivery. Cody is a University of Virginia commit and is primed for big spring and summer seasons.

OF - Matt McPhearson, Sr., Riverdale Baptist (MD)
Speed. That is what Matt McPhearson is known for. His summer circuit began with a bang, running a 6.22 60-yard dash at the National Showcase, bested by only Carlos Williams of Covington, Tenn. (6.18). McPhearson's speed plays in both center field and on the bases, evident by his six stolen bases in Jupiter en route to being named to the All-Tournament Team. But McPhearson isn’t only a speed guy, he was a natural table setter for Riverdale Baptist last spring and for Marucci this past summer, with a knack for getting on base.

OF - Jake Fraley, Sr., Red Lion Christian (DE)
Fraley could make it back-to-back years for Delaware to have a top prospect eligible for the draft, following Jamie Jarmon last year. Fraley is a fleet-footed outfielder that can cover a lot of ground and gets good reads off the bat. Using his speed, Fraley got things going this summer for the EvoShield Canes, getting on base and scoring runs from atop the batting order. He's a prototypical leadoff hitter from the left side, with a quick bat and some pop in his swing.

OF - KJ Woods, Sr., Fort Mill (SC)
Woods came on strong at the end of the summer, with his coming out party being the East Coast Professional Showcase. With his big, muscular frame, left-handed bat, raw power and the ability to run, one could see why people liken him to PG All-American Home Run Challenge champion Justin Williams. Although the difference in power between the two may not be very close now, Woods knows how to hit and can drive the ball to all fields. All his tools play well in-game, including his defensive actions and strong arm.

UT - Bryce Harman, Sr., Lloyd C. Bird (VA)
6-foot-6 lefties with a great deal of power in the box and high-80s to low-90s with a feel for off-speed on the mound always cause a debate amongst inner scouting circles and Bryce Harman is no exception. At this point though the consensus points towards first base as his power is unmistakable. His long limbs allow him to create leverage in his swing and drive the ball to all fields. Ryder Ryan may be the ultimate utility player as he's versatile and plays every position well.

P - Connor Jones, RHP, Sr., Great Bridge (VA)
P - Hunter Harvey, RHP, Sr., Bandys (NC)
P - Derek Casey, RHP, Jr., Hanover (VA)
P - Akeem Bostik, RHP, Sr., West Florence (SC)
P - Grant Holmes, RHP, Jr., Conway (SC)
Connor Jones leads this impressive group of pitchers for the Mid-Atlantic, all of whom are right-handed. Jones has an ideal frame and is able to generate a lot of movement on all of his pitches. Already equipped with the traditional University of Virginia starting “squat” at the beginning of his delivery, Jones stays loose throughout and should be able to pick up a couple of ticks on his fastball come spring. Hunter Harvey has taken a different route to gain prospect status than most do. Rather than pitch on the summer circuit, Harvey stayed local in North Carolina and played legion ball. Fast forward to the East Coast Profesional Showcase in Syracuse, N.Y. and Harvey blew up, touching 94. With his frame it is easy to see him throwing harder with added strength. Derek Casey is a younger arm that already touches low-90s with a sharp breaking ball and a developing change. The game of his that stood out to me was at the 16u WWBA National Championship in Marietta, Ga. Last July where he shut down the Marucci Elite 16’s in complete game fashion. There he showed good command of the strike zone, inside and out, with all of his pitches. Akeem Bostick is a big-bodied right-hander that sees his velocity gradually increase at each Perfect Game event he attends. He is able to get downhill and also shows a changeup and a curveball. There is more in there once he fills out more and cleans up his mechanics a bit. Grant Holmes is a high ceiling player that seems to get better each time out. With a strong lower half and a quick arm, Holmes will improve his stuff on the mound as he focuses on just pitching at the next level.

Mid-Atlantic Region Best Tools

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