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High School | General | 2/10/2021

Regional HS Preview: Texahoma

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Izaac Pacheco (Perfect Game)

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2021 High School Baseball Preview

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Not surprisingly, the state of Texas dominates the 2021 Texahoma Region team, putting three 2020 PG All-Americans on the team in shortstop Jordan Lawlar, infielder Izaac Pacheco and right-handed pitcher Eric Hammond to go with three very talented 2022 players in an especially strong class in that age group.
 
Perhaps more surprisingly, Louisiana, which had been previously included in the Southeast Region, didn’t have a single player gain mention, as there are no present players from the state who rank in the top-125 in either the 2021 or 2022 classes. Perennial national power Barbe High School still reigns as the top team in the state and begins the year 17th nationally, however.
 
Texas checks in with five teams in the national top-50, led by Lake Travis High School of Austin, which starts the season tenth in the country. Heritage Hall High School of Oklahoma City is the only team from Oklahoma or Arkansas with a preseason rank, coming in at 28th behind their pair of PG All-American arms in Jackson Jobe and Gray Thomas.
 
C – Creed Willems (Sr., Aledo HS, Texas)
Willems is surprisingly quick and nimble for a big bodied 6-foot-1, 225-pound athlete and has a chance to stay behind the plate, helped in no small part by his big throwing arm. His best tool, however, is his big left-handed bat and his easy plus power.

1B – Wilburn Furniss (Jr., Nacogdoches HS, Texas)
Furniss’s father won the Dick Howser Award in 1998 at LSU after hitting .403-28-76 and was a fourth round pick that year of the Pirates. While Furniss Jr. obvious has lots of work to do on the field to even approach his dad’s accomplishments, they are virtual physical clones at the same age with similar big left-handed swings.

MIF – Jayson Jones (Jr., Braswell HS, Texas)
Ranked fifth in the 2022 class nationally, Jones is a big and strong young athlete with a 6-foot-2, 190-pound build but he moves well enough to have a chance to stay in the middle infield far into the future. His big tool is his right-handed bat, which combines barrel skills with big power potential. Jones, who is an Arkansas commit, has hit .397-5-49 in his 56 game PG tournament career, all with the Dallas Tigers.

MIF – Jordan Lawlar (Sr., Jesuit College Prep, Texas)
Lawlar is ranked first in the Class of 2021 rankings and compares favorably to a very similar all-around athlete, 2017 first overall pick Royce Lewis. While the two line up similarly in terms of athleticism, speed and offensive potential, along with both having exemplary makeup off the field, Lawlar is more of a true middle infielder on defense and is a virtual lock to stay there as he progresses in the game.

3B – Izaac Pacheco (Sr., Friendswood HS, Texas)
Pacheco plays plenty of shortstop despite his 6-foot-4, 220-pound build and is surprisingly fluid and smooth in the middle of the field with plenty of throwing arm. With the Texahoma Region home to a pair of Top-5 middle infielder’s however in Jordan Lawlar and Jayson Jones, Pacheco and his big left-handed bat will fit in perfectly at the hot corner, his likely position down the road.
 
OF – Braylon Bishop (Sr., Arkansas HS, Ark.)
The only 2021 Arkansas player on this All-Region team, Bishop is a dynamic athlete who combines 6.5 speed in the sixty with a strong 6-foot-1, 195-pound build that looks like it should be on a football field. A left-handed hitter, Bishop is the tenth-ranked outfielder in the 2021 class and the 40th-ranked player overall.

OF – Tyler Collins (Sr., McKinney Boyd HS, Texas)
Collins is a prototypical leadoff hitting center fielder with outstanding speed both on defense and especially on the bases. In 70 PG tournament games in his career, Collins, an Oklahoma State signee, has scored 64 runs while walking 41 times and stealing 41 bags. A left-handed hitter, Collins also has some pop in his bat and has five career home runs.

OF – Jordan Viars (Sr., Reedy HS, Texas)
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Viars won this spot on the Texahoma All-Region team with his performance at the 2021 PG World Showcase in January. An Arkansas signee, Viars has top-of-the-scale raw power, is a 6.9 runner despite his size and is a former primary left-handed pitcher with a strong arm.

P – Eric Hammond (Sr., Keller HS, Texas)
Hammond showed his potential when he struck out the side during his inning of work at the 2020 PG All-American Classic, freezing hitters frequently with a sharp biting curveball and slider combination. Still projectable at 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, Hammonds works in the 91-93 mph range and has been up to 95 mph in the past, with more velocity to likely come in the future.

P – Jackson Jobe (Sr., Heritage Hall HS, Okla.)
The son of 13-time PGA tour champion golfer Brandt Jobe, Jobe notably came to the 2020 PG National Showcase as a primary shortstop but so impressed in his short one inning stint on the mound that he immediately became one of the country’s top pitching prospects overnight. For someone with limited innings on the mound, Jobe shows surprising feel for the strike zone and for locating all three of his pitches.
 
P – Mason Marriott (Sr., Tomball HS, Texas)
Marriott’s father, Mike, was a fourth round pick by the Marlins out of high school in 1995 whose career was derailed by arm injuries and it’s obvious that the younger Marriott has already received an advanced education on pitching. He’s one of the most polished pitching prospects in the country, with a four-pitch mix and outstanding command that enables him to work deep into outings.

P – Caedmon Parker (Sr., The Woodlands Christian Academy, Texas)
Parker is a favorite with the Region’s professional scouts due to his young and projectable 6-foot-4, 175-pound build and his easy and smooth mechanics and arm action. He currently works in the low-90s with his fastball to go with a curveball and changeup and solid overall command, with plenty more velocity remaining in his arm if he can get stronger.
 
P – Robert (Chase) Shores (Jr., Lee HS, Texas)
Shores’ talent exploded between late 2019 and late 2020, as he gained two inches and 40 pounds and is now listed at an intimidating 6-foot-8, 230 pounds. Most importantly, his fastball went from 80-83 mph to 90-95 in just over a year while maintain the ability to throw strikes and snap off a big breaking upper-70s curveball. He’s one of the highest-ceiling pitchers in the 2022 class, both figuratively and literally.

UT – Cooper Dossett (Jr., Har-Ber HS, Ark.)
Dossett got plenty of attention at the 2020 PG Junior National Showcase when he uncorked a 100 mph laser from the outfield during drills. But his biggest area of improvement over the last year has been on the mound, where he worked in the 91-95 mph range with a good curveball while striking out six hitters in three innings at the 2020 WWBA World Championships.

Texahoma Region Top Tools

Best Hitter for Average: Jordan Lawlar (Sr., Jesuit College Prep, Texas)
It would be easy to justify Jayson Jones in this slot, which highlights the strength of the Texahoma Region middle infield duo, but Lawlar’s additional year of experience and his better speed gives him the nod here. The right-handed hitter, who is signed with Vanderbilt, hit .442 with 10 extra-base hits and 12 walks in 16 PG tournament games in 2020.
 
Best Hitter for Power: Izaac Pacheco (Sr., Friendswood HS, Texas)
Pacheco made his mark on the 2021 class in 2019 when he hit six home runs and drove in 17 runs for eventual champion Team Elite at the WWBA 16U National Championships and was named that premier tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He’s the type of hitter that draws all eyes in the ball park to him whenever he steps to the plate.

Best Baserunner: Cameron Cauley (Sr., Barbers Hill HS, Texas)
Cauley and All-Region outfielder Ty Collins are in a virtual tie in this category, with Cauley posting a slightly faster 60 time (6.48, with a 1.47 10-yard split) and seeming to have just a bit more explosion and aggressiveness on the bases. A strong-armed shortstop, Cauley is signed with Texas Tech.

Best Defensive Catcher: Christopher Bernal (Sr., McAllen HS, Texas)
Bernal’s offensive explosion at the 2020 WWBA World Championships, where he hit .636, brought more attention to a catcher who has always been know for his defensive skills and tools behind the plate. Although he has solid arm strength and very good fundamental actions in all regards, Bernal’s biggest strength defensively might be in his energy and leadership ability.

Best Defensive Infielder: Jordan Lawlar (Sr., Jesuit College Prep, Texas)
The state of Texas is loaded with quality defensive infielders but Lawlar stands out in much the same way that 2020 first round high schooler Ed Howard (Cubs) stood out. In particular, Lawlar, like Howard, doesn’t have elite-level arm strength but his fluid athleticism and quick soft hands make playing the position look easy.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Braylon Bishop (Sr., Arkansas HS, Ark.)
Bishop’s speed and athleticism make him an obvious candidate to play center field at the next level. His arm strength took a jump over the last year and he was up to 92 mph with plus accuracy on his throws at the 2020 PG National Showcase.

Best Defensive Arm: Cooper Dossett (Jr., Har-Ber HS, Ark.)
Anytime you’ve thrown 100 mph from the outfield in drills, this category defaults to you, as it has with the cannon-armed Dossett. Creed Willems, who throws 84 mph from behind the plate and 93 from the mound, would be another strong candidate.

Best Fastball: Robert (Chase) Shores (Jr., Lee HS, Texas)
There are plenty of pitchers in the region who can touch 95 mph, which represents Shores' best bolt to date at a PG event, but no one has the Oklahoma State commit’s remaining projection and ability to create big angle on his fastball. One player to watch this spring is Bullard (Texas) HS left-hander Hagen Smith, who has missed the last year and half following TJ surgery but who has been reportedly been into the mid-90s in workouts recently.

Best Off-Speed Stuff: Jackson Jobe (Sr., Heritage Hall HS, Okla.)
There are lots of good off-speed pitches in the Texahoma Region but Jobe’s power 3,000+ spin rate slider may be the best breaking ball in the country. Special mention goes to Eric Hammond’s curveball, as everyone who saw the PG All-American Classic recognizes that as a plus pitch.

Best Pitchability: Mason Marriott (Sr., Tomball HS, Texas)
Marriott works in the low-90s regularly with his fastball and tops out at 95 mph but it’s the quality and usability of his other three pitches, a curveball, slider and changeup, that set him apart. He went 5-0 at PG tournaments in 2020, striking out 51 hitters in 31 innings while only walking 8 hitters and allowing 13 hits.

Best Multi-Sport Athlete: Cameron Cauley (Sr., Barbers Hill HS, Texas)
Cauley caught 50 passes for 960 years and 16 touchdowns as a fleet wide receiver as a junior but didn’t play football this past fall.
 

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