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High School | General | 2/12/2021

Regional HS Preview: Southwest

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Cale Lansville (Perfect Game)
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2021 High School Baseball Preview

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The Southwest Region hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic as much as the West Coast states but there has definitely been an impact, with far fewer chances to play at a higher level and gain valuable repetitions. Still, the region has some outstanding young prospects, including two PG All-Americans in pitchers Brock Selvidge and Cale Lansville, and five high schools in the PG Top-50 preseason rankings.
 
Two of those teams, notably, are in the Top-10; fifth-ranked Hamilton High School of Arizona and ninth-ranked Bishop Gorman of Nevada. Each school is represented by two players on the All-Region team, with Hamilton featuring Selvidge and junior outfielder Gavin Turley, while Bishop Gorman is lead by two-way standout Tyler Whitaker and talented defensive catcher Gavin Mez.
 
The other three Top-50 schools from the region are 46th-ranked Fairview HS (Colorado) and a pair of Nevada programs, Silverado HS and Palo Verde HS.
 
C – Tanner Smith (Sr., Basha HS, Ariz.)
Smith is a big and strong 6-foot-1, 225-pound Oregon State signee who stands out for his big and usable right-handed power at the plate. He’s been named to 11 All-Tournament teams and played for six WWBA tournament champions in his Perfect Game career and hit six home runs combined between the 2019 and 2020 travel seasons. His best tool on defense is a strong arm and a quick release.

1B – Jacob Walsh (Sr., Desert Oasis HS, Nev.)
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Walsh was a dominant player on the fall travel circuit, playing in four PG tournaments and hitting .395-3-13 in 16 games and adding eight doubles. A left-hander who is signed with Oregon, Walsh also took the mound once, striking out 10 in 5 innings while topping out at 89 mph to show his two-way talents. He hit .400-5-35 as a sophomore at Desert Oasis HS in 2019.

MIF – Tyler Whitaker (Sr., Bishop Gorman HS, Nev.)
Whitaker has been on the national prospect map ever since he played in the 2017 PG 14U Select Festival, although many thought the 6-foot-4 athlete would develop as a pitcher as he was throwing in the upper-80s as a 14-year-old. The Arizona signee has stayed a primary shortstop, combining high-level defensive athleticism with an ever-improving bat as he continues to get stronger.

MIF – Chase Valentine (Sr., Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Ariz.)
Valentine is a premium middle infield defender with very quick and athletic actions and the imagination and energy to make the spectacular play. At the plate, Valentine is a right-handed hitter with a slashing line drive, high contact swing and an aggressive approach on the base paths.

3B – Wes Kath (Sr., Desert Mountain HS, Ariz.)
The left-handed hitting Kath can lay claim to being the top all-around hitter in the Southwest Region, with an excellent combination of barrel skills and power potential that have got plenty of attention from the pro scouting community over the past year. He hit .440-7-37 with 24 walks as a sophomore at Desert Mountain HS and was off to a .562-2-15 start last spring when the season was shut down by the pandemic. A shortstop at the high school level, Kath, who is signed with Arizona State, projects as a third baseman at the next level.
 
OF – Thomas Dilandri (Sr., Palo Verde HS, Nev.)
Dilandri, who enters the spring as the top-ranked senior in Nevada and the 71st-ranked 2021 prospect in the country, has long been known for his huge athleticism and physical projection. A 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-handed hitter, Dilandri has 6.61 speed in the sixty, one of the strongest outfield arms in the country and the type of bat speed that can produce 100 mph exit velocities. He is signed with Texas Christian.

OF – Mason Neville (Jr., Palo Verde HS, Nev.)
Neville is a young, potential five-tool player who joins Palo Verde High School teammate and fellow Southwest All-Region team member Thomas Dilandri in forming two-thirds of what might be the most athletic outfield in high school baseball. Neville doesn’t look like a speed player with a long 6-foot-3, 190-pound build but he’s one of the fastest players in the 2022 class, having clocked a 6.33 sixty with a blazing 1.42 10-yard split at the 2020 PG Junior National Showcase. A left-handed hitter and thrower, Neville is committed to Arizona.

OF – Gavin Turley (Jr., Hamilton HS, Ariz.)
Turley was one of the standout outfielders at the 2020 PG Underclass All-American Games, a yearly jumping point into the junior class rankings and potential All-American consideration the following year. Along with running a 6.71 with a lightning quick 1.48 10-year split, Turley impressed with his right-handed swing and very projectable 6-foot-2, 160-pound build. He is already an Oregon State commit.

P – Greysen Carter (Sr., Fairview HS, Colo.)
Carter was very impressive at the 2019 Perfect Game All-American Underclass Games with both his arm strength and athleticism but then disappeared during the spring and summer and early fall with the pandemic. When he reemerged at the WWBA World Championships in October, he was vastly improved, working up to 96 mph with his fastball and showing a potential plus curveball up to 80 mph. Carter, who is also a basketball standout, is a Vanderbilt signee.

P – Cale Lansville (Sr., Thunder Ridge HS, Colo.)
Lansville is a strong-bodied 6-foot right-hander with outstanding pitchability to go with a fastball that will reach 94 mph.  His raw stuff plays up due to a slow-paced compact delivery that hides the ball very well from hitters. Lansville is one of two Perfect Game All-Americans on the Southwest All-Region team along with fellow pitcher Brock Selvidge and is signed with Louisiana State.
 
P – Tanner McDougal (Sr., Silverado HS, Nev.)
McDougal checks off all the boxes as a projectable young pitching prospect. The Oregon signee stands 6-foot-5 with a slender 185-pound build, is already reaching 94 mph on his fastball with more there as he gets stronger and has a three-pitch mix already in place with a curveball and changeup. McDougal threw in three PG fall tournaments, including a strong outing at the WWBA World Championships, and struck out 30 hitters in 16 innings.

P – Brock Selvidge (Sr., Hamilton HS, Ariz.)
Selvidge enters the spring as the highest-ranked player in the senior class in the Southwest Region, checking in at 26th overall. A PG All-American, Selvidge works up to 94 mph with his fastball and also throws a short and tight slider and a changeup. A two-way standout at fifth-ranked Hamilton High School, Selvidge is signed with Louisiana State.

P – Robby Snelling (Jr., McQueen HS, Nev.)
Snelling’s development as a pitcher has been limited by his football exploits but there is no mistaking his talent. He pitched in the 2020 PG Fall Championships and made two appearances on the mound, striking out 14 hitters in seven innings while allowing only two hits, topping out at 93 mph to go with a mid- to upper-70s curveball.

UT – Garrison Sumner (Jr., Westlake HS, Utah)
Sumner exploded at a recent PG workout in California, throwing 94 mph off the mound with good tilt to his breaking ball while also running a 6.76 sixty and showing plenty of right-handed bat speed. A 6-foot-3, 200-pound athlete who is a primary shortstop/third baseman and Utah commit, Sumner could explode as a prospect this spring and summer as he gets out and is seen more.

Southwest Region Top Tools

Best Hitter for Average: Gavin Turley (Jr., Hamilton HS, Ariz.)
Turley doesn’t have lots of physical strength yet but has plenty of frame to add it over the next few years. What he does have is fast hands that already have surprising strength in them and he uses his present strength and hand quickness very aggressively in attacking pitches. He garnered three all-tournament berths in 2020 while hitting .351 in 25 games with BPA.
 
Best Hitter for Power: Wes Kath (Sr., Desert Mountain HS, Ariz.)
A number of players have as much or more raw power as Kath, including All-Region players such as Hagan Smith, Thomas Dilandri and Jacob Walsh, but none of them come close to being able to get and use that power as Kath. With a long and strong 6-foot-3, 205-pound build and plenty of natural lift in his swing, there is plenty more power there.

Best Baserunner: Mason Neville (Jr., Palo Verde HS, Nev.)
Neville’s big speed stands out in a region that isn’t usually known for having plus runners. It will be interesting to see how his speed develops as he gets stronger over the next two years and beyond.

Best Defensive Catcher: Gavin Mez (Sr., Bishop Gorman HS, Nev.)
Mez succeeded 2017 PG All-American and 2020 New York Yankees first round draft pick at catcher for Bishop Gorman, starting behind the plate frequently as a freshman when Austin Wells was injured and hitting .366 while playing errorless baseball in 30 games as a sophomore. A UNLV commit, Mez is one of the most polished and experienced defensive catchers in the country.

Best Defensive Infielder: Chase Valentine (Sr., Sandra Day O’Connor HS, Ariz.)
Valentine is the type of player who seems to want every ball to be hit in his direction and is especially good making plays coming in on the run with his hand and foot quickness. He is signed with Texas A&M, where is defensive ability could land him in the Aggies lineup almost immediately as a freshman.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Mason Neville (Jr., Palo Verde HS, Nev.)
Along with his speed and length, Neville also has a plus arm from the outfield, having reached the upper-80s on the mound prior to his junior year and thrown 92 mph during outfield drills.

Best Defensive Arm: Thomas Dilandri (Sr., Palo Verde HS, Nev.)
Dilandri has been up to 95 mph in drills from the outfield and makes consistently on line and accurate throws. There has been plenty of speculation that he could eventually end up on the mound depending on how far his bat comes despite very little experience pitching. Dilandri did throw a quick inning at the 2020 WWBA World Championships and impressed with a 91-93 mph fastball and mid-80s slider.

Best Fastball: Greysen Carter (Sr., Fairview HS, Colo.)
Carter is listed at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds but appears even taller and more physical on the mound. He doesn’t work hard to get his mid-90s velocity and given his athleticism as a two-sport standout and his fresh arm, there could well be more velocity in the future for him.

Best Off-Speed Stuff: Cale Lansville (Sr., Thunder Ridge HS, Colo.)
Any time a pitcher from Colorado, where Lansville’s hometown of Centennial is listed as having an elevation of 5,830 feet, can spin a breaking ball like Lansville, you know he has talent. Lansville’s curveball not only has big downer depth and sharp bite, it’s also thrown in the low-80s and can be shortened up for more of a slider shape. Lansville also throws a solid changeup.

Best Pitchability: Brock Selvidge (Sr., Hamilton HS, Ariz.)
While Selvidge has both the 94 mph fastball and the big strong body of a power pitcher, his pitching style is just as much about command and finesse as it is about velocity. He has a calm and under-control delivery that enables him to repeat his mechanics well and especially tunnel his three pitches effectively.

Best Multi-Sport Athlete: Robby Snelling (Jr., McQueen HS, Nev.)
Snelling is a four-star outside linebacker prospect for both Rivals.com and 247sports.com and is ranked among the top-25 at that position nationally by both those major recruiting sites. He has not made a college commitment yet, although he could probably go to just about any school in the country for either sport.

 

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