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High School | General | 2/16/2021

Regional HS Preview: Midwest

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Alex Mooney (Perfect Game)
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2021 High School Baseball Preview

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Led by an exceptionally talented 2022 class, including eight players ranked in the top-50 nationally, and a surge of talent from Michigan, the Midwest Region has one of its best groups of prospects in memory.
 
That isn’t to say that the 2021 class is only average. It features four Perfect Game All-Americans in shortstop Alex Mooney, infielder Luke Leto, outfielder Daylen Lile and outfielder/left-handed pitcher Drew Gray, together with a number of other top-100 players. 
 
There are five players on the All-Region team from Michigan and three of those attend the region's best high school team, seventh-ranked Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, including Mooney, power-hitting outfielder Nolan Schubart and hard-throwing right-hander Brock Porter, the latter two both juniors. Incredibly, Orchard Lake St. Mary's talent goes well beyond those three, as they have 11 players who have either signed or who are verbally committed to Division-I programs.

The other Midwest Region team in the Perfect Game Preseason Top 50 rankings is Illinois’ Brother Rice High School, led by All-Region outfielder Jack Lausch and 2023 catcher Zion Rose. The Crusaders check in at 44th.
 
C – Anthony Migliaccio (Sr., Detroit Country Day, Mich.)
Migliaccio is one of the most versatile high school players in the country and could probably play all nine positions well.  For now he’s a primary catcher, albeit one with 6.76 speed in the sixty and developing skills behind the plate. At the plate, the Vanderbilt signee is a switch-hitter with lots of bat speed and power potential, especially from the left side.

1B – Luke Leto (Sr., Portage Central HS, Mich.)
This is a compromise solution for Leto, who as a PG All-American clearly belongs on the All-Region team but is blocked by the wealth of infield talent in the region right now. A strong left-handed hitter with power and a scholarship to Louisiana State, Leto projects as a corner infielder at the next level and could conceivably spend some time in his career at first base, especially if his bat continues to flourish.

MIF – Alex Mooney (Sr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
The senior leader of the powerhouse Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep team, Mooney is the 13th-ranked player in the 2021 class and a potential first round pick in the 2021 draft. The Duke signee was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2020 PG All-American Classic after picking up a triple and two singles and scoring three runs.

MIF – Gavin Kilen (Jr., Milton HS, Wisc.)
The left-handed hitting Kilen has one of the best bats in the 2022 class and currently stands at No. 13 in the 2022 class rankings. While Kilen has shown a very advanced ability to barrel the ball up to all fields, he also has deceptive power for a 5-foot-11 middle infielder and had a home run and three doubles at the 2020 WWBA World Championships. Like fellow Wisconsin native Gavin Lux, Kilen may end up at second base eventually on defense.
 
3B – Colson Montgomery (Sr., Southridge HS, Ind.)
Montgomery’s draft stock has sky-rocketed over the last eight months as the three-sport standout has got out in front of scouts for the first time and shown his big left-handed bat and huge physical projection. Currently a shortstop with the potential to stay at that position athletically, Montgomery’s 6-foot-4, 190-pound build could move him to third base eventually as he fills out. He hit .375 at the 2020 WWBA World Championships with a pair of doubles and a home run to go with five walks.

OF – Jack Lausch (Jr., Brother Rice HS, Ill.)
Lausch is a smooth-swinging 6-foot-2, 180-pound left-handed hitter who combines barrel skills with big power potential. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2020 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship while playing for the Cangelosi Sparks, hitting .462-1-7. Lausch is also a standout dual threat quarterback in football who is likely to get plenty of college recruiting interest in that sport.

OF – Daylen Lile (Sr., Trinity HS, Kent.)
Lile has been known as one of the top left-handed hitters in the 2021 class since he played in the 2017 PG 14U Select Festival and he became one of a handful of players to play in both that event and the 2020 PG All-American Classic. A polished line drive hitter with growing power, Lile also plays center field and is a 6.70 runner. He is signed with Louisville.
 
OF – Nolan Schubart (Jr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
It’s easy to see the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Schubart moving to first base at some point in the future but his 90 mph arm off the mound gives him a classic right field profile at present. Left-handed power is Schubart’s big weapon and it’s power that plays in games against high-level pitching. The Michigan commit is ranked seventh in the 2022 class.

P –  Jacob Miller (Jr., Liberty Union HS, Ohio)
A 2018 PG 14U Select Festival player, Miller has continued to improve as he’s grown older, although he’s still very projectable at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds. He was up to 94 mph this past fall while showing a potential plus curveball that can reach the low-80s with true curveball depth. Miller ranks 29th overall in the 2022 class and is committed to Louisville.

P – Micah Ottenbreit (Sr., Trenton HS, Mich.)
Ottenbreit and fellow All-Midwest Region right-hander Travis Smith are very similar pitchers, with young and projectable builds, fastballs that can reach 94 mph and power curveballs that are frequently their best and most effective pitches. Ottenbreit checks in at 75th overall in the 2021 class rankings and is signed with Michigan State.
 
P – Brock Porter (Jr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
Porter is a highly-athletic right-hander who may have the best fastball in the 2022 class nationally. A Clemson commit who is currently ranked 18th in the 2022 class rankings, Porter is a true four-pitch starter who can work backwards if he wants to with his secondary pitches.

P – Noah Schultz (Jr., Oswego East HS, Ill.)
The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Schultz gained 25-plus pounds and 8-10 mph of fastball velocity between 2019 and 2020 and is one of the top left-handers in the 2022 class along with one of the most uncomfortable at-bats, especially for left-handed hitters. Schultz comes at hitters from a lower arm slot with excellent extension and has topped out at 92 mph, with a low-80s power slider being his best pitch.  He is committed to Vanderbilt.

P – Travis Smith (Sr., Walton-Verona HS, Kent.)
Smith only topped out at 91 mph at the 2020 PG National Showcase in June but it was obvious the slender 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander had plenty more in his arm. He came back at the WWBA World Championships in October and was dominant in a four-inning outing for the Louisiana Knights while topping out at 94 mph. Smith is signed with Kentucky.

UT – Drew Gray (Sr., IMG Academy, Fla./Ill.)
Gray, who is attending IMG Academy in Florida this year but lives in Illinois, is perhaps the most defined “50/50” player in the high school ranks, meaning he has a 50 percent chance of ending up as either a pitcher or an outfielder. A Perfect Game All-American who played both positions at the 2020 All-American Classic, Gray’s tools are still growing, as he has a young 6-foot-3, 180-pound build that has just barely started to fill out. He is signed with Arkansas.

Midwest Region Top Tools

Best Hitter for Average: Noah Miller (Sr., Ozaukee HS, Wisc.)
Miller is a switch-hitter with equal ability from both sides of the plate and owns one of the best pairs of “hitter’s hands” in the country. An Alabama signee, Miller hit .444 at the 2020 WWBA World Championships in October and always has seemed to perform against the best pitching. Miller’s older brother, Owen, was a third round pick out of Illinois State in 2018 by the Padres and is considered one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues.
 
Best Hitter for Power: Nolan Schubart (Jr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
Schubart is best known for his grand slam at the 2020 PG Junior National Showcase, but his power has consistently shown up at tournaments, where he carries a career .378-8-49 line in 60 games. His left-handed swing is perfectly geared to getting the ball in the air and he still has tons of physical projection ahead of him.

Best Baserunner: Alex Mooney (Sr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
Mooney isn’t a flier, with 6.67 speed in the sixty, but he’s an aggressive runner with a quick first step and puts pressure on the defense at all times. That Mooney is on base so much is a plus as well.
 
Best Defensive Catcher: Austin Bode (Sr., Columbus North HS, Ind.)
Bode, a 2017 PG 14U Select Festival player, has matured well as a defensive player behind the plate. Despite a strong 6-foot, 195-pound build, he’s maintained his lower half flexibility and quickness well and impacts the game defensively in many ways aside from his throwing ability. A Louisville signee, Bode also has a strong left-handed bat and hit over .400 in PG tournament play in 2020.

Best Defensive Infielder: Alex Mooney (Sr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
Mooney has pure shortstop actions, with the ability to glide to both sides and get off strong throws with a plus arm that has been up to 94 mph in drills. He’s especially good at dropping his arm slot while on the move and making accurate throws. 

Best Defensive Outfielder: Drew Gray (Sr., IMG Academy, Fla./Ill.)
Gray is a smooth and athletic outfielder with the speed and range to spend time in center field and the arm strength to play right field. He has the type of young body that is going to keep getting faster as he gets stronger.

Best Defensive Arm: Drew Gray (Sr., IMG Academy, Fla./Ill.)
Gray’s arm works as fluidly as one would ever want to see from both the outfield and the mound, where he has been up to 92 mph with plenty more to come. Due to his athleticism and footwork, his throws are typically on-line and accurate.

Best Fastball: Brock Porter (Jr., Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Mich.)
Porter has been up to 95 mph at PG events over the last year but has been up to 98 mph in preseason high school workouts recently and there is definitely the arm speed and athleticism to support a consistent mid-90s fastball as he continues to mature physically.

Best Off-Speed Stuff: Travis Smith (Sr., Walton-Verona HS, Kent.)
In addition to his 94 mph fastball, Smith has a full collection of curveball, slider and changeup that he all commands well. His curveball is his best off-speed pitch, with sharp-biting tilt to the pitch and plenty of power to it.

Best Pitchability: Noah Schultz (Jr., Oswego East HS, Ill.)
Schultz’s delivery, height and deceptive low arm slot certainly contribute to his pitchability but he also owns three potential plus pitches. While his fastball and slider get most of the attention, his changeup is a surprisingly advanced offering with big fading action. Schultz struck out 24 hitters in 12 PG tournament innings in 2020 while only allowing five hits.

Best Multi-Sport Athlete: Colson Montgomery (Sr., Southridge HS, Ind.)
Montgomery is on the short list of the best three-sport high school athletes in the country. He ran and passed for over 1,000 yards each and accounted for 31 touchdowns as a sophomore quarterback before giving up football. On the basketball hardwood, where he interestingly shoots left-handed, Montgomery entered his senior season with over 1,400 points and has been invited to play both basketball and baseball should he enroll at Indiana.

 

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