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High School | General | 2/26/2021

Regional HS Preview: Northwest

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Max Debiec (Perfect Game)

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2021 High School Baseball Preview

Regional Previews: 
Florida | Pacific Southeast | Texahoma | Southwest | Midwest | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast | Great Plains

Easily the smallest of the Perfect Game regions, the Northwest always checks in with some premium talent and this year is no exception, as Washington has produced two PG All-Americans in outfielder Malakhi Knight and right-handed pitcher Max Debiec. The state can also claim the highest-ranked player from the region in the 2022 class in hard throwing right-hander Ian Ritchie Jr., the 11th overall prospect in the junior class.
 
While Washington does dominate the All-Region team, Oregon has three players that gain mention, including middle infielder Mason Guerra. Idaho and Wyoming also check in with a player each, notable for Wyoming as sophomore infielder Colter McAnelly is the best prospect from the state since outfielder Brandon Nimmo was a first round pick in 2011.
 
Washington’s Bainbridge High School is not only the top team in the region, starting the season as the No. 37 team in the PG Preseason Top 50, but also might have one of the best pitching staffs in the country. All-Region selections Ritchie Jr. and Nathan Deschryver, along with seniors right-hander Kai Francis, a Gonzaga signee, and Jasiah George, a Washington signee, give Bainbridge four 90+ mph arms who can throw strikes. Deschryver and Ritchie Jr. also contribute as two-way athletes.
 
C – Wilson Weber (Sr., Sam Barlow HS, Ore.)
Weber is a strong defensive catcher with an outstanding arm and has plenty of right-handed power at the plate. He’s a career .361-0-34 hitter in 45 PG tournament games with 21 extra-base hits and is signed with Oregon State.

1B – Drew Reynolds (Sr., W.F. West HS, Wash.)
Reynolds is a primary catcher but has played very little the past two years after breaking his hamate bone as a sophomore and with the pandemic over the last year and is being moved to first base on the Northwest All-Region team. He has drawn raves for his left-handed power and overall athleticism when he has played and is signed with Texas Tech.

MIF – Mason Guerra (Sr., Westview HS, Ore.)
Guerra is a long and strong 6-foot-3, 195-pound left side infielder whose best present tool is his right-handed bat. He has a calm approach at the plate with strong fundamentals and plus present bat speed and power potential. Guerra was named All-Tournament at the 2020 WWBA World Championships playing for Northwest Baseball and is signed with Oregon State.

MIF – Colter McAnelly (So. Cheyenne East HS, Wyo.)
McAnelly is only a sophomore but he might be the best prospect from Wyoming since Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo. A very projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pound athlete, McAnelly has a smooth right-handed swing at the plate, is a 7.17 runner already and has plenty of defensive athleticism. He is committed to Missouri.

3B – Dominic Hellman (Jr., Henry Jackson HS, Wash.)
Hellman looks like a young Aaron Judge athletically with a well-proportioned and still very projectable 6-foot-6, 245-pound build. He is extremely athletic for his size and runs a 6.79 sixty even at that size and plays a credible shortstop. An Oregon commit, Hellman is the No. 28 player in the 2022 class nationally.
 
OF – Malakhi Knight (Sr., Marysville Getchell HS, Wash.)
Knight is one of the best athletes in the 2021 class, a PG All-American who is ranked No. 18 overall in the country. His athleticism really shines defensively in the outfield, where he has the speed, range and instincts to play center field. The UCLA signee hit .400 at both his major 2020 WWBA tournaments, the World Championships and the 17U National Championships, with a combined six extra-base hits.

OF – Ayric Robinson (Sr., Centennial HS, Idaho)
Robinson is a big and strong 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-handed hitter with some serious juice in his bat. He runs well for his size, with a 7.24 sixty to his credit, and has solid right field tools on defense as he’s thrown up to 92 mph on the mound. 

OF – Kyle Fossum (Sr., Eastside Catholic HS, Wash.)
Fossum is one of the top hitters in the Northwest Region and has plenty of room to continue to fill out his athletic 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. He has present bat speed from the right-side and a nice combination of barrel skills and power potential. Fossum is signed with Washington.

P – Tommy Brandenburg (Sr., Kalama HS, Wash.)
Brandenburg was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2021 PG East MLK Championship pitching for Baum Bat NW, throwing 8 2/3 innings and allowing only two hits and one walk versus 15 strikeouts. He also struck out six in 3 2/3 innings at the 2020 WWBA World Championships. The Oregon signee works up to 92 mph with his fastball and has excellent feel for an upper-70s breaking ball.
 
P – Jackson Cox (Jr., Toutle Lake HS, Wash.)
Cox was one of the most well-traveled top prospects from the Northwest last summer and fall, participating in five national-level WWBA tournaments and being named the top pitching prospect at the PG Underclass All-American Games in Georgia in late August. He consistently worked up to 92 mph on his fastball at those events while showing a tight-breaking slider and a promising changeup. An Oregon commit, Cox has a young 6-foot-1, 170-pound build and is a good bet to keep adding velocity as he gets stronger.
 
P – Max Debiec (Sr., Washington HS, Wash.)
Debiec is listed at 6-foot-7, 202 pounds and appears even taller with his extra long arms and legs. He develops big downhill angle on all his pitches, including a mid-90s fastball, 78-82 mph breaking ball that toggles between a slider and a curveball, plus an impressive changeup. Debiec is also an impressive two-way athlete, with huge right-handed power at the plate and 7.1 speed in the sixty.

P – Ian Ritchie Jr. (Jr., Bainbridge HS, Wash.)
Ritchie is currently the No. 11 prospect in the junior class and third overall right-handed pitcher, although he might have the highest ceiling among the 2022 pitchers. His fastball is a present plus pitch, with steady mid-90s velocity and good command and Ritchie's changeup is a surprisingly advanced weapon. Continued improvement on his slurve-type breaking ball will be the next step in his development. He is committed to UCLA.

P – Caden Vire (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.)
Vire continues to make big jumps from event to event and with a very projectable 6-foot-5, 175-pound build, there is no reason to think that he’s stopped improving. An Arizona State commit, Vire was throwing in the upper-70s as late as fall 2019 but ramped his velocity up to the mid- to upper-80s in 2020, including when he was named the Most Valuable Pitcher at the PG 16U West Elite Championship last summer after striking out 20 hitters in 7 2/3 innings. He continued to dominate hitters at the 2021 PG East MLK Championships in January, striking out 14 hitters in 6 2/3 innings with a 90 mph fastball and 81 mph slider.

UT – Nathan Deschryver (Sr., Bainbridge HS, Wash.)
Deschryver is a primary right-handed pitcher with an athletic and projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pound build and a fastball that works up to 92 mph to go with an upper-70s slider and a changeup that he uses often and effectively. The Gonzaga signee also plays the outfield and his two all-tournament selections at PG tournaments in 2020 were actually for his hitting, where he hit a combined .462 in 10 games, and not for his work on the mound.

Northwest Region Top Tools

Best Hitter for Average: Malakhi Knight (Sr., Marysville Getchell HS, Wash.)
A right-handed hitter with quick hands and a short swing for a long and lean athlete, Knight already performs well against upper-level pitching and will just keep improving as he gains more baseball repetitions.
 
Best Hitter for Power: Dominic Hellman (Jr., Henry Jackson HS, Wash.)
Hellman has enormous right-handed power and 100+ mph exit velocities come easily to him at the plate. He’ll need plenty more repetitions against good pitching to get to the power more consistently but his power ceiling is elite level.

Best Baserunner: Cameron Clayton (Sr., Lakeridge HS, Ore.)
Clayton is a well-rounded middle infielder with good strength, a chance to stay in the middle infield on defense and plus speed on the bases. He’s signed with Washington.

Best Defensive Catcher: Wilson Weber (Sr., Sam Barlow HS, Ore.)
Weber was a serious consideration for the Best Defensive Arm category as well, as he threw 85 mph from behind the plate during drills at the 2021 World Showcase. But Weber also has very good athleticism behind the plate and comes out of his crouch quickly when blocking and throwing.

Best Defensive Infielder: Mason Guerra (Sr., Westview HS, Ore.)
All three All-Region infielders likely project as third basemen in the future, but Guerra has the best chance to stay in the middle infield if he doesn’t gain too much strength. He’s a solid-average runner in the sixty and has at least average if not plus arm strength at shortstop.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Malakhi Knight (Sr., Marysville Getchell HS, Wash.)
Knight’s sixty time and raw arm strength (6.64 and 91 mph) aren’t necessarily elite defensive tools but watching his range and ability to make athletic catches in the outfield separate him from all but a small handful of high school outfielders in the country.

Best Defensive Arm: Nathan Deschryver (Sr., Bainbridge HS, Wash.)
Deschryver was one of the highest-graded defensive outfielders at the 2020 PG National Showcase, in large part because of his 95 mph arm strength and his outstanding on-line carry and accuracy.

Best Fastball: Ian Ritchie Jr. (Jr., Bainbridge HS, Wash.)
Ritchie’s early development was as a middle infielder and his athleticism is evident on the mound. He’s already up to 96 mph on his fastball and don’t be surprised if he follows 2021 former middle infielder Chase Petty (N.J.) and gets into the upper-90s and perhaps 100 mph before his senior year.

Best Off-Speed Stuff: Max Debiec (Sr., Washington HS, Wash.)
Debiec has touched 96-97 at most of his PG events but generally works 92-94 and shows the willingness and ability to use his breaking ball and changeup, which can show huge fading action at times, to get hitters out. That ability should only grow as he gets more innings under his belt.

Best Pitchability: Caden Vire (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.)
Vire has struck out 44 hitters in 22 PG tournament innings while not being a power pitcher, at least yet. That says plenty about his pitchability and his ability to miss barrels.

Best Multi-Sport Athlete: Malakhi Knight (Sr., Marysville Getchell HS, Wash.)
Knight was named the Washington Player of the Year in basketball as a junior after averaging 26.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game and would likely be a mid-major type of basketball prospect if he focused on that sport. Fellow All-American Max Debiec is also a high-level basketball talent.

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