As high school baseball is starting to get going across the country in most regions, with some states actually heading into the playoffs, it all means the summer circuit is right around the corner. Over the next several weeks we will look at the top-ranked players at each position, in each class, while also taking a look at some gut-feel players that could be big risers. With players having more access to individual development, things will undoubtably change at a rapid pace in the early months of the Perfect Game schedule. This provides a good look at some of the top performers coming into 2021 who look primed to continue dominance or make their mark on a national level.
Class of 2022: Catchers
Class of 2023: Catchers
Cade Arrambide (Texas)
6-3 190 R/R
PG Events: 2
Key Stats: .338-2-27, .985 OPS
Short Story: Arrambide combines high level catch-and-throw skills and big-time arm strength to set himself apart from other catchers within the class. The two-time PG Select Festival Alum exhibits a strong right-handed swing that translates impressively well into game play.
Big Moment: An impressive two weeks at the 13 and 14U PG World Series in July of 2019 put the Florida commit on the map in a big way, where he hit collected 13 hits over the course of the events and showed off the aforementioned advanced defensive skill sets.
Bold Prediction: The defensive skills have never been in doubt, but another year of maturity and additional strength will only expand his offensive profile. Look for Arrambide to start tapping into the unlocked power potential that many have predicted for a while now.
PJ Morlando (S.C)
Commitment: Mississippi State
PG Events: 5
Key Stats: .418-2-26, 1.157 OPS
Short Story: Morlando combines outstanding long-term power potential with a keen eye and plate discipline of someone much older. Is still developing defensively but has the attributes and athleticism to continue improving as he matures.
Big Moment: The Mississippi State commit burst onto the scene with an eye-opening performance in the 14U WWBA Championship, hitting .407 for the event with five extra-base hits and 15 RBI.
Bold Prediction: The offensive production has always been the carrying tool. If Morlando can continue to improve on the defensive side of the ball, we may be looking at one of the more impressive left-handed hitting catcher prospects in some time.
Nolan Traeger (Texas)
PG Events: 10
Key Stats: .417 AVG/.500 OBP/1.083 OPS
Short Story: The defensive acumen coupled with his smooth left-handed stroke really stands out when it comes to the TCU commit. With plenty of room to physical mature, this will be an exciting prospect to continue monitoring.
Big Moment: The 2020 13U Select Festival is where Traeger first showed off his intriguing potential on both sides of the ball. He followed that up by hitting .500 during the WWBA Underclass World Championship, showcasing his skills against the best competition possible successfully.
Bold Prediction: As one of more polished prospects within the class, look for Traeger to continue adding strength and really unlock the long-term power potential we have seen as a scouting staff. As Traeger matures, one would think that his profile only continues to rise.
Dylan Fien (Calif.)
PG Events: 3
Key Stats: .414 AVG/.500 OBP/ 1.121 OPS
Short Story: Fien’s offensive profile is one of the more refined within the class. His bat-to-ball skills, advanced feel for the barrel and long-term power potential make this California native one of the more intriguing prospects in the loaded '24 class.
Big Moment: There was some scouting buzz surrounding Fien coming into the 2020 Freshman World Championship and he surely did not disappoint. The UCLA commit hit .308 for the event, while displaying an intriguing offensive profile and catch-and-throw skills to match.
Bold Prediction: While Fien exudes an intriguing offensive profile at present, look for him to continue making strides defensively as he gains more physical strength and fully matures.
Brooks Wright (Tenn.)
PG Events: 30
Key Stats: .347-1-15, .940 OPS
Short Story: Wright has been a consistent performer for some time now, showing a run producer's mentality at the plate and versatility as a defender. The wildcard may be his immense potential on the mound, where he has been up to 88 mph in previous looks.
Big Moment: The University of Tennessee commit has been extremely consistent in all facets of his game throughout his career, garnering double-digit all-tournament honors and four PG National Championships. Pinpointing a defining moment is hard to determine as he continually produces at every stop on the circuit.
Bold Prediction: Wright cements his status as one of the best two-way talents within the class, pushing into the upper-echelon of that category. With plenty of growth potential remaining, one would think that is another gear in terms of velocity and power potential for the young '24 prospect.
Burke Mabeus (Nev.)
PG Events: 11
Key Stats: .392-1-25, 6 3B’s, 1.294 OPS
Short Story: Mabeus is a legitimate threat from both sides of the plate with natural lift to his path and loads of strength within his hands. Couple that with solid catch-and-throw skills, good present arm strength and high baseball IQ to get one of the more refined prospects within the class.
Big Moment: The TCU commit really stood out at the 2020 14U National Showcase, where he checked numerous boxes when it comes to future projection. The large, physically-framed backstop recorded a 1.89 pop time during the defensive workout before showing immense power potential at the plate. The eye-opening performance garnered him an eventual invitation to the 2020 14U PG Select Baseball Festival.
Bold Prediction: With another year of maturity under his belt, look for Mabeus to turn several of his extra-base hits into homers as he continues to unlock the long-term potential our scouting staff has seen.
Aukai (Jaydon) Kea (Hawaii)
PG Events: 4
Key Stats: 1.350 OPS in 21’ thus far, 90 mph Exit Velocity at 2020 WWBA Workout Showcase
Short Story: Kea is a physically-mature primary catcher with solid defensive components and immense present power potential. As he starts to refine mechanically, this could one of the more intriguing upsides from a loaded crop of 2024 catchers.
Big Moment: The Hawaii native made the cross-country trip to attend the WWBA Workout showcase prior to participating in the 2020 Freshman World Championship with a talented Meta National squad. The overall physicality is what stands out most as he flashed impressive impact potential for his age and huge power potential during batting practice.
Bold Prediction: With only four PG events on his resume, Kea has shown an intriguing present skill set that will only continue to expand as he gains more experience. Kea possesses a vastly raw power/strength combination that could be unlocked at any moment.
Bo Jonas (Mo.)
PG Events: 22
Key Stats: .346-2-23 during PG Career
Short Story: Jonas is a physically gifted athlete with well-proportioned strength throughout his projectable frame. Displays immense potential on both sides of the ball with solid catch-and-throw components, impact potential at the plate and legitimate arm strength.
Big Moment: The Oklahoma commit stood out at the 14U National Showcase this past summer, showcasing high-level two-way projection and loud tools across the board. His power display in batting practice was one of the more eye-catching rounds of the event.
Bold Prediction: With a solid foundation in all facets of the game, can Jonas enhance his overall hit tool to match up with vastly large power profile. Look for him to take the next step forward from an offensive standpoint and put together a truly intriguing combination of raw power potential and sound bat-to-ball skills.
Ariston Veasey (GA.)
PG Events: 48
Key Stats: .310-1-36, 12 2Bs, .852 OPS
Short Story: Veasey is an immensely projectable young prospect with long limbs, plenty of room to add strength down the road and intriguing upside on both sides of the ball. The Tyrone, Ga. native has been a consistent performer throughout his PG career, amassing an overall average of .336 to go along with 93 RBI.
Big Moment: The 2020 14U National Showcase is where Veasey first showed off the intriguing projection that we have continued to dream on as a scouting staff. The broad-shouldered, long-levered University of Georgia commit displays good arm strength behind the dish, an immense power ceiling as he continues to mature and legit two-way potential on the mound.
Bold Prediction: The offensive production has never been an issue for Veasey, but the ultimate determination of just how high his ceiling could be rests on the defensive side of the ball. Look for him to display improved defensive acumen, solidifying himself as one of the best in the class.
Xavier Rivera (P.R.)
Commitment: Florida International
PG Events: 35
Key Stats: .400 AVG/.474 OBP/1.043 OPS
Short Story: Rivera is a fundamentally sound receiver with quickness to his release and solid arm strength. At the plate, the Florida International commit uses a simple, repeatable stroke to consistently perform at every stop.
Big Moment: After taking home MVP honors at the 2020 Series Classic, Rivera continued to showcase his outstanding defensive acumen and offensive prowess at the 14U National Showcase. His consistent performances throughout the 2020 season ultimately led to being invited as a part of the East team for the 13u Select Baseball Festival.
Bold Prediction: With another year of physical maturity under his belt, look for Rivera’s power to take the next step forward. The compactly-built young backstop will assuredly be someone to keep monitoring as he continues to add strength.
Gut Feel Risers
Drew Rogers (Minn.)
Despite being from a cold weather state, Rogers checks in at No. 100 in our Class of '24 overall rankings for good reason. The in-game power is what stands out most at present, as the young backstop continues to develop defensively.
Mark Rutherford (Ohio)
The switch-hitting Auburn commit showed off impressive bat-to-ball skills and feel for the barrel during his 2020 campaign. Exhibits tons of untapped power potential from both sides of the plate. Fundamentally sound defensive skills that will continue to expand as he adds more strength.
Niko Benestad (Fla.)
It’s not much of a gut feel to say you think Benestad is going to hit as that’s all he has done since the start of his Perfect Game career. With a lifetime average of .450 at PG events, the Florida backstop is off to a blistering start in 2021, looking to build off of his 2020 season in which he was named the 14u Tournament Player of the Year. Benestad took home MVP honors of the ’21 MLK East after hitting .500 and is a pivotal piece to one of the top travel clubs in the country.
Aidan Paradine (N.J.)
Paradine brings to the table a good mix of solid defensive skills with upside and power at the plate that has continued to improve each chance we get to see him. Couple that with handling some high-level arms at Combine Academy in S.C. and you have all the ingredients for a potential riser.
Matt Conte (Mass.)
Conte has steadily improved in every facet of his game over his PG career. The Andover, Mass. native really stood out at our recent New England Indoor showcase, after showing marked improvements both physically and skills-wise. The well-proportioned backstop incorporates solid receiving skills with athleticism and present arm strength behind the dish, while exhibiting a simple, repeatable stroke with power potential at the plate.
Joshua Agriesti (Fla.)
The physically-built primary backstop possesses significant present bat speed and some of the more impressive “now” power within the class. Solid catch-and-throw skills with quick release and good receiving skills bode well for the future as he continues to mature.