High School : : General
Monday, March 05, 2012

Regional HS Preview: Mid-Atlantic

Ben Collman        

Mid-Atlantic Regional Feature:  Virginia Lefty Bounces Back 

This is the sixth of a ten-part series previewing all ten regions of the United States. The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, February 22: Regional Preview, Florida
Friday, February 24: Regional Preview, Pacific (CA, HI)
Monday, February 27: Regional Preview, Southeast (AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, TN)
Wednesday, February 29: Regional Preview, Texahoma (TX, OK)
Friday, March 2: Regional Preview, Southwest (NM, AZ, NV, UT)
Monday, March 5: Regional Preview, Mid-Atlantic (SC, NC, VA, MD, DC, WV, DE)
Wednesday, March 7: Regional Preview, Midwest (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, KY
Friday, March 9: Regional Preview, Northeast (PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME)
Monday, March 12: Regional Preview, Northwest (AK, WA, OR, ID, WY, MT)
Wednesday, March 14: Regional Preview, Great Plains (CO, MO, IA, MN, NE, KS, ND, SD)

 Top Storylines

1. Byrnes or the Field

Last year, St. James was the undisputed top team in South Carolina as they played very well in the early going and rolled to the 3A title led by current South Carolina OF Tanner English among others. This year, Byrnes looks to be the top team, currently sitting at No. 24 in the PG National Top 50 Rankings. They are led by Mid-Atlantic Dream Team (see below) OF Steven Duggar, RHP/SS Alex Cunningham, and 2013 OF Reed Rohlman. They will get plenty of competition from a number of teams including Lexington, Wren, AC Flora, Ashley, and Carolina Forest.

2. Providence Challengers/Top Prospects

Providence looks to be the top team in North Carolina, featuring power arms and power bats. They will look to avenge an early postseason exit in 2011. TC Roberson will have another strong squad and should be a consistent Top 10 team in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Rankings and Ardrey Kell , Northeast Guilford and Northwest Cabarrus are teams that have had past success and have high level talent in 2012. The state’s top two draft prospects are RHP Ty Buttrey, an Arkansas commit who has made noise with mid 90s velos in the early spring and SS Corey Seager, one of the best pure hitters in the 2012 class.

3. Maryland Powers

Both Westminster and Bennett finished 2011 undefeated and captured the 4A and 3A title respectively, both schools look to be the favorites in their classification again in 2012. DeMatha has had a strangehold on the Washington Catholic League title for a number of years and that looks to continue. Westminster opens the spring at No. 11 in the region with Bennett at 22 and DeMatha at 23.

4. Delaware Duo

The state of Delaware has produced big leaguers like OF Derrick May, 2B Delino DeShields, and RHP Ian Snell, but is not known for producing high level D1 picks and draft picks. They have a strong duo for 2012 in RHP Nick Grant and OF Jamie Jarmon. Grant has consistently thrown in the low 90s at PG events and early reports this spring have him in the mid-90s. Jarmon is a big, strong athlete with tools, arm strength and lots of power potential.

5. Lefty’s Return

Virginia lefty Zak Wasilewski is a top 2012 prospect who missed the 2011 season after Tommy John surgery. Jeff Dahn profiles his return from the injury here.

Top Matchups

March 8                                Carolina Forest (SC) vs. Wren (SC) @ Myrtle Beach, SC

Two of the top teams in the state travel to Myrtle Beach where the pitching matchup could be Carolina Forest RHP Erich Knab and Wren RHP Tyler Jackson.

April 17/May 17                Cosby (VA) @/vs. James River (VA)

These games will likely decide the AAA Dominion conference championship and feature two of the top teams in the state. James River LHP Nathan Kirby figures to pitch in at least one of the games and Cosby C Luke Lowery is one of the better all around players in the state.

April 21                                Flora (SC) @ Lexington (SC)

Another interesting Palmetto state matchup, this one features the state’s top catcher in the 2012 and 2013 class, Flora is led by 2012 David Houser and Lexington has C Nick Ciuffo along with Clemson commit RHP Cody Smith.

April 30                                Ardrey Kell (NC) @ Providence (NC)

Two top 5 teams in the Mid-Atlantic region, Ardrey Kell was a fixture in the 2011 PG National Top 50 rankings and features top two-way prospect RHP/OF Trent Thornton. Providence will have to replace C Brett Austin (NC State) but features RHP Ty Buttrey and 3B/RHP Jackson Campana.

May 7                                    C. Milton Wright (MD) @ Westminster (MD)

Two of the top teams in Maryland will wrap up their regular seasons in a matchup that should give a very good idea of who the state’s top team is.

Mid-Atlantic High School Dream Team

C             David Houser, Sr, AC Flora (SC)

Houser has everything you look for in a catcher. He has a strong frame and is a solid athlete with quick feet, smooth transfer and release and low 80s velocity from behind the plate. He has also shown raw arm strength, up to 90 on the mound. Houser also stands out at the plate, with power and bat speed from both sides. He has performed very well for Canes Baseball and had a very strong 2011 WWBA World Championship and is committed to Tennessee. The region is strong in catchers this year with fellow 2012 grad Luke Lowery (VA), and talented underclassmen Nick Ciuffo (SC), Logan Koch (NC), and Ryder Ryan (NC).

1B           Bryce Harman, Jr. Bird HS (VA)

Harman is a long, projectable athlete who was also considered for the utility spot on the Dream Team, as he doubles as a let-handed pitcher who has been up to 90 mph. At the plate, Harman is a left-handed hitter with bat speed and a long power stroke with lots of extension. As he continues to add strength Harman should develop even more power. He is already adept at taking balls to the opposite field and has a good feel at the plate. Other top first baseman are Ryan Ripken (MD), son of MLB HOFer Cal, and Zach Michalski (NC) who jumped onto the radar with a strong performance at the 2011 National Underclass Showcase.

2B           Tanner Bigham, Jr. NW Cabarrus (NC)

Bigham would play shortstop on almost every other team in the state. But he will have to wait until his senior year and Corey Seager’s graduation to play the position for the Trojans. Bigham is a good athlete with smooth defensive skills and arm strength. He is a left-handed hitter who projects as a top of the order hitter with a high average.

SS           Corey Seager, Sr. NW Cabarrus (NC)                                       (2-time Mid-Atlantic Dream Team)

The Perfect Game All-American has good bloodlines (brother Kyle plays for Mariners), and one of the smoothest swings of the 2012 class. He has a longer, leaner build than has older brother and projects very well. He currently uses a strong, patient approach at the plate to spray line drives around the park with lots of power potential in his swing. Also a smooth defender at shortstop with easy arm strength across that will play at both left side of the infield positions. The shortstop position is loaded in the North Carolina and Virginia this spring. They include: Max Schrock (NC), Landon Lassiter (NC), Wood Myers (NC), Andy McGuire (VA), Charlie Yorgen (VA), DJ Burt (NC), Kyle McPhearson (VA), and DC Arendas (NC).

3B           Alex Raburn, Sr. Jordan (NC)

The UNC commit is one of the better infield athletes you will find, running a 6.70 sixty and showing quick feet and good actions at 3B. He has plenty of arm strength across and projects to stay at the position. He has also looked very comfortable in appearances in the outfield. Raburn is also a very good hitter showing bat speed and pull power from the right side. Clemson commit Jackson Campana (NC) is a big strong right handed hitter with big power potential and Mac Caples (VA) is an underclass prospect to watch.

OF          Josh Henderson, Sr. Homeschool (VA)

OF          Jae Roberts, Jr. Hammond School (SC)

OF          Steven Duggar, Sr. Byrnes (SC)

A very versatile outfield. Henderson broke out in a big way at 2011 PG National with a great batting practice as well as performance in games. Henderson has high-level hitting tools with a smooth left-handed swing, very good bat speed and power. He is an interesting prospect as he is homeschooled making it harder for area scouts to get a look at him this spring. Roberts is an underclassman to watch. He stood out at the 2011 WWBA World Championships with his athleticism, strength and bat speed. He is a solid athlete adn ran a 6.88 sixty and threw 84 from the outfield at 2011 PG Junior National. His bat is one of the best in the 2013 class with bat speed, leverage and explosion at contact. Duggar is one of the steadiest players in the 2012 class. His tools will play at any level as he is a 6.64 runner with 90 mph arm strength, allowing him to play center or right field. He has a smooth, easy left-handed swing, consistently ripping line drives to all fields. Two other outfielders that are top prospects and deserve mention are Kyle Moore (VA) and Jamie Jarmon (DE).

UTIL       Trent Thornton, Sr. Ardrey Kell (NC)

Thornton, a UNC commit is a legit two-way prospect for one of the best teams in the state. He sits in the high 80s and has been up to 91 on the mound with very good present pitchability. He is also a very good prospect as an outfielder, using that arm strength, along with his speed to be a very good defender and has bat speed and pop at the plate. Dream Team 1B Bryce Harman is a very good two prospect, as are RHP/SS Alex Cunningham (SC), and 1B/LHP Kyle Whitman (SC).

P             Ty Buttrey, Sr. Providence, (NC)

P             Nathan Kirby, Sr. James River (VA)

P             Erich Knab, Sr. Carolina Forest (SC)

P             Jamie Callahan, Sr. Dillon (SC)

P             Wales Toney, Sr. Hanna (SC)

A pitching staff with a little big of everything. Buttrey is big, strong right-hander and has been up to 94 in the past. He is the state’s top pitching prospect with a chance to go in the early rounds. He has committed to Arkansas. Kirby is another hard thrower, but has a little more polish with good off-speed pitches and command. Knab is a long, projectable pitcher with a very loose arm. He was up to 94 mph at the 2011 WWBA World Championship and has as much potential as any pitcher in the region. He struggled with his command at times and is not as advanced with his off-speed pitches. Callahan has a projectable pitcher’s build with present strength and has run his fastball up to 92. He has good off-speed pitches and has very good present pitchability. Toney has flew a bit under the radar, but is an arm to watch. A Clemson commit, he has a good pitcher’s frame at 6’3 200 and the smooth arm action that scouts and coaches love. He has made a big velocity jump each of the last two years and topped at 92 with more to come. Some other top arms in the region: RHP Nick Grant (DE), RHP Reilly Hovis (NC), RHP Curt Britt (NC), RHP Cameron Tekker (NC), RHP Josh Sborz (VA), LHP Zak Wasilewski (VA), LHP Alex Bostic (NC), RHP Akeem Bostic (SC), RHP Parker Johnson (NC), and a 2014 to watch, RHP Grant Holmes (SC).

Mid-Atlantic Region Best Tools

Best Hitter For Average                           Corey Seager, Sr. SS, NW Cabarrus (NC) (2-time Mid-Atlantic Best Hitter For Average)

Seager has a lot of competition for the honor, but has consistently shown the ability to square up pitches against top competition. He was very impressive at the 2011 PG National and Tournament of Stars and also at the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic. He projects as a high average hitter with good present pop and more to come. Others in the conversation: David Houser (SC), Steven Duggar, (SC), Josh Henderson (VA), and DC Arendas (NC).

Best Hitter For Power                       Jae Roberts, Jr. OF, Hammond School (SC)

Only a junior, Roberts already has some of the best power in the 2013 class. He gets good leverage and extension with lots of bat speed. He currently stays inside the ball very well, consistently driving pitches to the middle of the field. Once he starts pulling a majority balls he figures to hit a lot of bombs. 1B Zach Michalski (NC) showed big strength and power at the 2011 National Underclass Main Event and 1B Kyle Whitman (SC) has shown consistent power with lots of strength and bat speed.

Best Baserunner                                Matthew McPhearson. Jr. OF, Riverdale Baptist (MD)

McPhearson had a very good showing at the 2011 PG Junior National Showcase, putting him near the top of any Maryland prospect list. He has bat speed and some pop from the left side and is a good defensive outfielder, but it is his base running that sets him apart. He loves to run and is very aggressive on the bases, consistently taking the extra base. He has shown home to first times between 4.0 and 4.1 in the past and is an excellent base stealer. Other players: OF Steven Duggar (SC),  OF Maleeke Gibson (SC), OF Brandon Burris (SC), OF Gene Cone (SC), OF Eddie Sappelt (NC), Charlie Yorgen (VA), and Kyle Moore (VA).

Best Defensive Catcher                     Logan Koch, Jr. C, South Mecklenburg (NC)

Koch has a lean, slender build and lots of quickness behind the plate. He is a very good receiver and blocks well. Where he stands out is on pops where he has a quick and smooth transfer and loose, easy arm action with 84 mph and a 1.80 pop at the 2011 PG National, also showing very good overall tools as one of the youngest players at 2011 Tournament of Stars. Another 2013 prospect to watch is Nick Ciuffo (SC) who was the primary catcher for 16u Team USA and has gotten high praise for his receiving and throwing abilities.

Best Defensive Infielder                    Landon Lassiter, Sr. SS, North Davidson (NC)

Lassiter follows in the footsteps of his older brother Garrison, a 2008 27th rounder who signed with the Yankees for $675,000. Landon is a good athlete with smooth hands, quick feet and easy defensive actions and arm strength. He is also very good around the 2B bag and has feel and some flashiness to his game.

Best Defensive Outfielder                 Garrett Brooks, Sr. Western Branch (VA)

Brooks is a very interesting prospect. An ECU commit, he is a top of the order hitter with a smooth left-handed swing and good speed on the bases. Where he stands out is in CF where he uses his quickness and instincts to track down balls to either gap. He excels at coming in on balls hit right at him. Other top defensive outfielders are Kyle Moore (VA) and Trent Thornton (NC).

Best Infield Arm                                 Andy McGuire, Jr. James Madison (VA)

McGuire is the top 2013 prospect in Virginia and has committed to Texas. He is a good athlete who can run with good hitting skills and raw bat speed. His arm is his best current tool, with 93 mph velocity from the outfield and 87 across the infield. He has good range, especially to the 5.5 hole and the arm strength to make the long throw across. He is a player to follow closely with very good raw tools that play up in games.

Best Outfield Arm                              Jamie Jarmon, Sr. Indian River (DE)

A rare top prospect for Delaware, Jarmon is a big strong athlete with lots of power at the plate and big time arm strength. The South Carolina commit has been up to 93 on the mound and runs a 6.80 sixty, making him a very good candidate to play RF in the future. He has good instincts and jumps in the outfield and was a standout at 2011 16u and 17u WWBA and East Coast Pro. Other candidates: Kyle Moore (VA), Steven Duggar (SC), and Trent Thornton (NC).

Best Fastball                                       Ty Buttrey, Sr. RHP, Providence (NC)

Buttrey has made big velocity strides since throwing 81 at the 2009 Atlantic Coast Underclass Showcase as a 16 year old. He has matured a lot physically since then and has a well proportioned 6’6 210 pound frame with additional room to fill out. He was up to 94 in Jupiter and early spring reports have him as high as 96.

Best Offspeed Stuff                           Jamie Callahan, Sr. RHP, Dillon (SC)

Callahan is a projectable righthander with loose arm action and a fastball that sits in the low 90s, making him a very good prospect. What sets him apart from some other pitchers with the same credentials is his feel for his off-speed pitches, a 72-74 mph curveball with big 11/5 break and tight spin as well as an 80-82 mph changeup with the same arm action as his fastball and shows sink. He is very comfortable throwing both his offerings to either side of the plate in any count, making hitting against him no easy task. Others with high quality off speed stuff are LHP Nathan Kirby (VA) and RHP Reilly Hovis (NC).

Best Command                                  Keaton Haack, Sr. RHP, Northwest Guilford (NC)

A big, strong bodied right hander. Haack, an Alabama commit, consistently pounds the zone with three pitches, a high 80s fastball that has reached 91, a 71-74 mph curveball with short, snappy late break and a solid changeup. Haack works downhill and throws strikes to the bottom half of the zone, inducing lots of ground balls and staying away from hard contact. He projects very well and is a very good follow over the spring. Other pitchers who deserve recognition are RHP Jonathon Olczak (NC), RHP Curt Britt (NC), and LHP Zak Wasilewski (VA).

Best Pitchability                                Nathan Kirby, Sr. LHP, James River (VA)

Kirby has everything you look for in a pitching prospect. He is left-handed with simple mechanics, loose arm action, and present velocity up to 92.  Kirby throws strikes with three pitches and has deception in his delivery. Kirby had his best performance on his biggest stage, striking out 13 and allowing just two hits in 5 2/3 innings during the 2011 WWBA World Championship in October. 

Mid-Atlantic Top 25 Regional Rankings

RK Team State Region
1 Providence North Carolina Mid Atlantic
2 Byrnes South Carolina Mid Atlantic
3 James River Virginia Mid Atlantic
4 Roberson North Carolina Mid Atlantic
5 Ardrey Kell North Carolina Mid Atlantic
6 Western Branch Virginia Mid Atlantic
7 Lexington HS South Carolina Mid Atlantic
8 Wren South Carolina Mid Atlantic
9 Northeast Guilford North Carolina Mid Atlantic
10 Nansemond River Virginia Mid Atlantic
11 Westminster Maryland Mid Atlantic
12 Flora South Carolina Mid Atlantic
13 Northside Virginia Mid Atlantic
14 Northwest Cabarrus North Carolina Mid Atlantic
15 Ashley North Carolina Mid Atlantic
16 Carolina Forest South Carolina Mid Atlantic
17 Tazewell Virginia Mid Atlantic
18 Cosby Virginia Mid Atlantic
19 Gilbert HS South Carolina Mid Atlantic
20 Cuthbertston North Carolina Mid Atlantic
21 Kellam Virginia Mid Atlantic
22 Bennett Maryland Mid Atlantic
23 DeMatha Maryland Mid Atlantic
24 Milford Delaware Mid Atlantic
25 Nitro West Virginia Mid Atlantic

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