This is the first of a 7-part series unveiling the 2011 Perfect GameNational High School Top 50 Rankings.
February 18: # 6-10
February 21: #5
February 22: #4
February 23: #3
February 24: #2
February 25: #1, entire top 50 list
6. St Francis (Mountain View, CA)
CIF Central Coast Section (West Catholic League)
2010 Result: 22-6 (lost first round of playoffs)
Key losses: RHP Cole Baylis (Oregon State), OF Scotty Jarvis, OF Kyle Macey (UC Santa Barbara)
Top players: 3B Tyler Goeddel (UCLA), SS Alex Blandino (Stanford), 1B George Saba (Stanford)
St. Francis had high expectations coming into 2010, and they fared well in the regular season against very tough competition. A traditional powerhouse that has produced several MLB players, highlighted by Eric Byrnes, there is always pressure for the Lancers to make a deep run every year. Their first round upset in the playoffs was a very disappointing end to what began as a promising season. While the Lancers will miss Cole Baylis, they feature one of the best infields in not only the state of California, but possibly the nation. Tyler Goeddel leads the way and is ranked as the 2nd best 3B prospect in the nation in PG’s class of 2011 rankings. Not only does Goeddel hit for both power and average, he also runs very well (6.67 seconds in 60 yard dash at 2010 PG National Showcase) and has been clocked at 90 MPH throwing across the diamond. His arm also allows him to contribute on the mound..
Experience will be a big plus for this team, as they feature several highly talented seniors and last year’s first round loss should be a valuable (although difficult) learning experience. OF Jon Williams (UC Davis) and LHP Colin Reed (UC Santa Barbara) will be counted on to play major roles for the Lancers this season and they provide a depth of talent to supplement the likes of Goeddel.
There is no question that St. Francis has the talent to compete with any team in the country, but they will be challenged early and often with a very tough schedule. As we saw in last year’s playoffs; there is so much talent in California that nobody is invincible.
Notable matchups: March 18 vs. Junipero Serra, April 18-21 National Classic @ Orange County, May 3 vs. Archbishop Mitty
7. Spanish Fork (Spanish Fork, UT)
Utah Class 4A (Region 8)
2010 result: 25-1 (Utah 4A State Champions)
Key losses: RHP/OF Adam Duke (Oregon State), C/IF Dallas Smith
Top players: RHP/1B Kayden Porter (North Carolina), OF Travis Still (Utah), RHP/1B James Lengal (BYU)
Spanish Fork will miss RHP/OF Adam Duke, who turned down a contract with the Boston Red Sox after being selected in the sixteenth round and will instead play his college ball at Oregon State. But the Dons are very well equipped to replace him, as they return seven starters from last year’s state championship team. The top prospect of this impressive group is RHP/1B Kayden Porter, who is currently ranked as PG’s #9 prospect in the Class of 2012. Porter is a very strong hitter in the high school ranks, and were he a 1B only he would likely still be regarded as a good prospect with high upside. But what gets scouts most excited about Porter is his arm; his fastball has been up to 94 MPH, with a low effort delivery.
Two sport star OF Travis Still (also highly regarded WR prospect) hit .420 with 6 HRs and 1B James Lengal will play an important role in providing protection to Porter in the Dons lineup. Lengal will also serve as Spanish Fork’s number two pitcher. RHP/3B Hayden Nielsen, who hit .400 with 27 runs and went 11-for-12 on Stolen Base attempts, will again be counted on as a table setter. IF/RHP Brady Corless will likely see a larger role this season a sophomore and is seen as one of the top up and coming 2013 prospects in the region. What is scary about this team is that they have so much talent in the 2012 and 2013 classes that their current streak of two straight state titles could very well reach four. Obviously it’s difficult to predict how strong a program will be several years down the road, but Head Coach Shoe Nelson has put together a consistently successful program and it seems likely that he will find a way to keep the Dons competitive even after stars like Porter have moved on.
While it would be difficult to run the table with the tough early part of Spanish Fork’s schedule it should prepare them well for league competition, where they should be heavy favorites and an undefeated season in Region 8 would not be a huge shock.
Notable matchups: March 15 @ Bingham (UT) March 29 vs Horizon (AZ), March 30 vs Forsyth Country Day (NC) @Big League Dugout National Invitational, Phoenix
8. Edison (Huntington Beach, CA)
CIF Southern Section (Sunset League)
2010 Results: 18-9 (Sunset League Champions, lost first round of playoffs)
Key Losses: 3B Kyle Jones (Orange Coast College), RHP Nic Hanson (Golden West College), Jimmy Madden (Whitman College)
Top Players: LHP Henry Owens (Miami), SS Christian Lopes (USC), OF Eric Snyder (UCLA)
Pictured above from left to right: Timmy Lopes (kneeling), Christian Lopes, Henry Owens, Eric Synder)
If you are looking for star power, look no further than Edison, which features a quartet or prospects unmatched by any other team in the country. LHP Henry Owens, a member of the 18U USA National Team, is the top ranked player in the state, was named an AFLAC All-American and has a good chance to be picked in the first round of the MLB draft. The lefthander has a 91 mph fastball complimented by a 2/8 curveball with bite, as well as a developing changeup. He went 9-2 with a 1.67 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 2010. What has scouts excited is Owens’ 6’6, 195 pound frame that has lots of projectability. The Miami commit, was named Sunset League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.
The MVP of the league in 2010 was his teammate, Eric Snyder (UCLA commit). The 6’0, 175 lb outfielder is a great athlete (6.74 60 yard dash, 91 mph from outfield) and is one of the best left-handed bats in Southern California. He is another player who has a chance to be picked high in June’s draft. The Chargers other stars are the double play combination of brothers Christian and Timmy Lopes. Christian, a senior, has been on scouts’ radar since his freshman year. The AFLAC All-American has all the tools with smooth defensive actions, good arm strength, athleticism, and a quick bat with home run power. He is committed to USC and is another Charger player that could be a high draft pick. His younger brother, Timmy, a junior, is another top prospect. While having a slightly smaller build than his older brother, he displays the same smooth defensive actions, and has a line drive swing with a lot of quickness. Other returning starters are OF Jon Torres (first team all league) and OF Sean Whiteman (second team all league).
The 2010 season ended in disappointment as the team was picked by many to compete for the CIF section title, only to lose their first playoff game to Dana Hills. Coach Steve Lambright returns for his 6th season, and expectations are higher than ever. The team will be challenged this year as they travel to the Loara tournament in early March, and the San Diego Lions Tournament in mid-April, both of which feature some of the top teams in Southern California.
Notable Matchups: March 4 vs. Pacifica @ Loara Tournament, March 15 vs. El Toro @ Cal-Irvine, April 18-21 San Diego Lions Tournament
9. Columbus (GA)
2010 Results: 32-5, AAA State Champs
Key Losses: SS/RHP McLendon Hill (Georgia Perimeter), OF Bobby Andrews (Auburn), 3B Brad Barto (Chattahoochee Valley CC)
Top Players: OF/LHP Kyle Carter, LHP Will Solomon, INF Jordan Weems (Georgia State)
Entering his 20th season as a head coach, Bobby Howard has had a run of success unparalleled in Georgia High School Baseball history. He is the states’ all-time leader in wins with 826 against only 234 losses, and the 2010 championship was his 10th. His teams have also finished second in the state six times. He has coached future major leaguers OF/2B Garey Ingram (Dodgers 1994-1997), OF Reggie Abercrombie (Marlins/Astros 2006-2008), and most notably 1B/DH Frank Thomas (White Sox/A’s/Blue Jays 1990-2008). He has sent numerous players onto college baseball, with 13 on current college baseball rosters and 4 more on current professional rosters.
The 2010 Blue Devils rolled to a 32-5 record en route to the AAA Title, the teams first since 2005. They will miss six departed seniors, but most of the team is returning, including top pitchers Carter and Solomon. Carter has been a star since 2006, when he along with current high school teammates C Cody Walker and INF Josh Lester led Columbus to the Little League World Series title. Carter struck out 11 in the championship game, while Walker hit a two run home run that proved to be the only scoring in a 2-1 victory.
Carter, the 2010 Georgia AAA Player of the Year, has blossomed into a top prospect on the mound (where his velocity sits in the upper 80s, with a hammer curveball to boot) and as a power-hitting CF. Fellow lefthander Solomon went 9-1 last year and is another top prospect, his fastball being clocked as high as 91 mph. The offense is poised to be very powerful again, led by Carter and INF Jordan Weems, who hit .402 with 11 home runs a year ago. Other players expected to contribute offensively are Walker and 3B J.T. Phillips.
Columbus is the favorite in AAA and will compete with Parkview, Harrison, and Marist for the title of top team in the always loaded state of Georgia.
Notable Matchups: March 11 vs. Flanagan (FL) at Jacksonville, FL; March 14 vs. Parkview; April 26 @ Russell County, AL
10. Klein Collins(Spring, TX)
Texas Class 5A Region II (Disctrict 13)
2010 Results:22-12-1 (Regional Runner-up)
Key losses: INF RonReemts (Tyler Junior College), OF Sam Shaw,RHP/OF Chris Price
Top players: SS CJ Hinojosa (Texas), 2B Austin Dean (Texas), RHP Nolan Riggs (San Jacinto)
After losing to Klein in the regional championship game some people are a bit down on Klein Collins. The Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association (THSBCA) ranked the Tigers sixth in their pre-season poll. While the five teams ahead of them are all quite strong (newsflash: Texas is loaded), it is difficult to overlook the abundance of talent on this roster.Although their senior class will have a major challenge to live up to the accomplishments of the 2010 seniors, this is a team that features elite level prospects in the younger classes. The Tigers will have a good one-two punch on the mound in RHP Nolan Riggs and Jr LHP Cory Geisler. Riggs is a 6’ 8” righty who works in the low 90s with little effort and has a very projectable arm. Geisler works in the mid to upper 80s from a deceptive low 3/4s angle and a good slider while also providing a lot of production at the plate. Another pitcher that will contribute is junior LHP Cameron Black.
While the Tigers pitching staff will be among the state’s best, it is the junior keystone combination of Hinojosa and Dean that gives the team its star power. The two Texas commits are two of the top players in the nation. Hinojosa (who will give Klein Collins another top pitcher) is a strong player with a powerful bat to along with great athleticism that allows him to get to a ton of balls at shortstop. Dean has the tools to play SS for nearly every other team in the nation. He is a very good athlete with quick infield actions and a short, line drive swing at the plate. The offense does not stop there as OF Geisler, another Texas commit, is a top level athlete with strength, and great potential at the plate. 3B Vince Mejia (Angelina College commit) and OF Ryan Schilhab (Texarkana College commit) are two more key performers that return.
While that amount of talent is staggering, one of Klein Collins top players could be freshman RHP/IF Jake Jarvis, who has made it onto scouts’ radar before playing a high school game. He was a member of USA Baseball’s 14U National Team in 2009, and impressed at many Perfect Game tournaments last summer, topping his fastball out at 88, while also showing a quick and powerful bat. He is a prospect to watch for the next 4 years.
The competition in Texas looks to be a stiff as ever in 2011. Defending 5A champion Corpus Christi Carroll returns a lot of talent, as do The Woodlands, Calallen, and Klein.
Notable matchups:March 12 @ Tomball, April 8 vs. Klein, April 19 vs. Spring
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