Baseball America annually polls major league organizations' scouting departments to vote on the preseason High School All-America teams, and they make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential.
This year, four players were chosen unanimously as first-team All-Americans—New Jersey lefthanded pitcher Jason Groome, Kansas righthanded pitcher Riley Pint, and Southern California outfielders Blake Rutherford and Mickey Moniak—and all four players are expected to be selected in the first round of the draft in June.
In the past, the preseason All-America teams have been sound predictors of the first round of the draft. Last year's preseason team proved the efficacy of the voting process. Seven of the eight first-team position players became first-round or competitive-balance round picks; only catcher Chris Betts, who went 52nd overall, went lower. Four of the five first-team pitchers were first-rounders as well.
In total, 90 players received votes on this year's ballot, including five underclassmen: Hagen Danner, Alex Toral, Royce Lewis, Hunter Greene, and Nicholas Pratto.
|C||Cooper Johnson||Carmel Catholic High, Mundelein, Ill.||6-0||200||Mississippi||22|
|1B||Alex Kirilloff||Plum High, New Kensington, Pa.||6-2||195||Liberty||16|
|MIF||Delvin Perez||International Baseball Academy, Ceiba, P.R.||6-2||165||Uncommitted||6|
|MIF||Nolan Jones||Holy Ghost Prep, Langhorne, Pa.||6-4||216||Virginia||10|
|3B||Josh Lowe||Pope High, Marietta, Ga.||6-4||190||Florida State||4|
|OF||Will Benson||The Westminster Schools, Atlanta||6-5||225||Duke||11|
|OF||Mickey Moniak||La Costa Canyon High, Carlsbad, Calif.||6-1||180||UCLA||5|
|OF||Blake Rutherford||Chaminade College Prep, Canoga Park, Calif.||6-1||176||UCLA||3|
|P||Jason Groome||Barnegat (N.J.) High||6-4||225||Vanderbilt||1|
|P||Ian Anderson||Shenendehowa High, Clifton Park, N.Y.||6-3||180||Vanderbilt||7|
|P||Kevin Gowdy||Santa Barbara (Calif.) High||6-2||171||UCLA||18|
|P||Riley Pint||St. Thomas Aquinas High, Overland Park, Kan.||6-5||195||Louisiana State||2|
|P||Austin Bergner||Windermere (Fla.) Prep||6-4||190||North Carolina||28|
|C||Ben Rortvedt||Verona (Wisc.) High||5-9||185||Arkansas||44|
|1B||Christian Jones||Federal Way (Wash.) High||6-1||212||Washington||78|
|MIF||Carter Kieboom||Walton High, Marietta, Ga.||6-2||185||Clemson||17|
|MIF||Nicholas Quintana||Arbor View High, Las Vegas||5-9||185||Arizona||32|
|3B||Joe Rizzo||Oakton High, Vienna, Va.||5-11||215||South Carolina||20|
|OF||Avery Tuck||Steele Canyon High, Spring Valley, Calif.||6-5||188||San Diego State||41|
|OF||Taylor Trammell||Mount Paran Christian School, Kennesaw, Ga.||6-2||195||Georgia Tech||53|
|OF||Trevyne Carter||Soddy Daisy (Tenn.) High||6-2||180||Tennessee||NR|
|P||Forrest Whitley||Alamo Heights High, San Antonio, Texas||6-6||253||Florida State||15|
|P||Reggie Lawson||Victor Valley High, Victorville, Calif.||6-3||213||Arizona State||9|
|P||Matt Manning||Sheldon High, Sacramento||6-5||194||Loyola Marymount||8|
|P||Jesus Luzardo||Stoneman Douglas High, Pompano Beach, Fla.||6-1||209||Miami||13|
|P||Braxton Garrett||Florence (Ala.) High||6-3||190||Vanderbilt||12|
|C||Brad Debo||Orange High, Hillsborough, N.C.||6-0||221||South Carolina||86|
|1B||Walker Robbins||George County High, Lucedale, Miss.||6-3||210||Mississippi State||64|
|MIF||Gavin Lux||Indian Trail Academy, Kenosha, Wisc.||6-0||167||Arizona State||46|
|MIF||Luis Curbelo||Cocoa (Fla.) High||6-3||187||Miami||19|
|3B||Drew Mendoza||Lake Minneola High, Minneola, Fla.||6-4||195||Florida State||87|
|OF||Akil Baddoo||Salem High, Conyers, Ga.||6-1||195||Kentucky||47|
|OF||Thomas Jones||Laurens (S.C.) High||6-3||195||Vanderbilt||82|
|OF||Austin Langworthy||Williston (Fla.) High||5-11||180||Florida||90|
|P||Alex Speas||McEachern High, Powder Springs, Ga.||6-4||187||Auburn||14|
|P||Cole Ragans||North Florida Christian School, Tallahassee, Fla.||6-4||190||Florida State||21|
|P||Rian Haire||South Caldwell High, Hudson, N.C.||6-3||205||South Carolina||40|
|P||Charles King||Coppell (Texas) High||6-5||201||Texas Christian||42|
|P||Matt Cleveland||Windsor (Conn.) High||6-3||189||Florida Southwestern||34|
Cooper Johnson, c, Carmel Catholic HS, Mundelein, Ill.
Mature physically and off the field as well, Johnson is a showcase vet. His glove is ahead of his bat at this stage. Johnson has soft hands, plus receiving skills and a potentially elite throwing arm. His pitch recognition and contact skills lag behind, but he has some bat speed that gives him offensive potential. The Mississippi commit stands out in a catcher class heavy on bat-first players.
Alex Kirilloff, 1b, Plum HS, New Kensington, Pa.
The first round has produced successful prep first basemen in recent years, from Adrian Gonzalez (2000) to Prince Fielder and James Loney (both 2002) to Eric Hosmer (2008). A Liberty commit, Kirilloff isn't the typical first baseman in that he's an above-average runner with a plus arm. Kirilloff also received votes as an outfielder. He generates tremendous bat speed and raw power despite a swing that features a barred arm that adds some length to his path.
Nolan Jones, mif, Holy Ghost Prep, Langhorne, Pa.
One of two first-team All-Americans from the Keystone State, Jones plays high school shortstop but profiles better on a corner, likely third base, either as a pro or if he makes it to college at Virginia. A prep hockey player, Jones has plus raw power that ranks toward the top of the class, as his swing has leverage and he's added strength to his frame, gaining as much as 35 pounds in the last year. He has a plus arm as well.
Delvin Perez, mif, International Baseball Academy, Ceiba, P.R.
The 2016 class has fewer shortstop options than 2015 in either the high school or college ranks, with Puerto Rican prepster Perez the best prospect. While he could play with a bit less mustard and more body control, Perez has undeniable tools, with twitchy athleticism, easy plus arm strength and speed, and the range, actions and agility for shortstop. Scouts will be watching the progress of his bat closely.
Josh Lowe, 3b, Pope HS, Marietta, Ga.
Lowe has as much upside as any position player in the draft, with a 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame and the athleticism to make third base work even at his size. The Florida State signee has the arm strength to pitch with easy mid-90s velocity, but his raw power potential wins the day for scouts. His feel for hitting seemed to improve the more quality arms he saw over the course of the summer showcase circuit.
Will Benson, of, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta
With his Atlanta address, lefthanded swing and tall, lean frame, Benson gets physical comparisons to Jason Heyward. That does the Duke commit no favors, as Benson has some holes in his swing that he must work to close. He also has bat speed to rival any hitter in the class, giving him excellent raw power. He's at least an average runner who fits the right field profile, though his stock is as volatile as any first-team hitter.
Mickey Moniak, of, La Coasta Canyon HS, Carlsbad, Calif.
Moniak, a UCLA signee, doesn't doesn't have the explosiveness of fellow outfielders Benson and Blake Rutherford, but he's a good athlete who can hit and does many things well. His instincts and motor show up the most in center field, where he's a fine defender whose plus speed plays. Moniak has a solid lefthanded swing with natural timing and gap power, and he could develop into a true plus hitter.
Blake Rutherford, of, Chaminade College Prep, Canoga Park, Calif.
The top hitter in the high school class, Rutherford was the captain of USA Baseball's 18U gold-medal winning team with a team-best 14 RBIs. Most scouts grade Rutherford as a future plus hitter who could wind up with plus power as well. He's an above-average runner with a chance to stick in center field. Rutherford's long track record and high floor could make the UCLA signee the top prep bat drafted.
Ian Anderson, rhp, Shenendohowa HS, Clifton Park, N.Y.
A Vanderbilt signee, Anderson has the body, live arm and Northern background that make scouts comfortable making lofty projections about the quality of his future stuff. His present pitches are plenty good now—his fastball sits in the low 90s presently, he's shown a feel for a plus changeup and has shown the ability to spin a curveball, which needs work but is making progress.
Austin Bergner, rhp, Windermere (Fla.) HS
Signed to North Carolina, Bergner was hitting 90 mph with his fastball before he got to high school. He now pitches in the low-to-mid 90s, having touched 96. He throws strikes with his changeup and curveball, with the change grading ahead of the breaking ball. His long track record helps but could work against him if he doesn't continue to show scouts improvement.
Kevin Gowdy, rhp, Santa Barbara (Calif.) HS
Gowdy's clean arm action makes it easier for him to repeat his release point, making him one of the class' best strike- throwers. He has a polished delivery and knack for pitching, pounding the zone with a 90-93 mph fastball and potentially plus breaking ball with 10-to-4 shape and low-80s power. A UCLA recruit, Gowdy could move up draft boards with his ability to locate his stuff and his feel for changing speeds.
Jason Groome, lhp, Barnegat (N.J.) HS
Groome, a Vanderbilt signee, is the standard-bearer for this year's prep class. He's young for the class but has present strength and impressive physicality at 6-foot-4, 224 pounds. Makeup concerns and injury seem to be the only potential obstacles to Groome being the first prep player drafted. "It's a gifted body with an easy delivery, great fastball and tremendous curveball that's the best one in the class," an NL scouting director said.
Riley Pint, rhp, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Overland Park, Kan.
A Louisiana State signee, Pint has his supporters to be the top prep pitcher picked because of his outstanding velocity; he's touched 98 mph with his fastball, though he sits in the 93-94 mph range. Pint's delivery features a head jerk and inconsistent release point. That leads to insufficient control and below-average command. Pint's raw stuff excites, and he could be an electric, impact reliever.