BJ Upton, two-time Baseball America High School All-American
and No. 2 overall selection by Tampa in 2002

2006 High School Preseason Top 50 With Capsules

  Team (2005 Record)
Final 2005 Rank
1. Russell County HS, Seale, Ala. (38-1)
Last year's No. 1 team begins the season in position to repeat as the top team in the country. OF Colby Rasmus is gone--he was drafted in the first round by the Cardinals--but three younger brothers including Cory, a senior RHP succeed him.
2. Monsignor Pace HS, Opa Locka, Fla. (23-5)
Head coach Tom Duffin continues to mold some of the state's--and country's--deepest teams. Despite losing four players to Division-I colleges and anther to the draft, the Spartans are loaded with five seniors who have committed to D-I schools and a handful of precocious underclassmen to boot.
3. El Camino Real HS, Woodland Hills, Calif. (29-4)
The Conquistadores begin the spring as California's best team, top to bottom. A trio of senior RHPs who have all committed to play D-I college baseball headlines the rotation, while sophomore LHP Casey Fry might own the staff's best stuff.
4. Agoura (Calif.) HS (19-7)
The Chargers one-two punch of senior RHP Jason Stoffel and junior RHP/C Robert Stock rivals Russell County's. Stock, who also wields a powerful bat from the left side of the plate, was named Baseball America's Youth Player of the Year in 2005.
5. Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. (31-3)
A big year and most high schools is having a major Division-I signee atop the rotation--Chaparral High has three of them--RHPs Charles Brewer (7-0, 0.80) is bound for UCLA, Cory Bannister (3-0, 1.82) committed to Stanford and San Diego-bound Jason Jarvis (6-1, 1.41).
6. Florida Christian HS, Miami (29-2)
Florida's Class 2-A champions in 2005 move up to Class 3-A this season, but own the depth, talent and experience required to handle a more demanding schedule. Senior LHP Bryan Morgado (9-1, 0.77) and senior HP Shane Hill (6-0, 1.40) front the rotation, and senior SS Ryan Jackson, a third-team preseason All-America, joins the Patriots after transferring from Miami's Gulliver Prep.
7. The Woodlands (Texas) HS (28-6)
Following an all-to-familiar, unfulfilling finish to its 2005 season, The Woodlands has pitching depth and strong defense across the diamond that could allow it to break through in 2006.
8. Flanagan HS, Pembroke Pines, Fla. (25-6)
The highly anticipated arrival of a deep and talented crop of players has ascended to Flanagan and figure to make the Falcons a regional power for the foreseeable future. The reigning Class 6-A state champs feature standouts in its senior, junior and sophomore classes.
9. Cypress (Calif.) HS (25-7)
The Centurions boast a tough pitching duo of senior LHP Adam Wilk (10-2, 1.62) and RHP Mike Morrison (11-1, 1.83) to go along with a veteran lineup paced by junior 3B Josh Vitters (.444-3-33).
10. Jackson HS, Mill Creek, Wash. (22-6)
A handful of teams from the Northwest drew consideration for a spot in the preseason poll, and Jackson High's senior trio of OF Travis Snider (.494-7-31), RHP Cam Nobles and SS Joey Lind makes it the preseason favorite in the state's highest classification (4-A).
11. Sarasota (Fla.) HS (28-1)
Following an early exit from the state playoff's a year ago, the Sailors set their course for improvement in 2006 with pitchers Eric Erickson and Troy Graybill atop the rotation and SS Mark Sobolewski anchoring the lineup.
12. Poly HS, Riverside, Calif. (26-4)
A pair of Southern California signees--SS/RHP Hector Rabago (.354-9-44/6-1, 2.30) and OF Mike O'Neill (.423-1-17)--headline one of several strong schools from So Cal that could push its way into national title contention.
13. Chatsworth (Calif.) HS (29-4)
Baseball America's No. 1 team in 2003 and 2004 is again well stocked with top-line pitching--senior RHP Josh Ravin (4-2, 2.50) is one of the top prep pitchers in the country--and a deep lineup including juniors Matt Dominguez (.416-10-49) and Mike Moustakas (.482-12-51).
14. Jesuit HS, New Orleans (34-5)
After enduring the hardship of severe flooding from last fall's hurricanes, Jesuit managed to keep its team in tact, including many of the key players on last year's Louisiana Class 5-A title team.
15. Lassiter HS, Marietta, Ga. (29-10)
Suburban Atlanta has a handful of teams that should contend for a state championship, including Lassiter, which boasts three seniors who have committed to play in the Southeastern Conference along with a strong complement of underclassmen.
16. Bellarmine Prep, San Jose, Calif. (34-5)
Head coach Gary Cunningham needs 15 wins for 800 in his career, and with pitchers Nate Garcia (11-1) and Eric Goeddel (9-1) in the fold, 2006 might be a year of many milestones for Cunningham and Bellarmine Prep.
17. Kingwood (Texas) HS (35-6)
The Mustangs climbed into the top 20 last year by winning Texas' Class 5-A championship, and bring back senior RHPs Mike Ojala and John Touchton in an attempt to repeat the feat.
18. Northwest Rankin HS, Brandon, Miss. (36-3)
Senior RHPs Todd McInnis (12-1, 1.94) and Jordan King (9-2, 2.18) played integral roles on last year's Mississippi Class 5-A champion club and return, along with six position players, from that squad.
19. Jesuit HS, Tampa (26-5)
Senior RHP Sam Dyson (6-3, 1.89) tends to get overlooked among the Sunshine State's ridiculously deep crop of senior pitching prospects, but he led the Tigers to the Florida Class 3-A semifinals last season and returns--along with three other quality arms--for Jesuit's foray into Class 4-A.
20. De La Salle HS, Concord, Calif. (23-4)
Traditional national football power has one of the nation's best junior classes in 3B Nick Hom, OFs Tillman Pugh and Nathan Carter and RHP Taylor Reid, which supplements the Spartans' strong senior class which is led by Pepperdine-bound LHP Clayton Tanner (7-2, 1.20).
21. Mansfield (Texas) HS (32-8)
Owning the nation's top prep prospect--senior RHP Jordan Walden (8-3, 1.20)--should make Mansfield tough come Texas' postseason, and he's flanked by an accomplished No. 2 starter in senior LHP Mark Cohoon.
22. Hudson's Bay HS, Vancouver, Wash. (18-2)
One of the year's biggest questions is how the Eagles high-profile senior class including C Jay Ponciano and SS Jackson Evans will perform in their season before moving on to Division-I colleges. Junior RHP Greg Peavey was one of just two underclassmen on USA Baseball's junior national team last summer, and is the staff ace.
23. Owasso (Okla.) HS (33-6)
The Rams have more questions to answer than usual, as the program that has played for the Oklahoma Class 6-A title eight out of the last nine years--winning five times--lost the nucleus of last season's runner-up club. Senior LHP Chris Armstrong (9-2, 1.45) is one of the state's top prospects and junior SS Pete Kozma (.405-8-31) appears ready to assume a role as a consistent run producer in the Rams lineup.
24. Holt HS, Wentzville, Mo. (29-4)
The Indians are the preseason favorite to cruise home with the Missouri Class 4-A crown behind sophomore RHP Tim Melville (5-1, 1.09) and senior RHP Mike Pontius (8-2, 3.43), both of whom bring 90+ mph heat from the bump.
25. Grand Street HS, Brooklyn
After losing in the semifinals of the New York City Public School Athletic League Division-A playoffs to the eventual champion Tottenville, the Wolves are hungry for another shot, and have the luxury of sending first-team preseason All-America RHP Dellin Betances to the mound as well as senior RHP Gabriel Andino.
26. Mills Godwin HS, Richmond (23-1)
Senior RHP/SS Graham Stoneburner (5-0, 0.20), the younger brother of James Madison's Davis, is the final of three sets of brothers--Mitch and Matt Moses, Matt and Justin Bristow--who have led Mills Godwin to national prominence during the decade.
27. Douglas HS, Parkland, Fla. (26-3)
After allowing a three-run lead to slip away against eventual Class 6-A Flanagan High (No. 8 in the preseason poll) in last season's playoffs, no less than 11 seniors return for Douglas this year, with a rematch with Flanagan at the forefront of their minds.
28. Mosley HS, Lynn Haven, Fla. (20-6)
Florida's Panhandle boasts a handful or talented teams and Mosley, behind the power bat of senior OF Cody Johnson (.474-10-41) and a strong complement of supporting seniors, is expected to make a run deep into the playoffs.
29. Parkview Baptist HS, Baton Rouge, La. (30-5)
The Eagles are in pursuit of their fifth consecutive state Class 3-A title in 2006, and have seven starts back from last year's 30-5-1 team, including seniors Kellen Bozeman (.365-4-32), William Lefever (.427-6-22) and Blaine Ivey (.374-3-21) and junior LHP Forrest Moore (8-2, 1.26).
30. Fallbrook (Calif.) HS (27-8)
San Diego's high school scene isn't as strong as it is traditionally, and Fallbrook has a chance to prove its one of the area's best teams in its season-opening contest against San Diego's Rancho Bernardo High March 7.
31. Lyons Township HS, LaGrange, Ill. (35-4)
David Hasselhoff's alma mater is beginning to become better known for its star talent on the field, thanks to OFs Dan Weston (.355-3-36) and Casey McMurray (.358-6-30) who are just two of the Lions many tough hitters this season.
32. Collierville (Tenn.) HS (37-7)
33. D. H. Conley HS, Greenville, N.C. (24-7)
The strength of the reigning North Carolina Class 4-A champions lies in a deep pitching staff, fronted by North Carolina-bound senior RHP Alex White. Having moved down to Class 3-A this season, Conley, along with West Carteret High, opened the season as the top teams in the state, with 4-A's South Mecklenburg High not far behind.
34. Elk Grove (Calif.) HS (28-5)
While Elk Grove alum Buck Martinez will be off managing Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, the Thundering Herd will set course for another California Interscholastic Federation Sac-Joaquin Division I, sectional title, which it won last year with a strong corps of underclassmen who return this season.
35. Silverado HS, Las Vegas (24-11)
Coach Brian Whitaker is hopeful the nucleus from Nevada's American Legion title team that makes up his high school roster will carry over its success last summer.
36. Punahou HS, Honolulu (34-3)
The Buff and Blue bring back four position players and their top three pitchers from the 2005 team that finished ranked No. 30 and won the school's eighth state championship since 1959.
37. Cypress Falls HS, Houston (28-12)
Ryan Jenkins (Baylor) is the ace, but they have a sophomore lefty named Ross Bruns who is really good at No. 2, and they have some good high school arms around those two.
38. Saint Ignatius HS, Cleveland (22-5)
The Wildcats have made trips to the Division-I (highest classification) final four in three of the last four years and junior 3B Derek Dietrich (.494-5-31) might provide their lineup with enough punch to win the title in 2006.
39. James Monroe HS, Bronx (32-2)
James Monroe High will put lots of pressure on opposing teams with excellent team speed. The Eagles have plenty of pitching to make a run deep into the Class A Public School Athletic League playoffs, which they've won three times in the past five years.
40. Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La. (34-5)
One of the country's perennial powers, the Bucs are the favorite to win the state's highest classification (5-A) behind Texas signee Josh Prince (.444-5-37), a talented senior shortstop, and senior righties Todd Fontenot (9-4, 1.19) and Thad Griffen (3-0, 1.02).
41. Chattahoochee HS, Alpharetta, Ga. (32-4)
The Cougars claimed Georgia's Class 5-A crown a year ago and return their top position player, in gritty senior OF Matt Cerione, and their top arm in senior LHP Jeff Lorick.
42. Charlotte (N.C.) Christian HS (28-10)
The Knights have won North Carolina Class 3-A private school titles in six of the past seven seasons, and have one their deepest teams this season, as well as a demanding schedule loaded with public school competition.
43. Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif. (21-4)
Capo Valley boasts three pitchers who have committed to D-I colleges in Joe Zeller (Loyola Marymount), Matt Hiserrman (Santa Clara) and closer Kevin Dickey (UC Riverside).
44. Boone HS, Orlando (24-6)
The school that produced big leaguers Joe Oliver, Mike Maroth and Paul Wilson could have a few more future major leaguers in the fold, as a group that led the Braves to a Class 6-A semifinal appearance last season returns for 2006.
45. Horizon HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. (28-9)
As the Huskies watch Horizon product Brandon Wood, now one of the best prospects in baseball, slug his way to the majors, they have a their own sights set on repeating as Arizona's Class 5-A champions.
46. Elder HS, Cincinnati (28-1)
Head coach Mark Thompson, who skippered the Panthers to a Division-I state title in 2005, says this year's team is the "hardest working group I've coached in 16 years." Elder's tussel with No. 38 Saint Ignatius April 20 should be a memorable one.
47. Kellam HS, Virginia Beach
The school that produced Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman has another star infielder in senior Jason Taylor (.370-1-13), who has committed to Clemson, as well as plenty of team speed and a stalwart starting pitcher in senior LHP Sean Ray (5-4, 1.30), an Auburn signee.
48. La Cueva HS, Albuquerque (28-1)
It doesn't take a genius--like La Cueva High alum Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser--to recognize the Bears aren't as loaded as they've been in the past, but senior OF JJ Muse (.372-7-40)--a Kansas State signee--and senior LHP Nathan Solow (11-1, 2.01)--San Diego State--figure to make them state title contenders nonetheless.
49. Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas (37-4)
Texas' Class 4-A state champions a year ago have some holes to fill from the last year's club but junior RHP Ryan Duke (12-1, 1.20) gives the Wildcats a shut-down No. 1 starter.
50. Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, N.J. (30-2)
Junior RHP Rick Porcello (4-1, 1.06) is one of the nation's top pitching prospects in the Class of 2007 and an ace of a talented staff at Seton Hall Prep.