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2019 High School Preseason All-Americans

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C.J. Abrams (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Shortstops Bobby Witt Jr. and C.J. Abramsthe two top-ranked prep players in the 2019 draft class—headline the 2019 Baseball America High School Preseason All-America teams.

The two middle infielders, ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively on the Top 200 Draft Prospects list, are just two of the six unanimous first-team selections. Also joining Witt and Abrams with that distinction are outfielders Riley Greene and Corbin Carroll, as well as righthanders Daniel Espino and Brennan Malone.

Baseball America annually polls major league scouting departments to determine the first, second and third teams, asking scouting directors to make their selections based on performance, talent and future professional potential. Because of this, the Preseason All-America teams have become a strong predictor of the first round of the draft, particularly among first-team members.

When looking at the last 10 years of Preseason All-Americans, more than half (53.3 percent) of the first-team members went on to become first-round picks. Perhaps counter-intuitively, this predictiveness was stronger among pitcher (58.9 percent) than hitters (46.5 percent), though the number of spots on the team helps explain this. Each year, there are five or six pitchers selected to the first team, compared to eight or nine hitters—the utility position has been used previously.

In nine of the last 10 years, the first high school hitter selected in the draft has been a first-team Preseason All-American, with the only exception coming in 2011, when outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) was selected as the first high school hitter with the No. 5 overall pick.

The first pitcher off the board on draft night has been a first-team Preseason All-American in seven of the last 10 years, with lefthander Ryan Weathers (2018, Padres), righthander Dylan Bundy (2011, Orioles) and righthander Matt Hobgood (2009, Orioles) being the only exceptions.

When breaking down into specific position groups, catchers are the least likely position players to become first-round picks, with only two instances of first-team catchers later being selected in the first round. In 2012, Stryker Trahan was taken by the D-backs with the 26th overall pick, and in 2014, the Mariners drafted Alex Jackson with the No. 6 overall pick—although it's worth pointing out that the Mariners drafted Jackson as an outfielder.

Fifty percent of first-team middle infielders and outfielders have gone on to become first-round picks, including players like Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows, Brendan Rodgers, Royce Lewis and Jo Adell.

The most successful position group in terms of getting selected in the first round, however, is corner infield. The players selected to the first team at both third and first base are routinely among the best hitters in the class in any given year, and teams are happy to buy their bats in the first round despite potential defense or profile questions.

Sixty percent of first-team corner infielders in the last 10 years have gone on to become first-round picks, with notable players including Christian Yelich, Travis Demeritte, Dominic Smith, Michael Chavis, Josh Naylor and Alex Kiriloff.


*denotes unanimous selection

#denotes member of the 2020 class

FIRST TEAM

First TeamHt.Wt.BTCommit
C: Ethan Hearn, Mobile (Ala.) Christian HS6-0195LRMississippi State
MIF: *Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS6-1183RROklahoma
MIF: *C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity HS, Roswell, Ga.6-2185LRAlabama
CIF: Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS, Austin6-3218LRTexas
CIF: Rece Hinds, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.6-4210RRLouisiana State
OF: *Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS, Seattle5-10160LLUCLA
OF: *Riley Greene, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.6-2197LLFlorida
OF: Jerrion Ealy, Jackson (Miss.) Prep HS5-10192RRMississippi
SP: *Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.6-3196RRLouisiana State
SP: *Brennan Malone, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.6-4210RRNorth Carolina
SP: Matthew Allan, Seminole (Fla.) HS6-3210RRFlorida
SP: Jack Leiter, Delbarton HS, Morristown, N.J.6-0191RRVanderbilt
SP: Matthew Thompson, Cypress Ranch HS, Houston6-2184RRTexas A&M


Ethan Hearn, C, Mobile (Ala.) Christian HS

A muscular, lefthanded-hitting catcher, Hearn is praised for his work ethic and toughness, not to mention his big arm strength and big raw power. He will need to continue polishing the finer aspects of his game, like receiving and mobility behind the plate. Hearn has flashed 1.87-second pop times on throws to second base in the past, but overall he is an offensive-oriented catcher.

Brett Baty, CIF, Lake Travis HS, Austin

Baty might have the most usable power in the 2019 prep class. The physical, 6-foot-3, 218-pound lefthanded hitter wows scouts routinely with eye-popping batting practice displays and has a solid feel for the strike zone as well. He’s come a long way in improving his body, but he will need to further refine his all-around defensive work at third base.

Bobby Witt Jr., MIF, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS

The top-ranked prep player in the class, Witt Jr. has all the tools scouts could ask for. He has plus speed, is the best defensive shortstop in the class, has plus arm strength and plus raw power that plays in games against top-flight competition. No player in the 2019 draft class has a ceiling as high as Bobby Witt Jr.

Rece Hinds, CIF, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.

No one in the draft class—college or high school—has more raw power than Hinds. Many scouts grade it as an 80, and his swing looks excellent in batting practice. But Hinds has struggled plenty with strikeouts and pitch recognition in games. He also has a plus arm, but he has work to do if he wants to stick at the hot corner.

C.J. Abrams, MIF, Blessed Trinity HS, Roswell, Ga.

A top-of-the-scale runner, Abrams’ speed and athleticism are his carrying tools, though he has an exceptional feel for making contact from the left side as well. Scouts are mixed on whether he fits best at shortstop or center field in pro ball, and they want to see him make more impact offensively and add strength to a slight frame.

Corbin Carroll, OF, Lakeside HS, Seattle

Just 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Carroll isn’t imposing by any means, but he does plenty for scouts on the field. He’s a 70-grade runner, an instinctive defender in center field and has the most polished hit tool in the class outside of Riley Greene. It’s also tough to find a player with a better feel for the strike zone or a more patient approach than Carroll.

Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.

Greene is the best pure hitter in the class. He uses a sweet lefthanded swing to routinely find the barrel and spray hard contact all over the diamond, regardless of what event he’s at or which pitcher is on the mound. He has solid power to go along with his hit tool, but his running, fielding and throwing are all below-average and could stand to improve.

Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson (Miss.) Prep HS

The top athlete in the high school class, Ealy is committed to Mississippi for both baseball and football. He is a five-star running back on the gridiron, and on the baseball field, Ealy offers plus speed, a twitchy bat form the right side with plus raw power and one of the strongest outfield arms you’ll see in this year’s crop of defenders. The upside here is huge.

Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.

Espino has the loudest pure stuff of any pitcher in the high school class, starting first and foremost with an 80-grade fastball that routinely sits in the upper 90s with excellent late life. He has solid feel to land the pitch for strikes, a future plus breaking ball and terrific lower-half mechanics.

Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.

Malone’s fastball trails only Espino in the 2019 high school class. He regularly works in the mid- to upper 90s. The North Carolina commit has plenty of upside with a projectable, 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, a clean arm action and an abundance of athleticism. His breaking ball has plus potential as well.

Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole (Fla.) HS

Allan has a traditional power profile with two plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball and a big, 12-to-6 curveball. He has plenty of strength in a 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, a clean arm action and a solid changeup. All of those attributes give him plenty of starter traits and will allow him to fly off draft boards if he can develop more consistency with his strike-throwing ability this spring.

Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton HS, Morristown, N.J.

The son of 19-year big leaguer Al Leiter might be the best pure pitcher in the 2019 class. He has excellent command of an arsenal that includes a fastball trending in the right direction, a high-spin, 12-to-6 curveball and a changeup that is well ahead of most amateurs to this point. Others have bigger stuff, but few have the all-around profile Leiter boasts.

Matthew Thompson, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS, Houston

Thompson is a lean, 6-foot-2, 184-pound righthander who is uber athletic and oozing projection. He has a deceptive, high-three-quarter arm slot and a pair of power offerings. The first is a fastball that routinely sits in the low 90s, and the second is a plus, late-breaking slider in the low 80s that generates plenty of whiffs and confuses batters.


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Analyzing College Baseball's Top Recruiting Classes In 2019

Scouting reports on the top prospects, hitters and pitchers arriving in college baseball ahead of the 2020 season.

SECOND TEAM

Second TeamHt.Wt.BTCommit
C: Jonathan French, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.5-11213RRClemson
MIF: Brooks Lee, San Luis Obispo (Calif.) HS6-1180BRCal Poly
MIF: Anthony Volpe, Delbarton HS, Morristown, N.J.5-10182RRVanderbilt
CIF: Tyler Callihan, Providence HS, Jacksonville6-1200LRSouth Carolina
CIF: Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy, Selma, Ala.6-3194LRAuburn
OF: Maurice Hampton, Memphis University HS6-0210RRLouisiana State
OF: Sammy Siani, Penn Charter HS, Philadelphia5-11175LLDuke
OF: #Pete Crow-Armstrong, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.6-1175LLVanderbilt
SP: Hunter Barco, Bolles HS, Jacksonville6-4212LLFlorida
SP: Riley Cornelio, Pine Creek HS, Colorado Springs6-3189RRTexas Christian
SP: Spencer Jones, La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad, Calif.6-7212LLVanderbilt
SP: Kendall Williams, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.6-6190RRVanderbilt
SP: J.J. Goss, Cypress Ranch HS, Houston6-3185RRTexas A&M

THIRD TEAM

Third TeamHt.Wt.BTCommit
C: #Drew Romo, The Woodlands (Texas) HS6-1205LRLouisiana State
MIF: Nasim Nunez, Collins Hill HS, Suwanee, Ga.5-9160BRClemson
MIF: Matthew Lugo, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Florida, P.R.6-1185RRMiami
CIF: Garrett Frechette, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS6-3195LLSan Diego State
CIF: Joseph Naranjo, Ayala HS, Chino Hills, Calif.6-0175LLCal State Fullerton
OF: #Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny HS, Imperial, Pa.6-1205LLMississippi State
OF: Glenallen Hill Jr., Santa Cruz (Calif.) HS5-9169BRArizona State
OF: Jason Hodges, Marist HS, Chicago6-3212RRArkansas
SP: Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.6-3190RRTexas Christian
SP: Jack Kochanwicz, Harriton HS, Rosemont, Pa.6-6210LRVirginia
SP: Will Rigney, Midway HS, Waco, Texas6-5205RRBaylor
SP: Hayden Mullins, Hendersonville (Tenn.) HS6-1180LLAuburn
SP: Joseph Charles, TNXL Academy, Altamonte Springs, Fla.6-2193RRNorth Carolina

Best Tools

Best Athlete (Position Player)

  1. Jerrion Ealy, Jackson (Miss.) Prep HS
  2. C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity HS, Roswell, Ga.
  3. Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS

Best Pure Hitter

  1. Riley Greene, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla.
  2. Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS, Seattle
  3. Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS

Best Power

  1. Rece Hinds, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
  2. Brett Baty, Lake Travis HS, Austin
  3. Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS

Fastest Runner

  1. Jerrion Ealy, Jackson (Miss.) Prep HS
  2. C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity HS, Roswell, Ga.
  3. James Beard, Loyd Star HS, Brookhaven, Miss.

Best Defensive Infielder

  1. Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
  2. Nasim Nunez, Collins Hill HS, Suwanee, Ga.
  3. Anthony Volpe, Delbarton HS, Morristown, N.J.

Best Defensive Outfielder

  1. Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS, Seattle
  2. Jerrion Ealy, Jackson (Miss.) Prep HS
  3. Sammy Siani, Penn Charter HS, Philadelphia

Best Defensive Catcher

  1. Jonathan French, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.
  2. Ethan Hearn, Mobile (Ala.) Christian HS
  3. Logan Tanner, George County HS, Lucedale, Miss.

Best Infield Arm

  1. Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
  2. Rece Hinds, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
  3. Yan Contreras, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.

Best Outfield Arm

  1. Erik Rivera, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.
  2. Jerrion Ealy, Jackson (Miss.) Prep HS
  3. Jasiah Dixon, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS

Best Catcher Arm

  1. Logan Tanner, George County HS, Lucedale, Miss.
  2. Darius Perry, La Mirada (Calif.) HS
  3. Hayden Travinski, Airline HS, Bossier City, La.

Best Fastball

  1. Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.
  2. Brennan Malone, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
  3. Matthew Allan, Seminole (Fla.) HS

Best Fastball Movement

  1. Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.
  2. Hunter Barco, Bolles HS, Jacksonville
  3. Jacob Meador, Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas

Best Breaking Ball

  1. Brennan Malone, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
  2. Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.
  3. Matthew Thompson, Cypress Ranch HS, Houston

Best Changeup

  1. Hunter Barco, Bolles HS, Jacksonville
  2. Jack Leiter, Delbarton HS, Morristown, N.J.
  3. Antoine Harris, Chalmette (La.) HS

Best Command

  1. Jack Leiter, Delbarton HS, Morristown, N.J.
  2. Jacob Meador, Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas
  3. Ryan Hawks, Warren East HS, Bowling Green, Ken.

Best Athlete (Pitcher)

  1. Matthew Thompson, Cypress Ranch HS, Houston
  2. Brennan Malone, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
  3. Trey Faltine, Fort Bend Travis HS, Richmond, Texas

Closest To The Majors

  1. Bobby Witt Jr., Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
  2. Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.
  3. Corbin Carroll, Lakeside HS, Seattle
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