With the Nor-Am High School regular season wrapped up and the postseason underway, it’s a good time to look at the top draft-eligible batters and pitchers before the Draft Pool is announced on May 1.
High school players are often overvalued in a draft, because they have often put up great stats but are still young and inexperienced, and haven’t proven themselves over the longer pro baseball seasons. The high school season is only 42 games long — just long enough to start showing what they’re capable of, but not enough to really nail down their stamina and drive.
Without further fanfare, here is our list of the top 10 High School 18-year-old hitters, sorted by WAR:
- Ernie Fox, C, York Academy (.382/.488/.636, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 46 R, 2.4 WAR)
- Harrison Shaw, RF, Port Royal (.424/.512/.719, 8 HR, 46 RBI, 42 R, 2.3 WAR)
- Vince Braine, 2B, Anguilla Prep (.432/.533/.627, 8 HR, 48 RBI, 51 R, 5 SB, 2.3 WAR)
- Alex Rapalo, LF, New England Seminary (.333/.423/.708, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 39 R, 1.9 WAR)
- Jonathan Ayala, 3B, West Coast High (.315/.418/.530, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 28 R, 1.8 WAR)
- Pete Nichols, CF, West Coast High (.318/.440/.444, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 36 R, 5 SB, 1.7 WAR)
- David Rivera, CF, Springfield High (.350/.432/.530, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 32 R, 6 SB, 1.7 WAR)
- Brent Trainor, LF, York Academy (.366/.503/.750, 12 HR, 34 RBI, 38 R, 1.6 WAR)
- John Renouf, 2B, York Academy (.347/.430/.588, 11 HR, 45 RBI, 33 R, 1.6 WAR)
- Dylan Rodrigues, CF, Anguilla Prep (.341/.434/.588, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 31 R, 1.5 WAR)
York Academy is well-represented on the list, which is a double-edged sword. These top players they are losing to the June draft will not be there to help try for a playoff run next season, though they do have younger talent and the team only missed the postseason by finishing 3 games behind Niagara Academy.
The list of 18-year-old pitchers is not dominated as heavily by any one school.
- Matt Mancini, RHP, Saint Patrick Academy (2-1, 2.52, 2.88 FIP, 78 K, 2.6 WAR)
- Jean-François Rougier, RHP, Guadalupe High (7-1, 2.26, 3.12 FIP, 75 K, 2.5 WAR)
- Gary Hartman, RHP, York Academy (6-1, 2.80, 3.62 FIP, 42 K, 2.1 WAR)
- Jose Giralt, LHP, Dutch Colonial Academy (7-1, 3.55, 4.31 FIP, 77 K, 2.1 WAR)
- Dave Tripp, RHP, Niagara Academy (4-0, 2.68, 4.08 FIP, 68 K, 1.8 WAR)
- Randy Carlin, RHP, Dallas Sports Academy (3-0, 3.30, 3.68 FIP, 58 K, 1.8 WAR)
- Alex Ramirez, RHP, Vancouver High (2-5, 7.41, 4.13 FIP, 40 K, 1.7 WAR)
- Craig Whiteway, RHP, Louisiana College (5-2, 2.47, 4.42 FIP, 59 K, 1.6 WAR)
- Jonathan Villagrana, RHP, Dallas Sports Academy (5-1, 2.90, 4.67 FIP, 73 K, 1.6 WAR)
- Matt Lupkoski, RHP, Cancun High (4-0, 2.40, 4.11 FIP, 40 K, 1.4 WAR)
Unfortunately, 10-ranked Lupkoski is out with a torn labrum and will not be available to play for another five months. But there are some real bright spots on the list, though as pitchers, they are easily 8 or more years away from truly maturing into potential top-grade masters of the mound.
The college leagues will certainly have more solid hitters and pitchers, and as we get closer to Draft Pool announcement day, we will keep an eye on the two college leagues and their draft-eligible players as well.