Monday, March 2, 2009
2009 High School Top Twenty
1. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
In the past three years, Bishop Gorman has posted a perfect 9-0 record in the state tournament. It’s not as if the competition in Nevada is below average…it’s that Bishop Gorman is that good. The reason we rank them so high again? Fifteen of the 18 players on their heralded summer team return for the 2009 high school spring season. BG has five senior players already committing to NCAA Division 1 programs and one junior making a verbal commitment. Any questions as to why the Gaels are heavily favored to be the top team in the nation? They are led by one of the top recruits in the nation in LHP/1B Jeff Malm. Malm, who has signed with Southern California, posted an 8-2 record with 74 strikeouts, 9 walks, 2.90 ERA last spring. In addition, a supporting staff that went a combined 27-0 in LHP/CF Joey Rickard, RHP Stephen Manthei…both Arizona bound and junior LHP/OF Matt Hall will help round out the pitching staff.
2. Farragut (Knoxville, TN)
We liked this team last year and are even more impressed this year. They have been a state and national power for nearly 10 years and admirably, the Admirals will be looking for their fifth state title in the last seven years in 2009. They return Vanderbilt-bound SS/RHP Curt Powell (.493-8-56), Louisville-bound 3B/RHP Cade Stallings (.462-9-50) and Mississippi-bound LHP Jordan Cooper. (7-1, 16-3 in his career). They look to be good for the next few years as well with LHP Phillip Pfeifer…one of the nation’s top-ranked sophomores. He pitched Team USA to the gold medal at the Pan Am Youth championships last summer.
3. Jesuit (Tampa, FL)
Jesuit is always one of the top programs in Florida, and these boys can sure hit. They have a fearsome foursome that have committed to Division I programs, including a pair to South Florida in 3B Jimmy Falla and SS Nick Lockwood. Joe Hudson, both bound for Notre Dame, and Greg Dupell , committed to Navy, will share the catching duties.
4. Jesuit (Carmichael, CA)
It’s a good year to be a Jesuit school this year. The Marauders had an impressive 2008 season, winning CIF San Joaquin section championship, but bigger things are expected this year as they return a talented senior class. Catcher\ Andrew Susac is one of the top catchers in the country and along with SS Danny Hayes will be going to Oregon State. Add in California-bound OF Jimmy Bosco and the Marauders will be striking fear into pitchers this year. Keeping hitters off balance will be Santa Clara-bound RHP/3B Brock Simon who had a nasty 1.97 ERA last year and went 7-2.
5. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ)
These guys had 7 D-I players graduate last year. You’d think it would be an off year, but DBP is like USC football. There are always reloading, not rebuilding. The Ironmen have five more seniors who committed to Division I programs, highlighted by Vanderbilt-bound SS Anthony Gomez, Wake Forest-bound LHP Niko Spezial and Don Bosco’s highly-rated QB Brett Knief, who committed to North Carolina to play baseball… Now that’s an athlete.
6. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)
Like Don Bosco last year, the Dons have an incredibly deep program that has seven seniors that have committed to Division I programs. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have one of the most talented sophomore players in LHP Daniel Camarena. Clemson-bound RHP Jonathan Meyer), San Diego State-bound RHP/3B Ryan Wilkins and Southern California-bound 1B Casey Husband highlight the returnees for the Dons. Speedster and San Diego-bound OF Matt Moynihan also returns after hitting .400 and leading the Dons in hits, runs and stolen bases a year ago.
7. KATY (Texas)
We love Houston Baseball and Houston does love it’s high school sports…A LOT!!! The Tigers could be the team to beat this year and return just about everyone from a team that won a district title last year. Texas-bound RHP Kiefer Nuncio leads the pitching staff, while TCU-bound OF Jarred Fancher and Texas State-bound catcher Andrew Stumph will stump pitchers and drive the offense.
8. Coppell (Coppell, TX)
They have a Deep Six Nine…meaning of course that they have 6 top rated players going to top D-1 schools on their starting nine. This could be the top talent laden team in the country when you consider the teams these players have committed to. The Cowboys have three players that are ranked in the Top 100 nationally and committed to major Division I programs. OF Jacob Morris is headed for Arizona State, catcher Jonathan Walsh is Texas Longhorn bound and SS/RHP Chad Kettler will be a Boomer Sooner at Oklahoma. Other key Cowboys include Dallas Baptist-bound SS/RHP Austin Elkins and Princeton-bound RHP Zak Hermans who had a .0175 ERA last year…WOW!
9. Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
The Arizona state trophy will go to Brophy this year. They have a really loaded senior class. Arizona-bound RHP/SS Trent Stevenson, San Diego-bound 1B/LHP Jake Williams and Arizona State-bound catcher Beau Maggi give the Broncos one of the most balanced teams in the country.
10. Simi Valley (Calif.)
Simi Valley returns several key players and are favorites in their section this year. California doesn’t have a state championship due the sheer size of this state of over 37 million people….However, their sections have a population base that rivals the size of a majority of states, so a section title is a huge deal. Cal State Fullerton-bound SS/RHP Jonathan Meyer is the team’s best talent, but the Pioneers have a solid supporting cast around Meyer in UC Irvine-bound C Drew Sandler and Pepperdine-bound RHP Cory Jones.
11. Owasso (Owasso, OK)
When a school is in 11 state-final appearances in the past 12 years…well, that has to be one of the best runs in the nation. The run doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon as two way studs Austin Kirk and Brandon Bargas are both Oklahoma-bound lefthanders. They both had Bob Gibson like ERA’s and can hit as Kirk hit .477 in 2008and Bargas .379.
12. Monte Vista (Danville, Calif.)
This is a first in the national polls for this Northern CA (Bay Area) school…and it’s the pitching got them there this year. The Mustangs have four quality pitchers that have committed to top rated Division I programs. Stanford is the beneficiary of RHP Mark Appel, one of the nation’s best arms. Oregon will get LHP Christian Jones, San Jose State will improve it’s staff with LHP Drew Bradshaw and up and coming Big West challenger, Cal Poly will be even stronger with RHP Joey Wagman. Without a doubt, this is one of the top pitching staffs in the country. Calling the shots will be Oregon-bound catcher and masher, Grant Saunders.
13. Bellaire (Bellaire, TX)
They should be called the Prince’s of Bellaire as eight starters, including the team’s top three pitchers, return. There is talent in every class, led by Rice-bound RHP Tyler Duffey in the senior class, 3B Kyle Chaskin in the junior class and highly-regarded LHP Toller Boardman in the sophomore class. They have a MLB son on the team too. Power-hitting 1B Trace Knoblauch, son of ex-big leaguer Chuck Knoblauch and the grandson of legendary former Bellaire coach Ray Knoblauch, also returns.
14. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
Is there a sport that this SoCal school doesn’t dominate in? Multi sport stud, Matt Barkley was the nation’s No. 1-ranked quarterback recruit this season, and is a talented diamond dog as well. The Monarchs also have USC-bound RHP Aaron Northcraft and Oklahoma State-bound RHP Kevin McCarthy. They will anchor the pitching staff, while a talented group of talented juniors, led by catcher Konnor Armijo, will lead the offensive attack.
15. Park Vista (Lake Worth, Fla.)
The Cobras reached the Florida 6-A championship game last year, before falling to Lake Brantley. Athletic OF Kamm Washington and SS Cody Dent, the son of ex-big leaguer Bucky Dent and a defensive standout, have committed to Florida. Stetson-bound Ryan Lashley can mash and also contributes to a potent offense which returns most of it’s big time players from last year.
16. Barbe, Lake Charles, La.
These guys are always ranked. It’s an automatic with this these Bayou bombers. Mississippi is after OF/LHP Tanner Mathis based on his record setting year as he broke the school record for batting average (.559) and on-base percentage (.628) in 2008. SS Garin Cecchini), son of long-time Barbe coach Glenn Cecchini, and C Hommy Rosado (52 RBIs) also had big years in 2008 as sophomores, and will be key factors as the Buccaneers shoot for their third Louisiana 5-A championship in four years.
17. Providence (Charlotte, NC)
If you have an AFLAC All American, your team will be ranked. It helps to have back-up too. The Panthers will be led by Aflac All American and Clemson-bound 3B/RHP Richie Shaffer, as well as Appalachian State-bound OF Tyler Zupcic.
18. El Toro (Lake Forest, Calif.)
The Chargers won a CIF sectional Division II title in 2008, and return a loaded pitching staff that includes Arizona State-bound RHP Chad Thompson, San Diego-bound LHP/1B Aaron, senior LHP Tyler Ziegler and junior RHP T.J. Kendzora. A second Arizona State recruit, SS Nolan Arenado will bolster the offense.
19. Klein (Texas)
LHP Matthew Purke will have a plethora of perks, due to the fact that he is the nation’s consensus top high-school prospect for this year’s draft. The Bearkats (what’s a Bearkat?) are talented and have three other seniors have committed to Division I programs with 3B Sam Landis and OF Tyler Boss heading to Louisiana Tech, and C Brandon Clark bound for New Orleans. Additionally, junior RHP Clayon Crum will try to make hitters look crummy as their No. 2 behind Purke.
20. Norco (Calif.)
Despite its name, NORCO is in SOCAL and the Cougars will be one of the favorites in their CIF Southern section. Almost the entire pitching staff returns for Norco. Top hurlers are Oh so Good… Matt Hobgood RHP/1B and RHP/SS Wes Hatton…both are Cal State Fullerton recruits. Senior RHP David Jones is a quality arm and should make this team a tough one to beat this year.