Colorado Top 50 Countdown: No. 35 Ralston Valley Mustangs


John Cackowski and PBR Colorado Staff
Director of Scouting

 

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Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage. 

Like any preseason ranking for any sport, last year our list created a lot of fun conversations, debate, and opinions among players, coaches, and families. To see what we got right, and what we got wrong in 2017 Click Here

What makes our list unique is it combines all classifications (1A through 5A), and leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage.

Factors that are considered when creating the Top 50 List are the following:

- How many current players are returning that are in PBR Colorado rankings
- How many overall players committed or non-committed are returning
- How many starting pitchers are returning
- Success the previous season
- History of success in the program

* We expect the teams in the Top 50 Countdown will compete for at least a district playoff spot in 2018

Team No. 35: Ralston Valley Mustangs

2018 Preseason Rank: 35
2017 Preseason Rank: 13
2017 Record: 12-9
Conference: 5A Jeffco
CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach: Brad Madden
2017 Playoff Run: Lost to Mountain Vista 5A Region 7 District Championship Game 2-0
2017 Final Rank: 30
Returning Offensive Starters: 2
Returning Pitchers: 5
Returning Innings on Mound: 24
Returning RBI's returning: 60

STAT RAT: 
The underrated strength of the Mustangs in 2017 was pitching. The team had a 3.37 overall GPA in the 5A Jeffco League known for short fences and a lot of homeruns. Only 24 innings of experience come back in 2018.    

X-FACTORS: 
A lot of seniors graduated from the 2017 squad. Levensteins and Jergensen will be expected to carry the offense. Lost a lot of pitching to graduation. Calvin Hunt has the talent to help the pitching staff. 

BOTTOM LINE: 
The Mustangs have had 4 different head coaches since 2014, but they got a good one in Brad Madden to lead the way in 2018. Madden owns 3 state championship rings from coaching at Golden, and Green Mountain. The Mustangs program has always had some strong talent, and though they graduated a lot of seniors from 2017, and the unexpected loss of Arizona State commit C Luke Leisenring graduating early, there is no one better to jump start a program like Madden. Expect the Mustangs to have success in 2018 and be a team no one wants to play when district playoffs come. 

Key Player Lost

 

Luke Leisenring C / SS / Ralston Valley, CO / 2018

Arizona State commit, Leisenring graduated high school early in December and started his Arizona State career this spring. A 6-foot-3, 190 pounds switch hitting catcher, Leisenring keeps it simple from both sides of the plate. Stands tall, short stride, minimal load and swing is repeated from both sides. Level through the zone and slightly uphill. Right side is his power side. Left side is line drive power through the middle of infield. Right side more gap to gap. Produced a 93 mph exit velo from left side, and 94 mph exit velo from right side off the tee. Advanced catching skills, especially for his size. Beats the ball and is soft when receiving. Blocks ball well. On throw downs is quick out of the crouch, over the top arm slot which is a quick glove to hand exchange. Pop-times were 1.88-1.92 off a coach. Last spring Leisenring hit .355 last spring with 6 homeruns and 20 RBI's. 

 

 


Key Players Returing

 

Nik Levensteins LHP / Ralston Valley, CO / 2018

6-foot-1, 185 pounds. Committed to North Georgia College. Last year had a strong offensive year leading the Mustangs in homeruns (7), and RBI's (25). Also hit .439 on the season with an impressive 1.381 OPS. Will be looked upon in 2018 to shoulder the load in the lineup. 

 

 

 

 

 

AJ Jergensen OF / Ralston Valley, CO / 2019

6-foot-5, 195 pounds. Bats and throws right. Big presence at the plate. Last year in 74 at-bats hit .392 and was second on team with 21 RBI's. Has pop in bat with 2 homeruns. Look for Jergensen to step up in the lineup and be a key contributor offensively in 2018. 

 

 

 

 

Players Who Could Make An Impact

 

 

 

Calvin Hunt RHP / 3B / Ralston Valley, CO / 2019

6-foot-3, 170-pound right hand hitting RHP/3B.  In the field he plays a solid first base.  He shows good instincts and placement.  He has athletic feet and gets into proper throwing position and delivers an accurate 84 MPH ball across the diamond.  On the mound he works two very efficient innings at the TPG.  He uses a small rocker step to get to a high balanced position and then sinks and drive to the plate.  His landing is in-line with the plate and he throws off two feet.  Arm slot is high ¾ and his arm is loose through delivery.  Fastball was consistent at 83 MPH and he showed good command and placement in the zone.  He mixed in two off speed pitches to keep hitters off balance.  His curve was 71 MPH with sharp 11/5 break.  He also showcased a 73 MPH change with late sink in the zone.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trey Adams SS / 2B / Ralston Valley, CO / 2019

6-foot-0, 170-pound right hand hitting SS/2B who ran a 7.00 60.  At the plate he starts with a wide stance and a slow load to the back side.  Hands are lightning quick and swing path is level.  During the live round he hit several hard into the left center gap.  Exit Velocity was 90 MPH.  In the field he is comfortable at either MIF position.  He showed good athletic actions and quick hands.  He throws from a high ¾ arm slot with a quick release, arm velocity was 83 MPH across the diamond. Last spring in