Class of 2016 Rankings Update: Top Five Revealed

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

With the outdoor baseball season coming to a close for the 2014 year, we will be releasing our updated class of 2016 rankings tomorrow. Yesterday, we reviewed the prospects who hold down spots six through ten on our list. Today, we move on to the top five.

5. Jake Jessell, C/RHP, Woodland Hills
Jessell features a prototypical catcher's build (6-foot, 220-pounds) with solid arm strength (79-mph from the crouch), a quick release, and the ability to clock a sub-2.0 pop time. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a simple, repeatable swing with good bat speed and raw power. Committed to Pitt, Jessell pitched in the upper-80s, touching 90-mph, while representing Team PA at the 2013 PBR Future Games.

4. Nolan Jones, RHP/IF, Holy Ghost Prep
Having grown four inches and added nearly twenty pounds over the past year to a frame that now stands at 6-foot-4, 185-pounds, Jones is one of the biggest risers in our rankings. The Virginia commit's long, lean levers generate a mid- to upper-80s fastball with more in the tank out of a 3/4-slot, while he also has shown good command of a hard slurve. The left-handed hitter has a smooth stroke with gap power and is a solid runner (4.44 home-to-1B) using long, easy strides.

3. Connor Yoder, RHP, East Pennsboro
Yoder's 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame draws attention even before he pumps one of his upper-80s fastballs out of a high-3/4 slot or his potential power slider at 77-78. The Virginia Tech commit repeats his delivery well and completes his four-pitch mix with a low-70s curveball and a mid-70s change-up for which he has demonstrated some feel while representing Team PA at the 2014 PBR Future Games.

2. J.J. Bleday, LHP/OF, Titusville
A Vanderbilt commit, Bleday is a superior athlete who runs a 6.9 60-yard dash and throws 92-mph from the outfield. He has good rhythm to his left-handed stroke with a chance to provide some power (91-mph exit velocity). On the mound, Bleday features a hammer curveball and solid change-up, gets downhill very well with a mid-80s fastball, and has plenty of projection remaining in his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame.

1. Max Kranick, RHP, Valley View
Kranick's performances on the big stage situate him atop our rankings heading into his junior season. He struck out all six hitters he faced in an outing for the Yankees at the 2014 Area Code Games in which his fastball topped at 91-mph. Later that month, the Virginia recruit came out of the bullpen for Marucci Elite at the Metropolitan Baseball Classic and did not disappoint. Standing at 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, he pitched with a quick, abbreviated action from a high three-quarter slot, filling up the zone (68 percent strikes) and punching out six in three innings. His fastball touched 90-mph, while sitting 87-89 with occasional arm-side run, and had life up in the zone. He also effectively mixed in a curveball at 76-77.

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