Inside The Rankings: 2018 Risers

By Justin Burgess
Florida Area Scout

The recent release of the 2018 Florida rankings highlighted some major changes to the top half of the list. This group of talented players now features young men who have really shown great progression in their game and performed well at some of the most prestigious events. Today, we will focus on players who were previously ranked but have made a big jump in the top 25. Here are the players who have shown the most improvement at the top end of the rankings:

Kristofer Armstrong, RHP, The Benjamin School
At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Armstrong possesses an athletic, projectable and loose frame with strength. Being a member of the USA team, he has been well-known around the state and is universally recognized as being one of the top right-handed arms in the state. That being said, Armstrong has jumped to the number three spot in Florida and now looks like the top pitcher in the state. He had a great showing in Jupiter where he showed excellent confidence and poise on the mound, a clean and easy delivery and sat 87-90 mph with an advanced curveball. We should expect his velocity to steadily rise throughout his high school career and should not be surprised if he commits in the near future.

Michael Bacica, RHP, Windermere Prep
Bacica stands at 6-foot-4, 175 pounds with a long, lean and projectable body. The North Carolina commit has already shown a steady increase in velocity as fastball has jumped from 84-86 mph early in year, to now being 86-89 mph. This jump in velocity combined with his frame has catapulted him into the number 10 spot in the rankings. We should only expect his velocity to increase he matures and adds weight. Bacica will be part of a strong pitching staff this spring and that give him early exposure to Major League scouts.

Blaze Alexander, SS, Bishop Verot
Coming in right behind Bacica at number 11, Alexander has made a big jump in the rankings. He possesses a lean and athletic body with wiry strength at 6-foot, 160 pounds. We have known that his arm strength is his best tool but we did not know how good it really was until he was recently clocked at 95 mph from shortstop. His plus arm strength is complimented by soft hands and an advanced approach at the plate. He has really swung the bat well over the past couple of months and recently committed to South Carolina. Look for Alexander to have a strong sophomore season in 2016.

McGuire Weaver, MIF, Tampa Jesuit
Weaver, like Alexander, has also made a big jump in the 2018 rankings. He jumped onto the scene in August when he ran a 6.4 in the 60 yard dash and proved to be one of the best runners in the class. More importantly, this fall the Florida State commit has shown the ability to handle the bat and cause problems for opposing teams with his speed. Weaver, who is now ranked 24th, will have a chance to climb even further in the rankings if he can become a big piece of the puzzle for a program like Jesuit.