Prep Baseball Report

Updated 2018 Florida Rankings Released

By Justin Burgess
Florida Area Scout

The 2016 high school season is flying by as we are already in the month of April and can see the playoffs on the horizon. Many seniors have solidified or improved their draft stock, some juniors are already on scouts’ radar, and sophomores and freshmen seem to contributing to their varsity squads in an unprecedented fashion. Over the last month we have released the updated 2016 and 2017 rankings, and now it is time to refresh the 2018 rankings and see what sophomores have really taken off in 2016.

This 2018 class in the state of Florida seems to be incredibly deep as this group boasts multiple prospects who are running their fastballs up into the low 90s, potential five-tool position players, and prospects who can just flat out swing the bat. An impressive 31 out of the top 50 players are already committed to Division I schools and a few more will certainly commit this summer and fall.

Headlining the Top 100 list is a pair of high-level outfielders as Connor Scott (Plant HS) and Elijah Cabell (Winter Park HS) are ranked one and two. Scott has been making noise since his freshman year as he hit at the top of the lineup and was able to take some pressure off of Kyle Tucker in 2015. With first-round picks Tucker and Jacob Woodford now gone, Scott is already leading a strong Plant team at the plate and on the mound. The Florida commit possesses an easy and smooth lefty stroke that seems to consistently barrel quality pitching and show some impressive power for his age. He also has plus speed and at least an above average arm from the outfield. From the mound he sits 85-88 mph and fills up the zone with above average breaking ball. Overall, Scott makes the game look easy, has a ton of upside, and has above average tools across the board.

Cabell is a physical specimen at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds with visible strength and plus bat speed. He made a name for himself in Jupiter this fall when he was turning around low 90s fastballs and putting his high energy-approach and eye-popping tools on display for hundreds of scouts and college coaches. Cabell already has the physical tools of a college player and will continue to improve with repetitions and learning to stay within himself. Although Cabell may not be quite as projectable as Scott, he still has a lot of upside and is a potential five-tool player in the future.

The next three players on the list are all pitchers. Kristofer Armstrong is another sophomore who shined down in Jupiter and proved to be the most polished arm in the class. The Florida commit sits in the 87-91 mph-range and fills up the zone with two plus off-speed pitches. Armstrong stands at 6-foot-3 and has an easy delivery with a clean arm action so his velocity should only improve with age and strength.

After Armstrong, LHP Jonathan Gates has made a big leap into the number four spot as he has really turned some heads this spring. The Miami commit has put on 20-30 pounds from last year and now fills up the zone with an 87-91 mph fastball. He also spins a plus curveball at 76-79 mph and throws a sharp slider for strikes at 81-82 mph.

LSU commit Levi Kelly comes in at No. 5 and is another player who has had an impressive spring thus far. The IMG Academy standout has sat 87-91 and touched 92-93 mph all spring and has shown off three above average off speed pitches. He possesses a big 12/6 curveball, a sharp slider, and a changeup that is very difficult to distinguish from his fastball out of his hand. Kelly is a physical and durable RHP at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and he may end up being the first player in the 2018 class to be touching 95 mph.

Top 10 2018 Florida Rankings:

1 Connor Scott FL Plant 2018 OF Florida
2 Elijah Cabell FL Winter Park 2018 OF  
3 Kristofer Armstrong FL Benjamin 2018 RHP Florida
4 Jonathan Gates FL Nature Coast Technical 2018 LHP Miami
5 Levi Kelly FL IMG Academy 2018 RHP Louisiana State
6 Lyon Richardson FL Jensen Beach 2018 RHP  
7 David Luethje FL Vero Beach 2018 RHP Florida
8 Alec Sanchez FL Providence 2018 SS Florida State
9 Xavier Edwards FL Trinity Christian Academy 2018 SS Vanderbilt

>> CLICK HERE to View Complete Top 100 Florida 2018 Rankings