Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 1 North Gwinnett

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

The Georgia High School Association has announced that opening day of the 2020 season will commence on Feb. 10. Programs were allowed to begin practicing in an official capacity on Jan. 13, meaning it's time for the PBR Georgia staff to break down the high school baseball scene in the state in the countdown to the first pitch thrown in 2019.Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we will be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2019 spring season, touching on programs spanning multiple state classifications, counting down the official PBR Georgia Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Our Preseason Power 25 rankings coverage starts today.

Team: North Gwinnett
Preseason Rank:
2019 Record:
Region: 6-7A 
2019 Region Finish: 1st
GHSA Classification: 7A
Head Coach: Ryan Moity
Playoff Run: Semifinals
Returning Starters: 8
Returning Pitchers: 7

KEy Players Lost
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Michael Borah GA North Gwinnett 2019 MIF North Georgia
TOP Players
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Corey Collins GA North Gwinnett 2020 C Georgia
Josh Shuler GA North Gwinnett 2020 OF South Carolina
John Anderson GA North Gwinnett 2020 INF Georgia Tech
Brandt Pancer GA North Gwinnett 2020 RHP Stanford
Jarrett Burney GA North Gwinnett 2020 MIF  
Cole Smith GA North Gwinnett 2020 MIF  
Coulson Buchanan GA North Gwinnett 2021 RHP  
Top Newcomers
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Max Luke GA North Gwinnett 2020 RHP/1B 
Michael Massey GA North Gwinnett 2021 RHP  

The bullpen. The Bulldogs have a wealth of talent in rotation, on offense and defense. What will make or break their season will be the bullpen's ability to perform. There is not one player who make the difference, it will take a collective effort from a number of different arms for North Gwinnett to reach their full potential.

North Gwinnett is the preseason No.1-ranked team in the state, one of the top teams in the country, for good reason. The Bulldogs have top end talent all over the field from their pitchers to their position players. The pitching staff will be led by, once again, by RHP Brandt Pancer (2020; Stanford). Pancer stands 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, athletically built with broad shoulders. The right-hander has an easy effort delivery and can work into the low-90s with his lively fastball, sitting in the 87-90 mph range. He effectively mixes in a tight breaking ball and changeup. 

Brandt Pancer

RHP Coulson Buchanan (2021) was an influential member of the pitching staff a season ago, and is back in the rotation once member. Buchanan is an athletic prospect at 5-foot-10, 160-pounds. He is able to work his fastball into the upper-80s. What really sets him apart are his secondary pitches. His slider has good two-plane break with hard, biting action, a true swing and miss type pitch. He can then fool you with a looping 12/6 curveball. 

Coulson Buchanan

Also providing support to the staff will be returning players RHP John Kirchner (2020), RHP/OF Cameron Speicher (2020), and LHP Anthony Turner (2021). Kirchner is a long, lanky 6-foo-2, utilizing his length well and quick arm to get out front and gain extension towards home. The right-hander works in the upper-80s with a 12/6 curveball that has depth to it. Similarly built, Turner is just starting to come into his own physically and on the mound. He presently sits in the mid-80s but there is much more in the tank given his physical build. The improvement in his breaking ball is very noticeable from last spring to the fall, increasing valuable for the Bulldogs.

John Kirchner

The pitching staff received a big boost from two transfers this season. RHP Michael Massey (2021) arrives from Buford and RHP/1B Max Luke (2020) made the move from New York to North Gwinnett. Massey is an extra large 6-foot-5, 180-pounds and still physically developing. He can work his fastball in the mid-80s with much more to come. Luke is a big, strong prospect, standing 6-foot-3, 210-pounds. He has a power approach in all facets with a fastball that sits 85-88 and a 12/6 breaking ball that shows depth.

Max Luke

Offensively, the Bulldogs will have no problem scoring runs with two of the state's top prospects: C Corey Collins (2020; Georgia) and OF Josh Shuler (2020; South Carolina). The left-handed hitting Collins had a huge spring, proving he is one of the best bats and power hitters in the state. He swings a powerful stick, and has demonstrated serious power potential in game play throughout his high school career. Behind the dish, he has considerable arm strength.

Corey Collins

Similarly, Shuler is widely regarded as one of the top bats and power hitters in the state. He is an explosive athlete at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds. His power is undeniable, as any pitch that he gets the barrel on goes a long way. Even on mishits he generating high level exit velocities. 

Josh Shuler

The offense was elevated by the arrival of INF/RHP John Anderson (2020; Georgia Tech) from Grayson. Anderson is simply one of best hitters in the 2020 class. His innate ability to find the barrel make it nearly impossible to pitch around him. With three of the top hitters in the state of Georgia, the Bulldog offense will be very tricky to plan for. 

Aiding in the offensive efforts will be MIF Cole Smith (2020) and INF Jarrett Burney (2020). Smith plays the game with a high IQ and has good strength at the plate. He was a standout performer all summer long at LakePoint when he got our eyes on him. Burney has a strong, athletic build at 5-foot-10, 175-pounds. He excels defensively with good range, soft hands and plenty of arm. At the plate, he has shown solid bat speed and strength when he gets his legs going.

Cole Smith

There is no easy out in this North Gwinnett lineup, and they can hurt you from any spot. Defensively, they have loads of experience and know how to play the game with smart ball players. Being led by some of the top players in the country, the team is focused and knows what job must be done. On top of all this, they have impact arms at the starting pitcher position. The one question that may need answering is whether or not the bullpen will hold up due to its lack of experience. However, given their pitching staff's talent, they will have plenty of depth. This is the Bulldogs year to capture the 7A crown.

Make sure to follow @PBRGeorgia on Twitter for the most-up-to-date coverage throughout the 2020 season.

Find more information on the 2020 Bulldogs below:

+ Full Schedule
+ Team Website
+ Team Twitter

Preseason Power 25 Countdown