Rising Stars Preseason All-State: Quick Hits

Justin Goetz & Hudson Graham
PBR Georgia Staff

At PBR, we are always looking and thinking about the future of America’s Pastime. The 2027, 2028 classes are truly the future of the game and will continue the tradition of baseball excellence in this richly talented state. Each time a new class arrives, it could be the most legendary class. The facts are, there will be over 100 players out of each class that play at good colleges, and a shocking amount will go on to play professionally. This years Rising Stars was pure excitement and electricity.

2027, CF, Caleb Hudson, Carrollton
5-foot-9, 155 pounds. Coming off 2022 JFG’s where he had the most hits of any GA player in either age group, we had high expectations for Caleb at Rising Stars All-State. He performed even beyond what we hoped for, which seems to be a routine scenario for this young prospect. This is a player who is built differently, from both a physical and mental standpoint. In the past 8 months, he’s grown an inch in height and put on 10 lbs of lean muscle. With the new strength came a ridiculous jump in the run tool, as Hudson would currently be the 2nd fastest player in the 2025 class if you put him in it today. It’s just mind blowing to see an 8th grader with current ++ speed, as he will surely be beyond the scale before he leaves HS. With the consistent game show from his bat against top arms his age, we feel very confident in saying this is one of the best players in the class. He plays CF like he plays DB in football, with instincts, fluid hips, and precise routes. This is a future plus defender with a future plus arm and elite range, rounding out what looks to be one of the better 5 tool futures in the country for ‘27.

2028, CF, Dexter McCleon Jr, Buford
6-foot-3, 180 pounds. We haven’t deeply evaluated this class as they are very young, but I’d be shocked if there are more than a handful of players in the class on Dexter’s level nationally. When a player's tools across the board match up with talent 2-3 classes above, it’s safe to say that guy is a very rare talent. This is exactly the case with McCleon. He started off Rising Stars with a bang, gliding to a 6.86 60 yd with complete effortlessness. But it’s not just athleticism that allows him to make things look easy, he’s also advanced mechanically. The narrow base and minimal negative move allow him to create exceptional lower half momentum with no energy output, and he has a great feel for clearing his front hip in stride (as well as stacking the backside). His trigger and load work into launch position at perfect pace with the stride, creating textbook stretch/torque in hip/shoulder separation. There are current D1 hitters who don’t look this well sequenced mechanically, so you see why this name rings bells all across the state. He’s a rangy defender with the arm to match (T85), and is only going to get more athletic as he fills into the frame. This young baller also has the perfect role model (dad former SB Champ, Pro Bowler Dexter McCleon) to learn the discipline and training it takes to be a professional athlete.

2027, OF, Brock Holcombe, Lakeside Evans
5-foot-11, 145 pounds. This is the definition of a rare bat, and even basic baseball fans can tell once they see him launch a 91 EV pull side double with ease. Brock’s ability to turn the barrel in tight space is the best we’ve seen in the class so far, and it’s due to his high level swing mechanics, quick twitch fibers, and hand-eye coordination. To be able to impact the ball as well as he does in such a wiry frame doesn’t happen without special hitting traits. The hip hinge on the backside minimizes head movement and promotes linear connection, allowing him to land with perfect weight distribution. What frees up his hands on the inner half so well is the ability to clear the front hip in stride, despite no ground gained in the lower half. This combined with his innately timed upper half coil create a rubber band effect that releases with controlled violence post foot strike. It only means that Holcombe will have some ridiculous raw power as he gets stronger. The elasticity of his hip shoulder separation post landing is identical to some of the best left handed swings you see in the game today. The hands & elbows work effortlessly along the rib cage, creating a knob led path that peppers the inside seam for easy backspin. Due to the compactness in the swing, Holcombe is able to vary launch angles depending on pitch location and always stays inside the baseball. As we continue to evaluate the entire class, I don’t expect to see a more advanced bat than this. Regardless, he’s firmly entrenched as a top of the class bat with plenty of athleticism in all facets of his game.

2027, SS, Aden Rucker, Carrollton
5-foot-9, 155 pounds. The combo of Rucker and Hudson are going to terrorize pitching staffs for many years to come out of West Georgia. This is an extremely smooth operator who has an advanced feel for the game on all fronts. He felt no pressure to perform in Rising Stars, because he has a quiet confidence about him and knows what he can do on the diamond. Aden has the body type you look for at SS, high waisted and long levered and an athlete who makes the game look easy. The swing is very well timed and sequenced with solid repeatability in & out of launch position and consistent bat 2 ball skills. The effort level really stands out, and the feet move very well at SS despite being far from filling out the young frame. Rucker puts himself in a position to routinely work toward the bag on throws, and doesn’t waste time getting the ball out. The arm is very accurate, will get much stronger, and he shows the ability to throw from multiple arm slots. There is undoubtedly a big jump on the horizon for Rucker.

2027, SS, Isaiah Galason, Westfield
5-foot-8, 145 pounds. The best two words to tell the story of Galason’s game currently are quick & efficient. Despite only being at the ground floor of his eventual strength, he moves so efficiently that all actions are explosive. The most advanced tool he currently has is the speed, and it will only continue to increase due to genetics. Impact speed runs in the family, as his brother Kaden is a ++ runner in a D1 program. Isaiah’s swing path is more advanced mechanically at the same stage, making the outlook on his bat very good. To see the linear connection and knob led path at such a young age is highly encouraging, as most players this age need to be taught to involve the chest/core in the swing to take pressure off the upper half and increase efficiency. This future toolsy SS had the best footwork and exchange of anyone in the event, aggressively closing in on balls with confidence and a low center of gravity. He has a good chance of developing into a dynamic defender just like his older sibling, and showed off advanced arm strength with 79 mph IF velocity.

2028, SS/OF, Lio Garcia, North Gwinnett
5-foot-8, 135 pounds. Despite still being 13 and using a drop 5, Lio produced one of the most explosive rounds of BP. The swing mechanics carry power throughout the swing. The leg lick is timed up and he does an outstanding job of transferring weight in the swing. His hands are naturally quick, so when everything comes together he gets loud, consistent contact. He stays in his legs, and continues to produce power after initial contact. He was 85 from the OF and 75 from the INF, proving the raw arm speed and strength is there for Lio. He will continue to grow and fill out as he enters high school in a couple of years. The Dawgs will be getting an explosive player that surely will be able to produce at a young age.

2027, RHP/OF, Jayzen Johnson, Lumpkin County
5-foot-10 160-pounds. Johnson is beginning to mature physically, and really impressed in the mound. He was up to 82, and settled in at 78-81 with impressive spin metrics on the FB into the 2000’s. He knows how to produce power in his lower half, and will continue to tap into more strength in the next couple of years. His arm action is short and quick, and he does a good job of getting his chest over his front knee on the finish. His curveball was 61-64, and produced high spin with late break and impressive action. He mixed in his change up around 70, and proved to already have 3 pitches at a young age. Johnson also had an excellent BP round, and proved that he does a great job of transferring lower half power both on the mound and at the plate.

2027, OF/LHP, Braden Little, Gordon Lee
5-foot-6 130-pounds. One of the top overall athletes at the event really impressed with the smooth left handed swing. He stands tall, and gets into his lower half in his load with a clean finish. He posted an 82 exit velocity, and max distance of 283ft. His flat bat, and consistent level bat path will produce many hits in the years to come. In the outfield he gets to the ball well, and has the transfer and crow up figured out. The ball comes out of his hands well, and he showed mature ability to work behind and through the baseball to generate as much power as possible. Little will be an impact player in a years time at Gordon Lee.

2027, OF, Win Hoots, Westfield School
5-foot-11 146-pounds. Hoots posted the 3rd fastest 60 time at 6.98. Anything under 7 seconds is impressive and Win has already accomplished that at 14. With his frame and athletic ability we will see that time get lower and lower in the next couple of years. He had one of the simplest, and mature approaches at the plate. He has a wind stance and simple toe tap stride with a smooth and effortless swing. He will produce consistent contact, and make things happen with his feet. He is light on his feet and has a great arm action in the outfield.

2027, RHP/SS, Ryan Trout, North Oconee
5-foot-11 145-pounds. Trout showed really impressive delivery mechanics on the mound. He had everything timed up in the wind up, and showed one of the best arm actions of the day. He uses his long legs to get down the mound, and produce power throughout his delivery. He showed feel for all 3 pitches, and threw them with confidence and conviction. As he begins to fill out he will be another top arm for the Titans in the years to come. He also was a standout at the plate and in the infield. He transfers his weight well on his swing, and showed clean actions at SS.

2027, RHP, Tyson Ganas, Houston
5-foot-9, 135 pounds. This was quite a look out of Ganas at Rising Stars. This is a very athletic mover on the mound who works with intent and purpose from the second his delivery begins. Not only does he create good rhythm and tempo, but he’s a closed foot lander. A closed foot lander is a very athletic trait that you don’t see often, and allows a player to get more separation, torque, and rotational force as they work into a throwing position. The arm action + arm speed combo really stood out, and the writing is on the wall for this to be a very hard thrower in HS. He showed impressive life and feel for all 3 pitches. The FB showed a unique angle with running action and is sure to put fear in RHH his age. The CB had consistent shape with some sweep and late depth, and the CH showed a similar life to his FB when he stayed balance. As he learns to hip hinge & stack backside in stride, much more velocity will come quickly. Tyson has 2-3 mph in the arm minimum with that small mechanical adjustment in his current frame, and it will only tick up as he gets stronger. Nice follow here.

2027, RHP, Miles Norman, Parkview
5-foot-8, 115 pounds. Players like this just show how peculiar baseball is, as Norman has an identical delivery to 2023 Georgia Tech Commit RHP Tate McKee. Although it doesn’t mean he will become the same quality of prospect, this is one of the most encouraging signs you can find in a young player. Good athletes often have similar mechanics and mannerisms to players before them, and this is only a positive. It remains to be seen whether Miles will have the velocity to be that type of player, but his high spin CB (similar shape to McKee’s SL) is a very rare pitch and will allow him to get outs while we wait on the velocity. The biggest strength of his FB is the edge to edge run+sink that got up to 18.6 inches of HZB in the event. The angle his delivery creates combined with the FB life makes him tough to barrel vs either side hitters. Very interesting follow.

2028, RHP/C, Ander Elorriaga, Mt Pisgah
5-foot-8, 160 pounds. This is an exciting two way player with just as much talent behind the dish as he’s got on the hill. Ander has a powerful, somewhat stocky frame and some very unique characteristics as a RHP. He’s able to control the body at a high level already, and has a natural understanding of direction//sequence that you don’t typically see in a 7th grader. Ander stacks the backside in stride with an advanced hip hinge, and is able to create rotational power in the core while keeping his shoulders slightly closed until landing. This allows him to create violent rotational force for his age while still throwing strikes with consistent life. So not only is he producing connected explosiveness, but protecting his arm at the same time. He repeats the arm path at a high level with a rare scap load for his age. His glove tap before the hands break is something we love, as it creates a loose rhythm to start the path. The results are two pitches with exceptional life and spin rates for his age. The FB works in the 78-80 range with sudden bore at already better than avg MLB spin on a 4 seam. Just shocking. The SL at 69-71 has both sweep and depth and was up to 2574 RPM! This is over 100 RPM higher than the average MLB RHP SL. So you can see why we are so excited about him on the mound. He also had 2.14 - 2.26 range on the pop time, very advanced for his age.

2027, RHP, Jacob Biester, East Paulding
6-foot-3, 135 pounds. You don’t often see a middle schooler towering over adults at a showcase, but this is the scenario you get with Biester on the field. When talking to him about pitching, you can tell he’s very driven to make a future out of it. With the average height of an MLB SP already, you can see why pitching is his thing. We love to see a distinct sinker in such a young arm. His FB has all the traits of a pitch that hitters are going to beat into the ground inning by inning. This will both keep his pitch counts down, and keep his defense in the game. That type of pitcher is a coach's dream. Even better, this pitch has even more in the tank currently than what is coming out of the hand. As soon as Biester is able to keep his upper half over the rubber during the stride phase, his arm will be more connected with the largest muscles on the backside. This will produce more velocity, promote arm health, and produce more life on each SNK and offspeed pitch he throws. His CB in the mid 60’s shows distinct lateral shape, and his 70 mph CH is heavy and will play off the SNK very well in the future. Much more to come from this one.

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