Initial Kentucky Class of 2026 Rankings

Jamie Tessoff/Chris Fuller
PBR Kentucky Staff

After multiple events this Summer and Fall the time has come to release the initial Class of 2026 rankings. This is shaping up to be a deep and talented group of players not only in Kentucky but throughout the country. Two Kentucky Junior Future Games participants have already committed to Tennessee and Louisville respectively, and there may be more committed in the near future. 

As always, when ranking young classes, the rankings will change significantly as we see more players from the class and others continue to develop as baseball players. We will revisit these rankings following 

CLICK HERE to view the initial top 30

For now, here is an in-depth look at the current top five. 

spaldingRHP/3B NoahSpalding sits at the top of the class as an uber-talented two-way player. The 6-foot-2, 185 pound Spalding works an 85-86 mph fastball that has been up to 88, a low-70’s slider, and a changeup at 76-78 that is arguably his best pitch producing a lot of swing-and-miss. The Marion County freshman might be a better hitter though when it’s all said and done. Spalding put on a batting practice display at Lakepoint this summer as a member of Team KY at the Junior Future Games, launching baseballs out of the park. The sky is the limit for the young RHP/3B who is going to be fun to watch moving forward. 

mcleanLHP Cole McLean occupies the No. 2 spot in the rankings. McLean  followed up his dominant high school season with an outstanding summer and turned heads at The Junior Future Games with a thoroughly dominant outing against Florida. Multiple power five schools inquired about him and it was early in the fall when the young southpaw verbally committed to Tennessee. With a Fastball up to 84 mph to go along with a wipeout 12/6 curveball and effective changeup, the ceiling is high for the young lefty moving forward.

gibsonRHP/OF Gary Gibson is another talented two-way player who sits in the No. 3 spot. Gibson, who has the makings of being dominant, both on the mound and at the plate, has been up to 87 mph on the with a knee buckling 76-78 mph slider. At 6-foot, 170-pounds, he will continue to fill out his wiry/athletic frame. The freshman has an aggressive approach at the plate with a power element to his game. Multiple power five programs are already interested in the talented Gibson. Look for him to take another step forward this spring as he will certainly be a player to watch on a very talented Sayre squad. 

loyAt 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, RHP Griffin Loy checks in at No. 4. The recent Louisville commit features an extremely quick arm and possibly the most upside in the class. Already into the mid 80’s on the mound and starting to get things in sync, there can still be some command issues at times, but ultimately, the arm is electric, and there is much more velocity in the tank. Loy is still figuring out how to use his long levers, something that’s common for a young player his size, and it would not be surprising in the least to see a dominant arm on the mound in the spring for Somerset HS.

hamptonEli Hampton, from Owensboro High School, rounds out the Top 5. Hampton follows in the footsteps of a long line of talented catchers from The Commonwealth, and before it’s all said and done, he may be in the conversation with the best of them. An excellent receiver behind the plate with a high baseball IQ, Hampton already possesses big power as evidenced by the six home runs he hit as an eighth grader on the Red Devils varsity squad. Hampton is surely a name to follow in The Bluegrass as he continues to mature into an already well rounded game.