Prep Baseball Report

NC Insider: Updated Class of 2019 Rankings

By Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

It has been just over four months since the last update to the 2019 class rankings for North Carolina.  In that time, PBR has been scouring the state to watch talented players from the mountains to the coast.  Many players have emerged.  Many players have taken steps forward as their bodies begin to mature and their strength begins to take hold. 

During the high school season PBR averaged viewing right at ten games per week.  The summer yielded tournaments across the state with PBR scouts in attendance.  PBR also ran scout days with organizations state wide, continuing to seek and search for talent with a boots-on-the-ground mentality. 

There were many shifts to the 2019 rankings, including expanding the list to the Top 175.  Inside the top 40, saw eight new players with over 40 total new additions to the expanded rankings.  With all the changes, the top three remained consistent.  Brennan Malone (RHP, Porter Ridge HS) maintained his top ranking, running his fastball up to 94 at key national events.  The big righty has continued to progress and impress on the summer circuit.  Chris Villaman (LHP, Ledford HS) held steady at No. 2, but made big jumps this summer, running his overall ranking into the Top 10 in the latest release.  The same can be said for No. 3 Isaiah Bennett (RHP, Pine Forest HS) who turned some heads at the Area Code Games Underclass in San Diego. 

Inside the top 30, several position players made jumps.  Hite Merrifield (OF, Davie County HS) has continued to grow and add quickness to his game.  A rangy body, there is ease to his tool set.  Patrick Alvarez (SS, Myers Park HS) has continued his steady play, showing an advanced ability at shortstop.  Both players have good tool sets, but it is their ability to show up day after day and game after game, playing with a consistency that has moved their player grade up. 

The biggest mover in the new rankings may have been Tyler Driver (RHP, Crossroads Flex School).  Driver attended the PBR Top Underclass Games in early August.  Projection still exists in an arm that is touching 90 and working 87-88, while pumping strikes

Tyler Driver - August of 2017


Inside the top 10, there are only two players that remain uncommitted.  Austin Pace (RHP, Currituck HS) is an imposing figure on the bump at 6-foot-10.  The ability to control the body over the rubber and throw strikes may be more impressive.  Up to 88, the ceiling is extremely high.  Ethan Blanchard (RHP, Northwest Guilford HS) was extremely impressive at the PBR Future Games, pitching for Team Mid-Atlantic in early August.  Pitch-ability and movement was impressive while the frame and arm action scream more is coming soon. 

Ethan Blanchard - August 2017


The process of putting together the state-wide rankings is one that PBR takes very serious.  Its team of scouts are working to watch and cover as many players as possible.  PBR works to put evaluations and player grades on talent from across the state, when enough of the player is seen to add a grade.  Each month the player grades are sorted and internal rankings are shared and adjusted.  At the time for the new release, PBR will go through each player that has received a player grade and work to make adjustments to the rankings.  The rankings are ever-evolving as players continue to work and get better.  PBR will also be working to see more players in the coming months through fall games, workouts, practices, and PBR events. 


Updated on Aug 25, 2017

1 Brennan Malone NC Porter Ridge HS 2019 RHP North Carolina
2 Chris Villaman NC Ledford 2019 LHP North Carolina State
3 Isaiah Bennett NC Pine Forest 2019 RHP North Carolina
4 Ray Torres NC IMG Academy 2019 C Louisiana State
5 Cody Benton NC West Columbus 2019 RHP East Carolina
6 Austin Pace NC Currituck County 2019 RHP
7 Tim Cao NC Northwest Guilford 2019 RHP North Carolina State
8 JD Brock NC William Amos Hough 2019 LHP Clemson
9 Ethan Blanchard NC Northwest Guilford 2019 RHP
10 Caleb Cozart NC Wesleyan Christian Academy 2019 RHP North Carolina

>> Click Here for the complete list of Top 175 players in the NC 2019 Class.