Prep Baseball Report

North Carolina Class of 2020 Rankings Updated

Brandon Hall
Executive Director, PBR NC

The 2020 class is just about through their 1st semester of their senior year and just about half of the players that will commit to play college baseball have committed.  With the fall tournament and event schedule completed, this is a great time for PBR to update our 2020 Rankings.  The Overall Rankings were updated at the beginning of November.  With a few events still on the docket PBR of North Carolina held off on the update of the state rankings until the completion of the Uncommitted Upperclass Games and several PBR Scout Days.

The 2020 class in North Carolina is strong at the top and has depth throughout the rankings.  The rankings expand from the top 250 to the top 275 players in the state with this release.  Just this past fall, PBR scouts evaluated over 300 players at PBR events, PBR Tournaments, workouts, and practices.  Many of these players were already in the PBR database allowing PBR scouts to attain more data and firm up or adjust their player evaluations. 

As a reminder, PBR of North Carolina rankings are set by PBR scouts from North Carolina.  PBR scouts work to add player grades and a confidence rating in that grade for as many players as possible through PBR events, HS games, practices, workouts, and any other way PBR Scouts can view talent.  Once the grades are applied in our background, player names are removed and players are sorted based on their player grade, confidence rating, and the stats attained.  From this sort, players are ranked and then the names are re-applied, allowing PBR Scouts to go through the list to make any needed adjustments.  This process leads to a lot of player debate and there is very rarely a unanimous decision on debates… all of this means the state of North Carolina is producing a lot of talent, and the state rankings can reflect how difficult it can be to dissect and distribute that talent into a list.  The PBR staff has a great mix of former college coaches, scouts, and high school coaches assisting with talent evaluation and the rankings process.  Below is the updated North Carolina Class of 2020 Rankings.


The North Carolina Class of 2020 Rankings

The top 10 does not see any new names but there was some movement inside the very top of the list.  Cannon Pickell (RHP, Currituck County HS) threw very well at the South Atlantic Border Battle, 88-92 and flashing at least average secondary stuff.  A North Carolina commit, Pickell is still maturing and there is arm speed present to go with his arm strength.  Pickell moved up two spots to No. 4.

Just outside the top 10, Jackson Kirkpatrick (RHP, McMichael HS) lands at No. 13, up 11 spots from his ranking posted in early August.  Kirkpatrick was dynamic at the PBR Top Prospect Games, flashing advanced stuff from a large 6-foot-7 frame.  Kirkpatrick was a member of Team Carolina at the 2018 PBR Future Games and the ceiling looked to be very high.  Kirkpatrick seems to have made a big first jump in his stuff and feel and there is the potential for much more to be in the tank as he gains full control of his body.  Kirkpatrick is a Western Carolina commit and is expected to be at the PBR ProCase in February.

Baxley Holshouser (RHP, Sanderson HS) may have made the biggest jump moving up from No. 149 to No. 97.  Holshouser attended the PBR College Campus ID – Greensboro event in October.  During his bullpen he flashed a heavy fastball up to 87 with a spin rate up to 2086 rpm.  The breaking ball showed late, power tilt with a spin rate of 2356 rpm.  PBR scouts have seen arm strength from Holshouser but the added information on his spin rate, along with good feel for his secondary stuff, bumped his player grade up from PBR scouts, leading to the big jump in the rankings.

New To The Rankings

Twenty-seven new players were added to the 2020 North Carolina Rankings.  The highest ranked new-comer is Jack Shaw (OF, Myers Park HS), coming in at No. 119.  Shaw was a standout at the Uncommitted Upperclass Games in early November.  A physical right-handed hitter, Shaw showed bat speed and barrel feel while also running a 6.90 sixty.  The performance during the pro-style was surpassed by his in game play, continuing to show advanced feel with power potential in a 6-foot-3, 195 pound frame.

Shaw’s high school teammate Adrian Sandoval (C/INF) and Connor Flanagan, a Home Schooled OF, took advantage of the Uncommitted Upperclass Games as well.  Sandoval is a true utility player with a strong arm from behind the dish and the ability to play on the infield.  Flanagan filled the stat sheet throughout the workout in High Point.  Each moved inside the top 185 on the rankings list.

(Adrian Sandoval)

(Connor Flanagan)

Several players in the newcomers list took advantage of PBR Scout Days with their organization.  The Scout Days allow PBR Scouts to evaluate players from individual programs with the assistance of the program and its staff.  These scout days also allow PBR to control some of the costs that may be passed along to players.  Of the 27 newcomers on the list, thirteen players updated their information through a scout day.


By The Numbers

  • 275 players are in the updated rankings, expanded from 250
  • 172 ranked players are committed
  • 27 players are new to the rankings list
  • 81 RHP and 27 LHP are in the top 275
  • 78 Infielders are in the top 275 with 42 of those listed as Shortstops
  • 37 Catchers make the list with 16 of those committed
  • 51 Outfielders are listed in the updated rankings
  • 11 Players are committed to East Carolina, the most of any school
  • 1 Player inside the Top 50 remains uncommitted

Previewing the Top 10

NEW Player HS POS College
1 Liam Norris Green Hope LHP North Carolina
2 Nolan McLean Garner RHP
3 Koen Moreno Panther Creek RHP ECU
4 Cannon Pickell Currituck Cty RHP UNC
5 Bryson Hammer Alexander Central LHP Clemson
6 Seth Keener East Surry RHP Wake Forest
7 Austin St. Laurent Western Alamance SS East Carolina
8 Landon Ginn Corinth Holders RHP ECU
9 Coby Ingle Rockingham County RHP NC State
10 Gus Hughes Grimsley RHP Charlotte


CLICK HERE to see the entire updated Top 275 in the North Carolina Class of 2020.