Prep Baseball Report

North Carolina: Final Class of 2019 Rankings

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

This past weekend North Carolina crowned its final four champions from the 2019 high school season.  Later tonight, the MLB Draft kicks off with multiple players from North Carolina set to follow and see if their name is called. 

With all of that going on, it is a good time release our final North Carolina Class of 2019 Rankings.  The rankings cover the top 330 players in the state and sees most of the movement in the Top 50, where PBR scouts were out evaluating draft prospects and working to put final grades on players that may be selected by MLB teams in the coming week.

Blake Walston (LHP, New Hanover HS) may have made the biggest move in the rankings, not in total rank, but in the player grading system used to sort players.  His special season was in part due to his continued growth on the mound.  Up to 93 at times this spring, he was simply dominant with command of his fastball and feel for a potential out pitch in his curveball.  Walston’s frame can suggest risk, with a thin build, but also allows scouts to dream about his projection.  Walston has jumped into top round consideration and his commitment to North Carolina State will be tested in the next week.



CLICK HERE to see the full Draft HQ report on Blake Walston from PBR Scouts

Matt Willadsen (RHP, Holly Springs HS), another NC State commit makes the biggest move in the rankings from No. 30 to No. 2.  Willadsen is a multi-sport athlete who grew into his athletic frame and saw his fastball grow from touching the upper-80s to sitting 88-92 for most of the spring.  With feel for four pitches, and advanced command for his age, Willadsen drew pro scouts during the spring.  His move up the PBR rankings is due to the growth of his stuff, but also the projection left in his athletic frame that will continue to add strength to go with a very quick arm. 



Isaiah Bennett (RHP, Pine Forest HS) did not throw a pitch in 2019, yet continues to climb up the rankings ladder based on his athleticism and high ceiling.  Premium stuff is there, and PBR has seen him throw at an advanced level.  An injury in the spring of 2018 limited Bennett’s activity until he started throwing bullpens as part of his recovery.  The bullpens drew pro scouts, as they worked to see if the risk may be worth the reward.  Bennett is committed to North Carolina, and seems to be on the way to a full recovery from the arm issue.  The future grades on Bennett led to his move to No. 3 in the PBR 2019 North Carolina Rankings.

Chris Villaman (LHP, Ledford HS) has been locked into the No. 1 slot in North Carolina since Brennan Malone moved to FL for his senior year.  Villaman continues to show premium arm strength, with command of the fastball.  The grade on Villaman’s projection has not changed in the past 6 months, but some of the prospects around him have seen growth.  Villaman, a North Carolina State commit, could make a big jump in the coming years with increased production from his secondary stuff.  The fastball and fastball command are advanced at this point.



Other Names to Follow:

  • No. 6 Brett Banks (RHP, Garner HS) recently committed to Wake Tech CC and the big righty may see his name called in the coming days.  Up to 93, he is still raw in game situations, but there is a lot for a developmental organization to like.  The arm should continue to grow and there is no reason to think that Banks will not have a plus fastball in the coming years.
  • No. 11 Trey Tujetsch (RHP, Ardrey Kell HS) is a South Carolina commit.   While pro scouts were checking on Trey throughout the spring, he is probably a safe commit on the Gamecocks board.  The comp from PBR scouts, that NC residents may remember is Brett Kerry (RHP, Wesleyan Christian Academy, 2018) who was named to the All-Freshman team in the SEC for South Carolina this spring.  Tujetsch can pitch.  He moves the fastball around and has feel for both his breaking ball and change-up.  Time will tell what the future grades will be on his stuff, but his ability to use his current stuff is better than most 2019 graduates.
  • No. 13 Carson Whisenhunt (LHP, Davie County HS, 2019) was up and down a little in the spring with his stuff and his command.  When dialed in, he was simply electric.  When erratic, Whisenhunt did show an ability to compete and grind.  There are teams that saw him on both days and reports can vary from scout to scout.  An East Carolina commit, the Pirates would love to see him show up and continue to mature into the dominant force he flashed glimpses of during 2019.
  • No. 15 Ronald Evans (3B, Pro5 Academy) put up impressive numbers for most of the spring and finished with a bang as the MVP of the PBR Academy World Championships in Florida in May.
  • No. 26 Justin Poris (RHP, Mooresville HS) led the Blue Devils to the 4A State Title.  He started in their 1st 3 state playoff games and 5 of their 9 games in the tournament.   Named the Most Outstanding Player of the State Championship Series, Poris threw a complete game.  His stuff was down in the championship, touching 89 and working 85-88 but he has been up to 92 this spring.  Uncommitted at this time, there is interest from both pro scouts and college coaches.   


North Carolina Class of 2019 Rankings

1 Blake Walston New Hanover LHP North Carolina State
2 Matt Willadsen Holly Springs RHP North Carolina State
3 Isaiah Bennett Pine Forest RHP North Carolina
4 Chris Villaman Ledford LHP North Carolina State
5 Austin Pace Currituck County RHP North Carolina State
6 Brett Banks Garner Magnet RHP Wake Tech CC
7 Kyle Smith New Hanover C North Carolina
8 Cody Benton West Columbus RHP East Carolina
9 Tyler Driver Pro5 Academy RHP Charlotte
10 Xander Hamilton Broughton RHP Virginia Tech


CLICK HERE to see the full North Carolina Class of 2019 Rankings...