Updated Class of 2019 Rankings

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

The winter provides players with time away from the field and a time to continue to improve their game without wearing their bodies down with a hectic schedule of travel and games.  Towards the end of the winter season, PBR begins to run some events to allow players to update their profiles as well as compete next to players from across the state that have elevated their game.  As the high school season begins, it is time to update player rankings, starting with the 2019 class.

The 2019 class rankings extend out to 330 players.  While there is not a ton of shuffling throughout the rankings, there were some players that elevated their status in a big way entering the high school season.  PBR’s scouts were on hand at the PBR ProCase, the PBR North Carolina Preseason All-State, as well as a couple of other events.  Scouts were also on the road early to see high teams workout and play.

Compiling that information did not change much inside the top 5 of the rankings with Ledford lefty Chris Villaman remaining in the top spot.  Villaman actually created a little more separation between his slot and the rest of the pack with his performance at the PBR ProCase.  Up to 92 mph, Villaman flashed much improved feel for his breaking ball and slider.  The slider is a weapon that will continue to develop.

(FEB 2019)


Two other arms took big jumps with their performances at the PBR ProCase.  Pro5 Academy right hander Tyler Driver moved into the top 10 with Garner righty Brett Banks.  Driver has continued to work on his arm action, creating a much cleaner stroke and more consistency in his release window.  A long frame with projection still left, the 90 mph fastball will grow and could grow very quickly.  Driver has added a slider in the past year as well, that is a swing and miss pitch.  The room was very quiet during his bullpen in Kernersville while he pounded the zone.

(FEB 2019)


Banks is the top uncommitted player on the list.  There is still some rawness to his game on the mound, but the pure physical arm strength is present and he shows some feel for a breaking ball and change-up.  Not all of these tools have translated to game situations yet, but it is easy to see the stuff translating in a big way in the near future.

(FEB 2019)


At No. 9 is Broughton RHP/OF, Xander Hamilton.  Hamilton may have the best slider in the state and a physical frame.  A Virginia Tech commit, he is close to back-end ready with the slider and a fastball running up to 90 with some ease.  A potential dual player in college, Hamilton showed some pop at the PBR Super 60 in Chicago, as well as on the mound in Chicago and Kernersville.

(FEB 2019)


Nick Neal is new to the 2019 rankings, but he is a known commodity by now in North Carolina.  Neal classed back to the 2019 class after the fall season and committed to attend Walters State CC in Tennessee.  Big power and athleticism exists in a large frame.  Neal will be followed this spring and should have a big decision coming with pro teams showing interest.

(AUG 2018)



North Carolina 2019 Rankings By The Numbers:

  • 9 of the Top 10 are committed
  • 47 of the Top 50 are committed
  • 20 players are committed to ACC schools
  • 11 players are committed to Lenoir-Rhyne inside the rankings, leading all schools
  • 10 players are committed to NC State and to UNC Wilmington
  • 13 players made a jump of at least 10 spots in the rankings
  • 9 players are making their 1st appearance in the 2019 rankings


North Carolina Class of 2019 Rankings

1 Chris Villaman NC Ledford 2019 LHP North Carolina State
2 Kyle Smith NC New Hanover 2019 C North Carolina
3 Austin Pace NC Currituck County 2019 RHP North Carolina State
4 Cody Benton NC West Columbus 2019 RHP East Carolina
5 Blake Walston NC New Hanover 2019 LHP North Carolina State
6 Isaiah Bennett NC Pine Forest 2019 RHP North Carolina
7 Tyler Driver NC Pro5 Academy 2019 RHP Charlotte
8 Brett Banks NC Garner Magnet 2019 RHP
9 Xander Hamilton NC Broughton 2019 RHP Virginia Tech
10 Nick Neal NC Randleman 2020 1B Walters State CC


To see the updated and complete Class of 2019 Rankings… CLICK HERE