Prep Baseball Report

Updated NC Class of 2019 Rankings

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

As the high school season is under way it is time to re-visit the PBR Rankings within the state of North Carolina.  While many players take down time from the fall into the spring, there is not a lot of movement in the rankings, but PBR’s staff was active, and able to see a lot of players in December, January, and February as the spring approached.

We have a new No. 1 in the 2019 player rankings.  Chris Villaman (LHP/OF, Ledford HS) takes over the top spot as Brennan Malone (RHP, Porter Ridge HS) slides to No. 2.  The move is more about the continued development of Villaman as his athleticism continues to poor into his efforts on the mound.  At the PBR Procase in February, Villaman, an NC State commit was still working into form and threw a very controlled bullpen for 30+ professional scouts, sitting 88-90, controlling three pitches and showing an ability to move the fastball in and out.  As he has moved into the spring season he has continued to pound the strike zone, attacking hitters.  The fastball has been up to 93 in front of PBR scouts and there are reports of similar, if not better, velocity this spring.  Projection exists as the mature frame continues to develop power and quickness, and the premium stuff should continue to get better.



Malone is a power armed righty, that could very easily flip back-and-forth with Villaman over the next year.  While the command and secondary stuff lags behind that of Villaman, the fastball is electric with a very high ceiling.  A physical presence at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds the future fastball should develop into an elite pitch that may allow Malone to reach any goal he sets for himself.  The control and command should continue to develop, but may not be advanced in the near future.  His secondary stuff will begin to become more consistent as the fastball, and his arm speed, begin to settle in the coming years.

Two other players made significant jumps in the recent rankings as Ronald Evans (3B, Pro5 Academy) and Noah Burnette (1B, Pisgah HS) showed really well in the late fall and early spring.  Evans attended the PBR Future Games in August and battled a fracture in his wrist, while still showing strength and quickness.  As he got back to full speed, the complete player he has a chance to become was on display at the PBR Preseason All-State event in late January.  PBR has recorded a 7.10 sixty and an exit velocity of 99 mph, with wood.



Burnette is a physical 6-foot-2, 213 pound 1B that has committed to Catawba Valley CC.  Jumping into the rankings in November after PBR saw him at an event at Spartanburg Methodist, Burnette’s athleticism impressed PBR staff at the Preseason All-State event in January.  The feet are fairly nimble for  a big body and the bat speed is aggressive and quick through the zone.  Burnette is a true power bat that may put up big power numbers as he continues to mature.

Updated and expanded to the Top 225 players in North Carolina, the new rankings include 26 players making their initial appearance in the rankings. Inside the Top 25, only two players remain uncommitted.  Overall 54 of the Top 100 remain uncommitted at the time of the rankings release. 

The PBR staff covers players across North Carolina by attending events, games, practices, and hosting our own workouts.  Every player that the PBR staff is comfortable putting a player grade on, will receive one, along with a confidence rating on that grade.  Obviously the more a scout sees a player, the higher the confidence in the rating. 

Once players receive a grade, they are sorted and ranked based on the grade.  The PBR staff will pour through the sorted list for any adjustments that may need to be made, along with talking through players with similar grades.  The rankings are updated every quarter, if not a little more often.  The North Carolina rankings lead to the PBR Overall Rankings and eventually some of the PBR Draft coverage.


1 Chris Villaman Ledford LHP North Carolina State
2 Brennan Malone Porter Ridge RHP North Carolina
3 Isaiah Bennett Pine Forest RHP North Carolina
4 Cody Benton West Columbus RHP East Carolina
5 Austin Pace Currituck County RHP North Carolina State
6 Xander Hamilton Broughton RHP Virginia Tech
7 JD Brock Hough LHP Clemson
8 Tim Cao Northwest Guilford RHP North Carolina State
9 Caleb Cozart Wesleyan Christian Academy RHP North Carolina
10 Ronald Evans II Crossroads Flex / Pro5 Academy 3B

CLICK HERE to see the entire list - Expanded to the Top 225.