Prep Baseball Report

Updated NC Class of 2020 Rankings

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

At the end of the fall season, we began the process of updating the rankings of North Carolina players.  We started with the 2019 class, and moved to the 2021 class.  Today we release our final update, the 2020 class.

Characterized by PBR National Crosschecker, Shooter Hunt as the deepest class in high school right now, the 2020 class has big depth in North Carolina.  As we continue to follow the class, we may see as many as 10 players work their way into high draft grades for the 2020 MLB Draft.  As is the case with any rankings list of high school players, there is still a lot of development and a lot of baseball to be played before any final decisions are made.

The top three in the updated rankings remain unchanged.  Liam Norris (LHP, Green Hope HS) is the only one of the three that is committed as he is planning to attend UNC.  Nolan McLean (RHP/INF, Garner HS) is still working through a recruiting process that also has a dual sport component.  At No. 3 is Nick Neal (1B, Randleman HS) who made a huge jump at the PBR Future Games in August. 

The biggest move on the rankings list came from RHP Cannon Pickell (Currrituck County HS).  Moving from No. 36 to No. 5, Pickell also decided to commit to North Carolina after a strong start to his fall season, including the Border Battle at Holly Springs, covered by PBR scouts.  Pickell showed maturity in a strong frame on the mound.  He was able to attack good hitters with a firm fastball to both sides of the plate.  As good as the present stuff was, the projection allowed scouts and coaches to dream about a big future for the right hander.

(Cannon Pickell)


The highest ranked new comer to the 2020 class rankings is Seth Keener (RHP, East Surry HS).  Keener took a lot of his summer to clean up some deficiencies on the mound while adding strength to his frame.  At his coming out party at the Open Scout Day at Myers Park, Keener impressed with stuff and efficiency.  The righty has continued to prioritize his development and may be in for a lot of attention this spring.

(Seth Keener)


In total, the 2020 class rankings expand from 150 to the top 175 players in North Carolina.  While there was not a lot of shifting from ranked players, forty one new players join the rankings.  Many of the newcomers attended one of several scout days or open ID workouts in the fall, while others were identified after a PBR scout saw them at a workout, game, or other event.  PBR’s scout will continue to be out this winter and into the spring season working to bring information on the state’s top players to coaches, scouts, and fans.

Notes on Newcomers Inside the Top 100

+ Zane Taylor (OF/RHP, Pro5 Academy) impressed in his workout at Campbell at The Performance Academy Open Scout Day.  Fastball up to 89 while also running a 6.88 sixty and producing an exit velocity of 89 mph off the bat. 

+ Daniel Stephens (SS, Pro5 Academy) also showcased well at The Performance Academy Open Scout Day at Campbell.  Stephens is an advanced defender with a plus arm at 91 mph across the diamond.  Still developing, he ran a 7.10 sixty.

(Daniel Stephens)


+ Crawford Wade (LHP, Myers Park HS) caught the attention of scouts in attendance as he completed his warm-up process, touching 86 on a shuffle throw off the mound.  As he settled into his bullpen routine, arm strength was present while the delivery is still developing.  The ceiling may be high for the 6-foot-4 lefty.

+ Brendan Bagwell (C/RHP, South Mecklenburg HS) had a very busy workout at the Greensboro Prospect ID.  Behind the dish, Bagwell showed advanced carry at 80 mph out of the crouch with a pop time of 1.93 in the workout.  From the outfield the arm peaked at 85 mph out of the hand with accuracy.  A right handed hitter, he showed carry with an exit velocity of 89 mph off the barrel.  Bagwell also worked out on the mound, attacking the zone, up to 83. 

(Brendan Bagwell)


+ Rudd Ulrich (OF/LHP, Lake Norman HS) increased his stock with a solid performance at the CBA Copperhead Scout Day.  A good athlete, Ulrich ran a 6.89 sixty and produced an exit velocity of 87 mph off the barrel.  From the outfield the arm worked with some ease and a positional velocity of 86 mph out of the hand.  As he transitioned to the mound, some of the ease in the arm left, possibly short-changing the fastball, but this pitch may have quick growth in the coming season.

By the Numbers: The Updated 2020 Rankings

+ 54 players in the list of 175 have committed
+ 8 of the top 10 have committed
+ 23 of the top 25 have committed
+ 9 players have committed to East Carolina, the most of any school
+ 8 players have committed to schools outside of NC’s state borders
+ 52 of 54 players have committed to Division I schools
+ 63 of the Top 175 are pitchers
+ 43 middle infielders make the rankings list
+ 32 of the players ranked are outfielders
+ 5 of 26 ranked catchers are committed

Preview the Top 10

1 Liam Norris Green Hope 2020 LHP North Carolina
2 Nolan McLean Garner 2020 SS
3 Nick Neal Randleman 2020 1B
4 Landon Ginn Corinth Holders 2020 RHP East Carolina
5 Cannon Pickell Currituck County 2020 RHP North Carolina
6 Austin St. Laurent Western Alamance 2020 SS East Carolina
7 Cooper Ingle AC Reynolds 2020 C Clemson
8 Preston Hall Myers Park 2020 3B College of Charleston
9 Koen Moreno Panther Creek 2020 RHP East Carolina
10 Connor Monroe West Forsyth 2020 RHP North Carolina State


To view the entire updated rankings for North Carolina’s Class of 2020 – CLICK HERE