Prep Baseball Report

Rankings: Updated Class of 2026

Brandon Hall
Mid-Atlantic Scouting Director

PBR Scouts spent the fall of 2023 continuing their search for baseball players across the state of North Carolina.  PBR ran events and tournaments in the area, plus scouts were on the road running Scout Days and watching workouts.  As we head to the off-season and begin to prep for the 2024 High School season, it is time for an updated round of rankings.  You can see the updated Class of 2024 Rankings here and the Class of 2025 Rankings here. Now we update, and expand, the Class of 2026 Rankings.

The class of 2026 is the first that will see a full year with the new NCAA rules that limit contact with college coaches and college baseball programs.  As they enter their JR year, they will be able to pick up and resume talking to coaches and programs, as well as begin to take visits.  While there are a handful of players that committed prior to the new rules taking effect, most of the 2026 Class will enjoy a year of development as coaches are working to put their list together.  It should be an interesting follow to see how coaches attack the spring and summer periods, and how quickly they begin to make offers as they are back in contact with this class.

This release of the 2026 rankings expands the ranked class from 100 players to the top 125 players in the state.  As we are still getting to know the class, and a majority of the class has not played a Varsity Baseball game yet, there is still a lot of room for growth and adjustment to this list.  It is always fun to follow the Sophomore year as you have players that are very close to being physically mature and you have players that are just beginning to scratch their adult growth.  The projection, and guessing, that goes along with player development at this stage is not any where near a science and it is fun to see where we hit and where we miss.

See the full 2026 Rankings and the Top 125 in the State HERE.

Newbies to the Rankings

PBR Scouts were very active this fall, working to see as many players as their schedules would allow.  With that said, 25+ players enter the rankings after not being in the summer release. Some of the new comers are players PBR identified for the first time this fall.  Other players were identified a while back, with PBR Scouts continuing to follow, seeing a jump as they become more physical and add quickness to their game.  Others are added as they just missed the last cut and with the expanded list, they are players that need to be recognized.

Below are three newcomers to the rankings that PBR had interaction with this fall.

Ben Bordeaux RHP / Charlotte Catholic , NC / 2026


The thin RHP was a big winner at the 2023 Top Prospect Games: Underclass where he attacked hitters with a fastball that peaked at 84, spinning at 2324rpm, and averaging 17.3in of induced vertical break.  The metrics on the fastball suggest it should play up vs hitters, and in the game situations Bordeaux did get swing and miss in the zone, as well as chase up out of the zone. He paired the fastball with a breaking ball that has the makings of a potential out pitch as he continues to grow and mature into his frame.  Weighing only 150 pounds, it is easy to project where Bordeaux could be in the coming years.

Cole Rogers C / 3B / Wake Forest, NC / 2026


A youthful look in his 6-foot, 165 pound frame, Rogers has a high level of baseball fundamentals already installed.  The right handed hitter showed solid strength with the barrel, with a max exit velocity of 89.5mph.  Behind the dish, Rogers shows the traits that all catchers need, with good bend in the hips and a solid "want to" to block and receive at a high level. The arm has carry and accuracy with pop times topping at 2.06 in the workouts.  Athetically Rogers ran a 7.15 sixty with a 3.94 thirty yard split.  He also showed explosiveness with a 30.2in vertical jump.

Crawford Elrod SS / 3B / Westchester Country Day , NC / 2026


The right handed hitter has a simple approach with a wide base and small tap stride.  Good rhythm produced plenty of barrels throughout BP and the game setting at the 2023 Top Prospect Games: Underclass.  The difference maker for Elrod is his defensive ability.  There is rhythm in the feet and the hands with good bend in the hips.  A consistent, easy exchange and quick release showed carry and accuracy whether he was on, or off his platform. 

High Risers

There were several players that made a jump in the rankings from where we had them last fall.  Most of the players, PBR Scouts saw in a workout, and in game play, giving them a wide base for the player grade.  Several of these players also made big jumps with their stats and analytics, allowing PBR Scouts to continue to dream about what is still to come in the future.  Below are two players that made big jumps in this ranking release.

Riley Cuddy OF / RHP / Middle Creek , NC / 2026


Rankings Jump from No. 52 to No. 5

PBR Scouts were split on Cuddy after seeing him late in the summer.  While the batspeed was outstanding, and his athleticism graded out well, there was some swing and miss in game settings which hovered over his overall grade.  Fast-forward to this fall where PBR Scouts saw Cuddy at the C35 Baseball Scout Day plus in a tournament at the USA complex hosted by PBR.  The swing continues to have electric bat speed, but the barrel awareness and the strike zone awareness were much improved.  Scouts also saw the batspeed translate into damage in game and an absolutely insane round of BP at UNC's Boshamer Stadium where balls were ricochetting off the scoreboard with a max exit velocity of 108mph. 

Dylan Palmer OF / 1B / East Wake Academy, NC / 2026


Rankings Jump from No. 47 to No. 35

Palmer showed elite batspeed and strength at the PBR Scout Day with the Dirtbags to start off the summer.  The swing had some effort in it and scouts noted they wanted to see it play in game settings.  At the 2023 Top Prospect Games: Underclass, Palmer again put on a show in BP, showing advanced hand strength through contact, with solid feel for the barrel.  In the game setting, against some of the top arms in the state of North Carolina, Palmer put togther several tough at-bats while finding the barrel a couple of times, registering one hit.  Also to note, the strike zone discipline was much more advanced than what PBR Scouts initially accounted for in the first evaluation.  Palmer has also shown a solid athletic foundation running a 7.21 sixty with a 4.02 30yd split. 

Class of 2026 Top 10 Preview