2018 Draft: Where N.J. Seniors Landed

TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey

The 2018 MLB Draft has come and gone, and in just under a month, New Jersey High School Baseball fanatics have seen tons of movement: some surprising and some expected. All in all, there were 9 prep players from NJ selected in the 2018 Draft. This year's is a little different from the last few years, with mostly position players being selected over pitchers a 6:3 ratio. Here is my final thoughts on the players – a "brain dump" if you will on the guys that I have seen over the years and how they project in the college ranks as well as the professional ranks. 

Best of luck to this graduating senior class, wherever they end up!


Nick Decker OF / Seneca , NJ / 2018

2nd Round, 64th Pick (Red Sox)

The first selection out of New Jersey was OF Nick Decker (Seneca HS, NJ). Decker went in the 2nd Round to the Red Sox, the 64th Overall Selection. Decker's success on the baseball field has been well documented since his emergence on the baseball scene. We at PBR got a first hand look of Decker's extreme power-upside at the 2016 Garden State Underclass Games – where during batting practice jaws were dropping left and right. As just a sophomore, Decker was peppering the little-league field dugout roof beyond right field at Field #1 at Diamond Nation in almost every swing he took. The broad shouldered, athletic outfielder has the potential to hit for power at the professional level, and being left handed will help him out immensely. One thing about Decker is that he might only be reserved as a corner outfielder, which, in other words means that scouts think he doesn't have the range to play centerfield. This shouldn't be an issue knowing Nick Decker – because teams will always find a spot on the field for a player that hits.

Arbert Cipion OF / Passaic County Tech, NJ / 2018

9th Round, 275th Pick (Brewers)

Cipion's meteoric rise to being selected in the 9th Round by the Brewers is well documented with us – as in 2017 he raised eyebrows at the Preseason All-State Showcase by running an easy 6.6 60 yard dash and showing a smooth right-handed swing with line drive pop. Cipion was a virtual diamond-in-the-rough type of player, ultra-raw and athletic with huge upside for Milwaukee to scoop him up in the top 10 Rounds. His speed and instincts in the outfield, as well as advanced arm strength for his age will be coveted by the Brewers. He will need to get the most reps possible facing professional pitching for his bat to come along like the Brewers expect it will.

Danny Nunan LHP / Ocean City, NJ / 2018

12th Round, 361st Pick (Angels)

Hard to ignore Nunan's upside in this draft, but let's break it down to see how scouts saw the southpaw: 1. 6-foot-6, 2. lanky with room to fill out 3. left-handed pitcher,  4. easy arm action, 5. spins a breaking ball for strikes, 6. has revved his fastball up into the high 80s and touching 90. Pretty simple equation if you look at it from that angle, and thats what the Angels sought after in Nunan. Nunan will benefit from a year-round workout regimen that will surely add pounds of muscle to his frame.

Peter Serruto C / Millburn, NJ / 2018

22nd Round, 649th Pick (Reds)

Serruto had an incredible year for Millburn in the spring, and rose to the occasion in big moments throughout. One of the most feared hitters in the GNC Conference, Serruto was mostly known for his elite athleticism (two-sport star; football quarterback) and high-end arm strength behind the plate. Multiple times our scouts have had him below a 1.90 in-game – which puts him on the same pedestal as some of the best catchers in the big leagues right now. Serruto has made it known publicly that he will honor his commitment to Rutgers University this fall.

Jack Herman OF / Eastern Regional, NJ / 2018

30th Round, 894th Pick (Pirates)


Another well-documented success story in South Jersey allure, Herman was one of the best and most consistent players in New Jersey High School Baseball over the last four years. A quiet, confident demeanor, Herman rose to the occasion in the winter at the Super 60 Professional Showcase in Chicago, IL – where he wowed scouts with his combination of speed, arm strength, and compact-powerful swing at the plate. Most thought that Herman would continue to play at the University of Maryland, a commitment he had had since before he played a varsity game at Eastern Regional. However, Herman chose a different angle – and ended up signing with Pittsburgh after being chosen in the 30th Round. According to NJ.com and South Jersey High School Sports connoisseur Kevin Minnick, Herman "wants to prove people wrong." Personally, I'm excited for Herman. He's produced at every level he's played at, and at elite tournaments and events during the summer circuit, has continued to impress. 

Brandon Hylton 1B / Ridge, NJ / 2018

33rd Round, 995th Pick (Brewers)

Hylton's sweet left-handed stroke and 6-foot-6 frame made scouts (and college coaches) drool over his projection. A late bloomer with a growth spurt in the middle of high school, and committed to Stetson late as well, Hylton impressed with advanced power for his age. Another participant at the Super 60, Hylton's light-tower power was especially prominent at the 2017 Garden State Underclass Games at Diamond Nation – where he launched ball after ball deep into the woods at Field 4 at Diamond Nation. From all accounts, Hylton will honor his commitment to Stetson this fall.

Tyler Ras RHP / Middletown North, NJ / 2018

33rd Round, 998th Pick (Cubs)

It has been a fun three years watching Tyler Ras grow into one of the top high school arms to come out of the Northeast. The 6-foot-4 200-pound right hander was at the one of the first ever PBR New Jersey events all those years ago, and has continued to perform on a national scale. Although his high school team did not have the success he wanted, Ras was still for the most part 90-92 touching 93-94 throughout the spring. He will honor his commitment to play in the SEC for Alabama this fall.

Max Dineen OF / Pennsville, NJ / 2018

35th Round, 1039th Pick (Reds)

Statistically speaking, Max Dineen will go down as one of the best players to ever come out of New Jersey. In his senior season alone, Dineen hit at a .560 clip, with 15 HR, 11 2B, 2 3B and 47 RBI. He had 51 hits this spring with 34 walks and 18 stolen bases. An excellent year for a great athlete and player. Dineen will honor his commitment to play at Virginia Tech this fall. 

Will Gambino RHP / Paul VI, NJ / 2018

35th Round, 1048th Pick (Mariners)

Gambino rose on to the radar of professional scouts with his performance at the 2017 WWBA tournament in Georgia, where he peppered 94 MPH several times on the radar gun as an uncommitted rising senior. The University of Kentucky scooped him up shortly thereafter, and the rest is history. Gambino has the make up of a kid that will perform at a high level, and has the stuff to stay there. Ultimately, he needs to command all three of his pitches, a task that shouldn't be that difficult with the outstanding coaching staff at U of K and pitching coach Jimmy Belanger.


College Players Hailing From N.J. Selected in the Draft
+ Jawuan Harris, OF, Rutgers University (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, FL) – 7th Round, Padres
+ Billy Lane Jr., RHP, Seton Hall University (Old Bridge HS, NJ) – 11th Round, Rangers
+ Andrew Politi, RHP, Seton Hall University (West Morris HS, NJ) – 15th Round, Red Sox
+ Shane McCarthy, RHP, Seton Hall University (Rumson-Fair Haven HS, NJ) – 18th Round, Indians
+ Ryan Ramiz, OF, Seton Hall University (Christian Brothers Academy HS, NJ) – 23rd Round, Mariners
+ Cullen Dana, LHP, Seton Hall University (Don Bosco Prep HS, NJ) – 30th Round, Padres
+ Charlie Ruegger, RHP, Stevens Tech (Whippany Park HS, NJ) – 33rd Round, Yankees
+ Nick Matera, C, Rutgers University (Roxbury HS, NJ) – 34th Round, Phillies
+ Cory Heitler, RHP, Ramapo College (Fair Lawn HS, NJ) – 34th Round, Reds
+ Benjamin Gross, RHP, Princeton University (Princeton Day HS, NJ) – 34th Round, Astros


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2018 New Jersey State Games (Invite-Only)