Prep Baseball Report

Future Games: Team New Jersey Infielders

TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey

Continuing with our unveiling of the Team New Jersey roster for the 2018 Future Games, we will highlight the infielders who have garnered an invite. This infield crew has a unique combination of power and athleticism, and I am confident that this group of players will show well at the event. 

To View the Coverage of the Pitching Staff for Team N.J., Click HERE

What's important to note are the specific abilities that each of the infielders possess – each one has at least one "plus" attribute that they bring to the table, making them a definite prospect to play at the next level. However, most, if not, all of these players, have multiple 'plus' tools that college coaches will be flocking toward once Team NJ steps over the lines into gameplay.

Let's take a look at some of the names:

Justin Cassella NJ Seton Hall Prep 2020 SS
Luke Chenault NJ Pope John XXIII 2020 1B
Kevin Hogan NJ Nutley 2020 1B
Jake Lutz NJ Pascack Valley 2020 SS
Christopher Markovich NJ North Hunterdon 2021 SS
Anthony Panissidi NJ St. Joseph's Montvale 2020 SS
Sam Portnoy NJ Eastern 2020 1B
Will Vergantino NJ Rancocas Valley 2020 SS

The middle infield has some players whose athleticism will be on display – led firstly by 2020 SS Justin Cassella (Seton Hall Prep HS, NJ) and 2021 SS Christopher Markovich (North Hunterdon HS, NJ). Cassella's 6.7 speed and present arm strength will certainly be on display during the first day, which includes a full pro-style workout in front of hundreds of coaches on one field. His wiry, athletic frame and boundless energy on the field will make him a name to draw an asterisk next to on rosters at the event. Markovich has been the complete prospect so far during his high school career. He burst on to the scene at last year's Underclass Games hosted at Montclair State in September, 2017 with rhythm to his stroke at the plate and efforless power into the gaps.

2020s SS Jake Lutz (Pascack Valley HS, NJ), Anthony Panissidi (St. Joseph's Montvale HS, NJ), and Will Vergantino (Rancocas Valley HS, NJ) will round out the rest of the middle infield squad for the Future Games. To start off, Lutz had a monster spring season for the Indians of Pascack Valley. Lutz had four homers and seven doubles, along with 31 RBI.  Panissidi impressed our scouts at the Future Games Trials in February with his quick, agile hands and movements at shortstop, and will certainly be a player to watch during gameplay with his high baseball I.Q. Finally, Vergantino is a name that college coaches should certainly have on their radars, if they don't already. In my eyes, Vergantino and Cassella are very similar players – both have plus arms for their age at shortstop and both can really hit. Vergantino, in my eyes, has more power right now and can play anywhere in the infield. Ultimately, I think Vergantino lands at third base, but his arm strength and glove play up and his present bat speed make him a threat in any lineup.

2020 1B/3B Kevin Hogan (Nutley HS, NJ) is another under-the-radar type of player that has had a masterful high school career so far. Hogan batted fourth for Nutley High School for the second year in a row, and did not disappoint. Hogan was second on the team in hits (33) to 2017 Future Games attendee and St. John's recruit Mary Higgins. Hogan hit .355 with 24 RBI in his sophomore campaign. A right handed hitter, Hogan is still baby-faced and growing into his frame, which already produces gap to gap power. 

Two names that have had a bunch of highlights already in their young high school careers are 2020 1B Sam Portnoy (Eastern HS, NJ) and 2020 1B Luke Chenault (Pope John XXIII HS, NJ). Portnoy has a broad shouldered 6-foot-2 200-pound frame from the right side, and every time I have seen him, he's produced in big ways. As just a rising sophomore at last year's New Jersey State Games, Portnoy mashed a long home run to left field and was one of the top overall prospects whenever he stepped foot on the field during the two-day long event. Chenault is a left/left player with immense capabilities. Power is definitely present in his swing, almost a left handed version of Portnoy and Hogan. Another broad shouldered frame, Chenault's swing is uphill and creates backspin and loft in his finish.

Stay tuned right here for more highlights to come as we continue to cover Team New Jersey for the Future Games. Next up are the catchers and the outfielders.

New Jersey State Games – Request your invite HERE

2018 New Jersey State Games (Invite-Only)