Prep Baseball Report

NJ State Games: Quick Hits, Day 1

By TJ Hunt
Director, New Jersey

The first day of the annual New Jersey State Games was a resounding success. Many uncommitted players from all over the state raised eyebrows with their performances in the skills portion and in the first day of the event. Below are some notes that were jotted down by staff from the first day. By no means is this a "Top Performers" list or "best players" from the event, more so just random thoughts and players that were worth noting from the first day. Stay tuned for more highlights and stories from the events in the coming weeks.

Day 1

+ Recent Fairleigh Dickinson commit, 2018 OF Teddy Sparks (Woodbury HS, NJ) stood out during batting practice with his physicality and plus player from the right side. The 5-foot-10 210-pounder launched several over the left field wall with a short, explosive swing.

+ 2020 Sam Portnoy (Eastern HS, NJ) is certainly another name to watch for as he continues through his high school career. One of the top hitters from both days of the event, Portnoy was equally as explsoive at the dish as Sparks, peppering the outfield fence with line drives in the gaps. The broad shouldered Portnoy homered in his first at-bat of the day in gameplay, a long, towering shot to left field.

+ 2019 SS Harry Padden (Schalick HS, NJ) has been an interesting name to watch since he first emerged on to the scene. The 5-foot-9 160-pounder was electric in the field, showing incredible athleticism with his range, running a 6.78 60 yard dash, which was good for one of the top times at the event. At the plate, he uses a big leg kick into an explosive swing through the zone.

+ 2020 SS Will Vergantino (Rancocas Valley HS, NJ) was certainly equally as impressive in the field and at the plate. Showed a strong arm across the infield (80 MPH) and ran a 7.15 60 yard dash which will only improve as he continues to grow and mature into his lean, athletic 5-foot-11 170-pound frame.

+ 2019 OF Trey Henry (Egg Harbor Township HS, NJ) and 2019 OF David Glancy (Red Bank Catholic HS, NJ) ran blistering 60 yard dashes; 6.51 and 6.57, respectively. Glancy, an upcoming Future Games participant for Team New Jersey – was one of the top overall athletes from the event with feel for 5-tools.

+ 2019 RHP Jayson Hoopes (St. Augustine Prep HS, NJ) had college coaches flocking with his lean, projectable 6-foot-2 165-pound frame with plenty of room to fill out. Hoopes' fastball got up to 88 MPH, sitting 86-88 for most of his first inning. His curveball showed strikeout potential with its sharpness and shape. Will be a big time name to watch as he continues to polish his mechanics. Loose and free arm action only projects with more velocity to come.

+ 2018 Patrick Spina (Holy Spirit HS, NJ) has a big broad shouldered build at 6-foot-3 205-pounds. His fastball sat 83-85 and showed command for a sharp 11/5 breaking ball at 73-75 for strikes. Spina has been up to 88 MPH during the spring season, and was one of the top pitchers for Holy Spirit in 2017.

+ Uncommitted 2018 Brad Brush (Toms River East HS, NJ) mirrored Spina with his broad shouldered and athletic build. Brush's fastball got up to 86 MPH and sat 83-85 from a true-3/4 slot. Showed a small breaking ball with cutter-like movement at 71-74. A true two-way prospect at the next level, Brush has a short, powerful stroke through the zone, which was complimented by his 90 MPH exit velocity.

+ 2018 SS Hunter Boag (Colts Neck HS, NJ) was certainly one of the top performers from Day 1 of the event – and it seemed that every at bat concluded in a line drive base hit. He made several outstanding players ranging to his gloveside at SS with smoothness and athleticism. Ran a 7.11 60 yard dash.

+ 2018 3B/RHP Tyler Wehner (Fair Lawn HS, NJ) made a name for himself at the event. The uncommitted 6-foot-1 195-pounder caught the attention of college coaches at the event with his physicality at the plate and arm strength across the diamond (82 MPH with carry). Barreled up into the gaps during BP and made several plays both to his gloveside and backhand side at 3B in gameplay. 

+ The catcher play from the event as a whole was outstanding. Highlighted by 2018s Michael Streim (Dumont HS, NJ), Ryan Colbert (Bishop Eustace HS, NJ), Julian Greco (Christian Brothers Academy HS, NJ), switch hitting Drayven Kowalski (Steinert HS, NJ), Kyle Richards (Sayreville HS, NJ), Lane Painter (Ridgewood HS, NJ) and 2019 Future Games participant, John Whooley (Ramapo HS, NJ). All players showed exceptionally soft hands and a feel for controlling the game. Greco homered to to left field on Day 2, a line drive shot. Kowalski showed feel for the barrel at both sides of the plate from the event – barreling up to the warning track from the left side.

+ 2018 OF/LHP Sean Klimek (Pequannock HS, NJ) emerged as one of the top performers from the event. The left handed hitter lined two triples in the right center field gap on the first day, and another triple accompanied by two ground rule doubles on the second day. He also pitched two outstanding innings on the mound at 80-82, filling up the bottom half of the strikezone with a solid mix of curveballs at 66-68 and changeups at 73-74.

+ Klimek's high school teammate, 2018 OF Dave Jachera (Pequannock HS, NJ) oozes athleticism and projection at 6-feet 180-pounds. Ran the 60 in 6.70-seconds. Lean and lanky, Jachera stood out at the event with his speed and range in the outfield. Barreled a couple balls in gameplay.

+ 2018 LHP/1B Spencer McNamara (Waldwick HS, NJ) was effortless on the mound at 81-83 and feel for 1/7 curveball at 63-65. High-3/4 slot.

+ 2020 OF Bobby Baxter (Ocean City HS, NJ) is another young, talented name to watch out of South Jersey. Baxter has a lanky athletic build at 5-foot-10 140-pounds and smoked line drive in batting practice. Smooth left handed swing, ran a 6.70 60.

+ 3 Shore Conference 2019s made an impression on Day 1 with their athleticism and overall baseball instincts. SS/RHP Vincent Bianchi (Red Bank Catholic HS, NJ), 3B Robby Zega (Middletown South HS, NJ) and 3B/RHP Grant Shulman (Wall HS, NJ) were excellent in gameplay and showed off their tools in the skills portion of the event. Bianchi has long, wiry limbs and shows some range in the infield. The right-hander was up to 85 MPH on the bump sitting 83-85 mostly. Shulman has a compact and powerful left handed swing, and showed his versatility on the mound, pumping strikes at 81-83 topping at 84. Zega had one of the top infield velocities at 87 MPH from the event. Has a high ceiling at the plate with feel for the barrel – similar to his older brother, Johnny, who was one of the top players in the state in 2016 (now at Monmouth University).

+ 2018 RHP Nicholas Palumbo (Wayne Hills HS, NJ) was the first pitcher to throw in gameplay and showcased a clean, loose arm that topped at 83 MPH. His breaking ball was the pitch that separated him from the pack, a sharp 11/5 pitch that he can throw in any count.

+ 2019 OF Ryan McKenna (Montgomery HS, NJ) emerged on to the scene in the spring as one of the top hitters in the class for his age group, and continued to show off his athleticism throughout the event. McKenna possess an explosive left handed swing and has the speed (6.79 60) to shape him into a nice looking prospect at the next level.

+ 2019 LHP Noah Dean (Pinelands Regional HS, NJ) contiues to solidify why he is one of the top left handers in the '19 class with his performance on Day 1. The lanky-projectable 6-feet 150-pounder sat 83-85 and spun a big 1/7 breaker at 71-73 with tight spin for strikes in his first inning of work.

+ Uncommitted 2018 RHP/OF Nick Hohenstein (Christian Brothers Academy HS, NJ), a 2016 Future Games participant, was up to 88 MPH on the mound on Day 1. A short, quick arm action, Hohenstein sat 86-88 and flashed a breaking ball with 11/5 depth at 71-73.


Stay tuned for Notes from Day 2.