Prep Baseball Report

NJ: Updated and Expanded 2018 Rankings

By TJ Hunt

Director of Scouting, New Jersey

With the fall and winter showcases coming to a close, Prep Baseball Report New Jersey takes a look at the Updated 2018 rankings. Many new prospects come into the rankings while many prospects have made jumps, some drastically. 

+ Nothing changes within the Top 5, as Vanderbilt-bound 3B Justyn-Henry Malloy (St. Joseph's Montvale HS, NJ) still reigns as the No. 1 prospect, followed by Maryland recruit Jack Herman (Eastern Regional HS, NJ), Duke-bound RHP Jack Carey (St. Peter's Prep HS, NJ), Maryland-bound OF Nick Decker (Sencea HS, NJ), and Alabama recruit RHP/OF Tyler Ras (Middletown North HS, NJ).

+ RHP Nick Payero (Monroe Township HS, NJ) emerged as one of the top uncommitted players in the state at No. 9. Payero was 87-88 in Fort Myers last October with a quick arm from a high-3/4 slot.

+ No. 17 RHP Ryan Cardona (Livingston HS, NJ) burst on to the scene earlier this month, sitting 88-90 and touching 91 in an extended bullpen session. Cardona shows impressive athleticism and explosiveness going down the mound. Showcased a 70-72 mph breaker and a changeup with armside fade at 78-80. 

+ No. 21 Arbert Cipion (Passaic County Tech HS, NJ) is another athlete that burst on to the scene this winter - with an impressive showing at the Preseason All-State Showcase, eventually leading him to be named the Top Overall Prospect from the event. The broad shouldered and physically built Cipion stands 6-foot-1 177-pounds. Recorded the PBR NJ record 6.64 60 Yard Dash, threw 89 mph from the OF, and a 93 mph exit velocity.

+ No. 26 LHP Andrew Vail (Gloucester Catholic HS, NJ) was another top performer at the Preseason All-State Showcase showing a lightning quick arm at 85-86 and a changeup with some fade. No. 34 RHP/1B Joseph Sprake (Middletown South HS, NJ) was 86-87 touching 88 at the Preseason All-State Showcase and tied a PBR NJ record for the exit velocity at 101 mph.

+ No. 29 RHP/OF Nick Houghton (Nottingham HS, NJ) exudes athleticism at 6-foot-1 158-pounds. Long, wiry frame that has a quick arm on the mound and is equally as impressive at the plate. Houghton was a major part of Nottingham's run in the state tournament last year, and will continue to make an influence in Mercer County this year. The right hander was 83-84 at the Preseason All-State and also ran a sub-7.00 60 yard dash at 6.96.

+ No. 41 Raul Ortega stated his case for one of the top catching prospects in a NJ class that is chock full of them. The switch hitting Ortega showcased impressive strength from both sides of the plate with a quiet, controlled approach in the box. Recorded pop times between 1.91-1.97 at 77 mph down to 2B as well.

Prospects on the rise

+ No. 46 OF Conner MacNeill (Haddonfield HS, NJ) has a strong, physical build at 6-foot-5 200-pounds. Tied the PBR NJ record for exit velocity at 101 mph at the Preseason All-State Showcase. Shows explosive hips and hands in swing creating power.

+ No. 50 RHP Gerry Siracusa (Bergen Catholic HS, NJ) has a lanky athletic build with a loose, quick arm. Sat 82-84 touching 85 from a high-3/4 slot earlier this month.

+ No. 53 RHP Aiden Tucker (River Dell HS, NJ) has a projectable 6-foot-3 190-pound build. Sat 83-84 earlier this month from a high-3/4 slot and a slider at 72-73.

+ RHP Marcus Eusebio (Passaic County Tech HS, NJ) is 5-foot-11 165-pounds with an athletic build. Sat 86-87 at the Preseason All-State Showcase. Creates power and velocity from strong lower half with a long, loose arm action from a high-3/4 slot.

+ RHP Billy O'Brien (Don Bosco Prep HS, NJ) has a lanky, projectable build with long wiry limbs. Sat 82-84 touching 85-86 earlier this month. Separates himself from the pack with an exceptional 11/5 breaking ball at 69-70 for strikes. Also flashed a slider with smaller, harder break at 75-78.

+ C Drayven Kowalski (Steinert HS, NJ) has a lanky athletic build at 6-feet 168-pounds. Another impressive switch hitting catcher from the Preseason All-State Showcase, Kowalski still has room to put on muscle to his frame. Pop times between 1.91-2.00, and threw 74 mph down to 2B. Explodes out of the crouch.

+ RHP Patrick Spina (Holy Spirit HS, NJ) is another pitcher to be sure to follow throughout this spring and summer. Physically built with broad shoulders already at his age at 6-foot-3 200-pounds. Sat 81-83 at the Preseason All-State. Arm action is clean and mechanics are sound and repeatable. Recently was up to 83-85 in scrimmages earlier this month. Watch for Spina to emerge as one of the top uncommitted 2018s as the summer approaches.

+ C Thomas Rodgers (Christian Brothers Academy HS, NJ) has a strong, athletic build at 6-feet 180-pounds. Explosive lower half at the plate helps him generate some gap-to-gap power. Tied for the highest catcher velocity at 77 mph at the Preseason All-State Showcase. Recorded pop times between 1.94-2.01.

The Top 25

1 Justyn-Henry Malloy NJ St. Joseph's Montvale 2018 3B Vanderbilt
2 Jack Herman NJ Eastern Regional 2018 OF Maryland
3 Jack Carey NJ St. Peter's Prep 2018 RHP Duke
4 Nick Decker NJ Seneca 2018 OF Maryland
5 Tyler Ras NJ Middletown North 2018 RHP Alabama
6 Christian Hlinka NJ Delaware Valley 2018 OF Virginia
7 Matthew Rivera NJ Holy Spirit 2018 C  
8 Nick Payero NJ Monroe Township 2018 RHP  
9 Sean Heine NJ Shawnee 2018 RHP Maryland
10 Evan Giordano NJ Gloucester Catholic 2018 SS Stony Brook
11 Kevin Eaise NY St. Augustine Prep 2018 RHP Pennsylvania
12 Alex Havlicek NJ Indian Hills HS 2018 RHP Virginia Tech
13 Brandon Hylton NJ Watchung Hills 2018 1B  
14 Ian Murphy NJ Gloucester Catholic 2018 RHP St. John's
15 Darius Diaz NJ Perth Amboy 2018 C Kennesaw State
16 Colin Wetterau NJ Shawnee 2018 C St. John's
17 Ryan Cardona NJ Livingston 2018 RHP  
18 Nick DeGennaro NJ Toms River East 2018 RHP Stony Brook
19 Danny Serretti NJ Governor Livingston 2018 SS St. John's
20 Jack Zyska NJ Seton Hall Prep 2018 OF Notre Dame
21 Arbert Cipion NJ Passaic County Tech 2018 OF  
22 Chris Gerard NJ Bergen Catholic 2018 LHP Maryland
23 Billy Price NJ Delbarton School 2018 LHP Virginia
24 Matthew Stil NJ Cherokee 2018 RHP Charleston Southern
25 Cole Patten NJ Sparta 2018 RHP Seton Hall

To view the rest of the NJ 2018 Rankings CLICK HERE>>

More Rankings News