Prep Baseball Report

Updated 2024 New Jersey Player Rankings

TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey

The summer of 2022 coming to a close means it's time to revisit the player rankings for all three classes, and first up is the Class of 2024. We've been able to get a true & honest look at most of these prospects this summer, whether it be at tournaments at LakePoint Sports, a showcase setting or at a high school game this past spring. This class is already littered with tons of verbal commitments to Power 5 schools inside the Top-50 and numerous prospects that made a splash onto the scene this spring and summer.

It's going to be fun to see where all of these players end up, as many of them still have plenty of maturing to come heading into their junior seasons of high school baseball. Let's take a look at how this class stacks up after the summer of 2022.

The Top 5

+ Maintaining the top spot in the rankings is Virginia recruit RHP Bryce Meccage (The Pennington School). Strong, durable frame at 6-foot-3 210-pounds, Meccage showcases a loose, whippy arm action from a high-3/4 slot. Fastball was up to 90 mph this summer with some feel for a gradual breaking ball at 72-75. There's some occasional cut to his fastball bringing his spin rates up to 2680rpm.


+ Jumping a couple slots into No. 2 is North Carolina commit SS Jon Young Jr. (Cherry Hill West). We've loved Young since the summer of 2021 when he burst on to the scene at the Future Games as one of Team New Jersey's top all around prospects. He gained some strength to his frame and as he continues to mature, expect even more juice out of the left handed hitter. Lean, athletic 6-foot-1 175-pounds. Fluid load with elastic midsection and easy pop to the gaps. 

+ No. 3 is recent Miami commit, RHP Howard Tate DeRias (Gloucester Catholic). An injury barred DeRias from truly showing out on a national scale this summer, but the arm talent certainly speaks for itself. In the spring, DeRias was one of the top overall pitchers in South Jersey and was routinely in the mid to upper 80s touching 90. The separator for DeRias has been his feel for his offspeed pitches and spin as well as his gumption on the mound. Never afraid of challenging hitter, DeRias revels in the big game.



+ Alabama commit 3B Sean Griggs (Red Bank Catholic) had himself quite a summer. Recently identified as a "Fab 50" Underclass Prospect from the Area Code Games by our National Crosschecker Shooter Hunt, Griggs is a physical lefty hitter with next level juice. Athletic 6-foot-2 190-pounds, rhythmic load, compact explosive swing. Griggs has a chance to be a top 3 prospect in this class when it's all said and done.



+ Rounding out the Top 5 in the latest 2024 rankings update is Virginia commit SS/OF Luke Dickerson (Morris Knolls). The advanced strength on Dickerson really stands out when using the eye test, broad shouldered, muscular 5-foot-11 185-pounds. Present hit tool and run tool, blazed a 6.72 60 yard dash at the 2024 State Games in early July. Simple, neutral setup with hands just above back shoulder and weight preset on backside. Small leg lift and stride, hands load up and back with rhythm. Compact bat path through hitting zone with balanced, lifted finish. Put on quite at show at the State Games, topping out at 98.6 mph exit velocity and 87.7 mph average exit. The bat speed metrics speak for themselves, among the top echelon of max bat speed (78.3 mph), average bat speed (74.6 mph) and max rotational acceleration (25.3 mph), Dickerson has the hit tool to remain in the top part of the 2024 rankings for a long time. Along with Griggs, Dickerson was named a Fab 50 Underclass Prospect by Shooter Hunt at the Area Code Games.




The Top 10

1 Bryce Meccage NJ Pennington 2024 RHP Virginia
2 Jon Young Jr. NJ Cherry Hill West 2024 SS North Carolina
3 Howard Tate DeRias NJ Gloucester Catholic 2024 RHP Miami
4 Sean Griggs NJ Red Bank Catholic 2024 3B Alabama
5 Luke Dickerson NJ Morris Knolls 2024 SS Virginia
6 Ryan Lynch NJ Moorestown 2024 RHP North Carolina
7 Jaxon Appelman NJ Edison 2024 RHP Coastal Carolina
8 Chris Levonas NJ Christian Brothers Academy 2024 RHP Wake Forest
9 William Kirk NJ Ramsey 2024 LHP Virginia
10 James Kleiven NJ Randolph 2024 RHP James Madison

Click HERE to view the full list of 180 players


By PBR definitions, "Risers" are players that were identified as follow prospects in prior rankings that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack with their performances in high school, tournament play, and/or showcase opportunities (among others). Below are a couple players that saw their stocks rise from the spring/summer.

+ Coastal Carolina commit No. 7 RHP Jaxon Appelman (Edison) has a wiry strong frame at 6-foot-2 180-pounds. Fastball is consistently 86-87 touching 88 from a true-3/4 slot, spins a true slider with -10" HM at 74-76. Athletic bend in balance leg, clean hand break, lands closed. Appelman passes the eye test with his frame and the clean arm action bodes well for him moving forward. Innate strike thrower, competitor. His Trackman metrics are intriguing - with the slot and arm action at a 3/4 tilt, the fastball plays up in the zone at 2244rpm (2322 max) with 11.9" IVB (AVG) and 18.7" HM (AVG).

+ No. 8 RHP Chris Levonas (Christian Brother Academy) is a recent Wake Forest commit and jumped on our high follow boards last summer at the PRD Ghost Squad Scout Day with a whippy, athletic arm action and sharp breaker. At that time he was 80-84 with the fastball. In this go around, Levonas was up to 92 mph with the fastball after recovering from an injury that hampered him from the end of the high school season through the first half of the summer.

+ No. 10 RHP James Kleiven (Randolph) was a member of Team New Jersey at the PBR Future Games at the end of July and rose into our follow lists during the high school season when he came in relief against Delbarton in the Morris County Tournament finals. That night he was 88-90 and mixed in a downer breaker at 76 mph. At the Future Games, Kleiven topped at 93 mph and was mostly 89-92 through two appearances on the big stage. There's some polishing still left with Kleiven, but it's hard to get past the physicality of the frame already at his age at 6-foot-2 200-pounds. He's relatively new to pitching which makes his ceiling high on the mound - and he's a talent athlete on the gridiron as well. Expect Kleiven to continue to make strides on the rubber as his high school career progresses. Recent James Madison commit.

+ With the success of Rutgers from the spring of 2022, the Scarlet Knights have been aggressive on in-state recruits - and one big get from this summer was No. 13 SS Yomar Carreras (North Brunswick). The projection on Carreras is what's the most enticing - his wiry and athletic at 5-foot-11 165-pounds with plenty of room to fill out his frame. He's a true switch hitting middle infielder with line drive pop and top of the order talent. Plus running speed (6.92 60) and plus arm (88 mph INF velo). It's twitchy already with still room at add muscle. I wouldn't be surprised if Carreras is in the national ranks at this time next year - he's got the frame and tools that professional scouts salivate over.



+ No. 17 C/1B Jake Howlett (Wall) was Team New Jersey's top overall offensive performer at the Future Games this year. Howlett impressed during the showcase workout day with a strong showing during BP and strong arm/quick release from behind the dish. What really separated Howlett was his ability to perform offensively during the games. He launched two long homers and had two more hits in three games to make a name for himself on a national stage. The hit tool plays, he's on time and is a tough out for anyone.

+ No. 18 3B Jack Harley (Delbarton) was one of the top overall players for Team New Jersey at the Future Games. Strength to frame at 6-foot 185-pounds, Harley consistently puts together mature at bats and remained a tough out facing top arms down at Lakepoint earlier this month. He transitioned to third base this spring, but has the versatility to play the middle with ease. A left handed hitter with juice to the gaps. Expect Harley to be a steal for a program looking for a true gamer. Uncommitted.

+ No. 19 OF Colin Richter (Roxbury) has true leadoff hitter qualities to his game, and he showcased it well at the Future Games earlier this month. Advanced athlete, 6.80 runner with explosiveness out of the jump (1.6 10 yard split), Richter has feel for the game on the bases and is a threat to take the extra base at any time. He's wiry strong at 5-foot-10 165-pounds and put together some of the most competitive at bats of the Future Games that we saw. Richter is consistently on time at the plate. Multi-sport athlete. Lots to like here. James Madison commit.

+ No. 20 OF Grant Hunter (Lenape) has the bloodlines of a top prospect with his brother, Cade, being a top prospect throughout the spring for Virginia Tech, ultimately landing with the Cincinatti Reds in the MLB Draft earlier this summer. The power/speed combination is nearly identical to his brother at the same age - 6.83 60, 93.6 exit velo (85.8 mph avg). Similar to Cade, Grant's game has no frills -- it's consistent, repetitive, and will bury an opposing pitcher when they make a mistake. Uncommitted.


+ No. 26 LHP Rhys Bowie (Dwight Englewood) has a lanky, athletic frame at 6-foot 160-pounds. Fastball got up to 86 mph at the Future Games and sat mostly 81-84 in his two appearances. The slider played up at 2256 rpm avg. Projectability and feel for spin make Bowie a guy to follow for this fall and next spring.

+ No. 27 Sergio Droz (Millville) was a another top performer at the Future Games for Team New Jersey. Versatile, athletic 5-foot-11 160-pounds, Droz's hands work effortlessly at the plate and he possesses some bounce in the field at SS. 6.94 runner, 86 INF velo make him a guy that could stick at SS at the next level. He's also up to 88 mph on the mound with the ability to mix in offspeed for strikes.

+ No. 28 C/Ut. Michael Simone (Morris Knolls) stood out as a top performer at the 2024 State Games in early July and maintained that momentum through a solid performance at the Future Games for Team New Jersey. Physical 6-foot 200-pounds, explosive athlete 6.97 runner - Simone showed well during the skills day with 95.1mph exit. Strong arm, can play either corner INF spot on top of being a primary catcher.


High Follows

+ Seton Hall commit OF Michael Contiliano (Hunterdon Central)

+ RHP Cole Stefanelli (Shore Regional)

+ RHP/C Eric Cha (Old Tappan)

+ 3B Samson Martin (Moorestown)

+ RHP/OF Aaron Perna (South Brunswick)

+ C Joseph Haines (St. Peter's Prep)

+ RHP Tomas Cestero (Westfield)

+ RHP Connor Darling (Northern Highlands)

+ OF Brodie Freker (Seton Hall Prep)

+ SS Maclain Tufts (Pope John XXIII)

+ RHP Hunter Lefkus (Donovan Catholic)

+1B/OF David Yorke (Donovan Catholic)

+ OF Yoan Feliz (Vineland)

+ SS TJ Magliozzo (Notre Dame)

+ LHP Joe Fanelli (Kingsway)

+ OF/RHP Jake Czwakiel (Middletown South)

+ RHP David Hamlin (St. John Vianney)

+ INF Peter Ramirez (Jonathan Dayton)

+ OF George Krenkel (Ocean Township)

+ 2B Anthony Mascuilli (Bishop Eustace)

+ OF Christian Mascuilli (Bishop Eustace)



2022 NJ Fall Top Prospect Games (2023-2025) NJ 10/16 Centenary University - Hackettstown, NJ
2022 NJ Last Chance Open NJ 10/29