Updated and Expanded 2019 Rankings: April 2018

TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey

Even though by the calendar the winter has ended, in real-life it arguably still has not – Just ask our friend at PBR New York...


With that said, it is time for a revamp of the 2019 rankings with some high risers and newcomers to the group. 

Overall, the Top 10 remains the status quo – with Mississippi State recruit KC Hunt (Ramapo HS, NJ) still at the No. 1 slot and Vanderbilt recruits SS Anthony Volpe (Delbarton HS, NJ) and Nick Maldonado (Seton Hall Prep HS, NJ) rounding out the top three. Kentucky recruit RHP Ron Cole (Neptune HS, NJ) and Virginia recruit C Tate Ballestero (Morristown HS, NJ) round out the top 5. Ballestero has is in a unique spot with his high school team – as he plays the infield and virtually anywhere except catcher because Morristown has Seton Hall recruit C David Haberman to take control of the staff. But, this speaks to Ballestero's flexibility and athleticism on the field more than anything else.

2019 RHP/Ut. Stephen Restuccio comes in at No. 6. The Maryland recruit has a physical, broad shouldered frame and can get his fastball into the low 90s. Earlier this week he shut down one of the hottest teams in the state, Pennsville, with a 12 strikeout performance, and was able to keep Virginia Tech recruit Max Dineen at bay. Dineen has gone on to hit his 8th and 9th homeruns of this young season since that game.

Kentucky recruit LHP Alex Margot (Collingswood HS, NJ) is certainly an intriguing arm with a lot to like. Long, and lanky and can spin a plus breaking ball for strikes, Margot's 6-foot-4 frame projects him to gain more velocity as he continues to get stronger.

No. 8 Cade Hunter (Lenape HS, NJ) burst on to the scene at last summer's Future Games – on his way to committing to Virginia Tech. Hunter is a left handed hitting catcher with power to the gaps and a short, swing.

No. 9 is Georgia Tech recruit Drew Compton (Governor Livingston HS, NJ). The switch hitter his impressive gap to gap power and is able to move around at third base with athleticism. 

Rounding out the top 10 is Vanderbilt recruit RHP Jack Leiter (Delbarton HS, NJ). Leiter has certainly seen a velocity jump since we last saw him. Against St. Augustine last week, leiter was up to 94 and touched 93 once as well. He consistently sat 89-92 with clean, effortless mechanics.

The Top 10

1 KC Hunt NJ Ramapo 2019 RHP Mississippi State
2 Anthony Volpe NJ Delbarton 2019 SS Vanderbilt
3 Nick Maldonado NJ Seton Hall Prep 2019 RHP Vanderbilt
4 Ron Cole NJ Neptune 2019 RHP Kentucky
5 Tate Ballestero NJ Morristown 2019 C Virginia
6 Stephen Restuccio NJ Hammonton 2019 OF Maryland
7 Alex Margot NJ Collingswood 2019 LHP Kentucky
8 Cade Hunter NJ Lenape 2019 C Virginia Tech
9 Drew Compton NJ Governor Livingston 2019 3B Georgia Tech
10 Jack Leiter NJ Delbarton 2019 RHP Vanderbilt


Newcomers and Risers

There were a bunch of players that showed well over the winter and have had strong springs so far, regardless of the weather situation.

First are two of Toms River South's own. The storied program produces talent year after year, and this year 2019s Colin Mackle and Michael Lazzaro have made some noise early on. Both showed very well at the Preseason All State in February, showing power from the left side and right side, respectively. Mackle has an athletic build and is a power hitting outfield that can play all three positions. Lazzaro play the corner infield, primarily 3B and has a calm, cool, and collected approach at the plate with explosive movements to the ball.

La Salle recruit Elijah Dickerson (Rancocas Valley HS, NJ) was another top performer from the Presason All State – with a smooth, left handed swing and an outfield arm that plays. I have seen him on the mound up to 87, but the oufield is where he will roam for the Explorers in a couple years. A top of the order bat, Dickerson finds the barrel often.

Uncommitted RHP/Ut. Ryan O'Hara (Red Bank Catholic HS, NJ) is a high riser in the rankings. We first got a glimpse of O'Hara in 2016 when he was a freshman. O'Hara has put on some muscle and a few MPH's to his fastball to go with it. He sat 83-85 touching 86 at the .9ers Baseball Club Scout Day in the winter with a long, easy arm action and command of a breaking ball with sharp, late break.

Uncommitted RHP John-Biagio Modugno (Don Bosco Prep HS, NJ) has a long, lanky 6-foot-6 frame and was recently up to 88 in an outing against Ridgewood a week ago. In that inning, Modugno fanned two batters and get a check-swing slow roller to seal the victory for the Ironmen. He sat 86-87, overpowering hitters from a high-3/4 slot that seems to come out of the clouds.

Uncommitted OF Sebastian JnoBaptiste (Neptune HS, NJ) is another special athlete for Neptune. A line drive hitter with a lean, athletic build, JnoBaptiste has the speed to play all three outield spots, and the arm and the power to play the corner OF spots – a perfect mix.

Uncommitted RHP Tyler Cirone (Bergen Tech HS, NJ) has been up to 89 in the winter and has shown that he can pitch at a high level for a couple years now. He has a slight pause in his delivery that throws batters off balance from the start. The fastball has late, heavy life and he spins an 11/5 breaking ball for strikes too.

Uncommitted RHP Zachary Fernandez (Union HS, NJ) oozes projection with his lanky 6-foot-2 frame. His fastball was up to 85 MPH in February – and sat 83-85 with easy, effortless jump as well. Certainly is one of the top uncommitted arms left on the board in NJ.

Rider recruit Scott Shaw (Cherry Hill West HS, NJ) is a left handed hitter with a mechanically sound stroke at the plate and gap to gap projection. Shaw's lanky-athletic frame stood out at the Preseason All State Showcase in February.

Uncommitted 2019 Michael Decker (Clearview HS, NJ) is one of the statistical leaders for the Pioneers so far this year, coming off a 2017 season that was lost to injury. Decker can pitch and hit – on the bump he was up to 86 MPH at the Preseason All State and at the plate hits from the left side with impressive line drive pop.

Another victim to an injury in 2017, Justin Kapusciski has returned to full strength and has impressed so far this spring. A broad shouldered build at 6-foot-3, Kapuscinksi is a primary catcher but can also play first base just as well. A right hander swinger, Kapuscinksi has serious power to all fields and uses his advanced strength to his advantage.

Anthony Pron, another Clearview player, was up to 86 MPH, a big velocity jump from June 2017 when we first saw him. Pron can contribute big innings for Clearview as they continue to beat up South Jersey teams.

Tune in here for more updates on big games, top performers, Player of the Week, and other news, strictly talking New Jersey High School Baseball.


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