Updated and Expanded 2021 Rankings
August 19, 2019
Over the last couple of months we have updated and expanded our Rankings in New Jersey. The 2021 Rankings recently got a facelift and we expanded the Overall 2021 Rankings to 400 players - which means it is time to highlight New Jersey’s 2021 Rankings as well.
In this edition, we have expanded the state rankings to 240 players. We compiled player performances from the high school season, various showcases in the early part of the summer including the 2019 Summer Preview and the New Jersey State Games, while also collecting our data from the boots-on-the-ground staff at other events throughout the state and country.
When it comes to the top of the class, RHP Chase Petty (Mainland HS, NJ) has been far and away the most exciting player to watch. The right-hander stood out at the Future Games Trials back in February, and after a brief stint on the sideline recovering from a knee injury in the spring, Petty was dominant through the latter-half of the high school season and continued that momentum well into the summer circuit. Recently, the Mainland right hander was one of the most dynamic players at the prestigious PBR Future Games event at Lakepoint. In the first game of the event, Petty toed the rubber and commanded his heavy-sinking fastball at 92-94 and ripped off several hard, late-breaking sliders at 80-83 MPH. From a true-¾ slot, Petty is tough to get a barrel on and showcased very well on a national platform at the event.
At No. 2, LHP Anthony Solometo (Gloucester Catholic HS, NJ), a North Carolina recruit, flashed his heavy fastball at 87-89 and a true wipeout slider at 78-81. Solometo was a standout at the recent Area Code Underclass Games event in California, where he led the event in strikeouts with 7.
No. 3, Auburn recruit OF Mike Bello (Pope John XXIII HS, NJ), an all-state performer in the spring, showed his next level power at various USA Baseball events in the early half of the summer, and is one of the top bats in the country from the left side.
No. 9 and No. 10 on the updated list are RHP/SS Justin Szestowicki (Kingsway HS, NJ) and David Hagaman (Cedar Creek HS, NJ), respectively. Szestowicki was electric on the mound for Team New Jersey at the PBR Future Games - his fastball was consistently 90-92 in two outings down at Lakepoint recently, and flashed a breaking ball with late 10/4 bite as an out pitch. Hagaman has the protoypical pitcher’s build at 6-foot-4 195-pounds. He is one of the most projectable arms in the 2021 class in New Jersey. He was 85-87 touching 88 at the Future Games, and ripped off a couple late breaking curveball for punchouts at 74-76.
No. 13 LHP Pierce Coppola (Verona HS, NJ) - a Virginia recruit, is tall and lanky at 6-foot-6 and impressed at several tournaments in June, before committing to the ‘Hoos in early July. From a high-¾ slot, Coppola is 84-87 and shows feel for a tight curveball for strikes at 71-72 and a split-change with late diving action.
The biggest splash into the Top 10 is No. 8 SS Anthony Stephan (Ridgewood HS, NJ) another Virignia recruit. A left handed, power-hitting infielder, Stephan rose to the occasion multiple times throughout the spring for the Group IV state champion Maroons. I see him more of a power-hitting 3B at the next level - but there is certainly no question that Stephan puts the barrel on the ball. A simple, compact stroke with explosive hips through the zone and some lift to his finish.
No. 11 LHP Oren Abbott (Millburn HS, NJ), a Duke recruit - was coming off a nagging injury for the majority of the spring season. But when he got the ball, he had some electrifying stuff. From a high-¾ slot, Abbott is every bit of 86-88 touching 89 with a sharp 1/7 breaking ball for strikes.
A couple of “unknowns”, if you want to call them ‘unknowns’ throughout the summer were No. 15 SS Chase Swain (Woodstown HS, NJ) and RHP Eric Schroeder (Delbarton HS, NJ). Both were PBR Future Games attendees - Swain for Team Select and Schroeder for Team New Jersey. Swain’s athletic frame at 5-foot-10 165-pounds and explosive barrel speed made him standout as one of the top positional players to come out of the northeast from the event. A power hitting infielder, Swain utilizes a leg kick and smooth load and routinely made loud contact in gameplay at the event. Schroeder, who followed Petty in Game 1 of the PBR Future Games for Team New Jersey - was equally as impressive on the mound. His fastball sat 85-86 and flashed two separate breaking balls for out pitches.
The Top 10
|2||Anthony Solometo||NJ||Gloucester Catholic||2021||LHP||North Carolina|
|3||Mike Bello||NJ||Pope John XXIII||2021||OF||Auburn|
|4||Shane Panzini||NJ||Red Bank Catholic||2021||RHP||Virginia|
|6||Jimmy Romano||NJ||St. Joseph's Montvale||2021||RHP||Duke|
|7||Ian Petrutz||NJ||Clearview Regional||2021||1B||Maryland|
|10||David Hagaman||NJ||Cedar Creek||2021||RHP|
Players to Watch
I really like what RHP/1B Sean Hard (St. Joseph’s Montvale HS, NJ) - recent Boston College commit, can bring to a lineup and to a pitching staff. He’s a strong, broad shouldered 6-foot-4 195-pounds. Was coming off an arm injury through the spring so he didn’t see much action on the bump for the Green Knights, but his heavy-hitting middle of the order bat was certainly nothing to brush an eye at. Recently, he’s been up to 89 on the mound, too. Watch for Hard to become the next big name out of the Garden State.
SS Chris Serrano (Kearny HS, NJ) has some next-level actions in the middle infield for his Full Count squad - a team that also has Rutgers recruit SS Joshua Kuroda-Gauer (Franklin HS, NJ). Serrano and Kuroda-Gauer have similar type of games, twitchy in the infield and line drive pop at the plate.
C Tyler LeRoy (Delran HS, NJ) showed some impressive arm strength and twitchiness from behind the plate at the Future Games and has a powerful stroke to compliment.
Keep an eye on C Logan Rooney (Chatham HS, NJ) - a physical build at 5-foot-10 170-pounds, stood out as one of the top performers at the recent New Jersey State Games with his bat and ability to catch plus velocity.
OF Kyle Adorno (Johnson HS, NJ) ran the fastest 60 yard dash at the New Jersey State Games at 6.62 and projects as a top-of-the-order bat.
C Zachary Rogacki (Jackson Memorial HS, NJ) was arguably the most impressive catcher out of the New Jersey State Games. A smooth, left handed swing and present athleticism (7.3 runner).