Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Top 25 Preview: No. 22 Horseheads

Dan Cevette
Director, New York

After weeks of careful consideration, with schools in all classifications on the table including: NYC schools, private and catholic schools, public Class D through AA schools - We finally released our Preseason Power Top 25 Rankings.

Over 900 high schools were eligible for our Power Top 25. An executive team, comprised of 15 members scattered across the state, in conjunction with the NYSSWA was put together to help with all team rankings.

As the season begins our boots-on-the-ground scouting team will be out covering several HS games a week, compiling player and team data, that will be invaluable in accurately shaping this ranking. Today we take a look at our No. 22 ranked team on our poll, Horseheads.

Team Preview: No. 22 Horseheads

In New York, section four has always seemed to produced talented baseball players and programs alike. Several schools in the section seem to always make significant noise come playoff time, including but not limited to - Union Endicott, Vestal, Elmira, Corning and our No. 22 ranked team in our Power Top 25 Rankings, Horseheads.

With just shy of 1,000 students grades nine-12, Horseheads misses out on being a Class A school by less than 100 kids. Class AA is defined by a high schools enrollment being over 910 kids - Horseheads last checked in at 969 students. Most schools would welcome the opportunity to play down a class, it's simply an easier road to the title-game, but for Horseheads it appears they welcome the challenge - and year-after-year, their winning percentage proves they can flat-out play. Let's take a look at some of the top players for the Blue Raiders this spring.

Horseheads claims the No. 9 ranked player in New York's 2016 class OF/RHP Jake Burlingame (Canisius). Extremely fluid-athletic player that proved to be the top-prospect in our New York State Games last year. Easy loose swing from the left-side that produces power, glides when he runs (6.8 runner) and has an above average arm from the OF (88 mph). He will also toe-the-rubber as the Raiders No. 1 arm this season. Look for Burlingame to sit 81-84, touching a few 85's this season with good feel for a 12/6 curveball.

The infield should be a strong-point for the Raiders this spring as 2017 SS Nico Limoncelli returns as the leader of the defense. Sure-hands from the middle of the field with an accurate, above average arm (86 mph). Swings from the left-side with power (86 exit speed) and bat-control. Runs well (6.9 60) and creates headaches for opposing pitchers and defenses once he gets on-base. Lining up to his brothers right-side will be younger brother, 2019 SS(3B) Michael Limoncelli. We first saw Michael last summer and were blown away with his advanced skills. Already a plus defender with a natural glove, and powerful arm (85-87 mph). With the bat he's a switch hitter with more bat-speed from the left-side, recently has shown signs of power from both sides-of-the-plate. This is a freshman you want to come watch.

Likely seeing important innings this year will be 2017 LHP Keegan Ernest. Ernest uses deception and movement with a fastball sitting around 80 mph. Shows some life with his curveball that is slower with downward break. Another player who should have his fair chance of opportunities to throw is 2017 OF/RHP Zac Granger. All-around plus athlete who throws from a long-arm action with good velocity. Not only will Granger see valuable time on the mound, but he's one of the top returning hitters from last years sectional run. Quick compact hands from the right-side with a ton of natural loose bat-speed. Player who has a chance of being pretty good.

Others To Watch

2016 2B Brooks Vertoske
Vertoske stands 5-foot-8, 140-pounds with a slender frame. Offensively – at the plate he uses a balanced setup, hands relaxed. Barrel gets a little flat early, short path to the ball, level through contact with extension. Exit velocity was 83 mph. Defensively – he keeps improving, mostly arm strength and foot-speed (7.13 60) and arm strength up to 82. His lower half is always moving, glove is open and fields out in front, transfer could be quicker, quick arm action, throws from an over-the-top slot.

2018 C Andrew Thompson
Andrew stands 5-foot-11, 170-pounds with a strong athletic frame that will continue to fill out with time in the weight room.  He was a standout in the 2018 class. Offensively- Thompson sets up with a wide base, minimal stride and creates good separation up top.  He works slightly up hill through contact but showed excellent pop with an 89 mph exit velocity. Defensively- Thompson shows great athletic ability behind the plate throwing right around the 2.1 range with pop times.  With a strong athletic body, and upside at the plate he's going to shine in the 2018 class and be one to follow through the next two years.

2018 1B/DH Frank Wayman
Stands at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, with a bigger, athletic body build. Offensively- At the plate his setup is relaxed and balanced, short stride, with a back load.  His hands are very compact and strong, swinging with a little uphill tilt but straight to the ball, with long/full extension through the ball.  His exit velocity was 86 MPH.  Next-level with the bat.

2017 OF/RHP John Tiberia
Athletic body standing 6-foot-0, 185-pounds. Tiberia will add pitching depth for the Raiders with a strong arm from the right-side. He will also be roaming the OF where he shows good arm-strength with carry, and good athletic range.

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