Tools of the Trade: 2024 Hitters
September 20, 2023
A breeding ground for upper-echelon northeast talent, New York's class of 2024 set the bar high, making noise in all corners of the state. Though the amount of college-ready arms has certainly been intriguing (25 of the first 40 ranked), we've seen a similar balance of talent with quality hitters sprinkled throughout. When undergoing the evaluation process, our staff uses the five tools (hit, power, glove, arm, and run) as a barometer for comparing players against one another. Obviously, each will need to be refined properly and accompanied by in-game success in order for them to have full effect. Today we break down one of the top tools within an exciting class of prospects.
One of the hardest to project in the game, the illustrious "hit tool" combines multiple facets, such as bat-speed, effort, feel for the barrel, early pitch recognition, and having a solid plan. Yes the swing plays a factor as well, but typically the best execute their approach using the above and do so consistently. Here's a look at some of the more gifted hitters in the empire state's 2024 class.
Owen Paino SS / OF / Roy C. Ketcham, NY / 2024
The top-ranked player in the state and #13 nationally, Paino owns a sweet, but violent left-handed swing at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds. It doesn't take much for his athletic presence to drive the baseball over the gaps with ability to keep the sweet spot through the zone for length. A name-to-know for the 2024 #MLBDraft.
Ole Miss commit
Tyler Castrataro SS / RHP / Mahopac, NY / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 30 / POS: 3
Listed at 5-foot-10, 170-pounds with 6.68 footspeed, Castrataro generates buggy-whip from the right-handed box, up to a T100MPH exit velocity via Trackman. There's a hand-pump that flows into launch, creating perfect leverage at the front of the plate and equally impressive acceleration. He balances some of the max effort with a quiet head and smooth finish.
Thomas Woodridge SS / 3B / Fayetteville Manlius, NY / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 40 / POS: 4
A Team NY Future Games attendee in 2022, Woodridge matches plane with a flat path and stays inside of a high contact, low strikeout approach. The top-hand steepens out upon first move, angling with rare adjustability to all parts of the zone. Both a wide base and trusted pitch recognition give him the chance to hit any speed hard. More to come yet at 5-foot-11, 185-pounds.
AJ Aschettino SS / OF / Rocky Point , NY / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 105 / POS: 16
Blessed with a longer, projectable 6-foot, 170-pound frame, Aschettino won league MVP this past spring after hitting .513 and tacking on 5 HR + 1.398 OPS. The actions are easy and confident from the left side, as shoulder plane works efficiently with mature patterns. Also a 6.81 runner that has 79MPH bat-speed, we could see power climb in the near future.
Tyler Cook C / RHP / Holy Trinity, NY / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 71 / POS: 14
There's lots to like offensively with backside success and a short-to-long approach that releases the barrel. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound primary catcher was a major winner at the Team Francisco scout day, averaging a 91 MPH exit velocity during BP (T95 MPH) with mid-70's bat-speed. For an encore, he had a clutch walkoff over the summer at the PBR 16U Championships.
Talon Elkins SS / RHP / West Geneseee, NY / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 86 / POS: 13
The king of the "Lumberyard", Elkins went 15-21 (.714) with 8 singles, 6 doubles, a triple, and 11 RBI in one particular tournament in July. The tall left-handed bat relaxes the upper-half and hammers the low pitch with authority at a lean at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. When adding on the natural backspin and loft off the bat, it's easy to project for future upside.
Masai Marshall OF / 1B / Poly Prep, NY / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 65 / POS: 10
After a strong high school season for perennial powerhouse Poly Prep, Marshall stayed hot with a big performance at the 2023 Leiderman Cup. The body looks the part of a professional at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds while keeping the knob tight for a quick and accurate swing into the zone. Long Island Scout Chris Dryll is a huge fan of the skillset and ease of operation.
|2023 Last Chance Open: Upstate||NY||09/22||Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex - Cortland, NY|
|2023 NY Fall Top Prospect Games||NY||09/30||Central Park - Schenectady, NY|
|2023 CHSAA-Long Island Scout Day||NY||10/08||Holy Trinity HS - Hicksville, NY|
|2023 CHSAA-NYC Scout Day||NY||10/09||Heritage Financial Park - Wappingers Falls, NY|
|2023 Last Chance Open: East||NY||10/22||Heritage Finanical Park - Wappingers Falls, NY|
|2023 NY Unsigned Senior Showcase||NY||10/22||Heritage Financial Park - Wappingers Falls, NY|
|2023 Northeast JUCO Sophomore/Transfer Showcase||NY||10/22||Heritage Financial Park - Wappingers Falls, NY|
|2023 Last Chance Open: Downstate||NY||10/28||East Coast Sports and Fitness - Yorktown Heights|