PBR Ohio's Top Stories for the Year 2016: Breakout Performances from the Year

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By Jordan Chiero and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Scouting Director and Ohio Editor in Chief/NW Scout

PBR Ohio started up on May 3rd, 2011 as seen here. From that day, Chris Valentine has had a goal to promote high school baseball in Ohio at the highest level possible. Chris has been able to do this thanks to the help of parents, coaches, and the talented players throughout the state of Ohio.

Chris has also built a staff that has the drive to make Ohio one of, if not the top viewed website for Prep Baseball Report as well as put on some of the best showcases in the nation to help promote the high school talent that resides in the Buckeye State.

Dylan Hefflinger, PBR Ohio Editor in Chief/NW Scout, along with Jordan Chiero, PBR Ohio Director Scouting take a look back at the year in review and put together a list of the top stories for 2016.

Today we take a look at the 2016 Breakout Performers.

Each day we will reveal the next story on the list. A hint for the next story is the word "Big Time Commits".

Interested in attending a PBR Ohio event? Check out our schedule by clicking here.

Top Stories of 2016 Rundown:
+ Updated and Expanded Player Rankings
+ Team Ohio Showcases Talents at 2016 Future Games
+ TPG: Once again a Success

PBR Ohio's Top Stories for the Year 2016: Breakout Performances from the Year

2016 Class

Justin GrubbJustin Grubb, RHP, Pickerington North, 2016
Breakout Performance: 2016 High School State Tournament
Report: Grubb and his Panthers of Pickerington North shocked the state, as the unranked Panthers claimed the Division I State Championship, defeating five ranked teams along the way. Grubb, a 6-foot-4 righty went the distance in the state title game for the win while also pitching in relief in the state semifinal game for the save. Grubb used his performance in Columbus to help get him a look from Ohio Wesleyan, where Grubb is attending college now.

Shay SmiddyShay Smiddy, RHP/SS, Defiance, 2016
Breakout Performance: 2016 High School State Tournament
Report: Smiddy was a well known commodity coming into the 2016 season, but the Louisville commit took his game to the next level this past spring. The 6-foot-5 righty earned some high accolades, Player of the Year for PBR, OHSAA State Tournament MVP, 1st-Team All-American for Louisville Slugger (the only Ohio HS athlete to receive the award) and many more honors. What puts Smiddy on the top breakout performances for 2016 is because of his performance during the state tournament. The righty went the full 10 innings, while picking up two wins and striking out 11. Smiddy also scored the game-winning run for Defiance as they captured back-to-back championships.

2017 Class

Cael BakerCael Baker, C, Gahanna Lincoln, 2017
Breakout Performance: 2016 High School Season
Report: Baker was far from an unknown commodity when he suited up for the Lions in 2016. He was a Top 100 prospect in the state and had accepted a scholarship offer to the University of Cincinnati. However, he used 2016 to prove he belonged in the conversation as one of the best bats in the 2017 class. Baker put up video game numbers on his way to winning the state’s D1 player of the year honors. In 30 games Baker batted .476 with seven home runs and 50 RBI. Baker made his way up to the No. 24 spot in the 2017 rankings.  

Cory BrooksCory Brooks, RHP, Hilliard Darby, 2017
Breakout Performance:  April 4th, 2016 vs. Westerville North
Report: Heading into the spring of 2016 the Hilliard Darby product was in a large part an under the radar recruit. This quickly changed when he took the mound on against Westerville North. Brooks passes the look test flying colors. At 6-foot-2, 195-pounds he resembles a top prospect in the outfield more than he does a pitcher. This was our first real look at Cory and he didn’t disappoint, His fastball was consistently ranging between 84-88 mph, touching 90 mph on multiple occasions. The harsh weather conditions made his velocity and ability to work both sides of the plate even more impressive. Brooks also finished the day with fourteen strikeouts. Shortly after his performance he started receiving attention from D1 school across the Midwest before committing to the University of Purdue. The righty went from unranked to the No. 20 prospect in the 2017 class.

Evan MillerEvan Miller, RHP, William Henry Harrison, 2017
Breakout Performance: 2016 Top Prospect Games
Report: Miller came into the 2016 Top Prospect Games as the No. 104 ranked prospect in the 2017 class. While competing in the same event in 2015 he sat 82-85 mph with his fastball. This year he consistently sat 88-90 mph with heavy run at times, and was the unanimous top performer on the mound. His performance was impressive enough to vault him up to the No. 12 spot in the 2017 class. Shortly after the event Miller committed to Xavier University.

2018 Class

Cole AyersCole Ayers, RHP, Loveland HS, 2018
Breakout Performance: 7/30/16 Dinger Wood Bat Tournament and 2016 PBR Future Games
Report: The Loveland product had made a name for himself during the summer and had a solid performance at the 2016 Top Prospect Games. However, he took his game to another level toward the end of the summer. While looking for one more arm to add to Team Ohio for the Future Games we had a chance to see Cole throw in the Dinger Wood Bat Tournament at Xavier University. Throwing for the Cincinnati Baseball Club, Ayers showed off an upper 80s fastball and one of the better breaking balls we had seen in the 2018 class. It became very apparent that not only did he belong on Team Ohio but he could be one of the best arms to join the team. At the Future Games he was arguably the top performer on the mound for Ohio. After the Future Games he became one of the most sought after arms in Ohio, before committing to the University of Kentucky. Ayers is now regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2018 class, and sits at the No. 3 spot in the rankings.

Colin SellsColin Sells, RHP, Bloom Carroll HS, 2018
Breakout Performance: Ohio Future Game Trials
Report: Sells came to the Future Game Trials as a prospect who had been on the radar but had yet to take the next step to become a high-level prospect. Sells took the mound and showed off an 87 mph fastball and feel for his secondary stuff to go along with his 6-foot-4 frame. He earned a spot on Team Ohio and proved he was worthy of it with another solid performance at the Future Games. Sells sky rocketed up the rankings to the No. 14 spot and eventually decided on the University of Kentucky.

Lane FlammLane Flamm, RHP, New Richmond HS, 2018
Breakout Performance: WWBA World Championships in Jupiter, FL
Report: Few prospect used the Fall to improve their stock more than Flamm. The right-hander struck out thirteen in his outing while touching 92 mph with his fastball. His performance was impressive enough the be named the WWBA All-Tournament Team. The New Richmond product climbed all the way up to the No. 8 spot in the rankings. Flamm had recently committed to Xavier University.

2019 Class

Mack Anglin, RHP, Sparta Highland, 2019
Breakout Performance: WWBA World Championships in Jupiter, FL
Report: It be tough for a prospect to burst on the recruiting scene in a bigger way than Mack Anglin did this fall. On one of the biggest stages fall high school baseball has to offer Anglin shined. The 6-foot-5, right-hander showed off an 87-90 mph fastball with feel for his breaking ball. After his outing he was heavily recruited by some of the biggest programs in the country before committing to Clemson University. He also earned the top spot in the 2019 rankings.

Jack FrankJack Frank, OF, Strongsville HS, 2019
Breakout Performance: 2019 Top Prospect Games
Report: Prior to the 2019 Top Prospect Games we had not seen Frank and he was off the radar when it came to the recruiting scene. Throughout the event the Strongsville product dominated against the top prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class. In game action he recorded three triples and a double. The only reason he didn’t have for triples was his most impressive swing of the day produced a ground rule double to dead centerfield. The athletic outfielder earned a spot on Team Ohio, becoming the only 2019 position player on the team. He currently is the No. 2 ranked prospect in the 2019 class and has recently committed to Michigan State University.

Blayne RobinsonBlayne Robinson, 1B/LHP, Defiance, 2019
Breakout Performance: 2016 Fall Prospect Program
Report: Prior to the 2016 Fall Prospect Program, we had not seen Blayne compete. However, we had heard of a talented two-way prospect who transferred to Defiance. This LHH 1st baseman opened eyes as Blayne won MVP honors during the 2016 FPP. Blayne will look to take this momentum into the spring for the Bulldogs. Look for the projectable 6-foot-5 two-way prospect to be on college radars over the next few seasons. Blayne comes in at the No. 20 spot in the 2019 rankings.