Webb Gems Blog: Fall Season Showcasing the State's Top Sophomores

On any given pitch, at-bat, and game this fall, you can find underclassmen shining on the Midland Redskins/Royals Scout Team or the Midwest Redbirds/St. Louis Cardinals Scout Team. 

For Midland, top 2012 pitchers Taylore Cherry and Matt Smoral anchor the starting rotation. For the Redbirds, power-hitting senior infielders Xavier Turner and Jacob Bosiokovic are cemented in the middle of the lineup.

However, right alongside the 2012’s and 2013’s (such as Cassidy Brown, Andrew Benintendi, and Nic Billingsley) are a slew of talented 2014s who are beginning to make a name for themselves.

While Prep Baseball Report will wait until the 2013/2014 December 4th Top Prospect Event at Sinclair Community College to reveal Ohio’s top 2014’s, its hard to ignore the fact some players are shining this fall against premiere talent.

For Brian Hiler’s Midland team, three sophomores have begun to establish themselves as the top prospects at their position in their class. St. Xavier Catcher Jordan McDonough posses a powerful bat with solid receiving skills. Moeller OF/RHP Zack Shannon is already 6’2, 210 with the advanced bat to match his physical frame. Another player physically matured beyond his years is Worthington Kilbourne RHP Jacob Niggemeyer, a 6’4 pitcher that already can reach 87. Shannon and Niggemeyer were both named All-Americans after helping lead the Midland Braves to a runners-up finish at the Perfect Game 16U BCS National Championship in Fort Myers, Florida.

Niggemeyer isn’t the only young hurler to keep an eye on. For Brian Hopkins’ Redbirds, 6’3, 210 LHP Nick Vespi of Eastwood High School could be the Smoral to Niggemeyer’s Cherry. Vespi was also a member of the Midland Braves this summer.

The respective four players will see where they stand among the best as all will participate in Perfect Game’s WWBA Underclass World Championships October 7-10. The three Midland players will stay together for the Royals Scout team while Vespi will be a member of the FTB Mizuno.