Prep Baseball Report

Inside the Rankings: Top 10 Class of 2023 Pitchers

Ted Williams
Ground Forces

With our latest rankings release for the 2023 class we decided to dive in deeper with a breakdown of the top 10 at each position. Today we start with pitchers, SEVEN of whom are currently uncommitted.

Disclaimer: Players listed below are ranked in order of their PRIMARY listed position on the website that they have chosen. A dual player that is also strong at their secondary position may carry more weight in their overall ranking.

Class of 2023 Rankings Release

Jake Griffin RHP / OF / Holy Redeemer, PA / 2023

Quick Hits:
 The 6-foot, 195-pound power right-handed pitcher features a quick arm and above average strength in the lower half allowing for heavy fastballs in the 89-90 mph range. Commands the zone with the fastball while holding velocity into later innings in game action. The 68-70 mph curveball is two-plane at times and plays well out of the same arm-slot creating increased deception. Works a 73-75 mph changeup down in the zone displaying quality hand speed through the release window giving the Holy Redeemer right-hander three above-average pitches in the repertoire. The athleticism jumps out watching him move in the outfield, evidenced by a 6.90 60-yard dash and upper 80’s arm-strength from his position. A quality hitter in the box, the power potential is there in an advanced lower half similar to the explosiveness he possesses on the mound. A total package who demonstrates feel for legitimate two-way capabilities, Griffin slots in at #1 in our ‘23 class top 10 pitcher rankings. 

First Glimpse: 7/06/19 MVP Beast - Griffin hit a prolific home run to left field which turned more than a few heads. The offensive prowess showed with multiple extra base hits in game action and high level barrel awareness.

Breakout Performance: 6/29/19 - Went 5 strong innings striking out 9 ‘Round Trip Baseball’ hitters on the national scene. 

The Future: The Tennessee commit has the frame and polish needed to get on the field early at the next level. With some of the better command in the class, there’s plenty of confidence in running him out there to fill up the strike zone. The offspeed plays particularly well off of the fastball when he establishes it early, and when it’s on Griffin becomes nearly unhittable at the high school level. The Holy Redeemer righty should be an extremely close follow as he progresses throughout his high school career and could be a potential draft guy down the line with a couple more jumps. 

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith LHP / OF / Seneca Valley, PA / 2023

Quick Hits:
 Smith possesses an advanced feel for a lean and athletic 6-foot, 160-pound frame creating fluidity in actions across the board and room to add physicality as he matures. The Mt. Lebanon southpaw sits in the low 80’s topping out around 82 mph with present arm-side run. There’s extreme athleticism and ease in the arm-stroke which suggests an increase in velocity in the near future. The lefty commands a devastating 67-69 mph curveball with two-plane, 1/7 action that has the true makings of an out pitch at the next level. Mix in a 73-74 mph changeup with plenty of disappearing fade and you can see the pitchability Smith displays each time out. The movements translate well to the outfield where the 7.12 runner (4.12 home to first) demonstrates a quick and fluid first step into his routes towards either gap. With fluidity in the swing and flexibility in the lower half at the plate, the left-handed hitter generates hard contact to the pull-side on bat-exit velocities of 83 mph allowing for some two-way considerations at the next level.

First Glimpse: 8/03/19 Jr. Future Games - 76-78 mph FB, 66-67 mph CB, 7.21 60-yard dash, 82 mph OF velocity, 83 mph bat-exit velocity, top performer. 

Breakout Performance: 2/23/20 Preseason All-State Western - 78-81 mph FB, 67-69 mph CB, 73-74 mph CH, 7.27 60-yard dash, 80 mph bat-exit velocity.

The Future: The Auburn commit now commands three pitches on the mound where he projects the best at the moment and will see considerable velocity increases as he continues filling out the frame. A high ceiling prospect who moves extremely well in all phases of the game, Smith has all the signs of a dominant high school arm moving forward and the offense he brings should be seen as a bonus. 

Luke Guth RHP / SS / Franklin Area, PA / 2023

Quick Hits:
 The 6-foot-2, 155-pound primary right-handed pitcher has extreme projectability in a frame that could reasonably hold 30 more pounds. Guth has professional bloodlines as his brother Zach was drafted by the Braves in the 26th round (772 overall) and the athleticism jumps off the page in all phases of the game. The Franklin product exploded onto the scene at the Junior Future Games last summer with a 90 mph arm-strength across the diamond during the showcase portion, which would have been the fourth highest arm strength at the entire Future Games, older guys included. This spring the righty has reportedly been into the mid to upper 80’s on the mound with increased feel of the lower half and still projects to increase velocity with additions to the frame. Mix in above-average feel for two secondary offerings and you can see the excitement around this high ceiling ‘23 prospect. The right-handed hitter can swing it as well with present pull-side juice and an 84 mph bat-exit velocity while staying through the hitting window for an extended period of time. A 7.11 60-yard dash certainly doesn’t hurt the case in viewing Guth as a legitimate two-way prospect entering what should be an impact season next spring. 

First Glimpse: 1/27/19 Winter Workout - Guth ran the fastball up to 82 mph with athleticism in the arm-swing featuring a quality curveball that played down in the zone. 

Breakout Performance: 8/03/19 Jr. Future Games - 7.11 60-yard dash, 90 mph IF velocity, 84 mph bat-exit velocity, top performer. 

The Future: Currently uncommitted, Guth checks all the boxes for athleticism and projectability. The floor keeps getting higher and should project the Franklin product as a low risk, high reward recruit who should see a heavy amount of interest at the PA State Games in the next week. With ability to explode in the coming months, it would be better to get on him sooner rather than later. 

Josh Keen RHP / Philadelphia Academy Charter, PA / 2023

Quick Hits: 
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound right-handed pitcher possesses advanced physicality in the lower half creating riding life on an 85-86 mph fastball that plays well above the belt. Loose and whippy arm action allows for advanced hip/shoulder separation and high spin rate on a two-plane, 72-73 mph curveball. The 77-79 mph changeup works out of the same window with similar fastball arm-speed, but lacks much movement at the moment. Regardless, the Philadelphia Academy Charter product has three above-average pitches in the repertoire and with plenty of polish in the delivery, should be considered a very high follow in the ‘23 class. The FB/CB combination projects the best for strikeout potential at the moment with both being high-spin offerings. A high floor prospect who continues to get better each time we see him, Keen is a name we’d circle as a breakout candidate at the State Games a week from now.

First Glimpse: 1/20/18 Jr. Future Game Trials - 69-72 mph FB, 58-59 mph CB, 64-65 mph CH.

Breakout Performance: 2/08/20 Bucks County Generals Scout Day - 85-86 mph FB, 72-73 mph CB, 77-79 mph CH, top performer. 

The Future: Currently uncommitted, Keen continues rising up the rankings and doesn’t look to be taking his foot off the gas any time soon. The physicality stands out and has been a point of emphasis during the offseason and certainly helps the case to project the Philadelphia Academy Charter product as a must follow entering a big week ahead.

Eddie Copper RHP / 1B / Germantown Academy, PA / 2023

Quick Hits: 
The 6-foot, 175-pound right-handed pitcher displays power projection on the mound with a mid to upper 80’s fastball with considerable life up in the zone. Mixes in a two-plane low 70’s curveball with sharp downward movement and above-average feel for a 75-76 mph changeup with arm-side fade. With some of the better physicality/athleticism packages in the ‘23 class, Copper’s ceiling should be considered to be extremely high as more velocity should reasonably be on the way in the near future. With quality pitchability skills and the knowledge of establishing the fastball early and pitching off of it, the strikeout projection is there and should create a large following for the Germantown Academy righty moving forward. There is present lower half explosiveness on the mound yielding downhill action on the offspeed, creating high spin on the curveball as a pitch with future swing and miss potential. 

First Glimpse: 10/14/19 Fall Workout - 82-85 mph FB, 70-72 mph CB, 75-76 mph CH. 

Breakout Performance: 6/09/19 Tri State Arsenal vs. PA Playmakers - Struck out 8 in the win while featuring advanced FB/CB command.

The Future: The South Carolina commit is another riser in the class who continues shooting up the rankings with each successive standout performance. The frame is ready to go right now and with room to continue filling out, Copper has the ability to slot in day one as an impact arm at the next level and should be a name to keep an eye on, especially if he makes a couple more considerable jumps.

Kayden Faulcon RHP / C / Pennsbury, PA / 2023

Quick Hits: 
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound primary right-handed pitcher sits 81-84 mph out of a long and whippy, over the top arm-slot creating high spin on the fastball. Commands a sharp 67-69 mph two plane curveball that has the makings of an out pitch moving forward and can work a 75-76 mph changeup out of the same window with present arm-side fade. There are two-way capabilities with a low to mid 80’s bat exit velocity at the plate and pop times in the 2.15 range, but the arm projects the best at the moment with advanced fluidity through the release window. A mix of above-average strength and athleticism in the lower half should lead to increased velocity as he continues adding size to the frame and warrants more attention on the Pennsbury product as he enters what should be an impact season on the hill next spring. 

First Glimpse: 10/19/19 Future Prospects Showcase - 81-84 mph FB, 64-69 mph CB, 75-76 mph CH, 85 mph bat-exit velocity, top performer.

Breakout Performance: 6/16/19 National Scene - Recorded 7 strikeouts on the mound over 6.2 innings for Tri-State Arsenal vs. Full Count Baseball. 

The Future: Currently uncommitted, we really liked what we saw from Faulcon at the 2019 Future Prospects Showcase last September. The arm played smooth and looked like there was more in the tank creating excitement about what’s to come in the future for this high floor ‘23 prospect. With a couple more considerable jumps in velocity, you’re talking about a high level mover with the strength to match it.

Ryan Novakowski RHP / 3B / Wilkes-Barre , PA / 2023

Quick Hits: 
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound primary right-handed pitcher blends a strong and durable frame with loose, whippy arm-action allowing for life on 82-85 mph fastballs in the zone. A sharp 63-66 mph curveball with high spin and late depth is mixed in with confidence giving Novakowski two above-average offerings on the mound to go along with a 66-69 mph slider that works out of the same arm-slot showing more horizontal movement. With experience of showcasing well vs. high level competition both at the PBR Jr. Future Games and on the national scene, the Wilkes-Barre product breeds “gamer” qualities in competitive situations and should expect a large following in the near future. The body continues becoming more athletic over time, which should bode very well for future projections and the righty is one of our picks to stand out at the State Games a week from now. 

First Glimpse: 3/24/19 Jr. Future Games Trials - 79-81 mph FB, 62-64 mph CB, 66-68 mph SL.

Breakout Performance: 2/29/20 Preseason All-State Southeast - 81-84 mph FB, 63-66 mph CB, 66-69 mph SL, top performer.

The Future: Currently uncommitted, Novakowski features many likeable qualities in the delivery, meaning it comes out easy suggesting a jump in velocity in the near future. If the righty doesn’t pop on the mound, an 86 mph bat exit velocity generates easy pull-side juice at the dish giving the Wilkes-Barre product multiple high level ways to impact a ballgame.

Joseph Curreri RHP / SS / Honesdale, PA / 2023

Quick Hits:
 The Honesdale Area righty features some of the best pitchability among the ‘23 class with enough feel to alter tempos in the delivery on occasion. An 82-85 mph fastball possesses plenty of arm-side run and some sink out of an athletic, high ¾ arm-slot. Demonstrates advanced polish on a 74-75 mph changeup which is an out-pitch against lefties at the moment and gets quality spin on a 69-71 mph curveball with slurve action across the zone. With confidence to attack early in counts on the bump and a knack for not walking hitters, Curreri profiles as an innings eater at the next level with a high ceiling future. The added strength that will continue defining a lean, 6-foot, 170-pound frame at the moment will only further push Curreri into the limelight and create a large amount of interest following the Honesdale Area product throughout the rest of his high school career. 

First Glimpse: 2/24/19 Northeast Pride Scout Day - 78-80 mph FB, 66-68 mph CB, 72-75 mph CH, 70 mph IF velocity, 72 mph bat-exit velocity.

Breakout Performance: 2/22/20 Tri-State Open - 81-84 mph FB, 69-71 mph CB, 74-75 mph CH, top performer in game-action on the bump.

The Future: Currently uncommitted, the righty should garner some serious attention heading into the PA State Games a week from now and is one of our picks to stand out among the 300+ players in attendance. With room to continue filling out, the velocity should shoot up into the upper 80’s/90 mph range only making two of his current above-average secondary offerings even more devastating.

Brett Antolick RHP / SS / Hazleton Area, PA / 2023

Quick Hits: 
The velocity and physicality keeps jumping each time we see the righty, allowing Antolick to shoot up the rankings and pump some of the higher velocity in the class on the mound. The athletic 6-foot-3, 180-pound Hazleton Area product sat 85-88 mph this spring and should be headed for the low 90’s in a projectable frame with advanced flexibility in the arm swing. The changeup is a quality secondary pitch with present arm-side fade and creates above-average deception out of the same window. If he’s able to command a solid third pitch in the future, Antolick will head north in the rankings quickly and would be a no-brainer, power arm at the next level. The Germantown product has the makings of a prospect that will flourish down the stretch of his high school career, and could be one of the steals of the class if improvements are made on the curveball.

First Glimpse: 10/12/19 RC Knights Scout Day - 81-83 mph FB, 74-77 mph CB, 74-76 mph KN, 7.07 60-yard dash, 79 mph IF velocity, 7.07 60-yard dash.

Breakout Performance: 5/21/20 Spring Workout - 85-88 mph FB, 90 mph bat-exit velocity.

The Future: Currently uncommitted, the righty also features solid two-way ability with a 90 mph bat exit velocity at the dish and above-average speed clocking in at a 7.07 60-yard dash. Still somewhat raw in the actions, there is still plenty of room to go making the ceiling extremely high with a good chance of reaching it down the line.

Jared Murray LHP / 1B / Manheim Central, PA / 2023

Quick Hits: 
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound lefty sits 79- 81 mph out of a long and loose, high ¾ arm-slot. The Manheim Central product showcases a well above-average curveball at 65-72 mph with late, sharp 12/6 break. The third offering, a changeup at 67-73 mph is thrown at fastball arm-speed with quality sell giving him two quality secondary pitches in the zone at all times. With the ability to command the zone early and put hitters away with a devastating breaking ball, the final piece remains the velocity which should be on the way in the near future. The left-handed hitter also flashes legitimate two-way abilities launching a quick barrel into the hitting zone yielding 88 mph bat-exit velocities in-game. An out-getter who can also get punch outs on the mound, Murray should have plenty of tabs kept on him at the State Games with a legitimate chance to break out. 

First Glimpse: 3/02/19 Keystone State Bombers Scout Day - 70-73 mph FB, 59-62 mph CB, 64-65 mph CH, 74 mph bat-exit velocity.

Breakout Performance: 3/01/20 Keystone State Bombers Scout Day - 79-81 mph FB, 65-72 mph CB, 67-73 mph CH, top performer.

The Future: Currently uncommitted, the southpaw can move the ball around the plate with polish in the delivery and feel for his repertoire. That combination makes for a confident pitcher that will most likely follow in the Colton Book mold (‘21 LHP Manheim Central/ Stony Brook). The two-way capabilities are real with above-average feel around the bag at first and a quality approach at the plate with the bat speed to match allowing for multiple ways to impact the game.


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