PA State Games: Top 10 Breakout Performers


Ted Williams
Ground Forces

With the conclusion of the first annual PA State Games in Dubois, PA on June 15th - 17th, we were able to step away and look at the total talent present and were blown away. Our 30 total staff members were able to see a total of 355 uncommitted prospects... 137 pitchers were 80 mph or better, 47 players were under a 7.0 60-yard dash (laser timed), 29 catchers were under a 2.0 pop time in showcase setting, 142 position players were 80 mph or better from their respective positions, and 190 players (over half) were above a 90 mph bat-exit velocity. Featured below are the TOP 10 uncommitted prospects that improved their stock greatly at the PA State Games. 

Disclaimer: With the aforementioned amount of talent present at the #PAStateGames, we could easily go 40 or 50 players deep that stood out and had impressive showings all around. Included in this article are guys that popped but weren't necessarily the top ranked in their class coming into this event. 

Class of 2021 Rankings Release.

Class of 2022 Rankings Release.

Class of 2023 Rankings Release.

TOP 10 BREAKOUT PERFORMERS (PA STATE GAMES)

Ryan Cesarini OF / Valley View, PA / 2021


Tale of the Tape: The well put together, 5-foot-11, 192-pound ‘21 outfielder dominated during gameplay at the PA State Games and showcased advanced athleticism with five hits in six trips to the plate, the lone out being a line drive right at the left fielder. The left-handed hitter generated natural pull-side pop and high level bat to ball skills with a mature approach in the box allowing for extra base hit projection atop any lineup. Went dead center multiple times during a standout batting practice session demonstrating the overall raw power he possesses, evidenced by a 97 mph bat-exit velocity per Trackman. There’s easy adjustability in a physical lower half creating enough pop even if he gets his weight on the front side a little early on occasion. A 6.50 60-yard dash (tops at the entire event) and an above-average 86 mph arm-strength from his position certainly don’t hurt the case in viewing Cesarini as a “sure fire” prospect with impressive tools in all facets of the game. The ‘21 outfielder has become considerably more physical over the past year and should be an extremely close follow moving forward.

JD Greeley SS / RHP / Pocono Mountain West, PA / 2021


Tale of the Tape: The 6-foot-1, 170-pound primary shortstop displayed some length in the frame and stood out at the plate with an impressive batting practice round during the showcase portion. Repeatedly found the barrel and the right-handed hitter was consistently on time to the baseball, generating a loud 99 mph bat-exit velocity at the front of the plate. Recorded multiple hits in game action at the PA State Games while showing off an above average, 89 mph arm-strength from the left side of the infield where he will stay moving forward. A 7.11 60-yard dash demonstrates the feel for the body with long strides and a quick first step allowing for range in the middle of the field to the glovehand side. The right-handed pitcher raised eyebrows on the mound with a loose and quick arm out of a high ¾ arm-slot. The fastball sat 85-87 mph in his first inning of work playing well up in the zone with a top spin rate of 2213 RPM per Trackman. Mixed in a tight 77-79 mph slider that featured sharp bite out of the same arm-slot with ability to pause during the stack on occasion. Altogether, Greeley blew us away with incredibly seasoned abilities in all phases of the game and the ‘21 offers legitimate two-way projection moving forward. 

Tyler Pitzer RHP / OF / South Fayette, PA / 2023


Tale of the Tape: The 6-foot, 160-pound ‘23 primary right-handed pitcher popped at the PA State Games with quick twitch ability on the mound and athleticism in all phases of the game. Worked the fastball in the 83-86 mph range with an average spin rate of 2200 RPM per Trackman. The arm plays quick and fluidly out of a high ¾ arm-slot while mixing in a quality 67-69 mph curveball for strikes. Pitzer made easy work of hitters during gameplay at the PA State Games with plenty of swings and misses on the fastball above the belt. The outfielder also swung it well at the plate during batting practice demonstrating present two-way capabilities with an 89 mph bat-exit velocity from the left side. An 89 mph arm-strength from the outfield and advanced drop step technique should allow for the ability to slot in at two of the three outfield positions at the next level and a 7.38 60-yard dash should continue to come down as he matures and adds strength to the frame. A Future Games member on this year’s roster, the ‘23 right-handed pitcher oozes vast potential on the bump and holds some of the highest stock in the class.

Joey Current C / 3B / Cocalico, PA / 2022


Tale of the Tape: The 5-foot-11, 175-pound primary backstop had one of the more memorable performances at the PA State Games among all prospects in attendance. The right-handed hitter started off by swinging it extremely well during batting practice recording an 89 mph bat-exit velocity per Trackman while spraying hard barrels to all fields. Hands worked fluidly through contact from a high hands load and generated noticeable pull-side power which translated over to game action. The catcher is a well above average defender evidenced by pop times ranging from 1.83-1.90 in a showcase setting. Each throw was directly on the bag and powerful straight line footwork coupled with lightning quick transfers allowed for the ability to shut down the run game completely during gameplay. The advanced receiver can command a pitching staff and only furthered his case with the top arm strength from the crouch at the PA State Games of 80 mph. With impact tools on both sides of the ball it would be wise to continue keeping close tabs as Current’s stock continues to skyrocket, the defense projecting more favorably at the moment. 

Matthew Martinez C / 3B / Bethlehem Catholic, PA / 2021


Tale of the Tape: The 5-foot-11, 185-pound backstop was one of the more physical prospects in attendance over the three days of the PA State Games in Dubois, PA. The right-handed hitter repetitively peppered the left centerfield fence during batting practice with a powerful lower half creating violent rotation through the hitting window. Generated a well above average 97 mph bat-exit velocity and the swing played extremely well in-game getting to the contact point without any wasted movements. A quality approach in the box coupled with a short-triggered launch allows Martinez to get on base at a good rate, part of his game that should not go unnoticed. Defensively, the actions stood out with a 79 mph arm strength from the crouch (second highest at the PA State Games) and pop times ranging from 1.85-1.92. Moved well laterally during the showcase portion displaying advanced blocking abilities on breaking balls in the dirt with recovery ability. With a feel for all facets of the game and a frame ready to compete at the next level right now, the ‘21 catcher proved himself to be the real deal and should command a heavy following accordingly entering the heat of summer.

Michael Ciocco 1B / OF / Peters Township, PA / 2021


Tale of the Tape: The 6-foot-3, 220-pound first baseman announced his presence with authority at the PA State Games. Physically stood out amongst his peers and put on a show during a high intent, standout batting practice round during the showcase portion. Registered the top bat-exit velocity out of the entire three days of 103 mph displaying true violence in the lower half with quality bat to ball skills. The bat was nothing short of legitimate as the right-handed hitter was able to get off three really good swings in gameplay, one line drive single that almost knocked over the centerfielder. Defensively, the first baseman played low to the ground with athletic actions and a trustworthy glove hand, a combination that should allow Ciocco to stick there with no issues moving forward. The '21 Peters Township product projects as a well above average middle of the order run producer and has shown the ability to situationally hit in-game. A player that will shoot up the rankings and into the “must follow” territory later this summer, it would be better to get on him sooner rather than later.

Luke Zeisloft OF / SS / Central Columbia, PA / 2022


Tale of the Tape: A preeminent power/speed guy in the ‘22 class, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound outfielder clocked in at a cool 6.67 60-yard dash at the PA State Games only to outdo himself with one of the more memorable rounds of batting practice over the three days. The right-handed hitter generated 33.5 G’s of rotational acceleration per Blast Motion (one of the tops during the entire event) allowing for advanced power to all fields. Went opposite field for a couple home runs during batting practice proving that he can hit pitches in any zone for extra base hits. Zeisloft registered the top bat-exit velocity at the PA State Games (tied with Ciocco) of 103 mph according to Trackman and the swing played extremely well during gameplay, getting off a couple really good hacks against quality pitching. The primary outfielder showcases quick feet and takes decisive routes to both gaps allowing for advanced range and the ability to go get it in the air for his pitchers. With a current 81 mph arm strength, he projects to plug in at two of the three outfield positions and should expect a velocity increase as he continues filling out the frame. A Future Games member on this year’s roster, Zeisloft is tooled up and should only continue getting better. With both a high floor and high ceiling, the Central Columbia product should be an extremely close follow and can handle hitting anywhere in the 1-5 range in a batting order. 

Ryan Van Buren

Ryan Van BurenRHP / Abington, PA / 2021


Tale of the Tape: The 6-foot-3, 180-pound primary right-handed pitcher is long limbed and blends athleticism and projectability in the frame. The righty blew us away at the PA State Games as well as opposing batters, as the fastball was up to 90 mph (sat 86-89) out of an extremely loose and fluid, high ¾ arm-slot. A multitude of factors made the fastball tough to hit as Van Buren got 12.0 inches of induced vertical movement and 12.2 inches of induced horizontal movement per Trackman. Mix in a sharp 76-78 mph slider with advanced deception and late bite & you’re looking at a power pitcher that will flirt with high strikeout totals. According to Trackman, the righty got 2373 RPM on the slider projecting it to be an out pitch moving forward. WIth the ability to command a differently shaped breaking ball in the low 70’s as well, Van Buren is seasoned on the mound in a frame that you could only dream of. The ‘21 right-handed pitcher works the arm pretty easily through the release window and there seems to be more in the tank which bodes extremely well for future “weekend starter” projections. All in all, this performance should leave no doubt that the Abington product is a legitimate high floor, high ceiling candidate on the bump and should attract a herd of interest over the course of the summer. Don’t be surprised if he takes another step or two in the near future and is able to hold velocity in the low 90’s. 

Kellen Davis RHP / OF / Penncrest, PA / 2021


Tale of the Tape: The 6-foot, 183-pound primary right-handed pitcher worked up tempo on the rubber with ability to mix in three quality pitches for strikes at all times. Was constantly in attack mode with an 85-88 mph fastball T89 per Trackman. A tight and advanced 74-79 mph curveball showing 11/5 shape gave hitters plenty of issues and generated a multitude of swings and misses over the course of three innings. Mixed in a straight changeup at 81-83 mph that featured solid deception while playing off the same fastball arm-speed, which proved to be a more than adequate third offering. Davis was consistently ahead in counts and got hitters in between speeds making the fastball appear harder in the box when thrown. A bulldog competitor on the mound, the righty won’t walk hitters and seems to always find a way to get outs in any situation. With well above average strength and athleticism in the frame & lower half, the Penncrest product oozes high level movements on the mound and likewise appears to have more in the tank. The ‘21 righty should be treated as a close follow after what should be considered as a dominant performance at the PA State Games.

Jordan Oliver RHP / 3B / Lancaster Catholic , PA / 2022


Tale of the Tape: The 6-foot-2, 203-pound primary right-handed pitcher is physically imposing on the mound and a high level mover allowing for a whippy high ¾ arm-slot and a tough at bat against for any hitter. The righty ran the fastball up to 89 mph at the PA State Games (sat 85-87) per Trackman with high spin that played extremely well above the belt generating a high swing and miss percentage during gameplay. Mixed in a sharp and late breaking 69-72 mph curveball with 11/5 shape that tunnels well out of the same fastball release slot. Created plenty of issues for hitters evidenced by a 50% strikeout rate at the PA State Games (6 out of 12 batters faced) and commanded a 79-80 mph changeup on occasion with arm-side fade giving him three pitches in the zone. A must follow on the mound, the third baseman also turned heads with a quality round of batting practice, (77 mph peak bat speed per Blast Motion & 94 mph bat-exit velocity per Trackman). Add onto that a 90 mph arm-strength across the diamond which was second at the entire event over the course of three days and you’re talking about a standout athlete in a powerful frame. With long limbs and the ability to continue improving his consistency on the rubber, Oliver possesses one of the higher ceilings in the ‘22 class and could take a couple more considerable jumps in the coming year. A guy that was 76 mph a year ago, the Lancaster Catholic product is now a 2020 Future Games Team member and will command a large following at Lakepoint in late July.

COMING THIS SUMMER

Trackman Partnership
Blast Motion Partnership
Driveline Partnership
Vizual Edge Partnership