Summer Swing: Standout Underclassmen
September 13, 2016
By Nathan Rode
School is back in session, temperatures are dropping and playoff races are heating up. Despite what the calendar says, summer is essentially over. It was another busy one in the amateur baseball world, filled with big events and highlights from the country’s top prospects. Summer started for me at the conclusion of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. After that, I started to look ahead at the Class of 2017 and beyond. The biggest events on my schedule were the Under Armour Classic, Tournament of Stars, Metropolitan Baseball Classic, Under Armour All-America Game, East Coast Professional Showcase, Prep Baseball Report Future Games and Area Code Games.
To wrap up our summer coverage, I’m sifting through all my notes and highlighting some of the standouts. We’ve already posted the top 2017 two-way players, hitters and pitchers. Next up are the top underclassmen, which there are 10 of below, and we’ll finish up with an others to watch category next.
Any stats referenced in the reports are ones that were recorded myself or come from trustworthy sources and don’t include days I was not physically present. Specifically, the schedule didn’t allow for me to see the entirety of East Coast Pro and the Area Code Games.
Joe Gray, OF, Hattiesburg HS, MS
Lean and athletic at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Gray looks like a wide receiver and has quick-twitch actions in every aspect of his game. He was one of two underclassmen at the Under Armour Game, though he didn’t get an at-bat because the game was shortened by weather. At the plate, he takes a big leg kick and aggressive hacks. He’s wild in the box and tends to overswing, but he has quick, whippy hands and when everything works, the ball rockets off his barrel. He did get into the game on defense and made a nice leaping catch in deep center field. At the Area Code Underclass Games, he just missed a home run on a flyout to left and went 2-for-5 with two stolen bases in three games. He is currently uncommitted.