Prep Baseball Report

2022 Overall Rankings Spring Update

Shooter Hunt
Vice President, Scouting

The 2022 MLB Draft is quickly approaching and shaping up to be one of the most strikingly chaotic drafts in recent memory. A string of pitching injuries to high profile prospects at the collegiate level has left any predictability in doubt as to the way things will go. This, perhaps even more than in previous years, has put greater emphasis and value on MLB scouting departments, and more specifically each club’s area scouts who scour individual regions with a hyper-local focus. Their ability to find top prospects, and especially hidden values, remains a key to building a strong farm system.

In trying to maintain the industry’s highest standard and credibility, PBR’s boots-on-the-ground staff has also remained hyper-local while providing a national presence. Through winter workouts and the spring high school season, PBR has been there to follow this class (and all others) through a close lens. Thus, midway through the spring season, the 2022 Overall Rankings is officially ready for a full update.

As always, PBR is committed to providing the most up-to-date and credible rankings, so the coverage will not stop, and you can count on seeing PBR scouts at games the rest of the spring and all summer leading up to the MLB Draft in July.


Helium Guys:

+ LHP Bradley Loftin, DeSoto Central HS, MS
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Mississippi State recruit is loose and elastic on the mound with a continuous arm stroke that works quick out front with quality extension. Releasing out of a high � slot, the fastball sat 90-92 and was mostly in the 2250 RPM range, getting swings and misses, but was noticeably at its best when driven to the arm side. Darting under barrels with heaviness and sink, those arm side offerings appeared to be two-seamers, yet also produced an intriguing 2350 RPM. His best secondary pitch, a 73-75 changeup (1852-1949 RPM), was thrown at will, and for strikes. Though not a split, it plays like one out of the hand, falling with what can best be described as “tumble”, as multiple hitters swung over the top. Though he sparingly threw a survey breaking ball (75 mph, 2198 RPM) that had more gradual sweep, his athleticism and quick arm seem to hint at a firmer slider eventually being developed. Beyond the stuff, Loftin’s upside pervades. He is an easy mover down the mound, and there is a strong chance that his disappearing fastball continues to see velocity jumps, even as early as the middle of the spring. It is easy to walk away envisioning his upside as a starter, and his best is still clearly ahead of him.

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 Bradley Loftin (February 2022)

+ OF Jack Lausch, Brother Rice HS, IL
Lausch, a Northwestern quarterback recruit, has split his time between the gridiron and diamond throughout his high school career which only makes his upside as an outfielder that much more enticing. Standing 6-foot-2, 185-pounds with some of the top athleticism in the class, any rawness from the skills and approach in previous years was easy to look past given the limited experience as a multi-sport northern hitter. However, Lausch has quickly made up the gap from the lack of game reps, and his performance this spring has catapulted him into early consideration. Carrying some lean, defined strength, a simple approach from the left side that includes a more direct path with quick hands and strong wrists allowing for sneaky power to all fields. Elevating his prospect profile, Lausch is a consummate winner who exudes confidence on the diamond, and will likely make significant strides in coming years.

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Jack Lausch (April 2022)

+ OF Jared Thomas, Waxahachie HS, TX
Ending the summer as one of my favorite bats in the class, I stated the fact that Thomas “will likely have to continue proving himself on a consistent basis” to intensify draft talk as a high school hitter with a corner profile. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder has done just that, continuing to evolve at the plate with hybrid upside that includes both hit and power potential. The balance and ability to move well through impact while produces effortless lag in the zone with controlled aggression is sure to intrigue many area scouts, and while the “profile” of the wiry-athletic outfielder tends to lean towards “proving it in school”, the idea of stealing a premium college bat from the 2025 class might end up being enticing to some.

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 Jared Thomas (April 2022)

+ RHP Malachi Witherspoon, Fletcher HS, FL
Hailing from the prospect haven that is the state of Florida, it is saying a lot that Witherspoon might be the biggest surprise of the spring. Part of a strong Jacksonville recruiting class, the durably-built, 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander has been electric all spring showcasing power-stuff to go along with his imposing frame. Advanced in his aptitude for spin including a 92-94 fastball (2585 rpm) and tunneled slider (79-82) with 3000+ rpm, Witherspoon rounds out the arsenal with a solid changeup (84-85), and holds starter potential. An efficient mover down the mound with strong drive off the back side, Witherspoon’s arsenal should garner strong consideration on Day 2, but his upside might warrant even earlier.

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Malachi Witherspoon (April 2022)

Super 60 Check-in:

+ Super 60 Spotlight (Pitchers)
+ Super 60 Spotlight (Position Players)


Ben Brutti RHP / SS / South Kingstown, RI / 2022

Standing next to Brutti at the Super 60 back in February after he had pumped out a 96 mph fastball in what might have been the most eye-opening performance of the event, I was even more astounded at just how big the 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander actually was. Broad-shouldered with natural thickness throughout, the South Florida recruit still exhibited room for growth and maturation, and that future development only helped grow the intrigue that he showcased as a prospect. While the slider was not in peak form on that day, I still found its sweeping shape, as well as the intent that it was thrown with, to be exciting, and the spring has provided the canvas for the pitch to grow (and dominate at 82-84). Late out of the glove with an outlier low slot, Brutti differs from the norm, but with a three pitch arsenal his upside as a starter will be given consideration though the floor as a dominant reliever is easy to fall back on.

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Gage Stanifer RHP / OF / Westfield, IN / 2022

Stanifer, a Cincinnati recruit, impressed in the fall, wowed scouts at the Super 60, and has dominated early in the spring. The sheer athleticism of the 6-foot-3, 206-pound right-hander provides excitement around the upside, he is now up to 97 mph with a fastball that garners swings-and-misses thanks to some “invisibility”. The unorthodox opening of the front side led down a Pitch AI to try and discover what he was so elite at that would help make up for what the naked eye deemed as a movement efficiency. In that analysis, Stanifer’s eye-opening ability to rotate (upwards of 6000 degrees per second with shoulder rotation per Dr. Mike Sonne and Pitch AI) combine with a “huge amount of lateral tilt towards the rubber into foot plant”, and while the initial look depicts a lack of hip-shoulder separation, “he maintains the torsion in his trunk into foot plant and effectively stays closed to the target.” Basically, Stanifer’s athleticism provides a slew of positions that differ from the norm, and his mobility and strength allow him to succeed. Having the advanced metrics to help quantify the success that the talented right-hander has enjoyed against opposing hitters at the high school level only helps to provide greater evidence to his future potential. Through 16 innings in the state of Indiana, Stanifer has struck out 37 allowing just two hits and a run.

Shooter’s Scan:
Notes and news from all across the PBR network are compiled thanks to the numerous boots-on-the-ground scouts when putting together the update to the overall rankings. Below, a look at some prospects that bear some unique intrigue, and are likely to garner strong interest from area scouts throughout the spring.

RHP Sam Horn, Collins Hill HS, GA
A true QB1 recruit from the football haven that is the state of Georgia, Horn’s commitment to Missouri is firmly tied to both sports thanks to a powerful right arm. Equipped with a pristine, 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame that includes obvious athleticism, Horn has been up to 94 mph this spring with an even better feel for spin including both a curveball and slider that flash swing-and-miss potential. The uptick in stuff makes Horn an even more intriguing prospect as it intensifies the potential that future advancements will persist. Georgia’s propensity for producing stellar dual-sport prospects will likely only aid in Horn’s evaluations from MLB clubs.

RHP Bryce Archie, McEachern HS, GA
Much like Horn, Archie is another dual-sport, QB1 prospect from the Peach State, and has seen his stuff make a jump this spring. Part of a stellar Coastal Carolina 2022 recruiting class, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has shown off a starter’s package that includes a low 90s (and climbing) fastball, advanced feel for a changeup, and a sharper slider that flashes as plus. Confident on the mound, there are still signs that ARchie will continue to make even bigger jumps in coming years, and whether those jumps are seen in Conway or professionally will be intriguing to follow leading up to the draft.

+ IF Jackson Lovich, Blue Valley West HS, KS
Coming out of the PBR Future Games as an uncommitted rising junior, Lovich was one of my sleeper favorites at the event, and showcased high upside potential at the plate with a frame that oozed potential. Back then an athletic 6-foot-3, 170-pound right-handed hitter, I noted that “Lovich has the swing path and approach to continue hitting for even more power in the future”. Fast forward a year and a half and the Missouri recruit has continued trending up with one of the sweeter swings in the region that includes advanced barrel accuracy with an innate ability to change planes and drive the ball to all fields. The frame continues to add lean strength while maintaining its athleticism, and whether his route is through the draft this year or in Columbia for a few, first, the outlook is promising and the future exciting for Lovich.

+ LHP Cade Obermueller, Iowa City HS, IA
Equipped with an electric arsenal, Obermueller holds premium upside thanks to an elastic delivery and loose whippy arm. The wiry, 5-foot-11, 150-pound southpaw is still polishing a bit, but with a fastball that runs up to 93 mph with upwards of 2620 rpm, there is plenty to dream on. Working long down the mound with impressive extension out front, the fastball features some ride and run through the bottom of the zone, and profiles a changeup, well, off the fastball showcasing an ability to kill spin at 83-85 (1522 rpm avg.). The slider (80-83) takes shorter, lateral break up to 2830 rpm, and could make significant jumps in coming years. Overall, Oberueller presents one of the more intriguing prospect profiles hailing from the state of Iowa with a fresher arm that promises much more to come.

+ RHP Gary Gill Hill, Kennedy Catholic HS, NY
The first recruit ever from Hackensack, NJ’s Fairleigh Dickinson University to be featured in the PBR Overall Rankings, Gill Hill emerged as a must-follow prospect coming out of winter workouts, and especially the Northeast Procase that saw him pump a four-seam fastball up to 93.3 mph per Trackman while also filling the zone with a sinker at 91 mph. Loose and athletic throughout the delivery with a fuller, continuous arm stroke, Gill Hill gets quality extension out front, and will likely see even more velocity in coming years. Clean and repeatable, he finds a consistent near � slot with ease which should aid in future advancements for both his slider and changeup. Given the upside that he presents, look for Gill Hill to get plenty of looks from MLB scouts later in the spring.

Shooter’s Tracker:
A list of non top 100 names that Vice President of Scouting, Shooter Hunt, is tracking the rest of the spring:

+ LHP Liam Doyle, Pinkerton Academy, NH (Coastal Carolina)
+ LHP Joseph Dzierwa, Otsego HS, OH (Michigan State)
+ LHP Mavis Graves, Eastside HS, SC (Clemson)
+ LHP Kyle Percival, Andrew Jackson HS, SC (North Carolina)
+ RHP Nate Snead, South Milwaukee HS, WI (Iowa Western CC)
+ RHP Zach Harris, Cambridge HS, GA (Georgia Southern)
+ OF Maxwell Klare, St. Xavier HS, OH (Duke, football)
+ SS Christian Holmes, Brother Rice HS, IL (Kansas State)
+ SS Eric Snow, Mary Parsons HS, GA (South Florida)
+ RHP Caden Marcum, Paola HS, KS (Tennessee)


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