North Carolina Class of 2021 Rankings

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

The class of 2021 has begun their second year in school and for the first time, the state of North Carolina rankings for the class are being released.  The Overall Rankings, updated earlier this week, have featured several players from North Carolina since last spring.  With a full spring and summer season, the staff at PBR of North Carolina has compiled a very early look at some of the top players in the state.

In order to compile rankings and top prospect lists, PBR scouts are scouring the state watching high school games, summer and fall games, practices, workouts, and holding PBR events.  As PBR scouts have the information needed to add a grade to a player, that player is entered into the rankings database to track.  Players are sorted blindly by their player grade and assembled in order taking into account measurables, projection, and in-game ability.  The 2021 list will continue to grow in the coming years as more and more players have grades added that PBR scouts can verify.

The initial 2021 rankings are led off by a two time member of Team USA’s 15U National Team.  Josh Hartle (LHP, Reagan HS) is a Wake Forest commit with an extremely advanced feel on the mound.  A strike thrower, Hartle can fill the zone up with a running fastball and his off speed ensemble.  Long levers and a quick arm allow evaluators to dream about his projection as a pro prospect as he continues to mature. 

Three other lefties fall inside the top 10 with Phillip Abner (LHP, Covenant Day), Merritt Beeker (LHP, North Davidson HS), and Cyle Phelan (LHP, Fuquay-Varina HS).  Abner, a Florida Gator commit, worked through some small back issues at the end of the spring to have a huge summer.  A power arm, there are reports of him ramping his fastball up to the 90 mph mark with athleticism in the delivery.  In a short outing in the spring PBR saw a couple of 88’s while he sat 83-86 with some ease.   The fastball has a chance to be a separator as it jumps on hitters.  Beeker was scheduled to represent Team Carolina at the PBR Future Games in August but committed to East Carolina prior to the event.  One of the premier arms in the state, he thrived as a freshman at North Davidson, leading the Knights on the bump.  Phelan is one of only four uncommitted 2021s in the top 10 in the North Carolina rankings.  In August at the Top Underclass Games, Phelan showed an electric arm with ease in his release, sitting 83-86 and touching 87.

(Cyle Phelan - August 2018)

Chris Katz (C, Heritage HS) and Andrew Grande (3B, Christ School) lead the way for position players, with each in the initial top five.  Katz is committed to Wake Forest, giving the Deacons three players inside the Top 10.  A physical build with a strong lower half, Katz defends behind the dish with confidence and ease.  He seems to enjoy receiving and blocking.  The arm has elite carry and advanced accuracy with throws in the workout of the Top Underclass Games ranging 1.90 – 2.01.  Grande was the lone 2021 graduate to join Team Carolina in Indianapolis for the PBR Future Games.  Coming off a long summer, his bat speed was down a bit from where it was in the spring, but his ability to make adjustments throughout the week against elite pitching jumped out.  There is power in a young frame that is large, standing 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. 

(Chris Katz - August 2018)

(Andrew Grande - August 2018)

Top top ranked outfielder in the state jumped on the scene at the Top Underclass Games in August.  Stewart Evans (OF, Scotland HS) turned in a solid workout running a 6.94 sixty with at least average arm strength from the outfield.  During BP, the stadium became quiet as his BP got louder and louder with balls rocketing off the barrel.  In game, the swing translated where he found the barrel and drove baseballs to the gaps. 

(Stewart Evans - August 2018)

The initial 2021 NC Rankings includes the top 50 players, as identified by PBR scouts, in the state.  This list will undoubtedly continue to grow as our team of scouts continue to work to cover the entire state seeing players in their home environment and at PBR events.  PBR averaged seeing 10+ high school games per week in 2018, with that number expected to continue to grow.  The 2018 Fall Scout coverage will begin this upcoming weekend with several PBR scouts on the road to follow the talent in the state.

2021 NC Rankings – By The Numbers

  • 10 players in the Top 50 are committed
  • 8 players in the Top 12 are committed
  • 4 players in the Top 50 are committed to Wake Forest, leading the way
  • 2 players are committed to North Carolina State
  • 11 Outfielders are in the initial 2021 state rankings
  • 10 Catchers are in the initial 2021 state rankings
  • 6 LHP are ranked in the Top 50
  • 6 RHP are ranked in the Top 50

Preview the NC 2021 Rankings - Top 10

1 Josh Hartle NC Reagan 2021 LHP Wake Forest
2 Philip Abner NC Covenant Day School 2021 LHP Florida
3 Chris Katz NC Heritage 2021 C Wake Forest
4 Andrew Grande NC Christ School 2021 3B
5 Merritt Beeker NC North Davidson 2021 LHP East Carolina
6 Cyle Phelan NC Fuquay Varina 2021 LHP
7 Troy McGirt NC Purnell Swett 2021 1B Wake Forest
8 Michael Posse NC Northwood 2021 SS
9 Brandon Hudson NC Cuthbertson 2021 RHP North Carolina State
10 Stewart Evans NC Scotland 2021 OF

 CLICK HERE to view the complete Top 50...

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