2024 Top 10 Prospects (Winter Edition)


Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

It's been since early spring since we released our class of 2024 Top 10 Prospects. Many players have shuffled around since then, but one thing is for certain, the top two players are ranked where they are for good reason. Easton Barrett and Naulivou "Junior" Lauaki Jr, form the best 1-2 punch in the state over the next two seasons, and arguably one of the best rotations from the left and right side in the country!

Barrett has been a breakout star since he debuted at the 2021 Future Games and proceeded to dominate the competition during the '22 spring season, along with a highly impressive showing at the Underclass Area Code Games earlier this month in San Diego. Barrett was a 40 man invite as well for the USA National Team trials in Cary, NC. Barrett's teammate and good friend, Lauaki put up impressive numbers, not only on the mound, but at the plate in the spring as well. "Junior" proceeded to travel the country this summer and made a couple of stops in Atlanta, GA at PBR's LakePoint complex, and broke out as well, and starred at the Future Games in July, much like Barrett a year ago. 

Our #3 Prospect, Luke Taylor, C/3B/1B the top catcher and pot future bat in the class, bet on himself, after decommitting in early summer from another D1 program, and was courted by top PAC 12 schools and a couple back east, committed to USC a month ago, and was an underclass area code alum, after breaking out at the 2021 Future Games.

At #4 is Dixie HS catcher and 2022 Future Games breakout star, Ridge Erickson, who committed to BYU in late August, and as a defender only, is the top defensive catcher in the class. But the bat is not that far off, as Erickson had a big summer and fall with the bat, after hitting .421 for the Flyers last spring as a sophomore. 

Rounding out the Top 5 is Trey Evans, the 2 time 4A 1st Team All-Stater and the defending 4A Player of the Year, provides a strong top 3! It should be noted, that 9 of the 10 players are PBR Future Games alums from 2021 and 2022. So this list is as vetted and very strong, with little room for argument!

I saw 60+ teams play throughout the state in the spring, along with the state tournaments at BYU, Utah Valley and Utah Tech. The vast majority of teams were seen and their players followed closely. We held four travel organization scout days, along with the Top Prospect Games in mid-July, which saw 82 players attend in front of such schools as: BYU, Utah, Utah Valley, Utah Tech, College of Southern Idaho, Salt Lake CC and the U of the Pacific. The Future Games (for the top 2024-2025 players) followed the Top Prospect Games, the last week of July (the most prestigious uncommitted recruiting event in the country) and we ended with the West Coast Games (The top 2023-2024 players) a week ago from August 12-14 in Las Vegas at UNLV and College of Southern Nevada. 

We have some movement in prospects 6-10, but the names remain to be seen, there's just been some reshuffling of sorts. With all that said, we present our "winter update" to the PBR Utah Class of 2024 Top 10 Prospect Rankings...Enjoy!

Class of 2024 Top 10 Prospects

EASTON BARRETT 

LHP / SPRINGVILLE , UT / 2024

Commitment: Arizona State

6/23/22

Another Future Games standout that is improving so fast, it’s hard to know where the ceiling is at this point?! A year ago, Barrett was the talk of the Future Games, showing an interesting 3 pitch profile to throw K’s w/a FB ranging from 84-86 and showing the + feel to spin the ball and also kill spin w/a pot + CH. 

Fast forward a year now and the Arizona State commit had a 5A 1st Team All-State season with 110 K outs as a sophomore. His outing this past week in a tourney in SoCal was a potential pre-cursor, not only as a legit D1 talent, but a potential high Rd draft talent in 2024. With a FB now registering 88-92 and recording 11 K outs over 6 innings vs a very good hitting lineup, was pretty impressive. His CB 76-78 was dialed in w/impressive spin, shape and change of direction. It was virtually un-hittable! The CH 79-82 was used sparingly, but the 3 pitch mix is there to fill a starters role and a potential front end of the rotation role. 

 


NAULIVOU LAUAKI JR. 

RHP/1B / SPRINGVILLE, UT / 2024

 Commitment: Oregon

8/02/22

Three days after returning home from the PBR Future Games, Lauaki made the commitment to play for the Oregon Ducks. Junior should jump to the top in the 2024 Ducks recruiting class. With an arm and bat, but more so the arm, Junior should be an immediate impact type rotation piece right away. Although with two years of HS remaining, Lauaki will jump to the #2 spot in the class of ‘24 rankings when they are released in 2 weeks. Lauaki made his presence felt right away on workout day with a couple of long HR’s during BP, as he launched an event best 404’ shot to deep LCF and threw EZ bullets across the INF from 1B. But it was on the mound that sealed the deal for his college choice, as he showed his best stuff to date. Lauaki has been 86-88, 88-91 T92 this summer, as he’s played all around the country. But it was in the humidity of Atlanta that he featured one of the two best FB’s recorded at the Future Games. Lauaki displayed an EZ effort, med kick to delivery with a fluid arm stroke, the FB sat 90-92 and topped out at 93.1 on the Trackman system and held his velocity in his 3 innings of work vs a very good hitting Team Kentucky. But the secondary pitch was just as lethal, with his SL coming in at 80-82 with late sharp tilt, that bottomed out. The pitch is a put away pitch, as he has abv avg feel to land and bury beneath bats for swing/misses. With an imposing 6-3 240 Lb build, Junior is not even close to gaining his man strength at 16 yrs old, it’s easy to dream of a mid to high 90’s heater as he reaches campus. The sky's the limit for the incoming junior at Springville HS. 

  

 


LUKE (LT) TAYLOR 

C/3B / OLYMPUS, UT / 2024

Committed: U of Southern California 

6/23/22

Luke has worked extremely hard since re-opening his recruiting in late June, and Saw Luke quite a bit during that time in SoCal with his ‘24 Trosky National team and he was really good with the bat and had 5 hits in 4 games w/2 2B’s and a long HR to LF. Taylor looks to be catching his stride and is gaining further attention, now that he’s back on the recruiting trail. The bat has big upside w/loft, bat speed and natural leverage for better than avg to potential + pwr moving forward. The tools behind the plate are developing nicely for a 16 yr old. Shows the soft hands to catch and works his thumb underneath the ball to steal pitches for K’s. The arm has improved from some inconsistencies in bouncing one hoppers in the past, to now showing online accurate throws through the bag w/some 1.90-2.00 pop times.

Update: After having a big summer, culminating with his selection to the underclass area code team, and taking visits to multiple PAC 12 schools and also receiving an offer in the deep south, Taylor committed to storied NCAA power USC in early November.  

 

2021 PBR Utah - #1 Most Viewed Profile

 

RIDGE ERICKSON

C / DIXIE, UT / 2024

 Commitment: Brigham Young U

8/08/22

(Shooter Hunt - PBR Future Games Top 25 Position Player Prospects)

Ridge Erickson (UT) Erickson's ability to receive at a high level is matched only by the catch-and-throw capability, and he turned in workout pop-times at a 1.92-1.97 clip. Quick on the transfer with a strong, 80 mph arm, the defend-tool is advanced, and he looked the part of a leader on the diamond, even in a quick look. Compact and athletic at 5-foot-11, 185-poundswith some natural strength throughout, the right-handed hitter showcased a simple stroke that promises more power on the way with an easy gap-to-gap approach presently. With so many programs desperate to find elite defenders behind the plate, Erickson stands out as one to follow, and with a strong right-handed stroke, there is also potential that he may develop into a run-producer at the next level.

 

8/04/22

This has been the one player that has climbed the board the fastest since the start of the summer. A glove over bat right now, but the bat is not that far off. The defense is just that good! A lean athletic Buster Posey type build and look right now at the same age! Ridge caught really well at the Future Games, as well as all summer. The setup behind the plate is really good w/a balanced athletic base, moves well side to side and can shift his hips to the corners, to stick pitches. Works underneath the ball and shows a low target, while dropping to block abv avg. He can pick balls to the backhand side, as well as glove and scoop balls on the short hop that others would block. Smothers balls in front and prevents base runners from moving up. Is adept at back picks to both corners and has picked a large number of runners off this summer. With a twitchy lower ½ and fast feet, Erickson gets off throws to 2B in times of 1.87-1.96 at the Top Prospect Games and 1.92-1.97 at the Future Games. The bat shows power potential and has a conventional semi crouched stance, with the bat held at a 45-degree angle with rhythm in loading the bat and driving his hands to and through the baseball with a short to/long through swing pattern. There is some slight uphill path to project lift and carry into an extended one hand follow through. This kid is the best catch/throw kid in the state and should develop into a premium next level defender as he has two years of HS remaining! 

   

 

TREY EVANS 

LF / CRIMSON CLIFFS , UT / 2024

UNCOMMITTED

8/02/22

The reigning 4A Utah MVP, got off to a slow start in game one, then showed why he’s the best hitter in the 4A class and one of the best in the state in game 2, with a 2-3 effort, with a 2 run 1B and a deep drive to LCF for a ground rule 2B and also stole a base. For his efforts in a 7-3 win vs Team Tennessee, Evans was named the Dicks Sporting Goods Player of the Game. Evans spreads out and controls the zone as he rests his bat on his shoulder and then rocks back and forth, into an early load and inward turn of the knee, with a lift of the heal and sets it back down and fires the know towards the baseball and lays his barrel into the hitting zone, to create a flat to slightly uphill fast stroke to impact the baseball with power to all fields. Evans does need to work on his OF defense and routes/angles to balls, as he is new to the OF since his freshman year. The arm is relegated to LF, but the bat is loud and will carry him to the D1 level, as he already has an offer on the table. 

   

2022 Future Games (Game 2 vs Tennessee)

Dick's Sporting Goods - Player of the Game

 

TUALAU WOLFGRAMM 

C/OF PLEASANT GROVE, UT / 2024

UNCOMMITTED

8/02/22

Dubbed the Swiss Army Knife by yours truly, Tua is a coach's dream as he can play all 3 OF spots, the MIF, and is his HS team's starting catcher, along with taking his strong right arm to the mound as well. A line to line hitter with left side pull power, Wolfgramm has cut his 60 time more than any player in the state from a 7.45 to an incredible 6.68, through diet, nutrition and tightening up his lean athletic build over the last year in the gym. This is almost unheard of, but he accomplished it with a relentless work ethic and high baseball IQ and passion for the game. Tua also displayed 1.93-2.06 pop times and squared balls up in BP for an outstanding showing in Atlanta. Not to be out done, Tua also showed a plus arm in the OF as he put up a 93 mph reading!! A team leader and instant plus personality in the dugout, make for a high caliber teammate and the club responds to his enthusiasm and energy. A very bright future lies ahead!

   

 

 

DAX WATTS 

1B AMERICAN FORK, UT / 2024

Rankings  State Rank: 7 / POS: 1

UNCOMMITTED

8/04/22

A two sport baseball/football star, Watts was a standout on workout day at the PBR Future Games, as he led Team Utah in 6 of the 8 metrics recorded by Trackman and Blast Motion. At 6-0 190, Watts looks the part of a next level player! Built like a halfback w/broad shoulders, and tapered into a small waist, w/a well defined lower half. Powerful and strong with twitchy movement patterns, Watts ran a 7.09/60 for a CIF, but he showed light feet at 1B w/proper angles in working through balls out front and from the ground up. He showed a strong arm at 83 mph across the INF with online accurate throws. The bat was on point all week, as Watts was spotlighted by LakePoint Sports on social media, as he led the Future Games event with 5 hits in 3 games. Watts had a 2 hit game with a 2B vs Team Arkansas in game one and followed it up in game three w/a 3 hit affair as well. Playing for one of the best HS programs in the country, American Fork HS had half a dozen D1 signees, ranging from BYU, Utah and TCU. Watts was a member of the 30-1 6A state champions in 2021 and the state runner up in 2022! Colleges, you don’t want to miss out on this one, as it’s hard to find a 1B that not only can hit, but is athletic and can pick it at 1B defensively!