Spring Forward: NOVA Pitchers to See


John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director & Content Manager

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With Fall Signing Day behind us and the 2017 season essentially complete, PBR VA/DC will look ahead to the upcoming spring and the 2018 season in our Spring Forward series, which will run on the website in the coming weeks. In this series, we will focus primarily on players that we have seen this year and are looking forward to seeing again in 2018, these posts will not have anything to with prospect rankings.

Today we will look at the pitchers from Northern Virginia that we are looking forward to seeing again in 2018 after they caught our eye in 2017.

SPRING FORWARD: NOVA ARMS

Wilson Ayers LHP / OF / Briar Woods , VA / 2018

It felt like we saw Ayers ten times in 2017 as he helped lead Briar Woods to the 5A State Championship and threw for the North team in the Commonwealth Games, and he is a treat to watch pitch. He pounds the zone and has an outstanding slider that he is not afraid to throw in any count or to any location.

 

 

Jimmy Curley RHP / West Potomac, VA / 2019

Curley had a good sophomore season for the Wolverines, but unfortunately the day we saw him was not his best day as Patriot got to him early in the game. He has a heavy sinker from his lower arm slot that will be tough for hitters to get into the air when it’s on and we look forward to seeing him at his best.

 

 

Riley Eikhoff SS / RHP / Patriot, VA / 2020

Eikhoff was eased into his role as a freshman or the Pioneers in 2017, but by the end of the season he was the clear-cut number two behind senior James Price, and there is a strong argument to be made that he was Patriot's best player period during his freshman year. After a summer that saw him hit 88 at the Future Games and the commit to Virginia, it'll be intriguing to see where Eikhoff's development is at this spring.

 

 

Blake Fisher SS / RHP / Highland, VA / 2020

Reclassifying to his proper class as he transferred from Battlefield to Highland, Fisher emerged as a two-way prospect this fall. He touched 81 at our November event and it will be worth the trip to see him against some of the deeper lineups that the Hawks will face.

 

 

Liam Fonner RHP / Patriot, VA / 2019

We saw Fonner at a fall workout and he had shown a lot of development from where he started 2017. He has a big frame and still has room to fill it out, he could easily add more strength and make another velocity jump this winter, potentially joining Eikhoff to give Patriot a dominant one-two punch for the next two years.

 

 

Wes Glass LHP / Riverside, VA / 2018

Glass has a 6-3 frame and an even bigger wingspan to go with his almost sidearm slot, he creates a real tough angle on all hitters but especially on lefties and piles up strikeouts. Personally, I find it amusing to watch how uncomfortable lefthanded hitters look in the box against him.

 

 

Todd Hartman LHP / OF / Thomas Jefferson S&T, VA / 2019

Hartman is part of a good group of 2019 lefties in Fairfax County who all have good pitchability and command. Hartman's stuff and command combined with his competitiveness give TJ a chance against anyone when he is on the mound.

 

 

Ryan Hersi RHP / Colgan, VA / 2018

Hersi has a ton of upside with an extremely quick arm. At some point in the future he will fill out some and start lighting up radar guns and piling up the strikeouts.

 

 

Hunter Hoopes RHP / OF / W.T. Woodson, VA / 2018

Hoopes made a big velocity jump in 2017 and while we have seen him plenty in a showcase setting, we have missed him in game so far. It would be a treat to see how his stuff plays against Lake Braddock's deep lineup and how much more development he has shown as he still has a ton of upside.

 

 

Matt Howat LHP / OF / James Madison, VA / 2019

Howat is a strikethrower that has a fastball-slider combination that is something to behold. He throws his slider with great armspeed and it looks exactly like his fastball until the last few feet before the plate when it snaps off the table. Howat's fastball-slider combo gives Ayers a run for his money for most deceptive in Northern Virginia.

 

 

Teddy Merritt RHP / McLean, VA / 2020

Merritt is a tall lanky kid with an arm that works who touched 84 as a freshman in 2017 for the Highlanders. It'll be intriguing to see what a year of development has done for a righty who had about a strikeout an inning during his freshman season.

 

 

Matthew Michel RHP / OF / Highland, VA / 2019

Battlefield's loss is Highland's gain as Michel had a strong fall for the Hawks and hit 87 at our November event. His lanky 6-3 frame and loose arm suggests there is a lot more in the tank and it will be a treat to see how he looks against some of the better VISAA Division II lineups.

 

 

Marty Neal RHP / SS / Gar-Field, VA / 2018

We got to see a tiny glimpse of Neal as he came out firing 88-90 literally after midnight in the last inning at the rain-delayed Commonwealth Games. His Jupiter performance was stellar and we are excited to see him again this spring in a more extended outing. A matchup between him and Hersi would be a fun day to visit Woodbridge.

 

 

William Pickford RHP / Bishop O'Connell, VA / 2019

Pickford showed a nice velocity jump at the Future Games at the end of the summer and the 6-4 righty still has plenty of room to add strength and fill out. We look forward to seeing him pit his stuff against WCAC lineups this spring.

 

 

Seth Richards LHP / Oakton, VA / 2019

Richards has been on varsity since he was a freshman and had an outstanding sophomore season for the Cougars. His pitchability and competitiveness are off the charts. The way he can carve through a lineup when he is on with all three of his pitches is a treat to watch. Of all of the talented arms in Northern Virginia, he might have the best feel for pitching and keeping hitters off balance.

 

 

Tyler Rulapaugh RHP / West Potomac, VA / 2019

Rulapaugh is young and has big upside in his quick arm as well as a swing and miss slider. He and Curley could give West Potomac a dangerous 1-2 punch the next two years.

 

 

Thomas Russell RHP / Paul VI, VA / 2018

Russell emerged last year as the Panthers' ace down the stretch and we were lucky enough to catch him shut down a loaded St. John's lineup last April. He showed a bulldog competitiveness in that game that is a treat to watch, and we look forward to seeing it again this spring.

 

 

Cristian Sanchez RHP / OF / Centreville, VA / 2018

While we said this post will not have anything to do with our rankings, the idea of seeing Sanchez in game this spring is exciting. We missed him last year at Paul VI and his velocity spiked at Jupiter, the chance to see his big arm and power slider against the Oakton or James Madison offenses will be a must see during Concorde District play this spring.

 

 

MORE SPRING FORWARD