Prep Baseball Report

VA/DC Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year Candidates

Click to edit entry

Follow @PBRVirginiaDC 
+ Periscope

By John Nolan
Virginia Assistant Director and Content Manager

As part of our 2017 season preview, we will today take a look at some of the Pre-Season candidates for Pitcher of the Year. Earlier this week, we released our Pre-Season Player of the Year Candidates. Stay tuned to PBR Virginia/DC as we will be releasing team previews for 6A - 1A, Private Schools, our Preseason All State teams, and our new power rankings, which will be split up between levels this year. Here is our early Pitcher of the Year watch list, in alphabetical order:

Name School Class Pos Commitment
Andrew Abbott Halifax County 2017 LHP Virginia
Hunter Gregory Hickory 2017 RHP Old Dominion
Evan Justice Collegiate 2017 LHP North Carolina State
Hunter Perdue Grassfield 2017 RHP Virginia
Josh Pittman Highland 2017 RHP St. Bonaventure
Cristian Sanchez Paul VI
2018 RHP Alabama
Toma Shigaki-Than Oakton 2017 RHP Duke
Justin Showalter Turner Ashby 2017 RHP James Madison
Austin Smallwood Eastside 2017 LHP  
Jacob Steinberg St. John's College 2018 RHP Miami (FL)
Kyle Whitten Osbourn Park 2017 RHP Virginia
Hunter Williams Windsor 2017 LHP Radford

Andrew Abbott could be the best competitor when on the mound in Virginia this year. He has command of three pitches and uses them well with a clear ace-like mentality. He has been the Comets’ top arm since he was a sophomore, and the only thing that kept him from pitching them to the State Tournament in 2016 was the innings limit, as he left the 5A North Region semifinals after nine innings with Halifax in a scoreless tie against Mountain View. Look for Abbott to again be among the best arms in Virginia as he could lead the Comets to the State Tournament this spring…Hunter Gregory has a big lanky frame and a consistent high-80s fastball with more in the tank. In 2016 Gregory emerged as the Hawks’ go-to arm down the stretch routinely striking out double digit batters with numerous shutouts, including an 11-strikeout perfect game on May 10. Any time he takes the mound, Hickory has a chance to win, expect him to pile up the strikeouts and post the kind of microscopic ERA that would put him in this discussion at the end of the year...Evan Justice has had a remarkable developmental process since we first saw him in the summer of 2015. The lanky lefty developed into one of the best pitchers in his class between then and the end of the 2016 high school season. He was dominant for Collegiate during the season, winning the State Quarterfinal and State Championship games, allowing two runs total in two complete games. With plenty of room to continue developing, not only could Justice end the year as the Pitcher of the Year, but he could end the year as the Virginia Class of 2017’s top prospect...Hunter Perdue has been Grassfield’s number two starter since his sophomore year as the Grizzlies were privileged to pair him with Garrett Stallings (Tennessee) at the top of their rotation the past two seasons. With Stallings’ graduation, Perdue will take over the top spot in the perennial power’s rotation. Look for him to respond with a big season, as he is capable of shutting down any offense in the Commonwealth.

Josh Pittman was a major addition to Highland’s roster in 2016 and a big part of the leap the program made as it hosted a playoff game for the first time in a while. Pittman has a loose arm and feel for three pitches, a mid 80s fastball that could reach 87 last year as well as a good fading change-up and sharp curveball. Pittman has the feel and stuff to carve up opposing lineups and is poised to be a key piece as the Hawks look to build off of 2016’s success and advance in the VISAA II Tournament this spring...Cristian Sanchez transferred to Paul VI during the summer and the Panthers were fortunate to pick up one of the highest-upside arms in Virginia. Sanchez has a quick arm and reached 90 during the summer with a very lanky frame and plenty of more velocity still in the tank. Sanchez has the potential to develop into the kind of arm that could carry Paul VI back to the VISAA Division I State Championship game and match Justice...
Oakton’s Toma Shigaki-Than has arguably the best single pitch that will be on display this spring in Virginia/DC in his curveball. He pairs his sharp 12/6 breaker with a solid change-up and a high 80s fastball. Shigaki-Than is capable of piling up strikeouts in bunches and he and fellow senior Owen Lamon (Georgetown) will form a potentially dynamic 1-2 punch on the mound for Oakton this spring as the Cougars look to bounce back from a tough 2016...Turner Ashby’s Justin Showalter was the Knights’ third option on the mound in a 2016 season that saw them reach the 3A State semifinals. In 2017 Showalter should get the opportunity to fill the void of ace, and he has the stuff to do it. He had a mid-80s fastball last spring with heavy sinking action to it to pair with a high 70s slider that is a swing and miss pitch. He had plenty of projection and pounds the strike zone with both pitches.

Eastside’s Austin Smallwood tossed two no-hitters in 2016 and piled up well over 100 strikeouts as he helped lead the Spartans to the 1A State Semifinals. Look for Smallwood to build on that success and average close to two strikeouts per inning as he looks to lead Eastside back to the State Tournament...Jacob Steinberg served as St. John’s number one pitcher for most of his sophomore season in 2016. He will likely return to the role in 2017 and has the stuff with a high 80s fastball and sharp curveball to put up big numbers as the Cadets look to make it four WCAC titles in a row this spring. It is possible that Steinberg’s talented teammates on the deepest rotation in Virginia and DC will limit his stats, but look for him to pitch the big games...Osbourn Park’s Kyle Whitten had up and down 2015 and 2016 seasons, flashing his ability at times and showing the inconsistencies of youth and his late-bloomer status at times as well. Last summer, Whitten made the leap, earning a spot on the US 18U Trials Roster after a stellar showing at the Tournament of Stars. Whitten has a consistent high 80s fastball that reaches 90 with an easy delivery and upside, and he will be among the best pitchers in 6A North this spring. When he is on the mound, the Yellow Jackets have the ability to beat anybody in Virginia...Hunter Williams was Windsor’s ace in 2016 and helped lead the Dukes to the 1A State Championship game. He dominated what had been a prolific Fort Chiswell offense in the State Semifinals and was very good all year. Look for him to back that up with a better 2017 as he has continued to develop.

Be sure to continue to check in as we post team previews and tune back into our High School previews again next week as we announce our Pre-Season All-State Teams.