West Virginia Class of 2017 Rankings Updated

By Greg Williams
West Virginia Director of Scouting

The top of the Class of 2017 rankings have taken on a slightly different look with former Washington High School right-handed pitcher Conner Nurse departing for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound junior's absence created a vacancy now filled by former No. 2 Kirk Jennings (Cabell Midland).

Kirk JenningsThe 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-handed hitter shined at the 2015 WV Top Prospect Games. Jennings starts from a slightly open stance and utilizes a short lift-and-replace stride to initiate his swing. He displayed above average barrel whip and a feel for the barrel in one of the top rounds of batting practice at the event. The junior registered a 90 mph bat exit velocity and went 3-for-6 at the plate in game action. Jennings flashed athletic actions defensively and the ability to go get the baseball with his foot speed (6.70 60-yard dash). While he lists third base as his alternate position, his 80 mph arm strength and athleticism will likely make him an outfielder at the next level.

Wahama RHP/C Philip Hoffman, who starred in the Falcons run to a Class A state title in 2015, slides to No. 2. Hoffman displayed a power fastball topping at 88 mph in the first inning of the state semifinals. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound righty settled in at 85-86 for the remainder of his complete game performance registering nine strikeouts. Hoffman displayed good tilt to his fastball and a hard-biting curveball early at 71-73. He works from a high 3/4 arm slot and has a physical frame that should lead to additional velocity spikes moving forward.

Josh PetitShortstop Josh Petit (George Washington) and catcher Drew Hefner (Bridgeport), both of whom also impressed at the WV Top Prospect Games in August, check in at No. 3 and No. 5. Splitting them is the biggest mover in this update, catcher Anthony Jarvis (Ripley) who had a breakout sophomore season hitting .476 with 15 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 53 RBI.  

Petit has a projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and ran a 7.25 60-yard dash. The left-handed hitter starts from a wide, square stance and displayed good rhythm and the ability to stay inside the baseball during a solid round of batting practice. Petit went 1-for-5 in game action while barreling the baseball in each trip with a bat exit velocity of 77 mph. The junior showcased a soft glove hand and good footwork defensively with a 77 mph arm across the diamond. His size and foot speed will likely dictate a move to a corner infield position at the next level.

Drew HefnerHefner displayed advanced catch and throw skills behind the plate. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound backstop showcased pop times of 2.00-2.08 on throws of 75 mph from the crouch. The left-handed hitter starts from a slightly open stance and utilizes a leg lift stride to initiate his swing. Hefner registered an 80 mph bat exit velocity and showed a direct swing path with a feel for the barrel in batting practice.

Rankings will be updated next after the completion of the 2016 WV Top Prospect Games which will take place on June 11 and 12 at the YMCA Kennedy Center Field in Huntington. Following is a look at the updated top ten prospects in the class.

* CLICK HERE to view complete Class of 2017 Rankings

Updated Top Ten

Rank Name State School Class Pos Commitment
1 Kirk Jennings WV Cabell Midland 2017 3B
2 Philip Hoffman WV Wahama 2017 RHP
3 Josh Petit WV George Washington 2017 SS
4 Anthony Jarvis WV Ripley 2017 C
5 Drew Hefner WV Bridgeport 2017 C
6 Ben Arthur WV George Washington 2017 OF
7 Chris Bailey WV Chapmanville Regional 2017 C
8 James (Austin) Bulman WV Jefferson 2017 RHP
9 Brett Linton WV Musselman 2017 LHP
10 Abe Stearns WV Point Pleasant 2017 RHP

Previous WV News

2016 WV Top Prospect Games