Football may be the sport everyone associates with being the religion of the South, but no one should overlook baseball. Many of the top teams in the country call states like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona home. In fact, every team in MaxPreps current top 10 is from the South. All these teams are made up of extraordinary talent but we’re going to highlight one player from each team who really makes a difference.
Dylan Lesko is off to a hot start this season and has Buford ranked #1 nationally according to MaxPreps. The big righthander, a Vanderbilt commit, has a fastball that can touch the mid-90s and filthy secondary pitches. Lesko is going to be a problem for batters all season long.
Jack Walker is a master at making kids walk back to the dugout. Coming off Tommy John surgery Walker is rounding into form and his fastball is hitting the low-90s again. The Mississippi State commit has one of the better changeups in his class and is a threat with a bat in his hands as well. Walker has helped Barbe capture the #2 spot in MaxPreps rankings.
Wes Mendes is a true dual threat player. The sophomore at Jesuit is a balanced hitter who makes consistent contact and has strong exit velocity. Defensively, he’s got a quick release on throws and is accurate to every spot. Mendes, another Vandy commit, is helping power Jesuit off to a strong 11-1 start this season, good for #3 in MaxPreps rankings.
Brock Selvidge looks the part of every scout’s dream prospect and plays like it too. Standing 6’3” with a fiery fastball and a made-you-look-silly slider, he’s Hamilton’s ace this season and one of their most dangerous hitters. In a recent game against Chaparral he had two homers and struck out six to carry Hamilton to a 6-4 win.
Andy Painter is one of the most physically imposing pitchers in America. 6’7” and 230 pounds, the Calvary Christian Academy senior and Florida commit is the number one right-handed prospect in the nation and seems destined for the big leagues with a fastball that is already hitting the upper 90s. Calvary Christian Academy is currently sitting seventh in the rankings after a loss to Pembroke Pines Charter.
IMG Academy got thumped this past week by Calvary Christian Academy though Elijah Green certainly did his part to try and rally the team. One of the premier players in his class, Elijah displays the type of power that every coach loves. The future Hurricane has shown the ability to hit to all spots of the field with an easy swing and is solid defensively as well.
Madison Central is having a fantastic season so far as they sit fourth in the MaxPreps rankings and are still undefeated at 11-0. Braden Montgomery is a big reason why the Jaguars are playing so well. The senior has put together a strong season showcasing his versatility from both sides of the plate and a live arm in the outfield.
Stoneman Douglas has leaped into the top 5 of MaxPreps rankings with a 14-1 record. One of the reasons the Eagles are having such a strong season is Chris Arroyo. The outfielder displays two-way potential that makes him a threat on the mound and at the plate. He has a devastating slider that makes left-handed hitters look foolish and has a ton of power when he gets his barrel on the ball.
Jake Fox has powered Lakeland Christian into the top 10, despite being unranked previously. The lefty infielder has strong, quick hands and gets the barrel through the ball quickly. In the field he’s mastered the fundamentals. He charges the ball well and has a nice quick release to get the ball out in a hurry.
Calvary Christian round out the top 10 of MaxPreps rankings with a record of 14-2. Matt Rose has been one of their standout performers this season. The infielder, and South Florida commit, has been a force at the plate this season where his quick hands and angry swing give him gap to gap power.