Colorado Top 50 Countdown: No. 25 Highlands Ranch Falcons
March 8, 2018
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Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage.
Like any preseason ranking for any sport, last year our list created a lot of fun conversations, debate, and opinions among players, coaches, and families. To see what we got right, and what we got wrong in 2017 Click Here
What makes our list unique is it combines all classifications (1A through 5A), and leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage.
Factors that are considered when creating the Top 50 List are the following:
- How many current players are returning that are in PBR Colorado rankings
- How many overall players committed or non-committed are returning
- How many starting pitchers are returning
- Success the previous season
- History of success in the program
* We expect the teams in the Top 50 Countdown will compete for at least a district playoff spot in 2018
Team No. 25: Highlands Ranch
2018 Preseason Rank: 25
2017 Preseason Rank: 41
2017 Record: 11-10
CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach: Joe Gleason
2017 Playoff Run: Lost to Dakota Ridge in the District Round
2017 Final Rank: 36
Returning Offensive Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 4
Returning Innings on Mound: 105
RBI's returning: 87
STAT RAT: 105 innings returning on the mound. This is a talented group of senior pitchers who cut their teeth last season.
X-FACTORS: The core of the Falcons offensive fire power is back and bringing with them 87 RBI. Can this group keep up the run production in a tough Continental league?
BOTTOM LINE: The Falcons have been building momentum over the last few years, they now have a talented group of seniors who look to leave their mark on the program. The 5A Continental league is one of the toughest in the state, there are no days off. Last season the Falcons scored 130 runs but gave up 125. This year with Thompson and Blackwood anchoring the rotation, if they can put some separation between those two numbers and Jordan Medina and Zach Dammel can lead the offense, this team is poised to make a run in the Continental league and carry that momentum into late May.
Players to Watch
Jordan Medina C / RHP / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2018
Rankings StateRank: 11 / POS: 1
6-foot-1, 190 pounds. Bats and throws right. At the plate has a tall narrow stance with a leg kick. Has cut down a lot of the extra movement in his pre-swing to be on time. Make it work. Has bat speed and it showed in the live round. Can get pull happy, but is showing the ability to go the other way. Depends on timing. Swing is pretty level through the zone with good extension through the ball. Bat speed in this event was 91 mph off a tee. Have had as high as 93. Behind the dish does well with receiving and blocking. Has to balance two different arm slots since he also pitches. As a catcher is short on backside. Throws are accurate. Pop-times were 1.96 to 2.08. Was 76 mph behind the dish. On the mound is square and inline towards the plate. High 3/4 arm slot for strikes. Gets good extension towards the mound. Fastball sat 83-84 mph. Curve was 11/5 shape between 68-70 mph. Change was 72-73 mph. Ran a 4.23 home to first.
Zac Dammel RHP / OF / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2018
Rankings StateRank: 66 / POS: 21
A 6-foot-2, 155-pound left hand hitter who ran a 4.59 home to first. At the plate he stand slightly open with a short stride to square up. He gets good weight transfer on the swing and keeps the bat extended in the hitting zone. He registered a 78 MPH exit velocity. On the mound he stand tall and at balance begins to sink and drive to the plate. He throws from a high ¾ arm slot with good extension on his pitches. He featured a 78 MPH fastball with good command of the outer 1/3rd of the plate. He added a 64 MPH 11/5 breaking curve and a 70 MPH change. He does a nice job with arm speed on all three pitches. In the field he showed good actions attacking ground balls. He gets rid of the ball quickly and is accurate with a 78 MPH arm. Identified as the most projectable player at the UCI.
Joshua Thompson RHP / OF / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2018
Rankings StateRank: 33 / POS: 13
6-foot-2, 160 pounds. If you put 20 more pounds on him he will throw 90. Love the down angle and how he attacks the strike zone. Strikes is the key. Fastball was 85 from over the top arm slot but looks faster and is on you. There is some effort in motion, but all three pitches come from loose arm and is repeatable. Could be the most underrated player in state. Could make a big jump this spring. Would expect to be at least upper 80s by May.
Zack Medina 3B / RHP / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2019
Rankings StateRank: 57 / POS: 6
6-foot, 180 pounds. Bats and throws right. Tall balanced stance at plate, hands load straight back and swing is level through zone. Can get pull happy at times but squared everything up in live round. 89 mph exit velocity off the tee. Upper and lower half worked well. Strong and accurate arm to 1B at 81 mph. On the mound he is square and in-line to the plate. On balance point has a tendency to swing leg up which can create balance issues at times. Short arm slot back and comes at you from high 3/4 arm slot. Fastball sat at 78-79. Better job of coming through with arm with better velocity from last event. Curveball was 69-70 mph from 11/5 shape.
Matt Blackwood RHP / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2018
Rankings StateRank: 46 / POS: 18
Big 6-foot-4, 220 pound RHP. Fastball sits in the mid 80's. Logged 45 innings on the mound in 2017 striking out 36 batters. Will be the Falcons No. 1 option in 2018.
Sean Arnold 1B / OF / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2018
The Falcons got a lot of production out of Arnold in 2017. He hit .459 scoring 16 runs. Left handed hitter who uses all fields. Also got 22 innings out of the Left-handed pitcher and carried a 1.54 ERA.