Colorado Top 50 Countdown: No. 28 Evergreen Cougars


John Cackowski and PBR Colorado Staff
Director of Scouting

 

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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. 28: Evergreen

2018 Preseason Rank: 28
2017 Preseason Rank: N/A
2017 Record: 16-10
Conference: Jefferson County
CHSAA Class: 4A
Head Coach: John Lipka
2017 Playoff Run: Lost to Valor in the 4A State Title Game
2017 Final Rank: 31
Returning Offensive Starters: 7
Returning Pitchers: 7
Returning Innings on Mound:93
RBI's returning: 71

 

STAT RAT: 226 hits on the season, this is a free swinging team that puts the ball in play and puts pressure on the opposing team.

X-FACTORS: The Cougars lost a few key parts from last year, but the X-Factor is Ben Muscatello.  What is his follow-up to a season that saw him put up a 2.42 ERA and collect 22 hits at the plate with 16 RBI.

BOTTOM LINE: As the snow began to melt in the mountains and the weather began to heat up, so did the Cougars.  They won 7 straight games last year to enter the playoffs and kept things rolling right into the state tile game.  This year the Cougars hope to get off to a fast start building on their finish from last year, Setlak and Eagan will be tough holes to fill, but Evergreen played a lot of players last year and return a deep roster.  Looking at the fact they play the two time defending 4A State Champion in their league a long with the rest of the teams that make up the 4A Jeffco league, they have 19 games to position themselves for another deep run in the post season.

 

Players to Watch

 

Ben Muscatello RHP / Evergreen, CO / 2018

5-foot-11, 170 pounds. Modified stretch windup. Torque in hips, short on backside and comes from 3/4 arm slot. Hides ball well. Lands inline then spins towards 1B. Fastball lives 83-84. Can touch 85. Arm is quick. Off speed pitches thrown at same arm speed as fastball. Slider is fast. Lives at 78 mph. Has some late depth. At the plate has an open stance, leg kick stride. Good lower half rotation. Swing is level through the zone but sometimes is slightly uphill. Good extension through the ball. Gap to gap power. Generated a 86 mph exit velocity off the tee. At 3B liked how his feet are prepping and moving pre-pitch. Showed good range to both sides, good glove to hand transfer, and showcased a 80 arm velo from 3/4 arm slot. Ran a 4.69 home to first.

 

 


Andrew Stephens / Evergreen, CO / 2018

Stephens had 3 starts for the Cougars last year and racked up 14.1 innings.  He should see his workload on the mound increase this year.

 

 

 

Jack Patterson 3B / 1B / Evergreen, CO / 2018

Patterson ran a 7.56 60-yard dash, threw 66 mph from his 3B position and showcased a 75 mph bat exit velocity.  The 6-foot-1, 180-pound prospect showed an accurate arm from his position and moved will on balls in the hole and slow rollers.  He hits from a balanced stance with a slight leg kick for timing.  Good weight transfer at contact produces balls with good flight to the gap.

Last year he finished the season with a .307 avg. with 25 RBI and 10 doubles for the Cougars.