Preseason Top 25 Preview: No. 12 Pace



Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 25 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: Monsignor Pace
Preseason Rank
: 12
2016 Record
: 27-4
FHSAA Class
: 9A
Head Coach
: Tom Duffin 
Playoff Run
: State Runner-up
Returning Starters: 5

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)

Jeter Downs
, SS, 2017 (Miami)
Nick Fusco
, LHP, 2017 (High Point)
Manny Rodriguez, LHP, 2017 (Bethune-Cookman)
Andres Sanchez, C, 2017 (Barry)
Bryan Diaz, OF, 2017 (Hillsborough JC)
Santos Grande, 1B, 2017 (Eckerd)
Michael Montes De Oca, 3B/MIF, 2018

X-FACTOR
Jeter Downs.
The high-end shortstop transfers in from SLAM Academy this season and will look to lead the offense for the Spartans. The Miami commit is one of the top shortstop prospect in the country and has a mix of average and power which he showed last year by hitting .452 with 9 home runs.   

KEY PLAYERS LOST
RHP Chris Rodriguez (LA Angels 4th Round)

OUTLOOK
The Spartans will look to follow a run to the State Title game with another deep run into the playoff. To go along with transfer Jeter Downs, Pace returns Andres Sanchez who was their top hitter in 2016 batting .314 with 2 home runs and 23 RBIs.  The pitch staff will look to replace the 4th round pick of the Angels, RHP Chris Rodriguez, who went 12-2 while appearing in 14 of the team’s 32 games.  Looking to help replace Rodriguez will be LHP Nick Fusco. Fusco went 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 7 games last season. Pace will also look to LHP Manny Rodriguez who also went 3-1 with a 0.86 ERA last season. A combination of experience both offensively and on the mound will give Pace a chance to make another run at a state championship title.  

Make sure to follow @pbrflorida on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the season.

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