Kansas Class of 2014 Rankings Released

By Sean McCann
Prep Baseball Report - Kansas

Kansas has made a name for itself on the national scene in recent years for its production of elite right-handed pitching prospects.  Talents like Jason Adam, Ryne Stanek and Collin Wiles have summoned MLB scouts by the boatload to high school baseball fields.

Kansas' 2014 class follows a similar path.

At the top of the list is Bryce Montes de Oca (“Mountain of Goose” in Spanish) out of Lawrence HS – the Missouri commit definitely has the mountain part of that down, standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing in at 265 pounds.  He’s currently making his way back from Tommy John surgery and is expected to return at some point this spring.  His fastball has reportedly been clocked as high as 97 mph.

The No. 2 spot is held down by Nebraska commit RHP Zach Engelken (Blue Valley West HS), who has the size, delivery and velocity MLB scouts favor.  Far from just a sizeable kid that throws hard, the Prep Baseball Report Midwest Futures Game veteran also dealt all spring last year and was consequently named the KABC 6A Pitcher of the Year. 

Another Blue Valley West product and 3-sport star RHP Ryan Ralston checks in as the No. 3 prospect.  One of the top uncommitted pitchers in the nation, Ralston has seen limited action baseball-wise due to football, but when he has thrown, he’s been impressive.  Interestingly, he earned a spot on the KABC 6A All-State First Team as a third-baseman although it’s clear that the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Ralston’s future in baseball is on the mound.

As prolific as Kansas has been at producing high-end right-handed pitching prospects, the state has lagged behind when it comes to infield prospects that profile out as shortstops at the next level.  Add left-handed hitting into that equation and the list narrows even more. 

How about a left-hand hitting shortstop with elite athleticism?  Let’s just say it has been a while.  The Kansas 2014 class has such a prospect, unfortunately a Big 12 basketball program snagged him up before college baseball could.  We are talking about Clayton Custer of Blue Valley Northwest HS, an Iowa State basketball signee – our No. 4 prospect and top-ranked position player in the 2014 class. 

To say Kansas is loaded with class of 2014 catching prospects is an understatement, as there are four that stand out.  Ranking this group is a tough task, as evidenced by the fact that nearly everyone we polled had them listed in a different order.   We feel that Shawnee Mission East’s Gunnar Troutwine’s across-the-board tools gives him a slight edge for now and have him ranked No. 4 overall.

Troutwine signed with Wichita State earlier this week, representing a breakthrough of sorts for the Shockers as they haven’t signed top KC area prospects in recent years.  Clearly, the Shockers new head coach Todd Butler and his staff intend to change that with the Troutwine commitment this summer serving as significant first step. 

In the six spot we have catcher TJ Martin (Blue Valley Southwest HS).  The Kansas commit has been wearing out opposing high school pitchers since his freshman year, and is 40 hits away from the Kansas high school careers hits record. 

No. 7 in our rankings is Tanner Gragg (Blue Valley West HS), a 6-foot-1, 190-pound strong bodied catcher.  Gragg is the top uncommitted catcher in the PBR network of states (and likely in the nation).  Gragg’s arm strength is his calling-card and it’s a significant one.

Wichita’s entrant into the four-in-a-row catching prospects is Wichita State commit Taylor Sanagorski of Bishop Carroll HS, the No. 8 prospect in the class of 2014.   The strong 5-foot-10, 195-pound switch-hitting Sanagorski has the best “right-now” catching skills of the group – not surprising considering he’s the son of a Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame coach. 

Another Wichita area product checks in at No. 9 in Northwest HS senior Jared Gates, the reigning 6A Player of the Year.  People have concerns about where Gates, an Iowa Western CC commit, might end up defensively, however what’s not up for debate is his ability to consistently square up the baseball as evidenced by his .612 batting average as a junior.

Rounding out the top ten prospects in the Kansas 2014 class is Olathe East HS infielder Brett Andersen.  Like Gates, there are questions about what position he could play at the next level.  The 5-foot-11, 175-pound high school second baseman has some strength and athleticism, but he’s yet to stand out defensively at any one position.  Regardless, his hit tool grades out as well as any right-hand hitter in the state – you just don’t see an advanced middle of the field approach like Andersen’s at the high school level very often. Andersen has yet make a college choice.

Player rankings will be updated throughout the year.  Class of 2015 and 2016 rankings will be posted next spring.

A look at the Top 10:

Rank Name State School Class Pos Commitment
1 Bryce Montes de Oca KS Lawrence 2014 RHP Missouri
2 Zack Engelken KS Blue Valley West 2014 RHP Nebraska
3 Ryan Ralston KS Blue Valley West 2014 RHP
4 Clayton Custer KS Blue Valley Northwest 2014 SS Iowa State (Basketball)
5 Gunnar Troutwine KS Shawnee Mission East 2014 C Wichita State
6 TJ Martin KS Blue Valley Southwest 2014 C Kansas
7 Tanner Gragg KS Blue Valley West 2014 C
8 Taylor Sanagorski KS Bishop Carroll 2014 C Wichita State
9 Jared Gates KS Wichita Northwest 2014 SS Iowa Western CC
10 Brett Andersen KS Olathe East 2014 2B/MIF

CLICK HERE to view Kansas Top 40 Class of 2014 Prospects