Preseason Power 25: No. 6-10

Chris Fuller
Kentucky Director of Scouting

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With the high school baseball season on hold until April 13, we took a Twitter poll on whether our followers wanted us to release our Preseason Power 25 now, or wait until a few days before the season. The decision was overwhelmingly in favor of releasing it now.

Over the course of the next few days, we will release five teams at a time and highlight some key players from each squad. This will lead up to revealing our Preseason No. 1.

Today we take a look at the teams ranked No. 6-10.

CLICK HERE to view the teams ranked No. 11-15

CLICK HERE to view the teams ranked No. 16-20

CLICK HERE to view the teams ranked No. 21-25

6 Tates Creek

Key losses: Colin Burgess, Blayne Deaton, Noah Blythe, Eli Tencza,

Key returners: Konnor Lewis, Chandler Workman, Grant Stone, Mason Gentry, Hayden Dunham, Braxton Brinegar

The defending state champions have a lot of offense to replace as they lose 4 of their top hitters from last year’s squad who all advanced to the college level. The Commodores strength will be the pitching staff as they return 3 of their top 4 arms who all posted sub-2 ERA’s for a staff that put up a miniscule 2.14 team ERA last spring. That staff will be led by Wichita State recruit Konnor Lewis, senior RHP Chandler Workman, and junior RHP Grant Stone. Sophomore Hayden Dunham and freshman Braxton Brinegar are two top young pitchers in the state who have the ability to contribute heavily on the mound as well. Workman looks to lead the offense as he hit .371 with 10 doubles and a triple in 2019. Look for senior Mason Gentry to provide some offensive firepower as well.

7 Danville

Key losses: Cayden Shaver, Preston Barnes, Jacob Crank

Key returners: Ethan Wood, Jack Simpson, Christian Howe, Brady Baxter, Brady Morse, Hunter Baxter, Logan Smothers

Losing only two seniors to graduation, Danville returns a team full of young talent from a squad that went 34-7 last season and advanced to the 12th Region championship game. The Admirals strength will be the pitching staff, which should rival any staff in the state. Nearly every significant arm returns from a staff that posted a 2.67 team ERA last season and held teams to 3 runs or less in 28 games, including 9 shutouts. Louisville commit Ethan Wood leads a staff that includes likely D1 arms in junior RHP Christian Howe and sophomore RHP Jack Simpson. Sophomores Brady Morse, Brady Baxter, and Logan Smothers are all low to mid 80’s arms that will contribute heavily on the mound. Wood and Howe will lead the offensive attack as they combined to hit 20 doubles and 19 home runs last spring.

8 Lexington Catholic

Key losses: Ryan Johnson, Trenton Neuer, Luke Powell

Key returners: Santiago Peralta, Isaac Milburn, Peyton Henry, Carson Caudill, Colson Perry, JD Woodall, Jason Oviedo

Coming off a 23-10 campaign, the Knights return a plethora of offense and should score plenty of runs to help support the pitching staff. In fact, this has the potential to be one of the top offensive teams in the state. Senior Santiago Peralta (Eastern Kentucky recruit) will anchor the defense up the middle as one of the top defensive SS in the state, but he will also provide plenty of offense to go along with it. Senior Peyton Henry (John Logan JC) provides pop from the left side, and junior Colson Perry brings a good combo of offense and defense from behind the dish. Keep an eye on the power of junior Jason Oviedo. The pitching staff will be led by Kentucky commit Isaac Milburn who features a wipeout slider to go along with mid to upper 80’s velocity.

9 Lafayette

Key losses: Hayden Tomazic, Gavin Hall, Shane Anderson, Zak Tudor, Austin Blake, Ryan Busseni

Key returners: Josh Halterman, Samuel Tackett, Max Williams, Jack Harris, Micah Cowen, Micah Duncan, Connor Arnold

The Generals posted a 28-12 record last spring that culminated with a trip to the 11th region championship game where they bowed out to eventual state champion Tates Creek. There should be no shortage of offense on this year’s squad as they return three D1 bats in seniors Josh Halterman (Evansville), Samuel Tackett (Virginia Tech), and Max Williams (Eastern Kentucky). Halterman, who posted a 1.93 ERA and walked just 3 batters in 40 innings last season will also anchor a pitching staff that lost a ton of innings to graduation. The Generals will need big performances on the mound from senior Micah Duncan and junior Connor Arnold.

10 Somerset

Key losses: Chance Stayton, Alex Ham, Gavin Stephens

Key returners: Kade Grundy, Jonathan Phipps, Cam Ryan, Dylan Burton, Dakota Acey, Hank McArthur

Somerset, who won the 12th Region championship last year before losing in the sub-state round to state champ Tates Creek, loses 3 of their top 4 offensive performers from that team, but they return their top 5 arms, including two D1 commits in junior RHP Kade Grundy (Louisville commit) and junior RHP Jonathan Phipps (Ohio University commit). While pitching will certainly be the strength of this squad, Grundy will also lead the offensive attack after hitting .456 with 9 doubles, 4 triples, and 7 HR’s last spring. Juniors Cam Ryan, Dakota Acey, and Dylan Burton should all provide some punch for the Briar Jumpers offense.