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Missouri 2023 Rankings Fall Update: Risers & Newcomers


By: Kevin Moulder & Diego Solares
PBR Missouri Staff

With the fall circuit concluding, our staff has made a modest update to the state’s 2023 board. We’ve expanded the list and added a few names we felt were deserving after up-close looks throughout the fall, whether it be at showcases, tournaments, or other such occasions.

You’ll find the full updated list by clicking HERE.

Below we’ve highlighted a few names that have climbed up our board in this update, as well as some names that have cracked the list for the first time. Learn more about those names, almost all of which are uncommitted, below. 

RISERS

Ben Smith RHP / Springfield Catholic , MO / 2023

Smith climbs a handful of spots in this update after a productive fall circuit, and his power stuff continues to prove evident from what we’ve heard. He’s pitching in the low-90s with regularity from a 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame, spinning two breaking balls at an advanced rate as well. Committed to Mizzou, Smith continues to cement himself as a top-end right-handed arm in Missouri’s senior class.

Ajani Henke RHP / Home School, MO / 2023

From 9/28/22: “...has been a winner on our fall circuit thus far and strung together yet another loud look over three innings of work. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Henke pumped his fastball up to 88.3 mph, pitching in the mid-80s with upper-quadrant life from a high release point (6.2 ft.) on average. He primarily featured a heavy dosage of fastballs, though occasionally spun a high-60s breaking ball as a change of pace pitch. Henke’s arm strength on the hill is evident and it appears he’s just starting to scratch the surface of what his future outlook may be.”

Aiden Doll OF / Blue Springs South, MO / 2023

From 7/11/22: “...5-foot-11, 175-pound athletic build with lean strength. Performed offensively throughout the weekend, earning a spot on the all-tournament team. Quick twitchy hands from the right side, stays inside the baseball and maintains a flat path to contact. Flashed juice off the barrel, launching a no-doubt home run in the clip below. Has run a 6.7 60-yard dash and topped at 94 mph from the outfield in the past.”


NEWCOMERS

Cole Stucky RHP / Rockhurst , MO / 2023

Stucky debuts on these rankings as our top newcomer, and that’s a more than deserving accolade. He’s pitching in the upper-80s with his fastball and owns a slider ready to miss bats at the next level. Stucky showed well as a formidable position player at Creekside this summer, too.

 

Ayden Cline SS / Pleasant Hill , MO / 2023

From 10/24/22: “......impressed our staff at his PBR event debut in early September. At 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Cline is an upside athlete with present proportional strength and room to add more down the road. A 6.98 runner in the 60, Cline generates easy hand speed from the right side and utilizes it to impact the baseball with advanced strength. In BP at the Yard Baseball Club Scout Day, Cline recorded a peak batted distance of 366 feet, averaging 280 ft. per batted ball - both of which were event highs. He squared his firmest ball up at 92.7 mph with an 86.7 mph average, repeatedly finding the barrel in the process. Cline's athleticism, particularly in his lower half, is noteworthy on the infield, and he was also up to 82 mph on the mound at this event."

Dylan Atherton OF / Lee's Summit North, MO / 2023

From 9/11/22: “...turned heads in his PBR event debut. At 6-foot, 170-pounds, Atherton reached a peak exit velocity of 97.5 mph, averaging 87.5 mph per batted ball, while finding the sweet spot 85% of the time, per TrackMan. He also posted some of the day’s more impressive Blast Motion metrics, averaging 73.8 mph of bat speed and 22.4 mph of hand speed throughout BP. Atherton’s bat strength showed later on, as he blasted an opposite field double off the right-center field wall in-game, and got off several quality hacks throughout the event’s gameplay portion. He’s certainly an uncommitted name-to-know offensive follow from this event."

Gavin Killion RHP / Northwest-Hughesville, MO / 2023

From 9/30/22: “...came away from this weekend as one of the biggest winners after a standout performance in his PBR event debut. Killion toed the rubber for two innings and dominated, pumping a lively 83-86 mph fastball for strikes from a loose, fast arm and an athletic delivery downhill. Killion turned to a low-70s slider as his primary secondary, a pitch that he comfortably landed around the zone and also out of it for swings-and-misses. At 6-foot, 175-pounds, Killion’s athleticism, clean delivery, and feel to pitch are noteworthy, and he certainly made a name for himself after a strong showing.”

Cole McPheeters RHP / Lee's Summit, MO / 2023

From 10/31/22: “...an upside uncommitted senior to note from our fall circuit. At 6-foot-3, 150-pounds, McPheeters offers plenty of room for physical projection, and his lanky levers make for an uncomfortable at-bat downhill. McPheeters made his PBR event debut at the MOKAN Open on October 16th, bumping his fastball up to 83.6 mph in his 'pen, while sitting at 81-83 mph throughout. McPheeters' primary secondary offering appeared to be a 72-73 mph changeup that played with natural arm-side run and sink, averaging 19.7 inches of horizontal action, per TrackMan. He rounded out his three-pitch mix with a 70-72 mph curveball as well."


Nathan Smith RHP / Southern Boone, MO / 2023

From 10/24/22: “...showed out as arguably the top prospect in attendance Sunday morning. Making his PBR debut, the 6-foot-2, 174-pound Smith pumped his fastball from a high slot at 83-86 mph with downhill tilt and above-average arm speed. Smith also mixed in two breaking balls, a curveball and slider, with depth and similar velocity bands to each other, landing the former for strikes at a more consistent rate. A loose, live-armed athlete, Smith emerged as an uncommitted senior to follow in the state after this showing”

Ben Kerby OF / Truman, MO / 2023

Kerby popped up at the MOKAN Open and put up impressive metrics across the board. The left-handed hitting outfielder showed hand twitch at the plate (23.8 mph avg) and bat speed (73.6 mph avg) from a flat path, turning on some baseballs to the pull-side with authority. His hardest batted ball left his barrel at 93 mph and traveled 339 feet, per TrackMan. Kerby displayed arm strength from the outfield as well, firing an 88 mph strike on his firmest bullet. 

Jeffrey Lentz SS / Northwest , MO / 2023

Lentz popped up at the Recruits Scout Day this fall, and he’s an upside 6-foot-2, 195-pound athlete with twitch. He ran a 6.98 60 and showed some hand speed at the plate, working line drives up the middle throughout BP. 

 

 

Ethan Froud SS / Blue Springs , MO / 2023

Froud debuted at the Yard Baseball Club and showed a live arm in multiple facets. He was up to an easy 87 mph across the infield from a clean, compact arm action, and translated that fluidity to the mound. There, Froud pitched at 84-85 mph with his fastball while working the corners with more velocity to come down the road. Froud also spun a tight slider at 75-77 mph and threw his changeup at fastball arm speed as well, reaching 18.8 inches of horizontal movement at peak. 

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