Prep Baseball Report

Updated NJ 2021 Rankings

TJ Hunt
Director, PBR New Jersey

To see the full list of 2021 New Jersey Rankings, click HERE

Now that the summer is winding down, we are compiling our notes to do an overhaul of the rankings for all grad classes. We will start with the 2021 class.

In a year that has brought unprecedented uncertainty, baseball was able to hold some sort of a constant in people's minds for the last two months. It brought a sense of community, competition, and normalcy to an otherwise strange world.

"Normalcy" couldn't be more evident with how the top two in the 2021 New Jersey class performed at big time national events this summer. If he wasn't a household name already, Florida commit RHP Chase Petty (Mainland HS, NJ) certainly solidified that notion with his performances at East Coast Pro, Area Code, and others this summer. The lanky, athletic hurler topped at 100 mph numerous times and flashed a late breaking slider in the low to mid 80s. Could he be a first rounder come next June? Absolutely. The arm speed is obvious and the slider certainly plays up. It's a tough slot on hitters and has some heavy armside life (1900-2100 rpm).

North Carolina recruit LHP Anthony Solometo (Bishop Eustace HS, NJ) was equally as impressive this summer. What is great out Solometo is his command for three pitches and the funk to his delivery (i.e. Madison Bumgarner / MacKenzie Gore). The most recent comps to Gore, the 3rd Overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft out of Whiteville HS, NC are the most obvious to scouts and evaluators across the country. He was 91-93 touching 94 on numerous occasions this summer and a low 80s swing-and-miss slider to boot. With the comps to Gore and being left handed, a lot of scouts like Solometo's pro projection as a starter.

No. 3 is Virginia recruit LHP Pierce Coppola (Verona HS, NJ), who's draft stock has sky-rocketed in the last few months. The 6-foot-8, lanky athletic lefty saw significant jumps in velocity since we saw him at the Wladyka Pitcher Showcase in early March. Most recently, He stood out as a top NJ performer at the Area Code games, where he was 88-92 from a high-3/4 angle, and a downer breaker at 80-81. The arm angle is tough on hitters; already at 6'8" and looks like the ball is coming out of the clouds. Another lefty, similar to Solometo, who spins it and projects as more of a starter both in college and professionally. Certainly a significant draft prospect heading into 2021.

No. 4 is fellow Virginia recruit, RHP Shane Panzini (Red Bank Catholic HS, NJ) was electric in his outings at Area Code and other various national events. Most recently, he was 94-95 at ACG at Lakepoint. Easy effort, broad shouldered frame, and spin continues to improve. Panzini has been a constant at the top of the 2021 rankings since he burst on to the scene at the Future Games in 2018.

No. 5 is Auburn commit OF Mike Bello (Pope John XXIII HS, NJ). Bello's projection is a middle-of-the-order run producing bat at the college level. Present strength and bat speed with quick twitch and rangey defender in the OF (6.70 runner).

The Top 10

1 Chase Petty NJ Mainland 2021 RHP Florida
2 Anthony Solometo NJ Bishop Eustace 2021 LHP North Carolina
3 Pierce Coppola NJ Verona 2021 LHP Virginia
4 Shane Panzini NJ Red Bank Catholic 2021 RHP Virginia
5 Mike Bello NJ Pope John XXIII 2021 OF Auburn
6 Aries Samek NJ Teaneck 2021 SS Clemson
7 Ian Petrutz NJ Clearview Regional 2021 OF Maryland
8 Jack Findlay NJ Roxbury 2021 LHP Notre Dame
9 Jimmy Romano NJ St. Joseph's Montvale 2021 RHP Duke
10 Justin Szestowicki NJ Kingsway 2021 SS North Carolina

To see the full list of 2021 New Jersey Rankings, click HERE

Other Notables

Notre Dame commit LHP Jack Findlay (Roxbury HS, NJ) bursts into the top 10 with a velocity bump since we saw him last in the spring of 2019. Upper 80s and low 90s fastball with two advanced offspeed offerings, Findlay has starter stuff at the next level, a bigger breaking curveball at 76-79 and a later, harder slider at 80-82.

Duke recruit LHP Oren Abbott (Millburn HS, NJ) continues to show why he is one of the top hurlers in the class. Consistently upper 80s and touching 90, it's a clean delivery and a sharp mid-70s 1/7 breaker to complement.

Boston College commit RHP Sean Hard (St. Joseph's Montvale HS, NJ) makes a jump into the national rankings at No. 14. Routinely been in the low 90s, Hard has a lanky, athletic frame at 6-foot-5 198-pounds with more in the tank. 

Coastal Carolina recruit RHP Matt Potok (Jackson Memorial HS, NJ) was up to 93 mph this summer and has late life on the fastball in the upper 80s to low 90s. Sturdy, durable frame at 6-foot-3 210-pounds, Potok could be a fringe-type draft prospect next spring.

Northeastern recruit Justin Bosland (Roxbury HS, NJ) was a virtual unknown - but really impressed at the Morris County Cubs Scout Day in early July. athletic, physical 6-foot-5 frame, Bosland showed off his speed, running a staggering 6.65 60 yard dash. A left handed stick, Bosland projects as more of a corner or OF'er at the next level, with the speed to play CF. Either way, Bosland is an intriging prospect to keep an eye on. He was also 87-88 on the mound in a bullpen setting.

Rutgers commit RHP Matt Rowe (Madison HS, NJ) was in the mid-80s this time last summer, but made a significant jump into the upper 80s touching 91 in 2020. Clean, repeatable arm from a 3/4 slot with some armside run.

Top Uncommitted Players

No. 26 1B Tywone Malone (Bergen Catholic HS, NJ) 107 exit velocity, legitimate middle of the order pop. Top football recruit as well.

No. 34 RHP Ethan Dodd (Egg Harbor Township HS, NJ) - clean athletic arm, upper 80s

No. 40 RHP/SS Alex Jankowski (Marlboro HS, NJ) - 6.7 runner, 86-88 on the mound

No. 48 RHP/3B Mark Capell (Biotechnology HS, NJ) - mid to upper 80s on the mound with some juice from the right side at the plate

No. 51 RHP/OF Dan Merkel (Allentown HS, NJ) - physical, athletic at the plate and mid to upper 80s on the mound

No. 52 C Jimmy Brennan (Pope John XXIII HS, NJ) - 6.7 runner, sub-2.0 pop time. 

No. 65 RHP Tim Crum (Sussex Tech HS, NJ) athletic 6'3" build, 87-88 on the mound

No. 67 RHP/OF Tyler Lender (Cherokee HS, NJ) - 6.7 runner, upper 80s on the mound

No. 68 OF Kyle Adorno (Johnson HS, NJ) - 6.6 runner, rangey defender

No. 72 SS Walker Zampella (Edison HS, NJ) 6.73 runner, 84 arm strength, 95 exit

No. 73 Karson Harcourt (Seton Hall Prep HS, NJ) - solid backstop, sub-2.0 pop time

No. 74 RHP Brandon Feigin (Toms River North HS, NJ) - 83-85 on the mound

No. 75 RHP Anthony Scarlata (Bridgewater-Raritan HS, NJ) - 83-85 clean, effortless


To see the full list of 2021 New Jersey Rankings, click HERE