Prep Baseball Report

New Jersey 2024 Rankings Updated

Prep Baseball NJ Staff

With the 2024 spring off and rolling. It is time for an update within this senior class. Headed into this year there were so many similarities with this class especially on the mound. Guys were so close in stuff and physicality. Over the past few weeks our team here at Prep Baseball NJ has identified and paid attention to the body of work and how guys have been improved and who hasn’t. Let's jump right into it:

The Top 5

No. 1 RHP Chis Levonas (Christian Brothers Academy)
Wake Forest recruit. For the first time in our rankings, Chris Levonas earns the No. 1 spot. He was identified as a premier arm in our state but what he has done over the past 6 months is impressive. He attended our Super60 event in which he didn't just participate, he was a top performer showcasing some dynamic movement patterns. Levonas stands at 6-foot-2 175-pounds. It's a lean athletic build. Elastic levers.  The arm swing is fast at a H3/4 slot. The fastball range has been 92-97. The slider plays around 80-83, which seems to be the pitch Levonas has the most feel for. Willingness to land in any count. Curveball is 76-79. The changeup 88-89. The way in which he manipulates the ball causes for a lot of swing and miss in the zone. 

High School Stats ‘23: 42.2 IP I 72 K I 12 BB I 0.98 ERA 

No. 2 RHP Bryce Meccage (Pennington) 
Virginia recruit. Meccage is coming off of a winter in which it looks he has added size and strength. The frame is filling out nicely. Athletic upperhalf, proportional 6-foot-4, 210 pounder. From last spring to this spring the biggest difference has to be the amount of effort he uses to throw. Has eased his effort while still having the ball jump. Coils over the rubber and lands into a strong lead leg. More of an OTT slot. The variation comes when he throws his two breaking balls. SL 81-84 with smaller, late break. CB 76-79 11/5 break for strikes, too. Fastball has ticked up ranging from 92-96 with multiple 97s from February to his last start on 4/9/24. 

To date career stats: 60.2 IP I 118 K I 35 BB I 1.15 era 

No. 3 SS Luke Dickerson (Morris Knolls) 
Virginia recruit. Dickerson checks in at No.3. He has been a top 5 player in the state for some time now. Rightfully so, he possesses the most draftable skillset on the position side in this class. He is a plus runner. On the base paths he gets great reads and it is translatable speed so much so he is viewed by some as a center fielder. 6-foot-190 pound athlete. Has a filled out frame, his upper half shows to have serious strength (barrel chested). Multi-sport athelte, one of the top hockey players in the area, too. Strong lower half with fluid running actions. At the plate it's a simple setup. Shoulder width apart. Hands held by the shoulder. Pulls back with intent, repeats his load. When foot hits the ground, he maintains posture. Giving himself time to make adjustments. Strong barrel with fast hands. The UVA commit has produced everywhere he has gone. 

No. 4 LHP William Kirk (Ramsey)
The 6-foot-2,195-pounds. Has added 20lbs this offseason. One word to describe Kirk is “consistent.” The reason for this is because of how consistent he commands the zone. Landed his arsenal of pitches in all four quadrants. His fastball to date is in the 88-91 range. SL 76-78 and a CH in the 77-78 range (lots of depth). Look for a tick up in velocity from Kirk especially with his added mass to his frame. SL has more of a "gyro" look to it, which plays well with his fastball that generates swings and misses in the zone. Changeup is plus; consistent hand speed and identical release point out of hand makes it tough to pick up for hitters

In his high school career: 
123 IP I 201 K I 19 BB I 0.85 era

The K to BB ratio is truly remarkable. Kirk showcased this ability during the summer circuit against the best of the best. The southpaw truly earned all of this buzz.

No. 5 RHP Ryan Lynch (Mooerstown) 
The 6-foot-3-215 pound UNC commit looked clean in his first outing of the spring. He grabbed 93 and 94 for the first documented time. Lynch usually sits 88-92. He has a projectable strong frame. It's a lower ¾ slot with a wiry arm swing. His slider is slurvy at 78-81. Mixed with a power CH at 85-86. 

Last Season: 43.1 IP I 69 K I 20 BB 

The Rest of the Top 10:

No. 6 1B Ryan Costello (Ranney) 

The brute strength first baseman is off to a hot start this spring. Currently hitting over .500 (6 for 11) with 3 home runs. The unique thing about Costello is his ability to hit early on his front side and late on his backside. It's a very adjustable yet powerful swing. The upside is bright. The bat to ball and raw power at his age is hard to find. Will be exciting to track Costello  the rest of this spring to see where the power #’s end up. Bright future for the power hitting LSU tiger commit. In his short career at Ranney in 55 at bats he has 7 HR’s. 

No. 7 INF Sean Griggs (Red Bank Catholic)
The lean athletic infielder. Looks to have made some improvements this offseason. Stood up taller and calmed down his upper half (previously had a pump mechanism). Now he slides into the slot with a lot more fluidity.  Griggs is off to a consistent start for the Caseys. Currently hitting over .500. Look for him to continue to get better. 

No. 8 SS Yomar Carreras (North Brunswick)
Rutgers recruit. Lean, wiry, athletic build at 5-foot-11 188-pounds. Switch hitter with some whip to the barrel from both sides of the plate. Feel for the oppsite gap with line drive pop. 6.92 runner, 88 mph arm across the infield. Smooth, easy actions in the infield, high-3/4 slot, whippy arm, ball jumps out with some carry. Ability to manipulate the arm slot and throw on the run. Certainly a draft prospect to keep an eye on as the weather continues to warm.

No. 9 RHP James Kleiven (Randolph)
Miami recuit. Broad shouldered, physical build at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds. Fastball up to 94 mph during the summer months and showed swing and miss staff with with the fastball and hard, late breaking slider. Quick arm, high-3/4 slot. Compact arm action. Strength present, defined lower half. Physically mature. Look for Kleiven to be among the state's top totals in strikeouts when it's all said and done this spring.

No. 10 RHP Howard Tate DeRias (Gloucester Catholic)
Miami recruit. Long, wiry 6-foot-3 170-pounds with room to fill out some more. Missed all of 2023 on the mound due to injury. Has come back on the bump for Gloucester Catholic with authority. Fastball up to 93 early on this spring with late life through the zone. Big 11/5 breaker for strikes. Shows some pitchability with it late in counts; can bury it for a swing and miss pitch on command. 

Top Risers:

No. 11 RHP Landon Mack (Bishop Eustace) 

Rutgers recruit. Mack electric arm speed has been on full display this spring. He has ticked up into the 94's but mostly settles in at 90-93. Shapr breaking ball to go along with. Look out for this arm to continue to grab buzz headed into the summer. 

No. 14 LHP Jake Marciano (Donovan Catholic)

Virginia Tech recruit. Very projectable frame. Marciano has a high 80's fastball with a curveball and a chnageup. He mixes on both sides of the plate picking up alot of strikeouts. 

No. 20 John DiGregorio (Gill St. Bernards)

Purdue recruit. Strong framed backstop. Power hitting upside. 

No. 23 SS Tommy Manzo (St. Joes Montvale) 

Seton Hall recruit. Broad shouldered frame. Manzo showcases a lot of tools on both side of the ball. The most intriguing tool is the hit. Bat to ball is there but look for him to add to the home run total headed into his Freshman year in South Orange. 

No. 24 RHP Tommy Martin (Randolph) 

Maine recruit. Martin has been ultra reliable for Randolph. He has been running out good start after good start this spring. Velo is up and his 6-foot-5 frame is long and wiry.