2017 Rankings Update Preview: Top 17 in '17 (#6-11)

By Jacob Gill
Pennsylvania Assistant Director of Scouting

Our preview of the soon-to-be updated 2017 rankings continues today with a sneak peak at the prospects ranked 6th through 11th, as we work our way toward revealing the Top 17 in '17 and the entire list of over 100 prospects at the end of the week.

[Note: these rankings will not be reflected on player pages or in the overall list until the final update is input at the end of the week]

Brandon KnarrZach Kokoska6. Riley Christner, RHP/1B, Meyersdale Area
7. Kyle Virbitsky, RHP/IF, Episcopal Academy
8. Zach Kokoska, LHP/OF, Greater Latrobe ==> (left)
9. Brendan Cellucci, LHP, Penn Charter
10. Brandon Knarr, LHP, Eastern York ==> (right)
11. Darion Jacoby, OF, Pottsville Area

For notes on Christner and Jacoby, see Monday's article on the top newcomers in the rankings. [Note: shortly after posting this article, PBR learned that Jacoby verbally committed to Virginia Tech the night before]

Kyle VirbitskyStanding at 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, Virbitsky draws attention before he ever throws a pitch. Playing for Team PA at the PBR Future Games three weeks ago, he ran his fastball up to 87 while working in the mid-80s. He consistently displays good feel for a mid-70s curveball that generates swing-and-misses, while also featuring a change-up that has the potential to be a solid offering as well. Shortly after the event, Virbitsky (pictured at right) verbally committed to Penn State.

Also a Team PA member, Kokoska was one of the standouts from a tools perspective at the Future Games, as the 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-handed hitter recorded a 96-mph exit velocity, 89-mph arm strength from the outfield, and ran a 6.67 60-yard dash. On the mound, his mid-80s cut fastball that has topped out at 87 has the ability to stay off the barrel, while a mid-70s breaking ball is effective when he harnesses it.

Brendan CellucciWith his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame and long, lanky limbs, Cellucci (pictured at right) works with a delivery that is mechanically reminiscent of Barry Zito. He has shown a mid-80s fastball that has touched 87 and projects for more with his long, lanky limbs and athletic delivery. Whichever program gobbles up this Team PA member will likely see continued development of a slider or cutter as part of the next stage of his development, given that his slow curveball projects as more of a show-me, grab-an-early-strike pitch than a true put-away offering at the next level.

Knarr may not project as much as some of his fellow Team PA members above, but the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder is arguably the most polished pitcher in this class (posting nearly a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio during the high school season). He has consistently shown command of a three-pitch mix, all while his fastball has jumped over the past year into the mid-80s, touching 88. Primary secondary offering is a sharp curveball with hard 1/7 tilt, while he also has a solid change-up at his disposal.

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