Pennsylvania Mailbag



By Greg Williams
PA Director of Scouting

"The Mailbag", is a feature that provides followers the opportunity to ask a question regarding amateur baseball in Pennsylvania. The feature has become quite popular in short order since we introduced the idea on December 17. We will continue to answer many of your questions on a daily basis as they are received on Twitter @pbrpennsylvania.

"The Mailbag" will take a brief break for the holiday season and will return in early January.

Ground rules

We will answer a variety of questions, but can't possibly answer every question that is posed on a daily basis. Questions about specific teams, leagues or individual prospects are less likely to get answered as are more general questions that would be of interest to the masses. We will be running in-depth season previews of high school programs from around the state in the new calendar year leading up to the start of the high school season. We will also break down some of the top prospects in each classification and by geographic region at that time.

Top Questions

What colleges have the nicest ball parks?
I must be honest in saying that I have not seen every college park in Pennsylvania, but here is a list of some of the finest I have. West PA: Pitt (Charles L. Cost Field), Slippery Rock (Critchfield Park), California of PA (Consol Energy Park), Thiel (Tomcat Field) - Central PA: Penn State (Medlar Field at Lubrano Park), Misericordia University (Tambur Field), Bucknell University (Depew Field), Pitt-Johnstown (Point Stadium) - Eastern PA: St. Joe's (John W. Smithson Field), Millersville (Cooper Park), Immaculata.

Any SEC commits coming out of Pennsylvania?
All Pennsylvania commitments can be located on the website at http://www.prepbaseballreport.com/pennsylvania/commitments. I should say all commitments that we are aware of. Players are encouraged to contact us with their commitment so we can spread the good news and also keep the information on the website accurate. SS Liam Sabino (Vanderbilt), #2 in the PA Class of 2014; SS Travis Blankenhorn (Kentucky), #4 in PA Class of 2015; RHP Mike Nikorak (Alabama), #8 in PA Class of 2015; and LHP/OF J.J. Bleday (Vanderbilt), #2 in the PA Class of 2016 are all committed to SEC schools.

Best summer league in PA?
The Marzano Scout League in Philadelphia, The Johnstown AAABA League and the West Penn Elite Baseball League are the top summer leagues for high school aged players in Pennsylvania. It just so happens that the three leagues are situated far enough apart that the teams rarely if ever see each other on the field.

Would a player get more exposure in a AAAA school over a single A school?
Not necessarily. While recruiting is a year-round process, college coaches have their team's season to focus on during the spring, so they do the bulk of their in-person evaluations during the summer and fall. As for PBR Pennsylvania's coverage, we make an effort to see games each spring involving schools from every classification, as well as independent schools.

What players get invited to the MWFG?

The 2014 Midwest Future Games will be for top prospects from the Class of 2016 and select players from the class of 2017. Invitations are extended to top prospects in each of the 10 states that PBR operates. Team Pennsylvania invitations will begin to go out shortly after the completion of the Preseason All-State Showcase. Here is a link to view last year's Team PA roster >> http://www.prepbaseballreport.com/past-showcases/PA/midwest-future-games-pennsylvania-2013

Ask nathan rode

PBR National Supervisor Nathan Rode is also fielding questions and posting his answers on the PBR main Twitter handle (@prepbaseball). CLICK HERE to ask Rode a question regarding topics in the 10 state PBR coverage area or amateur baseball nationwide. Following are answers to a few questions that have been answered by Rode recently that contain information on prospects from Pennsylvania.

Any PA kids that could have a shot at being drafted this upcoming draft?
There are a few guys that have a chance to take a step forward in the spring, but right now, RHP Zach Schellenger (Devon Prep) and SS Liam Sabino (Blair Academy) have the best draft status. Schellenger has a big, projectable frame and has shown increased velocity lately. Sabino has a good swing and a strong arm. I don't think he has the speed to stick at shortstop, but his arm easily plays at third base and his strength should translate to power down the road. However, his commitment to Vanderbilt will be a factor. Vandy has had a lot of success lately in their recruits making it to campus. They're a College World Series contender every year and that, along with their academics, is a difficult thing for recruits to turn down. --Nathan Rode

Will any 2015 pitchers in PA get drafted?
By the time June 2015 rolls around, I'm sure we'll see a few arms from Pennsylvania get popped. Right now, the top-ranked arm in the state is RHP Eli Nabholz (Pottsville HS). I haven't seen him in person myself, but Sean Duncan did while we were in Jupiter. He was 85-87 with arm-side sink and flashed a few sharp breaking balls. Oh by the way, he's 6-foot-6, 215 pounds. Surely, he's a guy to keep an eye on. --Nathan Rode

Best High School Teams in Midwest?

Each PBR state director could probably give you a deeper list of teams worth mentioning, but here are some from PBR states that have stood out from my time doing the national rankings at Baseball America: Malvern Prep (PA), Moeller (OH), Lexington Catholic (KY), Brother Rice (MI), Andrean (IN), St. Rita (IL), Blue Valley West (KS), Westminster Christian (MO) & Nitro (WV). Sun Prairie (WI) has won four state titles since 2005. --Nathan Rode (‎@NathanRode)

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