Tools of the Trade: Class of 2024 Runners
September 18, 2023
Often times considered the "Florida of the north," Pennsylvania has surfaced as a known hot-bed for upper-echelon talent, and the class of 2024 is no different. The amount of frontline college-ready arms can steal the spotlight at times, but the athletes up the middle have been just as special heading into their senior year. When going through the evaluation process, we use the five tools (hit, power, glove, arm, and run) as a barometer for comparing players against one another. Obviously, these tools need to be honed properly and accompanied by in-game success in order for them to have full effect. Today we break down one of the top tools within an exciting class of prospects.
The best teams in any sport have multiple players who put pressure on the defense. Whether it's straight-line speed such as the 60-yard dash, or in-game aggression like going first-to-third, the ability to take that extra base can jumpstart any offense. Think about trying to control Corbin Carroll, Bobby Witt Jr., or Ronald Acuna Jr. with nobody out. You'll see the pitcher increase tempo to the plate, the catcher anticipating a throw, and the batter most likely getting a FB. These are typically quality defenders as well, utilizing proper angles, first-step quickness, and raw athleticism in space. Here's a look at some of the more gifted runners in PA's '24 class.
David Lillis OF / Kennett, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 35 / POS: 4
Blessed with advanced twitch at a strong 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, Lillis ran a laser-timed 6.69 60-yard dash back in February at the Titus Academy scout day and has since dipped below that mark. Also a star running-back for Kennett on the gridiron, there's multi-sport appeal that translates into an eventual top of the order profile as a left-handed hitter.
East Carolina commit
Grant Kennedy OF / Malvern Prep, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 50 / POS: 8
After leading the 2022 #PAStateGames in the 60-yard dash (6.38 seconds), Kennedy posted a 6.51 at the Future Games along with a 33 inch max vertical. The long-limbed frame and acceleration are rare and suggest for eventual A/AVG defensive capabilities. Likewise, he's not afraid to show it off on the bases & will challenge opposing catchers often.
Trevor Dosenbach OF / SS / Avon Grove, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 38 / POS: 5
One of the more exciting athletes to watch, Dosenbach had 21 of the team's 57 stolen bases this past spring and is always looking to apply pressure with true sub-6.60 footspeed. We had an up-front view at the 2022 PBR Future Games where he singled, stole second, then drew an errant throw on a steal of third to score. The shutdown cornerback opened the football season with a 4 interception game!
James Schaffer SS / OF / Pennsbury, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 49 / POS: 5
A consistent performer when the lights come on, Schaffer gets the most out of his 5-foot-9, 150-pound frame, and recorded a 6.49 60-yard dash at the 2022 #PAStateGames. He's had success as Pennsbury's leadoff hitter over the past two years with a combination of knowing what counts to run in (instincts) and timing the jumps perfectly using "vaults."
Stony Brook commit
Ky Watson OF / 2B / Manheim Central, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 41 / POS: 6
It's not just the MLB bloodlines, but also the plus run and solid makeup at 6-foot-1, 175-pounds that allows him to come back better each time we see him. Another high ceiling in the state's senior class who could instantly challenge the top-25 as the frame fills out, Watson added the long ball to his repertoire this past spring and grabbed over 33% of the team's stolen bases. A .500 OBP gives the CF plenty of chances to run.
Coastal Carolina commit
Noah Brandt CF / Pope John Paul II, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 91 / POS: 1
The raw athleticism of Brandt (5-foot-11, 185-pounds) competes with anyone in the state at 6.55 60YD and carries over to the RH box with near 25mph hand-speed. We've witnessed the outfielder put his body on the line time-and-time again, whether it's making diving plays or hook-sliding a "bang/bang" call at 2nd base. This future lock as a leadoff hitter recently dominated at Lakepoint for the PA Shockers.
Rhode Island commit
Sal Mineo OF / Slippery Rock, PA / 2024
Rankings StateRank: 61 / POS: 11
The definition of "tooled-up" with 100MPH+ exit velocities from left side and a sub-6.60 run, Mineo was a major force in District 10 baseball this past spring and paced his team in stolen bases (0.55 per game). At 6-foot, 190-pounds, he reaches top-speed effortlessly behind powerful legs. Offensively, an extra-base hit approach has generated triples into the alleys, now up to 5 for the career with more on the way.
Ohio State commit
+ '24 OF Irvin Fisher (Bonner-Prendergast) plays up every time we see him, listed at 5-foot-9, 170-pounds. This past spring, he proved to be a clutch factor in late innings for the Friars. The 6.60 runner was a second leadoff hitter for the order as it rolled over to Kevin McGonigle. Defensively, nobody wants the ball more; big-time range.
+ '24 MIF CJ Nocella (Bonner-Prendergast) is another burner at 6.59 60YD who stepped up when needed for a Friars group that made a deep postseason run. The compact/bursty 5-foot-6, 155-pounder stole 21 bags in 25 games played while hitting .360 and landed second on the team with 25 runs scored. One of the more underrated "names-to-know" in the class.
+ '24 OF Thomas Cano-Piszel (Central Bucks East) has the ability to be a special athlete at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, down as low as 6.63 in the rain at the Northeast Senior Games. There's some rawness in the movements yet, allowing for additional projection across the board in the near future.
Previous tools covered:
Class of 2024 Defenders >>> 9.11.23
|2023 PA Last Chance: East||PA||10/07||Wilkes University - Wilkes Barre, PA|
|2023 PA Last Chance: West/WV||PA||10/14||Washington & Jefferson College - Washington, PA|
|2023 York-Adams League Scout Day||PA||10/17||South Hanover YMCA - Hanover, PA|
|2023 Northeast JUCO Sophomore/Transfer Showcase||PA||10/22||Heritage Financial Park - Wappingers Falls, NY|
|2023 PA Fall Top Prospect Games||PA||10/22||Fairchild Field / Shippensburg University|
|2023 PA Last Chance: Central||PA||10/29||Liberty Arena - Williamsport, PA|