Prep Baseball Report

Almost Famous: 25 Helium Hopefuls (2025)

Shooter Hunt
Vice President, Scouting

A year ago, 25 names kicked off the summer as helium hopefuls in the ‘24 class. Etched into that group were a plethora of what would become Day 1 prospects as well as numerous future Prep Baseball All-Americans. With the recent release of the updated 2025 Overall Rankings, Vice President of Scouting, Shooter Hunt, takes a look at 25 players who might rise mch higher after the summer including one southpaw who jumped to the head of the class after a strong spring.



Cameron Appenzeller LHP / Glenwood, IL / 2025

A bucket on the hardwood where he flushes with ease, Appenzeller’s upside on the mound is presently unmatched in the class which led to massive rise as the #1 left-handed arm in the class. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound wiry-athlete delivers one of the easiest fastballs in the class with effortless low-90s heat that generates eye-opening in-zone misses from a lower vertical approach angle. Distancing himself from his fellow southpaws, the South Carolina recruit carries advanced aptitude for spin (both slider and curveball) to go along with a quality changeup. The ease of the operation combined with the overall athleticism provide ample opportunity for significant jumps, and Appenzeller is sure to have a crowded backstop eager to see them.

Will Craddock SS / 3B / T. L. Hanna High, SC / 2025

Few hold the coveted physical attributes that the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Craddock enjoys, which should make him easy to spot by the scouting community all summer. A graceful athlete who displays five-tool potential, the right-handed hitting shortstop is merely scratching the surface of his potential. An impactful hit/power combination along with the chance to stick at shortstop in the future will draw plenty of interest, and should his upward trajectory maintain its path throughout the summer, there is serious reason to believe that Craddock might ultimately rise much higher on initial draft boards.

Sean Jenkins RHP / Fred T Foard, NC / 2025

Already billed as one of the top state’s for talent in ‘25, North Carolina’s class only strengthened with the emergence of Jenkins as a premium, potential Day 1, talent throughout the preseason and spring. A sturdy 6-foot-2, 204-pounder with a powerful right arm that backspins mid-90s fastballs with impressive hop, the East Carolina recruit is likely to make an even bigger impact with a potential plus breaking ball and curious splitter. Polished with a crisp, no nonsense delivery, there is a strong chance that the velocity jumps in the near future, and given the athleticism that he displays, expect the scouting community to gravitate towards him all summer.

Matthew Fisher RHP / Evansville Memorial, IN / 2025

At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds with durable strength throughout an athletic frame, Fisher is an exceptional mover down the mound with a pristine delivery that is only matched by eye-opening metrics. Looking the part of a future starter, his 93 mph fastball has sent spin rates north of 2600 rpm, and combined with a full collection of secondary pitches that include both a slider and curveball as well as a quality changeup, the potential workhorse right-hander has a chance to blossom into one of, if not THE, premier arms in the entire class.

Alec Blair OF / De La Salle, CA / 2025

Blair might end up being the most polarizing prospect in the class as he carries all sorts of intrigue as a 4-star basketball recruit with a slew of Power 5 hoops offers. Carrying that hardwood swagger over to the diamond, the 6-foot-6, 185-pound twitchy left-handed hitter leverages his big frame in exhibiting massive power potential. Add to that the fact that he is part of a De La Salle program that has routinely churned out some of the top bats in the country, and Blair might ultimately jump into early Day 1 consideration. With a summer to focus on his work on the diamond, look for the dynamic outfielder to make an impact on the national stage.

Nick Diaz OF / 1B / Stoneman Douglas, FL / 2025

Diaz jumped to a new level with a standout spring that saw his right-handed stroke soar to new heights. Lean and athletic at 6-foot-5, 180-pounds, his ability to maintain connection despite a long-limbed frame is almost as impressive as the loud outputs that it yields. The positive adjustments of the spring should provide ample opportunity for an explosive summer that might ultimately situate him in an elite category of outfielders in the class.

Caleb Barnett 3B / RHP / Mountain Brook, AL / 2025

The 6-foot-5, 217-pound two-way prospect moved to Alabama from Pennsylvania over a year ago, and has only seen his stock rise since then. Beyond the ultra impressive frame that provides eye-opening power opportunities, is the ability of the right-handed slugger to maintain an accurate barrel in driving the ball to all fields. Blessed with a strong arm that provides low 90s heat on the bump, Barnett looks the part of a middle-of-the-order third baseman in the making, and could push much higher with a strong summer on the circuit.

John Stuetzer SS / Pope, GA / 2025

Call it a gut-feel pick, but Stuetzer’s incessant production is impossible to ignore, and between the impactful nature of the swing and the blue-collar athleticism, he is sure to excite the scouting community over the next 12-14 months. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Florida State recruit utilizes a flat path from the right side in creating noticeable lag in the zone while demonstrating the ability to flick and adjust while maintaining impact. A consummate performer whose ability to pepper both gaps stands out now, there is a high likelihood that he continues to develop more power, and should he demonstrate the ability to stick on the left side, his value is sure to drive up even higher.

Tyler Dunning SS / JSERRA CATHOLIC, CA / 2025

Dunning, a UCLA recruit, has seemingly flown under the radar even as a Top 100 national prospect given the strength of California’s ‘25 class. However, the national circuit (and especially next spring) will provide plenty of opportunity for the talented shortstop to grab the spotlight. An impressive athlete whose 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame stands out for present and future physicality, he moves around with the crisp, expected actions of a JSerra shortstop with confident hands, a quick release, and an ultra accurate arm. Should the right-handed stick continue trending up, so too will Dunning’s stock as a true shortstop.

Braxton Van Cleave OF / Mansfield, TX / 2025

Van Cleave’s hard-hitting ways left an impact on the end of last summer, and after a successful football campaign in the fall, the Kentucky recruit continued his rise on the diamond throughout the spring. Featuring an impressive 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame with lean strength throughout and unteachable athleticism, the left-handed hitter produces loud, impactful barrels with innate ability to change planes and advanced bat-to-ball accuracy. Should the power display continue trending up throughout the summer, there is no reason to believe that Van Cleave might rise as one of the top outfielders in a group that is still trying to separate itself.


Effortlessly up to 95 mph late in the spring thanks to a loose, quick arm, Watson has all the tools necessary for a breakout summer. At 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, the athletic Virginia recruit repeats a polished delivery flawlessly, and there is a strong chance that his velocity jumps throughout the summer. The fastball profile is enough to garner considerable interest, but should the secondary continue its upwards trend, Watson will challenge amongst the top right-handers in the class.

Reid Worley RHP / Cherokee, GA / 2025

A spin-master who climbs up over 3000 rpm with a pair of plus-potential breaking balls, Worley is sure to excite the data departments on paper while his loose, quick arm and athletic delivery open eyes of the scouting community in-person. A big riser throughout the spring, the Kennesaw State recruit is likely to collect whiffs all summer in front of decision makers as his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame still holds considerable projection.

Mario Magana SS / Braddock, FL / 2025

As the Sunshine State looks to rebound from a rare “down year” (it still produced more than its fair share of prospects), the ‘25 class is still settling itself. Enter the 6-foot-3, 200-pound switch-hitting left side defender whose profile presents a strong draft/professional presence. Featuring a right now frame with eye-opening bat speed and thump from both sides, the Miami recruit holds plenty of tools to get excited about and might ultimately be situated far too low in the class.

William Patrick OF / St. Frederick, LA / 2025

One of the top overall athletes in the entire class, Patrick had real football offers as a standout wide receiver, and has put his 6.4-speed to good use in looking the part of an impact center fielder. Adding to his alluring upside is the eye-opening data of the right-handed stroke which includes dynamic impact and acceleration with the makings of a hit+power operator. Few have the five-tool potential that Patrick displays on the diamond, and his ascension to the top prospect spot in The Boot is no accident as the upward trend is yet to slow down.

Aidan West SS / Long Reach, MD / 2025

Should the MLB scouting community be treated to the perpetual production that West has shown the Prep Baseball staff over the past three years, expect them to quickly gain the same admiration for the steady shortstop. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound left-handed hitter showcases advanced ground force at the dish with the ability to deliver a heavy barrel with intriguing force (triple digit exits in workouts). Nearly equally as impressive, he demonstrates the ability to slow the game down on the defensive side with a quick first step and athletic actions that depict a future sticking at the premium spot. With a summer spent on the barrel in front of decision makers, West might ultimately be the next in a growing pattern of mid-Atlantic helium chasers.

Jordan Serrano OF / The Stony Brook School, NY / 2025

In what is forecasting as one of the strongest classes in recent memory coming out of the Empire State, Serrano might end up being the buzziest name of next spring. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder is a dynamic athlete with 6.3-speed and a thunderous barrel from the right side. The loud outputs at the plate combined with the impressive acceleration out of the box are sure to excite the data community, and should the Wake Forest recruit continue trending up throughout the summer, there is a chance that he rises to even greater heights by the fall.

Stow Rogers C / James Island Charter, SC / 2025

As the ‘25 crop of catching looks to be uncovered throughout the summer, enter Rogers as a less widely known prospect who might grab the spotlight. A powerful right-handed hitter who routinely churns out triple-digit exit velocities, his strong arm and clean footwork behind the plate, along with soft hands, might ultimately drive him much higher in the class. Adding to his allure is the fact that he is the youngest of the top ranked catchers in the class.

Maddox Miller LHP / Oak Grove , MS / 2025

Possessing an uber projectable 6-foot-4, 165-pound frame with enough athleticism to present serious two-way opportunities in Starkville at Mississippi State, where he is committed, Miller has a chance to challenge for a top southpaw spot in the class with a strong summer. Already equipped with a low 90s fastball which he locates both sides with a loose, quick arm and delivery that is repeated flawlessly, his advanced feel for a potential plus-changeup, along with a quality breaking ball, provides a real starter profile and obvious professional value.

Ari Bethea RHP / Collierville, TN / 2025

An exceptional uncoiler with a short, quick arm, Bethea gets the most out of his explosive delivery while pairing eye-opening metrics and arm talent. The athletic, 6-foot-1, 197-pound right-hander pumps out one of the hoppier fastballs in the class, which he backspins at nearly 2600 rpm, that appears to jump out of the hand and even more at the plate. His downer breaking ball (also high spin) and power changeup (killed spin) allow each pitch to separate late with distinctive properties and differing movement profiles. With the stuff continuing to trend up, look for Bethea’s stock to do the same all summer.

Cade Nelson RHP / Katy, TX / 2025

Undoubtedly, a big Texan arm will make an impact on this class, and the big 6-foot-5 right-hander out of Katy might be one to watch. Carrying a polished delivery with an unteachable, athletic frame, the TCU recruit was effortlessly in the low 90s throughout the spring with much more in the tank. A firm, downer breaking ball with whiff potential along with an adequate (and improving) changeup provide the weapons necessary to continue as a starter. Nelson’s outings this summer are sure to be must-watch material for the entire scouting community.


Conor Essenburg 1B / LHP / Lincoln-Way West, IL / 2025

The jury is still out on whether Essenburg winds up better as a position player or pitcher, but a full summer slate should help provide a bit more clarity. Unafraid of the spotlight and unwilling to get cheated, the confident, 6-foot-1, 198-pounder gets off vicious hacks from the right side with exit velocities running above 105 mph thanks to a quick stroke that delivers a heavy barrel. Equally as impressive on the bump, the southpaw has attacked hitters all spring with a fastball up to 93 mph, and could see a spike throughout the summer. An ultra competitive athlete? Something to bet on. 

Trevor Gottsegen OF / SS / Highlands Ranch, CO / 2025

Any of those looking for a true “sleeper candidate” in the class might want to venture to Colorado as the uber-athletic Gottsegen fills the data collection sheet with buzz worthy numbers. At 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, the high-waisted frame is similar to those successful former Colorado prep standouts, and the spring provided a graduation from a raw right-handed hitter to a highly intriguing prospect. A quick first step (6.57-runner a year ago) may provide for a future in center field, and his ability to cover the plate with some authority lends well to future success.

Nicholas Frusco LHP / MILLER PLACE, NY / 2025

A silky smooth mover down the mound at an impressive 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Frusco racked up a staggering number of strikeouts this spring thanks to a low 90s fastball that proved to be a whiff-generator in the zone. A lower release height combines with a higher slot to produce some unicorn characteristics, and with the velocity likely to rise, the less well-known Long Island native has a chance to make some noise all summer. Adding a short, sharp slider to the mix, Frusco, who will be on the younger end of the class, is likely to garner considerable interest from the scouting community as part of New York’s mega ‘25 class.

Frank Cairone LHP / Delsea, NJ / 2025

At 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, and one of the youngest players in the class (will no turn 18 prior to the MLB Draft), Cairone is set to make his national introduction this summer after a dominant spring in the Garden State. Loose out of the glove with impressive extension, the quality moving southpaw was up into the low 90s (pitching 86-89) with effortless stuff that should tick up considerably in coming years. Adding in a quality, sweepy breaking ball in the mid 70s and faded changeup, there is starter upside.

Dylan Wood RHP / Franklin, CA / 2025

In what should be a jam-packed class of prospects in the state of California, Wood might a sneaky “gut feel” name to circle. An outstanding strike thrower with a loose, whippy arm that should generate considerably more velocity (presently touches into the low 90s) as his projectable, 6-foot-2, 187-pound frame fills out, Wood’s feel for three quality pitches including that hoppy fastball should present a starter’s profile for the scouting community. Likely having been seen already by many scouting departments due to the incessant prospects rolling out of Franklin High, a jump this summer will likely lead to another parade of decision makers rolling through.