Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 1 Baylor School


Colton Provey
Tennessee Scouting Director

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The 2021 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. That excitement may be at an all-time high entering this high school season as the 2020 high school baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season during an offseason unlike any other and as always, there are some very talented players and teams across Tennessee.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in Murfreesboro at the TSSAA Spring Fling state championships, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams. 

We start diving into the Preseason Power 25 Rankings, highlighting some of the deepest clubs across the state. Although we could have done 40+ clubs with so many talented teams getting tuned up for the 2021 season, we can only rank 25 and this list will continue to change as the season plays out on the field.  There will be teams not on the list that will be battling for a state championship come late May, so take it for what it's worth, as no championships have ever been won on paper.  

 *Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

 

High School: The Baylor School

 Coach: Greg Elie & Mike Kinney

 

Classification: TSSAA D2-AA-East Region

 

 Top Returning Players:

2021 3B/1B Vytas Valincius (South Carolina Commit)

2021 SS Daniel Corona Jr. (Wake Forest Commit)

2021 3B/UTL Cooper Kinney (South Carolina Commit)

2021 RHP/CINF Jay Dill (Missouri Commit)

2021 LHP/1B Nick Kurtz (Wake Forest Commit)

2022 SS/RHP Henry Godbout (Virginia Commit)

 

2021 Prospects:

2021 3B/1B Vytas Valincius (South Carolina Commit)

2021 SS Daniel Corona Jr. (Wake Forest Commit)

2021 3B/UTL Cooper Kinney (South Carolina Commit)

2021 RHP/CINF Jay Dill (Missouri Commit)

2021 LHP/1B Nick Kurtz (Wake Forest Commit)

2021 RHP Chris Campanella (Uncommitted)

2021 C Gates Shoemaker (Uncommitted)

 

2022/Underclass Prospects:

2022 SS/RHP Henry Godbout (Virginia Commit)

2022 C Jonathan Larrea

2022 RHP/OF Patrick Johnson (MTSU Commit)

2022 OF/C Carson Yates

2023 OF Caleb Hampton (South Carolina Commit)

2024 OF Amari Jefferson

2022 SS Gaston Carmichael

2022 OF Hunter Herndon

 

Outlook: 

The Red Raiders have captured back to back state titles in D2-AA and will return much of their squad from 2020.  They feature probably the deepest roster in the state, and potentially one of the top in the country with seven Power 5 commits.  It will be a senior lead squad but there is consistent production coming out of each class.  The power of '21 CINF Vytas Valincius (South Carolina) has been well documented hitting balls 100+ with ease and can play both corner positions on the infield.  They'll have a plethora of options up the middle with Sr. SS Daniel Corona Jr (Wake Forest), Sr. UTL Cooper Kinney (South Carolina), and Jr. Henry Godbout (Virginia). Corona can defend it with the best of them and provides a smooth lefty stroke drive in runs.  Kinney can play all over the field and has been a consistent hitter from the left side with a knack for picking up hits in bunches.  '23 OF Caleb Hampton (South Carolina) brings some more physicality and good tracking skills in the OF in his first full season.  The pitching staff is headlined by Sr RHP/CINF Jay Dill (Missouri), who has a low 90s FB and a sharp SL in the 80s, and Sr LHP/1B Nick Kurtz (Wake Forest) is a skilled southpaw and can contribute with the bat as well. '21 RHP Chris Campanella and '22 RHP/OF Patrick Johnson (MTSU) both have good stuff, getting into the mid 80s with multiple secondary offerings. The staff will be in good hands with Jr. C Jonathan Larrea as one of the best receiving catchers in the state plus Jr OF/C Carson Yates can provide depth and also be another strong bat in the order while getting most of his time in the OF.  Also watch for '22 UTL Gaston Carmichael and freshman OF Amari Jefferson to get in the mix and contribute this year.  This Baylor squad is on a mission to string together three straight state titles, and they look primed to handle the expectations to be playing deep into the year.  

 

Best of luck this season!

 

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