Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 3 CAK


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: Christian Academy of Knoxville

Coach: Tommy Pharr

 

Classification: TSSAA D2A-District 3

 

 Top Returning Players:

2021 UTL/RHP Andrew Kribbs (Tennessee Commit)

2021 1B/RHP Ty Nettles (Vol State CC Commit)

2021 RHP Tanner Loyd (Uncommitted)

2021 RHP JD Price (Western Carolina Commit)

2021 OF/SS Ryan Degges (Columbia St CC Commit)

2022 3B/RHP Walker Strange (Lipscomb Commit)

 

2021 Prospects:

2021 UTL/RHP Andrew Kribbs (Tennessee Commit)

2021 1B/RHP Ty Nettles (Vol State CC Commit)

2021 RHP Tanner Loyd (Uncommitted)

2021 RHP JD Price (Western Carolina Commit)

2021 OF/SS Ryan Degges (Columbia St CC Commit)

2021 RHP Elijah Dew (Walters St CC Commit)

2021 RHP Tyler Wood (Motlow St CC Commit)

2021 C Zach Bergstrom (Emmanuel Commit)

2021 RHP Bay Griffin (Uncommitted)

2021 2B Luke Harms (Uncommitted)

 

2022/Underclass Prospects:

2022 3B/RHP Walker Strange (Lipscomb Commit)

2022 RHP/3B Simon Tesh

2022 OF Tyler Jenkins

2023 RHP/OF Andrew Moore

2023 RHP Luke Jones

 

Outlook: 

CAK has been dominant the past few years and it's been well documented with three straight state titles (Two D2-A, One AA) in their past four trips to the Spring Fling.  They'll return a hefty class of seniors with a good balance of skilled bats and arms, looking primed to be the favorite in their classification.  Super utility Andrew Kribbs (Tennessee) headlines the group after showing the ability to play 3B, C, and oh by the way he was 88-92 on the mound this fall at Lakepoint.  Behind Kribbs, they have a stable of arms that can start and get deep into games, such as Western Carolina commit JD Price, Vol State commit Ty Nettles, Walters St commit Elijah Dew, Motlow St commit Tyler Wood, and uncommitted Sr. Tanner Loyd. Price is a long, big body righty who has been mid 80s and feel for sweeping breaking ball that can navigate through lineups and still has some room to go in velo.  Nettles has a quick arm up to 88, but can also swing the bat with authority as primarily an athletic first baseman.  Dew is a wildcard with natural stuff that dances and moves all over, when he's locked in, he can be dangerous picking up swing n' misses in bunches.  Tyler Wood is another mid 80s arm from a low 3/4 slot that came on late this Fall.  Loyd is one of the top uncommitted arms in the senior class getting up to 87 with a quick compact arm from smaller frame, and would be a lock to secure his commitment this Spring season.  Offensively, dynamic athlete Ryan Degges (Columbia St CC) will hit towards the top of the order and can be a strong defender in CF or the infield. '22 3B/RHP Walker Strange (Lipscomb) has some pop in the barrel while playing a nice hot corner, and providing innings on the back end.  Sr. C Zach Bergstrom (Emmanuel) will be a solid backstop to handle the staff. I'd watch for '23 RHP/OF Andrew Moore, who got up to 88 this fall and sat mid 80s with feel for offspeed this preseason. Juniors RHP/3B Simon Tesh and OF Tyler Jenkins are other emerging prospects on this deep roster.  The Warriors were disappointed to not make a run at going four straight for their 2020 senior class, but this group has a chance to continue that streak in 2021. 

 

Best of luck this season!

 

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