Prep Baseball Report

Inside the 2026 Rankings: Risers & Newcomers

Brandon Gowins
Texas Scouting Director

TEXAS - As we wind down the 2023 campaign, it is time to look one more time at our 2026 rankings now that the season is over. The ‘26 class has the potential to be one of the best classes to come out of Texas in a while. The more we see this class, there are some that have really made a move up our rankings. Today we highlight 10 players that made big jumps or are newcomers to our rankings.


27. Alex Moreno - RHP - Sachse - Up 47 Spots

Moreno vaulted up the rankings after a dominant performance at State Games. The velocity has made a jump and he sat in the upper 80’s with good command. But it was his slider that really stole the show. Moreno was ripping off breakers north of 3,000 rpm’s and has the makings of a true swing and miss offering. The changeup is a useful 3rd pitch and gives him a true starter profile. He isn’t the tallest, but he has a strong lower half and moves down the mound very easily. Moreno got a lot of innings as a freshman last year, and I expect him to make even more noise this sophomore season.

32. Ashten Ballew - SS - Katy - Up 56 Spots

Ballew is a 6’1 160 SS from Katy who really had a nice fall and a loud PBR Cup. Has a very projectable frame, and moves effortlessly on the field. He has good bat to ball skills and developing power. He is part of a really talented Katy program, who has a chance to be one of the better teams in the state this spring.

42. Ethan Keller - RHP - SA Clark - Newcomer

After a very good freshman season, Keller has seen his stuff continue to tick up as he heads into his sophomore year. His velo has ticked up into the low 90’s now and shows premium arm strength. As a freshman, he showed good pitch ability and with the physicality starting to kick in, Keller has a chance to continue to rise up these rankings.

43. Graeson Register - RHP - Midland Greenwood - Newcomer

The last few years, we have seen some big arms come out of West Texas and Register could be the next. The athletic righty has a loose arm and his velo continues to make jumps. He is now sitting in the upper 80’s and is an easy mover down the mound. He flashes a breaking ball that has good depth, and should continue to get better as he throws it with more power. Register is another one that has a chance to really continue to rise up the rankings.

49. Brayden Stevenson - RHP - New Waverly - Newcomer

Stevenson really opened my eyes this fall when I saw him at the Hunter Pence scout day. The 6 '4 righty showed good body control for his size, with clean mechanics and an easy mover down the mound. His fastball topped out at 89, and there is plenty more to come. He threw a short, late slider that got some swing and misses. He threw a split for his change, and it flashed good tumbling action.

52. Austin Smith - SS/RHP - Prestonwood Chrisitan - Up 17 Spots

The talented 2 way talent had a really good year, capped off with a loud State Games. Offensively, Smith shows some juice for his size, and hit a home run at TCU during gameplay. It is a really quick and short swing that generates consistent hard contact. He shows some defensive versatility, being able to play all over the dirt. Smith also flashes some potential on the mound, and throws his fastball in the mid to upper 80’s with good run. Smith could be a big part of what Prestonwood is looking to accomplish this year.

53. Trent Vilade - RHP/1B Prestonwood Christian - Up 12 Spots

Another Prestonwood player who impressed at State Games was Vilade. Another two way prospect, Vilade has really grown and gotten physical this year. On the mound, Vilade can flash an upper 80’s fastball with feel for spin. As he continues to grow into his body, Vilade’s velo has a chance to really make some jumps. At the plate, Vilade has good natural rhythm and shows good barrel to ball skills. As the strength continues to come, Vilade should hit with some power.

54. Cooper Webb - RHP - Lake Travis - Up 33 Spots

I have always been a fan of Webb’s arm talent, and it is really starting to take off on the mound. The Lake Travis product, consistently was in the upper 80’s this fall and showed off a really quick arm. As he starts to stack some muscle on that projectable frame, Webb has a chance to throw really hard. He is a good athlete on the mound and moves well, and he looks to be the next hard throwing Righty for Lake Travis.

64. Aiden Shreve - RHP - Pieper Ranch - Newcomer

Shreve really impressed me this fall when I saw him in San Antonio. It is a super projectable 6 ‘4 frame and a really loose arm when you watch him warm up. He moves extremely well down the mound and sat in the mid 80’s with minimal effort. The ball comes out of his hand well, and it is easy to project his velo making some big jumps soon. I really liked the change up as well and it has a chance to be a real weapon for him. Shreve still needs to tighten up the command, but all the tools are there to be a premium arm.

74. Nicholas Smith - 3B - Mansfield Timberview - Newcomer

Smith is a toolsy RHH who continues to make some jumps, and I am bullish on to have a big 2024. He has natural rhythm in the box, and some feel for the barrel. The ball jumps off his bat, and he has a chance to grow into some real power. He can use the whole field and drive the ball with authority. He has good athleticism, and he shows the ability to handle both infield positions on the left side.