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Florida Preseason Classic Preview with Pitching Rotations


Rocco Iervasi
Florida Director of Operations/Area Scout

The FL Preseason Classic has quickly become the top preseason event in the country. The 2018 Preseason Classic, which featured six high school teams, was attended by more than 130 professional scouts over the three day event. 2018 saw a pair of first rounders in Mason Denaburg and Carter Stewart throw back to back. Also featured in the first Preseason Classsic was 2rd round pick Lyon Richardson, as well as Brandon Howlett, David Luethje, Elijah Cabell, Nick Pogue, Brady Allen and Noah Dickerson who were all taken in the 2018 MLB Draft as well.

The 2019 Preseason Classic featured not only high school teams, but Junior Colleges as well. Led by another first round pick in Brennan Malone, the 2019 teams saw 13 total players taken in the 2019 MLB Draft. 

2020 was loaded with talent that featured 9 of the top high school teams from around the state. The event also featured 25 of the top 100 players from the Florida Class of 2020 including 2020 1st Rounder Zac Veen.

The 2021 FL Preseason Classic looks to be another big one. 12 of the best high school teams from around the state. Many of the top players from around the state such as: Andy Painter, Irving Carter, Drew Gray, James Wood, Tommy White, Jayden Melendez, Cole Russo, Jay Allen, Elijah Green, and much more.

Today we will preview the 2021 FL Preseason Classic. Below you can find the full schedule of the event followed by previews of all 12 teams in attendance and their pitching rotations.

Click HERE to purchase your 2021 FL Preseason Classic tickets.


Schedule
Date 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th
2 PM BP Start Central Pointe/Winter Haven Doral/TNXL Vero Beach/Westminster American Heritage/IMG Spruce Creek/Calvary 10 AM - (30 min each) John Carrol/Jesuit/ TNXL
4:30 PM Game Central Pointe v Vero Beach Doral v TNXL Westminster v Vero Beach American Heritage v IMG Spruce Creek v Calvary Christian 12:30 PM- TNXL v John Carroll
7 PM Game Winter Haven v Doral Spruce Creek v Westminster Calvary Christian v IMG Central Pointe v John Carroll Jesuit v Winter Haven 3:30 PM - Jesuit v American Heritage


Previews with Pitching Rotations


American Heritage Plantation

American Heritage was a dominant team in 2020. A 10-0 record with one of the most loaded rosters in the state. Despite losing two of their top players in Enrique Bradfield Jr. (Vanderbilt) and Jordan Carrion (Florida), the Patriots are once again loaded in 2021. Pitching is the strength and will carry the team.  It is good enough to make a run in the playoffs and will determine how far they can go. One of the most talented rotations in the state with Devin Futrell (Vanderbilt), Justin Webster (Kansas State), Brandon Barriera (Vanderbilt), Evan Dobias (Virginia), and Juhlien Gonzalez (FIU) to close. There is some young talent at many positions but should be able to score enough for their pitching to hold leads. Seniors Justin Quintana (Army), Tommy Ramos (Barry), Gonzalez, and sophomore Spencer Butt (FSU) will take over as Heritage’s middle of the order bats. The Patriots have two tough matchups against IMG and Jesuit next week but should be some fun games to watch.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Brandon Barriera
Game 2: Devin Futrell

 

Calvary Christian Academy

Calvary Christian comes into 2021 with perhaps the best roster in the state and definitely the best pitching staff. Headlined by the No. 1 and No. 3 2021s in the state in Andy Painter (Florida) and Irving Carter (Miami), Calvary added another big arm in transfer Nick Anello (Miami). Calvary added two more big transfers on the offensive side with perhaps the top shortstop in the state in Alex Ulloa (Oklahoma State) and one of the top catchers in the state in Rene Lastres (Florida). Two of Calvary’s top offensive returners are back in Ty Hollandsworth (HCC) and Kyle Tako (FGCU) who will look to continue to produce in their high-powered lineup. Wednesday’s matchup against IMG is the matchup to watch between the No. 1 and 2 teams in the PBR FL Preseason Power25 Rankings.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Irving Carter, Nick Anello, Erik Blair
Game 2: Andy Painter, Anthony Concepcion, Jonathan Xuereb

 

Central Pointe Christian Academy

Central Pointe comes into 2021 with a loaded team filled with several international transfers. They added one of the premier shortstops in the country in Edwin Arroyo (FSU) as well as uncommitted Christian Febus. Another new addition to the Tigers’ offense is catcher Jaime Ferrer (FSU). Central Pointe’s pitching staff includes three top arms in Joseph Montalvo (EFSC), Dylan Luna (HCC), and Luis Rujano (USF). A talented team on both sides of the ball, the Tigers will be a tough matchup at the Preseason Classic.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Luis Rujano, Michael Marrero, Luis Toro, Dylan Luna
Game 2: Joseph Montalvo, Chris Sosa, Michael Rivera, Janiel Hernandez

 

Doral Academy

Doral is led by Miami commit Gabriel Gutierrez (.321, 3 3B, 5 RBI) along with 8 other D1 commits. They are well rounded with pitching and hitting. The roster is loaded from the top down with names like Renzo Gonzalez (Miami), Marcus Franco, Edgardo Villegas (Miami), Nicholas Fraginals (NC State), and more. Doral has several young players that should make a big impact in 2021 in SS Manuelle Marin (Miami) and LHP Frank Menendez (Miami). The Firebirds have talent on both sides of the ball and should be a team to follow this Spring.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Renzo Gonzalez
Game 2: Nicholas Fraginals

 

IMG Academy

IMG Academy might have the most talented roster in the country in 2021. The Ascenders are loaded with 14 D1 commits and several future top MLB Draft Picks. Both sides of the ball are filled with talent both returning from the 2020 team, but especially newcomers in 2021. Returning starters from last year are OF James Wood (Miss State), SS Drake Varnado (Arkansas), INF Stone Russell (Florida), and C Sam Hunt (Vanderbilt). IMG brings in a ton of high powered bats in 2021 with 3B Tommy White (NC State), OF Elijah Green (Miami), 1B Blaydon Plain (Florida), OF/LHP Drew Gray (Arkansas), and C Brady Neal (LSU). On the mound IMG is led by several newcomers in LHP Mason Albright (Virginia Tech), LHP Jackson Ferris (Ole Miss), RHP Davion Hickson (FSU), and Gray. A loaded team that expects to be dominant in 2021.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Mason Albright
Game 2: Jackson Ferris

 

Jesuit

On paper this Jesuit team may be more talented than last year’s group. It doesn’t have the same experience at the high school level that those guys did, but the talent is off the charts.  The pitching staff is ten deep with players like Alden Segui (UNC), Dominic Castellano (UCF), Ryan Denison (FSU), and Jamie Arnold (FSU) to name a few. Offensively, this group of position players may be the deepest bunch they’ve had in the last seven years with Cole Russo (UCF), AJ Nessler (Pitt), Nick Rodriguez (Charleston-Southern), BJ Graham (Tulane), Jake Kulikowski (Miami), Wes Mendes, and more. This group has a chance to be special.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Dominic Castellano, Kris Sosnowski, Christian Hamilton, Macklin Miller
Game 2: Alden Segui, Jamie Arnold, Andrew Hunt, Wes Mendes

 

John Carroll Catholic

John Carroll boasts one of the most impressive rosters in the state.  It's highlighted by seniors Jay Allen (Florida), Braden Calise (Louisville), and Marcos Gamboa (Bethune-Cookman).  However, this team returns 14 seniors that were ranked #1 in their district in 2020. This group has played together for years.  The pitching staff is led by Gamboa, Calise, and Carlos Vega who all possess upper 80s to low 90s fastballs. The lineup is deep with an impressive mix of power, bat to ball skill, and team speed. John Carroll will be one of the toughest teams in the state led by top Draft prospect Jay Allen.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Marcos Gamboa, Braden Calise
Game 2: Carlos Vega, Andrew Ward

 

Spruce Creek

Spruce Creek comes into 2021 with another deep team. Despite losing First Round pick Zac Veen (Rockies), the Hawks return some of their top hitters in OF Corey Robinson (Florida), SS Evan Mastromauro (Stetson), and Dalton Hurst (FIU). They have a very deep pitching staff filled with several commits including Brandon Neely (Florida), Preston Wetherell (Florida State), Lucas Mahlstedt (Wofford), and Jarrett Maresco (St. Johns River). Robinson and Neely had really strong showings at the 2020 Preseason Classic and look to continue that this time around. Spruce Creek has a good group of seniors with the experience needed to win tough games.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Jarrett Maresco, Knute Rockey, Brooks Byers, Evan Mastromauro (If needed)
Game 2: Brandon Neely, Preston Wetherell, Lucas Mahlstedt

 

TNXL Academy

TNXL has yet another loaded roster in 2021 with five top level arms in the rotation. RHPs Kyle Larsen (Florida), Jacob Crews, and Ryan Slattery (Pitt) lead the crop of returners with two newcomers RHP Dylan Jacobs (FSU) and RHP Owen Flynn (UNC). Offensively, TNXL is filled with newcomers in SS Hector Mangual (Missouri), as well as Canada natives Yohan Dessureault (NWFS), Nathan Laliberte, and Nicolas Deschamps (Stetson). TNXL also adds OF Hector Candelas (Charleston-Southern) and 1B Simon Kohn. Returning on offense is OF Diego Ortiz (UAB), SS Ashton Wilson (Charleston-Southern), C Camden Gay (FGCU), and OF Dylan Bowen. TNXL has a lot of talent all over the field and should be able to compete with any team.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Kyle Larsen
Game 2: Dylan Jacobs, Owen Flynn

 

Vero Beach

The Indians were 7-1 in a shortened 2020 season but lost many starters including their top two pitchers in Nick Gorby (Texas Tech) and Hunter Parris (UCF). Offensively, Vero returns two of their top hitters in senior Timo Aracena (Embry-Riddle) and junior Jake Randolph (Miami). The two lead a fairly young team who looks to continue to build a strong program at Vero Beach. Look for RHP’s Jimmy McKinney (Clark Atlanta) and Jake Nolan to take over as the Indians' top arms.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Jake Nolan
Game 2: TBD

 

Westminster Christian

Westminster Christian looks to be a solid team once again in 2021. They lost a lot of talent from 2020 but return a strong team both offensively and on the mound. The offense is led by catcher Jayden Melendez (FIU) and 3B Sal Stewart (Vanderbilt). On the mound, they are led by senior RHPs Joel Pineiro (FIU) and Louis Castano (HCC). Westminster has enough depth to be a difficult team to face in 2021.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Joel Pineiro
Game 2: Louis Castano

 

Winter Haven

Winter Haven comes into 2021 after an impressive 10-2 record in 2020. Their pitching staff is solid led by Mark Jarrett, Caden Kok, Julio Gonzalez, and Jeremy Weaver. Winter Haven is scrappy offensively with talent all over with Jalen Hairston, Randy Gonzalez, Roberto Odor, Chance Trinklein, De’Sean Rogers, and Owen Boyce. The team will be a tough matchup and always in it till the end.

Pitching Rotation

Game 1: Jeremy Weaver, Dylan DeLeo, Luke Esposito, Jose Torres
Game 2: Mark Jarrett, Caden Kok, Zach Lamb

 

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