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Positional Rankings: NC's Top 30 LHP


Brandon Hall
Executive Director, PBR of NC

The published rankings on Prep Baseball Report are always a big read for high school baseball fans across the country.  Here in North Carolina the updated rankings typically top the chart for most read stories of the year.  PBR’s team of scouts are constantly working to identify the top talent across their territory and as part of that process, publishing rankings, evaluations, and statistics.

The class rankings in North Carolina have been updated for 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 graduates.  Inside the rankings database on PBR, fans can sort the rankings by positions.  While going through the rankings, North Carolina stats do not go position by position, but instead take a player grading policy and work through the player grades to sort players into the state rankings.  Positional rankings fall where they may, based on a player’s primary position in their PBR Profile.

Today we continue to unveil the top players in North Carolina by position.  The final list of positional rankings are the left-handed pitchers.  This list of Top 30 LHP in North Carolina does not account for a player’s graduating class.  The list is compiled by the player grades given to the players across the state and then scouts from PBR working through the sorted list to arrange players that may have similar player grades.

Rankings 

NC:  2020  |  2021  |  2022 2023

Overall:  2020  |  2021  |  2022 | 2023

 

Positional Rankings in North Carolina 

 

Positional Rankings: Top LHP

 

Much like the Top 30 RHP list, the list of lefty’s tends to lean toward the older arms.  The maturation and the amount of information available obviously grows with each passing year on a player.  The top seven left-handers all hail from the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes.  They also account for eight of the top 10. 

The top three arms in the class have all positioned themselves as potential high draft picks this year or next year.  At. No. 1, Philip Abner (Charlotte Christian, 2021) possesses elite stuff and passes the eye test.  The fastball has been up to 93mph for PBR scouts and it pairs well with a hard downer breaking ball and late sweeping slider.  While the velocity readings on the fastball are impressive, it is the advanced analytics on Abner’s fastball that set it apart.  PBR scouts have used the Stalker Pro SII radar gun to capture the spin rate up to 2550rpm creating a lot of induced vertical movement, allowing Abner to work up in the zone, tunneling with the hard downer breaking ball.  The induced vertical movement on the fastball would put Abner’s fastball in the top 20% of major league fastballs.

 

Liam Norris (Green Hope HS, 2020) comes in at No. 2 and may hear his name called next week during the 2020 MLB Draft.  A lanky lefty in his early HS days, Norris has seen his frame fill out and the fastball grow to 95mph.  There are still some questions about harnessing the power, but Norris has elite stuff and a durable frame, giving him time to figure out some of the other intricacies to his craft.  The slider and change-up both look to be in position to grow into at least average pitches at the pro level. 

Ranked No. 118 on the 2020 PBR Draft Board, PBR National Crosschecker Nathan Rode had this to say about Norris:

Scouts got an early look at Norris as a sophomore when they went to see his teammate, OF Jordyn Adams (2017 first rounder, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder North Carolina recruit is continuing to mature into his frame and developing rhythm to his delivery. He fights to maintain his line and direction, but should continue to make strides as he harnesses his power. He has a clean arm that works to positions of strength with slight deviations in his release between the fastball and offspeed pitches. The fastball has life, jumping on hitters late, sitting 91-94 and touching 95. In his lone outing this spring, Norris maintained his velo and showed feel for the strike zone with it, tossing five innings. The fastball is complemented by a slider and curveball, both profiling as potential above-average pitches. He has better current feel for the curveball, which is sharp with 1/7 tilt at 77-80. The slider works with hard, darting action and 2/8 tilt at 80-82. The slider seems to be a chase pitch at this time, getting swings and misses, but each pitch will need to tunnel with the fastball better as he progresses. A still developing changeup could add a fourth pitch to his arsenal, as it is thrown with good hand speed at 82. The inconsistency in his delivery should smooth out in the coming years, allowing for an increase in his control and the possibility of better command.”

Rounding out the top 3 of the Top 30 LHP in North Caroilna is a potential two-way player, with a ton of polish on the mound, Josh Hartle (Reagan HS, 2021).  A Wake Forest commit, Hartle, like Abner and Norris, has experience with Team USA, winning gold on the 15U team.  Advanced command and feel is accompanied by a fastball that creates soft contact and swing and miss opportunities at 86-88.  The breaking ball and change-up are each advanced, tunneling with the fastball.  A true 3-pitch mix at a very young age, Hartle should continue to improve as he adds strength to the 6-foot-5 frame.

 

 

By The Numbers: Top 30 LHP in NC

  • 24 of the top 30 LHP are committed
  • 12 of the 24 commitments are to teams in a Power 5 Conference
  • 12 arms are 2020 graduates
  • 11 LHP are 2021 graduates
  • 5 arms from the 2022 class
  • 2 pitchers from the 2023 class
  • 3 LHP are from Fuquay-Varina HS, leading all NC High Schools on the list

 

Top 30 LHP in North Carolina

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