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2014 BASEBALL PREVIEW: The Players – Part 1 (In The Field)

By: Scott Burnstein, April 5, 2014, 7:00 am

Top 25 position players in the state (alphabetically listed)

1 Tanner Allison (Portland) – Explosive, fundamentally-sound outfielder signed with Western Michigan

2 Nick Azar (Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett) – Probably the No. 1 underclassmen in the state in the middle part of the infield, the steady hitting, slick-fielding sophomore shortstop is already committed to Michigan

3 Jake Bivens (Battle Creek Lakeview) – One of the best overall players in the state, Bivens, a Michigan-signee and a Mr. Baseball candidate, has the type pf game that’s the real deal all the way around from his bat to his mitt to his mind.

4 Brad Boss (Temperance Bedford) – A hard-hitting, sturdy-gloved shortstop, Boss is signed with Toledo

5 Dan Chmielewski (Utica Eisenhower) – True dual-threat, one of the best swings at the plate and arms from the outfield in Macomb County, this IKE diamond-cutting specialist is inked with Michigan State

6 Dazon Cole (West Bloomfield) – Multi-talented shortstop (pitcher & outfielder as well) with some real pop in his game, Cole is signed with Central Michigan and has the type of pedigree college and pro scouts mouth-water over.

7 Matt Di Leo (Rockford) – Intelligent and gritty catcher, Di Leo is signed with Oakland University

8 Nate Grys (Madison Heights Bishop Foley) – Sporting as natural a swing and knack for the long ball as anybody in the state, Grys, a laser-armed junior outfielder, has been committed to Western Michigan for over a year now. He’s hoping to help spark Bishop Foley to a fourth straight Division 3 state championship this spring

9 Brandon Hughes (Sterling Heights Stevenson) – The definition of five-tool, one of the frontrunners in race for Mr. Baseball, Hughes is signed with Michigan State. Possesses a skill-set that’s through the roof; he can kill opponents with his bat, his skills in the outfield or his velocity and accuracy on the mound.

10 Daniel Jipping (Plymouth Christian) – Packing a wallop with his bat and his cannon out of right field, Jippling is signed with Central Michigan. He might be the best small-school player in the state in the Class of 2014.

11 Ty Kiafoulis (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Maybe be the most feared power hitter in the state, Kiafoulis, who can play in the outfield or first base, is signed with Michigan.

12 Evan Kraft (Richmond) – This savvy junior catcher is committed to Central Michigan. Kraft is tough-as-nails in terms of both catching technique and with his stroke at the dish

13 Logan Magsig (Hudsonville) – A spectacular leader and playmaker, this senior captain anchors the middle of the Hudsonville defense at shortstop and the front of its batting order, is penned to start his college career at Davenport next year (probably just a layover on his way to the DI level)

14 Riley McCauley (Sterling Heights Stevenson) – Blue-chipper in the Mitten’s junior class, McCauley, a fast-batted and quick-gloved shortstop is committed to Michigan State

15 Zach McGuire (Sterling Heights Stevenson) – “Sleeper Stud” prospect in the outfield on a crazy deep Stevenson squad signed with Michigan State. McGuire brings heavy lumber and an understated ‘It Factor’ that can sometimes get overlooked playing in the shadow of current prep teammate and future college teammate Brandon Hughes

16 A.J. Montoya (St. Joseph) – The consummate catcher and leader behind the plate, this cool cookie of a catching prospect is signed with Toledo

17 Hosea Nelson (Warren De La Salle) – An athletic and instinctive outfielder with a large upside, Nelson is signed with Oakland University

18 Nick Plummer (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Rare diamond specimen that flashes five-tool all over the field, Plummer, a junior outfielder, is committed to Michigan

19 Randy Righter (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Savvy first basemen that is an ace hurler at the high school level and swings a nasty and timely stick from the dish, Righter is signed with Bowling Green

20 Will Salter (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) – The best defensive catcher in the state, (with a mean stick, too) Salter is signed with Michigan State. His grandfather is all-time Detroit Tigers great, Bill Freehan and his brother Blaise is an OLSM alum and current starter in East Lansing with the Spartans

21 Josh Smith (Marysville) – Superb middle infielder with speed and strength, Smith is signed with Grand Valley State

22 Sammy Stevens (Birmingham Brother Rice) – Exceptionally-skilled catcher that can blast at the plate and from behind it with pin-point accuracy to keep base-runners at bay, Stevens is signed with Georgetown

23 Jake Vaderwahl (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central) – Elite junior outfield prospect committed to play his college ball in the Big Ten at Ohio State

24 Brennan Williams (Walled Lake Northern) – Versatile first basemen and outfielder that can really shred at the dish and is signed with Eastern Michigan

25 Kory Young (Rockford) – One of the most dangerous players in the state on offense and defense and a Mr. Baseball candidate, this rock-solid Rockford shortstop is signed with Michigan State. The complete package at his position