If the MaxPreps preseason All-American Baseball team is any indication, this could be the year for IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
Always among the top teams to start the season, IMG Academy could be the No. 1 team in the nation this year as it has three players who could go high in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Pitchers Brennan Malone and Kendall Williams and shortstop Rece Hinds all make the preseason team, while no other team had more than one.
Among the top players on the team include a pair of sons of former MLB players: Bobby Witt Jr. of Colleyville Heritage (Texas) and Jack Leiter of Delbarton (N.J.).
MaxPreps 2019 Preseason All-American Baseball Team
P — Brennan Malone, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 6-5, 210
With a fastball that touches 97 mph, Malone is ranked as the No. 1 pitcher in the nation by Perfect Game. Transferring to IMG Academy for his senior year after pitching at Porter Ridge (N.C.) last season. He was 3-4 with a 1.36 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 51.1 innings pitched as a junior.P — Sam Hliboki, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.), 6-3, 185
The Pitcher of the Year in the Los Angeles area by the Daily News, Hlibocki went 9-1 on the mound with 90 strikeouts and a 1.28 ERA in 65 innings pitched.P — Jack Leiter, Delbarton (Morristown, N.J.), 6-1, 195
The son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter, Jack was second team All-State as a junior after going 6-3 with 77 strikeouts and a no-hitter.P — Matt Thompson, Cypress Ranch (Houston, Texas), 6-3, 184
An all-district player for Cypress Ranch since his freshman season, he helped his team reach the state semifinals while going 5-1 with a 2.38 ERA.P — Kendall Williams, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 6-6, 190
In 10 appearances last year for IMG, Williams was 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched.
P — Hunter Barco, Bolles (Jacksonville, Fla.), 6-4, 212
The Jacksonville Times Union All-First Coast Player of the Year and the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 5A Player of the Year in Florida went 8-1 with 1.98 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 63.2 innings pitched.P — Spencer Jones, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.), 6-7, 205
Jones made the All-San Diego Section team last year after batting .414 with seven doubles, five home runs and 32 RBI. However, he is also one of the top pitchers in the state.P — Chris Villamin, Ledford Senior (Thomasville, N.C.), 6-2, 185
Villamin led Ledford Senior to the Class 2A state finals and made the All-State team. He went 10-2 with 139 strikeouts and a 0.67 ERA in 73.1 innings pitched.P — Dawson Netz, Maranatha (Pasadena, Calif.), 6-1, 185
Went 12-0 with 117 strikeouts and a 0.26 ERA while earning Southern Section Division 3 Player of the Year honors.P — Blake Adams, Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.), 6-2, 205
A member of the Arkansas Preps All-State team, Adams led Har-Ber to a state title while going 7-2 with a 2.05 ERA and 89 strikeouts. He also batted .411 with eight home runs.C — Darius Perry, La Mirada (Calif.), 6-2, 215
Landed a spot on the Los Angeles Times All-Area team last year after batting .389 with 52 RBIs and 11 home runs.C — Matt McCormick, St. Laurence (Burbank, Ill.), 6-0, 195
The Gatorade State Player of the Year for Illinois, and the Prep Baseball Report State Player of the Year, McCormick bashed nine home runs and 17 doubles to go with 48 RBIs and a .510 average.C — Jake Holland, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), 6-3, 210
The top power hitter on a team that went undefeated last year and finished near the top of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings.1B — Mahki Backstrom, Serra (Gardena, Calif.), 6-5, 215
Although he only batted .275 with three doubles last year at Serra, Backstrom showed huge potential over the summer with his power hitting, enough to move him to the top of the Perfect Game first base player rankings.1B — Xavier Carter, Capital Christian (Sacramento, Calif.), 6-4, 195
Carter helped lead the Cougars to a Sac-Joaquin Section championship last year while batting .425 with 33 RBIs and four home runs.
IF — Bobby Witt, Colleyville Heritage (Colleyville, Texas), 6-1, 185
Ranked as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2019 by Perfect Game, Witt was All-State and All-American last year while batting .476 with 10 home runs.IF — CJ Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.), 6-2, 182
Abrams had Blessed Trinity near the top of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings for most of the season. He's expected to be a high draft pick in June after batting .404 with 22 RBIs, six doubles and three home runs last year.IF — Rece Hinds, IMG Academy (Brandenton, Fla.), 6-4, 210
A transfer from Niceville to IMG Academy, Hinds was the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 7A state Player of the Year in 2018. He batted .494 with 53 RBIs, 45 runs, eight doubles and 13 home runs.IF — Brett Baty, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas), 6-3, 210
The Gatorade State Player of the Year belted 12 home runs and batted .443 on the year. He was also All-State and led Lake Travis to the regional quarterfinals.IF — Tyler Callihan, Providence School (Jacksonville, Fla.), 6-1, 200
An all-First Coast selection last year, Callihan was 9-1, but he also hit .440 with six home runs and 34 RBIs.IF — Buddy Floyd, Pope (Marietta, Ga.), 5-7, 155
The Class 6A state Player of the Year by Georgia Dugout Preview Magazine, Floyd led Pope to the state championship. He hit .391 with 10 doubles and 32 RBIs.OF — Riley Greene, Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.), 6-2, 190
The top outfield prospect in the country according to Perfect Game, Greene batted .405 with 36 runs, 26 RBIs, six triples and four home runs as a junior.OF — Jerrion Ealy, Jackson Prep (Jackson, Miss.), 5-10, 192
One of the best football-baseball, two-way athletes in the country, Ealy was second team All-State last year, but is seen as the second-best outfield prospect in the country behind Greene. He averaged .368 with three home runs and 41 runs scored last year.OF — Sammy Siani, William Penn Charter (Philadelphia), 5-11, 175
One of three Siani brothers who played for the Quakers last year, Sammy is the middle brother. Like older brother Mike, who was selected in the MLB draft last year, Sam is the top-ranked outfielder in Pennsylvania. He earned All-Inter Academic honors last year.OF — Judson Fabian, Trinity Catholic (Ocala, Fla.), 6-1, 190
The Star Banner Player of the Year and an Under Armour All-American, Fabian batted .453 and had 11 home runs as a junior.OF — Corbin Carroll, Lakeside (Seattle), 5-10, 170
Named the MVP of the Perfect Game All-American Classic, Carroll was a member of Team USA 18U over the summer. As a junior, Carroll had 27 RBIs and seven home runs.OF — Jack Washburn, Webster (Wis.), 6-2, 175
The state Pitcher and Player of the Year in Wisconsin last year, Washburn batted .443 with 55 RBIs and 10 home runs and was also 9-1 on the mound with a 0.88 ERA and 98 strikeouts.UT — Sam Ireland, Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 6-3, 200
In addition to leading Mountain Vista to a state championship, Ireland was named Class 5A state Player of the Year by several publications. He also batted .400 with 43 RBIs and 11 home runs.UT — Derek Diamond, Ramona (Calif.), 6-2, 185
A force on the mound and at the plate, Diamond was All-San Diego Section last year while batting .378 with 29 RBIs, 14 doubles and five home runs.UT — Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Cumming, Ga.), 6-2, 215
A Class 7A All-State player and the Forysthe County News Pitcher of the Year, Sims had a 0.90 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. He's hit 97 mph on his fastball.