High-SchoolMassachusetts: Rhett Wiseman

Rhett WisemanScott KurtzOne of the fastest outfielders in the nation (29 stolen bases in 2010), Wiseman has signed to play at Vanderbilt.
This story originally appeared in the April issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

It’s not easy being a high school baseball phenom from Massachusetts.

As BB&N's Rhett Wiseman can attest, he has to face obstacles that players from other parts of the country don’t have to deal with.

“It’s really tough being from New England because we only play 17 to 20 games per season,” says Wiseman. “That’s only 60 at-bats. Compared to out west and down south where they get over 200 at-bats per year, it’s a disadvantage for Northeast guys.”

Wiseman makes up for it by playing as much as he can during the offseason. And that approach has paid off for the senior outfielder, as he’s developed an elite all-around game that’s already drawing attention from MLB teams. He is rated the No. 41 player in the Class of 2012 by ESPN.

“Rhett is a complete player,” says BB&N coach Rick Foresteire. “His bat is what the scouts love. He can really hit, and he’s got pop.”

Last season, his smooth left-handed swing produced a .447 average and 11 home runs. Wiseman also has elite speed, which may be his most impressive skill. He stole 29 bases as a junior, and his legs help him cover an enormous amount of ground on defense. The center fielder drew raves for his glovework at last summer’s Area Code Games, one of the many events Wiseman attended while trying to log as many innings as the good-weather players from Cali and Florida.

“The Area Code Games were great, and the Aflac All-American Game was amazing,” says Wiseman. “It was good experience, and it gave people a chance to see me against top talent. We’ve had 26 major league teams over to the house, and I’ve spoken to every team. This offseason has been a whirlwind, but it’s really exciting and it’s been really fun.”

A potential first-round pick in June’s MLB draft, Wiseman has signed to play at Vanderbilt next year.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
ESPNHS has announced its preseason All-State baseball teams, so feel free to start debating the Massachusetts selections.

It's hard to argue with the inclusion of elite players like BB&N senior outfielder Rhett Wiseman and Xaverian junior RHP Austin DeCarr, both of whom made the first team, but take a look for yourself and let us know if we missed anyone.

Click here for the Massachusetts All-State baseball team.

Click here for any of the other 49 states.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Buxton headlines star-studded OF list

February, 24, 2012
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Byron BuxtonMike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesAppling County (Baxley, Ga.) senior Byron Buxton is the nation's top outfielder and a potential top-five pick in June's draft.

Each week from now until early March, we’ll take a look at the elite Class of 2012 high school baseball prospects by ranking our Top 10 players by position. This week, we unveil our list of the Top 10 outfielders led by Appling County (Baxley, Ga.) standout Byron Buxton.

Last season, Buxton established himself as one of the nation’s top overall prospects by hitting .594 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs. And this week, he was named by Keith Law as the No. 1 prospect for this year's MLB draft.

1. Byron Buxton, Appling County (Baxley, Ga.)
Buxton is a two-sport star with plus speed and a steady setup and swing at the plate. He has the athleticism to play center field but scouts tend to believe he'll settle in right in a similar manner as Arizona Diamondbacks star Justin Upton. Buxton hits the low-90s off the mound, but his future is as an everyday talent, and he may hit for plus power down the road. He could be a top-five pick, but if he prefers college, the University of Georgia will welcome him with open arms.

2. David Dahl, Oak Mountain (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dahl is a multi-talented athlete, but his best asset may be his eye for the strike zone. He can throw and run, projects to hit for average and power and should get on base with regularity. He's likely to end up in right field but could play some center early in his career. Dahl is an Auburn commit, but is a good bet for the first round and is a possible top-10 pick.

3. Albert Almora, Mater Academy (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.)
Almora , a Miami commit, may be the best prep center fielder in the class and projects to hit for average with a chance to add 10 to 15 home runs. He's a 55 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and has tremendous instincts in the field and on the bases. Almora performs well in showcases and big games, which could get him selected in the top 20.

4. Courtney Hawkins, Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Hawkins, also a right-handed pitcher, is an enticing talent with plus power that he put on display at the Area Code Games, where he was one of just two players to leave the yard. Blair Field is rather cavernous, making the feat that much more impressive. He improved from the end of the spring into the showcase circuit, but scouts do show concern about his defensive instincts and how he handles soft stuff at the plate. Hawkins should hear his name called on Day 2, if not late on Day 1.

5. Lewis Brinson, Coral Springs (Fla.)
Brinson is quite the athlete, grading out above average across the board, including a 55 run grade and throwing arm. He has legit power that plays now, but he's raw in terms of plate discipline and pitch recognition. Florida could get a terrific corner outfielder with a bright future if Brinson passes on pro ball for the college game. Such a decision could put him in the first round conversation in 2015.

6. Billy “Nick” Williams, Ball (Galveston, Texas)
Williams could fit anywhere on this list and the argument for such a ranking would be legitimate and justified. He lacks polish and has big problems with offspeed stuff, which means his draft stock is based largely on his physical tools. He's a 70 runner with good raw power, but his mechanics at the plate need work and his defensive instincts are below average. If he maximizes his potential, he's a future star. Williams may benefit greatly from three years at the University of Texas.

7. Skye Bolt, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal (Atlanta)
Bolt has a chance to move up this list with some fundamental changes this spring. He's projectable at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, is a 60 runner and thrower and can handle center field. The switch hitter's swing (he’s better from the right side) mechanics are poor — he was mostly upper body in 2011 — but that’s not irreparable and big power could come as a result. If he spurns North Carolina and signs, he might be a sleeper to keep an eye on.

8. Jesse Winker, Olympia (Orlando, Fla.)
Winker is known for his sound swing and big power, but he may have to convert to first base down the line, erasing some of his value. He doesn’t run or throw all that well, but is a good worker who sets an example for teammates on and off the field. Winker is committed to Florida.

9. Rhett Wiseman, Buckingham Browne & Nichols (Cambridge, Mass.)
Wiseman brings a little of everything to the ballpark, including good feet, wrist strength and good bat speed. His swing is a mess, however, which keeps his stock down. He's a decent defender but lacks polish and does not make plays instinctually, but he's always played multiple sports, somewhat explaining the lack of natural baseball skills. He's a Vanderbilt commit, so he's not going to be easy to sign, and frankly he could use the time to develop anyway.

10. Anthony Alford, Petal (Miss.)
Alford may take his game to the gridiron — he's committed to Southern Mississippi to play quarterback as well as baseball — but he's a physical specimen at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds to go with above-average speed. He may have to play left in pro ball, and is still unrefined at the plate, but there's plenty to like athletically.

Jason A. Churchill covers scouting, player development and the MLB Draft for ESPN Insider, as well as Prospect Insider, where he's the founder and executive editor. You can follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider and email him at churchill@prospectinsider.com.
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Whether you're putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you're making that special list for Santa, there's nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we're bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: Massachusetts A-Listers

What is an A-Lister? In Hollywood, it's the George Clooney and Julia Roberts crowd. In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The A-List is the best of the best. So which athletes can be considered A-Listers in Massachusetts this year? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state.

Jonathan DiBiaso
Everett, Football
Credentials: Named 2011 Gatorade State Player of the Year after throwing state-record 44 touchdown passes; threw 43 TD passes in 2010; led Everett to Super Bowl championships in 2010 and 2011.

Ryan Fitzgerald, Junior
Malden Catholic, Hockey
Credentials: Led MC to Super Eight championship last year; tough call between Fitzgerald and senior teammate Brendan Collier, but Fitzgerald's 24 goals and 42 assists in 2010-11 were tops on the team. Committed to Boston College.

Jake Layman, Senior
King Philip, Basketball
Credentials: Ranked No. 53 nationally in the ESPNU 100; averaged 24.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.6 blocks last year; committed to Maryland.

Armani Reeves, Senior
Catholic Memorial, Football
Credentials: Named ESPN Boston Offensive Player of the Year after running for 1,001 yards and scoring 15 total touchdowns; committed to Penn State.

Rhett Wiseman, Senior
BB&N, Baseball
Credentials: A potential first-round draft pick, Wiseman batted .447 with 11 home runs and 29 steals last year; committed to Vanderbilt.

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Tomorrow: The top underclassman football players from Massachusetts.

Think I missed someone who should be on the A-List? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and make your case.

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