Fall Recruiting Preview: Area’s Top Uncommitted Junior Pitchers

  Photo by Jim Halling  Marshall's Robert Kelley is one of the area's top available junior pitchers entering the fall.

August 27 - A number of talented pitchers from the Class of 2020 remain uncommitted as the start of the NCAA’s fall recruiting period approaches on Sept. 14.

Leading the group are six who are projected as likely bound for Division I schools: Fredericksburg Christian’s Joel Tarrh, Kettle Run’s Joe Vogatsky, McLean’s Teddy Merritt, Marshall’s Robert Kelley, and two left-handers: West Potomac’s Adam Fischer and Lake Braddock’s Jay Cassady.

Tarrh, who is transferring from Riverbend for his junior year, is ranked by Prep Baseball Report as one of the state's top 10 players in the class. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-hander boasts a mid-80s fastball and should become one of the top VISAA Division 2 pitchers after lettering for the Class 6 Bears the past two springs.

Vogatsky, who has been clocked as high as 88 MPH, went 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA and had 60 strikeouts in 46 innings last season for the Cougars. The 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander has multiple schools interested. That’s also the case with the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Merritt, who went 5-3 with a 1.99 ERA and had 70 strikeouts in 52.2 innings during his impressive sophomore campaign with the Highlanders. Merritt’s velocity jumped this summer - he was clocked as high as 88 MPH - combined with an array of offspeed pitches, he is expected to be one of the top pitchers in the Liberty District and Region 6D over the next two years.

Kelly, who Statesmen coach Aaron Tarr feels could become their best pitcher since 2016 NOVA Nine Team selection Steven Johel, has multiple Division I suiters. At 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, he’s not as big as the other available pitchers, but has flashed some dominant stuff, as demonstrated when he limited Madison to three hits over seven innings in a 2-1 win last April en route to first-team All-National District honors.

Fischer and Cassady are both interesting prospects, as both are relatively untested as members of deep pitching staffs at their respective schools. Fischer has two senior teammates with the Wolverines already committed to Division I programs - Tyler Rulapaugh (George Mason) and Billy Curley (High Point) - and all indications are that the southpaw could also be off the market relatively soon. He has a fastball that reaches into the high 80s. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Cassady, meanwhile, doesn’t boast the same velocity as Fischer, but his size and polish are attractive to college coaches. He should get plenty of innings this spring, teaming with George Mason recruit Lyle Miller-Green to give new Bruins coach John Thomas a 1-2 punch after the graduation of ace Rojo Prarie.

Other potential Division I right-handers to watch include South Lakes’ Jack Thompson, Centreville’s Eric Bohenek, Colgan’s Jared Dingus,  Osbourn Park’s Cameron Mozingo-Morales and South County's Tre Williams. Thompson continues to work himself back to form after an elbow injury last fall, while the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Bohenek remains a bit raw but has flashed potential as he continues to develop secondary pitches and consistency.

Dingus is part of a deep and talented returning staff at Colgan, and the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Mozingo-Morales is coming off a big sophomore season that saw him earn second-team All-Region 6D honors. Others to keep an eye on include Battlefield’s Jacob Lawler, Heritage's Dylan Saale, Colgan left-hander Everett Catlett, the Patriot duo of lefty Luke Basler and A.J. Escobar, Gar-Field’s Miles Lawhorn and Loudoun Valley’s Ryan Dudak, who had strong finish to his summer with the Leesburg Post 34 team during its American Legion regional run.

Photo of Marshall's Robert Kelley by Jim Halling