Three of the top high school juniors in the state took part in the inaugural Prep Baseball Report All-American Game last weekend. The 20 best players from the Class of 2025 took on the top 20 from the senior class in the game, which was won by the Class of ’25 at American Family Stadium, the home of MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.
Infielder Coy James of Davie High, an Ole Miss commit, led off the game and played second base. Josh Hammond of Wesleyan Christian, a two-way player headed to Wake Forest, pitched the fifth inning. Tyler Baird, an uncommitted righthander at William A. Hough, pitched the eighth. All three played for the Class of 2025 team, which won the game, 5-3.
The trio was joined by an out-of-state player who will be headed to North Carolina soon. Ryan Sloan of York, Illinois, is a Wake Forest commit who pitched the third inning for the Class of 2024.
Hammond won the game’s MVP award on the strength of his Ohtani-esque performance. He struck out the side in the top of the fifth inning, then hit an RBI double in the bottom half of the frame.
Hammond threw 12 strikes in his 17-pitch performance, getting six swing-and-misses. His sinker hit a high of 95 mph, producing one of the strikeouts. His 84-mph slider got the other two. He also had a curve at 82 mph and a changeup at 86.
Prep Baseball Report’s VP of Scouting Shooter Hunt raved about Hammond’s mound performance, saying, “That slider is unfair,” and declaring that Wake’s pitching coach Corey Muscara “is going to have an absolute field day with this guy if he makes it to campus,” implying that Hammond may end up getting drafted high enough to pass up college.
Hammond then hit a 304-foot fly ball double to left center to score a runner, just missing hitting the century mark on exit velocity, registering a 99.77-mph blast. He finished in the top 10 at the game’s workout day in both average and max exit velocity.
Hammond is rated the third-best 2025 prospect in the state by PBR and No. 16 nationally, including No.4 at his position.
“It means a lot,” Hammond said of earning the MVP trophy at the inaugural showcase game. “I just have fun playing this game, so whenever I perform and the results work out the way they should, I just feel really blessed.”
Hammond enjoyed playing with some of the top high schoolers in the state, as well as from around the country.
“These guys are really, really good,” he said. “I’m trying to learn new things from them. If I get a chance to play with or against any of them later, it would be a dream.”
Unless the draft intervenes, he’ll get the chance to play with Sloan, who is scheduled to be a Demon Deacon a year earlier than Hammond.
Sloan is PBR’s top-rated 2024 prospect in Illinois and No. 19 nationally, No. 3 at his position.
Sloan pitched a 1-2-3 second inning for the Class of 2024, getting Ethan Holliday (son of former MLB player Matt and brother of current Orioles rookie Jackson) to strike out swinging on a sinker, then induced a flyout and infield pop. Sloan had a 94-mph fastball, a 94-mph sinker and an 87-mph changeup while mixing in sliders and curves as well.
James impressed scouts on workout day, ranking in the top 10 in the 60-yard dash, infielder throwing strength and average distance of batted balls. He struck out swinging to lead off the game, then grounded out and flew out.
Hunt said that James has “freaky athleticism” and that “the ball comes off the bat differently with Coy.”
James is the top-rated player in North Carolina’s junior class and No. 4 nationally, No. 3 at his position.
“It’s been great touring the Brewers’ stadium and just being out here hitting and taking ground balls,” he said.
He also enjoyed being on the same team as his in-state rivals. “We’re always playing against each other,” he said. “Coming together on the same team is fun. … High school ball is really good in North Carolina. You see a good arm every game.”
The final North Carolina product on Team 2025 was righthander Tyler Baird, who is No. 2 in the state’s junior class, No. 14 nationally and No. 3 at his position. The uncommitted hurler started the eighth inning and struggled with his control. He allowed two singles, two walks and hit a batter, giving up two runs.
Baird struck out one batter on his sinker but also walked in a run. His sinker maxed out at 92 mph, while his changeup was at 86 and his curve at 80.
While he wasn’t happy with his results on Saturday, his future is still promising.
“A lot of schools are in on him,” Hunt said. “They see him as a workhorse starter.”
The event gave the current juniors, and one incoming Wake Forest recruit, the chance to shine on a national stage and get a taste of a big-league park.
“It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” Hammond said. “The stadium, the equipment we got. The overall experience was awesome. I’m really glad I did this.”