I’m not sure what I was thinking when I assigned myself the ambitious task of ranking the top hitters in Utah Valley, but I wanted to recognize the baseball players who have spent so much time in the cage, so I came up with a massive list that I managed to trim down to 25 players.
My rankings are a combination of last year’s success, mixed in with reports on how they played in the summer and fall. I consider input from coaches, but I don’t ask them to rank them for me. I also have some trusted baseball scouts and others who know the game have helped me come up with my rankings.
Some coaches don’t track stats regularly and some scores don’t get reported, so this is not an exact science and my rankings are purely speculation.
In the 10 years of publishing my rankings, I have never selected the same person as the top pitcher and the top hitter — until now.
Lone Peak’s Seth Corry was an easy pick for my top Utah Valley pitcher and after much deliberation and second opinions, I believe Corry is Utah Valley’s top hitter. It was a tough call but I believe it’s the right one.
I’m sure I will be reminded at the end of the year about the players who are not in my rankings but until then, I’m going to take a cut. Here is my top 10. I will follow it up with the rest of my top 25.
Seth Corry (Lone Peak) Sr.: His junior year was supposed to be wiped out due to an ACL injury that he suffered in football but Corry showed what a gamer he is by coming back toward the end of region play. He hit two home runs in the state tournament and finished the year with a .344 batting average. He had an on-base percentage of .523. I believe he will hit over .450 with 8-10 home runs and more than 50 RBI. In a game against Cottonwood this year, Corry not only cleared the fence with a bomb, he hit a house.
Payton Freeman (Lone Peak) Sr.: I was leaning towards making Freeman my top hitter since he was last year’s region 4 MVP. He’s coming off a breakout season where he hit .444 with seven doubles and eight home runs. He led the team in RBI with 58.
Payton Barney (Lone Peak) Sr.: Barney makes it a clean sweep in the top three spots for the Knights. He had an incredible season last year. He hit .490 with five doubles, six home runs and 37 RBI. He had an on-base percentage of .523.
Tyler Cornish (Timpanogos) Sr.: T.C. is one of the top pitchers in Utah Valley and no one is better at helping his own cause. He will be counted on to drive in runs for the defending 4A champs. Last year he hit .402 with 12 doubles, two triples and 31 RBI.
Devin Smith (Lehi) Sr.: I could have gone in a number of different directions with this pick, but I chose Smith because I love how he approaches the game. He’s hitting in the 3-4 spot, so I expect him to be the key to the team’s offense. Last year he hit .370 with nine doubles, four home runs and led the team with 28 RBI.
Drew Zimmerman (Lehi) Sr.: Last year he was counted on to get Lehi’s offense going and that’s what he did. He batted .396 and led the team in doubles with 12. He also had two triples, two doubles and 17 RBI. He had an on-base percentage of .453.
Eli Norman (Lone Peak) Jr. – With so many big bats in Lone Peak’s lineup, you can’t pitch around everyone, but pitchers better be very careful with Norman. He hit .389 with six doubles and three home runs and drove in 31 runs. He had an on-base percentage of .496.
Keven Balser (Orem) Sr. : The Tigers are coming off an incredible season. They had a record of 26-5 and Balser played a key role for Orem. He was the team’s most consistent player on offense. He hit .420 and led the team in doubles with 12 and had three homers.
Derik Eaquinto (Timpanogos) Jr.: Since Eaquinto is most known for his arm, some might not know he can swing it. Last year he hit .395 with 10 doubles, two triples had 25 RBI.
Jackson Kohler (Skyridge) Jr.: Since Kohler is unproven at the varsity level, I’ll admit this could be a reach but I know some people will think he should be higher in my rankings. He’s a left-handed hitter, who can hit for power and average that has good speed. I have had Skyridge coach Ryan Roberts work with me on my swing so I have no doubt that Roberts will help Kohler become a feared hitter. Kohler is already being recruited by all of the schools in Utah as well as a half dozen schools from outside the state.