#6 - Houston Roth
Just how stacked is this year's class? 24-2 Houston Roth to my metric is ranked seventh in this Dandy Dozen. Seventh. He is committed to play Baseball for Ole Miss after this upcoming season.
A MLB scout came to Game 2 of the Oxford vs. Center Hill series - there were four D1 underclassmen prospects, besides Oxford's three, there was the Catcher for Center Hill. With his speed gun out, Roth was clocked at 91 MPH. I think the best part about that was no one knew who he was at the time until after the game.
Roth as the co-ace last year with Jason Barber went 9-1 with a 1.38 ERA. He pitched 61 innings (13+ fewer IP than he did in 2014) and gave up 13 runs (12 earned) on 30 hits, 95 strikeouts to 17 walks. Roth had a WHIP of 0.770 - second best behind Barber - and opponents batted .141 against him last year which was third best on the team behind Dalton Markle and Barber. Although of his 30 hits, he gave up 12 of the 30 extra-base hits the pitching staff gave up last year including three of the team's five homers (and all three came in the playoffs). He's made 26 starts with just three no decisions (two of them was during his freshmen year) going 21-2. He is 3-0 as a reliever in his career. Roth during the playoffs though in 26 innings pitched, he gave up 4 runs (all earned and all by the long ball) on 11 hits, 42 strikeouts against just 5 walks and a hit batter. Numbers that were better than Barber's in the postseason with the exception of the runs allowed via the long ball.
The thing that made Roth better this year is the number of swinging strikeouts as opposed to a called third strike. Last year Roth had 29 called punchouts and 36 that were swung on and missed for a total of 65 K's. This year he only had 20 called strikeouts but had 75 that swung and missed for his 95. Roth had the same amount of swinging strikeouts in the playoffs as he did in all of 2014. Roth has 170 strikeouts during his high school career so far (had 10 his Freshmen year that didn't see him pitch that much). His offspeed pitch looking like a fastball instead going well outside the zone and that his velocity is up from the mid-80s to constantly being around 90 helped matters.
As far as his bat goes, it got hot at the right time as five of his nine playoff hits went for doubles and ended up with 11 on the season which was second-best behind Grae Kessinger (although only had 4 RBI to show for it). Roth ended up with 25 RBI which was good for just seventh-best, showing how good this lineup was last year if the seventh-best RBI total was 25. (...there seems to be a theme with the number 7...) Barber led all RBI players with 35, just 10 more than Roth. He led the team in sacrifices with six which included a team-leading three sacrifice bunts. Roth batted in the 5-hole all year last season. Playing for Team Mississippi the past couple weeks, Roth hit his first ever home run since coming into the high school ranks.
Pitching in the #2 position on a high school team has plenty of advantages, such as the #2 pitcher on Oxford's team is better than a lot of #1's from the other 31 5A teams.