St. John's opens the year No. 1 in The Washington Post's high school baseball rankings. (Photo courtesy of St. John's) (Mindi Flax/Mindi Flax)

St. John’s may have graduated three of its top players from last year’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship squad, but the Cadets are still one of the area’s most talented teams.

James Madison signee Sean Culkin, Liberty signee Ian Remalia and Virginia commit Luke Schauer headline one of the area’s top pitching staffs. The D.C. private school isn’t a pushover on offense, either, with Remaila, North Carolina A&T commit Kyras Dawson and Quinn Allen pacing the lineup.

The Cadets lead the area’s first Top 10 of the season.

Elsewhere, Howard, the defending Maryland 4A champion, will likely again be a top state contender with UMBC signee Gabe Delgado leading the Lions’ rotation. Sherwood, Huntingtown, La Plata, Whitman and Severna Park could also be top Maryland squads.

In Northern Virginia, Potomac should again compete for the Virginia Class 5 title after losing in last season’s championship. The Panthers bring back William & Mary signee Brody Mack, who stars on the mound and at the plate.

Lake Braddock and Battlefield, two of eight teams to qualify for last season’s Virginia Class 6 playoffs, also return talent for possible postseason runs.

(All records from last season)

1. St. John’s (26-6) Final ranking last year: 2

Sean Culkin and Ian Remalia headline the five-time defending WCAC champion’s potent pitching staff.

2. Howard (20-5) LR: 4

One of the state’s top pitchers, Gabe Delgado, returns for the defending Maryland 4A champion.

3. Potomac (Va.) (21-5) LR: 7

Ace and top hitter Brody Mack is back for last year’s Virginia Class 5 runner-up.

4. Battlefield (19-6) LR: 8

Right-handed pitcher and shortstop Zach Agnos is expected to pace the Bobcats’ defense.

5. Sherwood (19-2) LR: Not ranked

With 10 returning starters, including Maryland signee Michael Bouma, the Warriors could be Montgomery County’s top team.

6. Lake Braddock (22-5) LR: 5

Coach John Thomas took over a team that fell in last season’s Virginia Class 6 semifinals.

7. Huntingtown (17-8) LR: NR

With shortstop Ryan Terrents powering their lineup, the Hurricanes will contend for their fourth consecutive regional title.

8. Wilson (23-7) LR: 9

Right-handed pitcher Collin Bosley-Smith, a Duke commit, is one of the area’s top returning players.

9. La Plata (20-6) LR: NR

Last season’s Maryland 2A runner-up brings back three players who hit above .337.

10. Madison (15-7) LR: NR

Last year’s workhorse, left-hander Matt Howat, returns for one of Northern Virginia’s most consistent programs.

On the bubble: Whitman, Patriot, Episcopal.