Scottsdale, AZ - The 16U and 14U West Coast Finals came to an exciting end on Monday with four Phoenix-area teams battling for the crown. The Arizona Broncos (14U) beat the Chandler Grizzlies 7-1 behind the complete game effort of Erik Deleon while the Arizona Valleydogs (16U) held onto a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Angels White squad.
Centerfielder Dylan Cole was given the MVP for the 14U tournament. Cole went 6-13, hitting .462 with 9 RBI, 2 doubles, and two triples to lead the Broncos to the title. Cole also tortured opponents with the running game, going 4-4 in stolen bases.
At 5’9”, 125 lbs, and just finishing 7th grade, Cole is a surprise winner for many of us. To be able to dominate in this tournament speaks well of his potential. Cole ran a respectable 7.13 60 yard-dash and it’s not hard to see him as a plus big league runner as he physically matures over the next five years. When he finally gets to high school age, Cole will attend nearby Scottsdale Chaparral HS.
The 16U MVP goes to another surprisingly young player, Gerard Hernandez of the runner-up Arizona Angels White. Hernandez was on fire all weekend and was also the runner-up in the Home Run Derby. Just 15 years-old and heading into his sophomore year at North Canyon HS, Hernandez went 9-17 this weekend hitting .529 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 2B, and two triples, while playing stellar defense in center field.
Hernandez is strongly built at about 180 lbs, standing just under 5’10”, and takes a vicious but controlled hack from the left side. Nobody hit the ball harder and Hernandez showed some hitting instincts with the ability to take outside pitches the other way. Hernandez ran a very respectable 7.1 60 yard-dash in the workout and took good routes chasing after fly balls in the outfield which gives him center field possibilities all the way up. There’s no question Hernandez will be a serious elite D1 college recruit and he might also end up a high draft pick by the time 2014 comes along.
Hernandez won the MVP, but you could have made an argument for shortstop/righthanded pitcher Brock Hartley who had a lot to say in the Arizona Valleydog’s championship run. From Pinnacle HS in Phoenix, the 6’3”, 175 lb Hartley did it all. He went 9-16 at the plate, hitting .474 with 2 HR, 7 RBI, a double, and two triples. Hartley also threw three solid relief innings in the semifinals, dealing in the 80-85 MPH range with good arm-action, a solid delivery, and the makings of a curveball.
Very few players in this age group have Hartley’s physical stature at 6’3”, his build screams of projection and he has a chance to be a draft prospect both ways.
Hartley made all the plays at shortstop. He projects at third base at an elite college and/or pro ball down the road. Hartley’s strong righthanded swing makes him a potential power threat all the way up.
The Valleydogs were also buoyed by Dillon Jackson whose all-around play made him an MVP candidate as well. He was definitely the MVP of the championship game itself. A rising junior at Chaparral HS, the lefty pitched and won the championship game with a complete game 7-inning effort, striking out nine and giving up 1 ER while throwing 81-85 MPH with a sharp curveball. He hit 2 HR over the tournament including the championship game-winning 2-run smash and batted .313 with 7 RBI total. The 5’9”, 180 lb Jackson will definitely attract the attention of D1 schools looking for a two-way threat. Jackson has a little more upside on the mound in my opinion because of a strong delivery and easy arm-action. His feel for pitching is quite advanced for a 16 year-old.
Check back soon as we reveal the top prospects in the tournament as determined by the Prospect Wire scouting staff.