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Updated: Aug 5th, 2010
Area Code Games Begin: Game 1 Report
By: Blaine Clemmens |

Long Beach - Game One of the 2010 Area Code Games featured two of the historically strongest and most prospect laden teams, the Rangers and Brewers (Blue).  The Rangers are generally the smallest team each year and scouts get to see their position players get an awful lot of at-bats, and that will be no different this year. 

The Brewers (Blue) team is made up entirely of Southern California kids and there are usually a number of Aflac All-Americans on that team. 

Matthew Dean (6'3" 190, R/R) from The Colony HS-Highland Vilage (TX) not only looks like a big leaguer while standing at 3rd base or in the batter’s box, he has tools too.  Dean is a strong kid, with some present day physicality with the bat.  He projects to have future plus power and has a chance to be an average hitter (MLB).  Combine his hitting with a plus arm, good feet and nice hands at the hot corner, and we are talking about a prototypical MLB 3rd base prospect.

The other standout player on the Rangers was right-handed pitcher Parker French (6'2" 190) from Dripping Springs HS-Austin (TX).  French ran his fastball up to at least 92 and sat comfortably in the 90-91 range for his two innings.  He also has a power curveball with good downer action and shockingly for a power armed HS kid with two power pitches, he also has a fair change-up and likes to use it.  He pitches from an overhand slot and once his arm gets to the top of its arc, he generates plus arm speed through his release.  His delivery and arm action reminded me of Padres starter Mat Latos.

As for the Brewers (Blue), this team is strong with middle infielders, particularly SS Christian Lopes (6'0" 180, R/R) from Edison HS-Huntington Beach (CA) and MIF Phillip Evans (5'10" 180, R/R) from La Costa Canyon HS-Carlsbad (CA).  Both Lopes (in his 3rd Area Code Games) and Evans are good glovemen and good hitters.  Lopes is about as polished of a high school player (particularly as a hitter) as a scout is going to find and Evans is not too far behind him, though he lacks the same kind of bat skills.  I can see Lopes drawing comparisons to Christian Colon though he is bigger and maybe not quite the same caliber fielder.  He drove in a run and twice singled hard up the middle, while showing that he knows exactly what he wants to do and what he wants to hit.

Evans stood out for his defensive play, making a spectacular diving catch on a pop-up out into the triangle between the right-fielder, 1st baseman and 2nd baseman, ranging deep into the outfield toward the line and also flawlessly handling his chances in the infield.  He is also a good bat control, situational type hitter and perfectly hit behind a stealing runner on a 3-1 count, only to line out to the 1st baseman. 

The other position players that stood out most to me on Brewers (Blue) were outfielder Travis Harrison (6'2" 215, R/R) from Tustin HS-Aliso Viejo (CA), 3rd baseman Taylor Sparks (6'3" 205, R/R) from St. John Bosco HS-Long Beach (CA), and catcher Austin Hedges (6'1" 185, R/R) from J Serra HS-San Juan Capistrano (CA). 

Other position players will stand out from Brewers (Blue) as the week goes on, but for today, those three shined the most to me.  The pitchers will also have the full attention of the scouts and today left-hander Henry Owens (6'7" 195) from Edison HS-Huntington Beach (CA) stole the show.  He was here last year and was quite good then, but now he is a showstopper.  Owens delivery is excellent, his body control is good, his arm action is easy and loose, he pitches with plus feel and guile, has a body that scouts dream on and oh yes, has three quality pitches and feel of them all.

I liked a couple of the other Brewers (Blue) pitchers, particularly right-hander Matt Budgell (6'3" 160) from Woodbridge HS-Irvine (CA). He was quite good, with an easy arm, sinking 86-88 mph fastball and good feel for the curveball.

About Blaine Clemmens
There are few people with the knowledge of baseball on the west coast like Blaine Clemmens has. Blaine has worked as an area scout for the Atlanta Braves in California, was the recruiting coordinator for the University of San Francisco, and was a scout/writer for Team One Baseball and Perfect Game. Blaine serves as the National Scouting Director on the west coast and helps cross-check east coast players.
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