Long Beach - Game Four - Yankees vs Rangers
Perhaps a preview of the 2010 ALCS? Could be, but none of these players would be in that game... though Rangers right-hander Bryan Brickhouse (6'2" 190) from The Woodlands HS-The Woodlands (TX) would not embarrass himself if he were in a MLB game right now.
Brickhouse has been the most impressive pitcher, maybe not in terms of overall projection, but for present day stuff and plus pitches. Brickhouse is a good old fashioned Texas power arm. He touched up to 94 and sat 90-92 for most of his two innings. He also has a wipeout slider and a present day average (MLB) curveball.
Rangers left-hander Cody Glenn (6'3" 178) from Westbury Christian HS-Houston (TX) was also impressive. He has a loose quick arm and fluid motion, which combined with his body type, screams "projectable lefty!" As for his present day stuff, well, its pretty good, with a 87-90 mph fastball, feel of a do-drop-in curveball, and a plus change-up that he not only throws with feel but also knows when to use.
The Rangers position players did a whole lot of striking out today (11 in 7 innings) but one player who made things happen was centerfielder C.J. McElroy (5'10" 185, R/R) from Clear Creek HS-League City (TX). One word describes McElroy's offensive game... havoc. He broke up a no-hitter with an excellent drag bunt in the 3rd inning (ran 3.92 down the line), had an infield single (ran 4.21) and then was hit by a pitch. He forced the action and has a chance to be an ignitor at the top of the order. He reminds me a bit of A's outfielder Rajai Davis.
Otherwise, the Rangers offense was quiet, though right-fielder Nick Williams (6'3" 190, L/L, 2012) from Galveston Ball HS-La Marque (TX) swung the bat well, with a line drive single to right and a hard line out to centerfield. He is very comfortable in the box and has an great idea of how to reach base and knows what he wants to hit.
The main reason for the Rangers offense being stymied was the pitching of the Yankees. Starting pitcher William Sahlinger (2012, 6'0" 180) from Newport HS-Bellevue (WA) is a 2012 grad with pitchability and feel WELL beyond his years.
Right-hander Cody Poteet (6'0" 170) from Christian HS-Bonita (CA) was impressive with one of the best pure curveballs we have seen so far. He was 87-89 mph with the fastball but his moneymaker is a 74-77 mph overhand hammer that he has feel for.
Yankees infielder Rio Ruiz (6'2" 190, L/R, 2012) from Bishop Amat HS-La Puente (CA) for some reason was not included on the Brewers (Blue) team but it is not because he isn't good enough. In one at-bat he smacked a 91 mph fastball for a 2-RBI triple off Brickhouse. He has a plus arm across the diamond as well as having plus bat speed and fringe average speed. Ruiz also pitches and was a steady 91-92 in one inning, with a usable breaking ball.
The Yankees usually bring a large group of players to Long Beach and this year is no different and from my recollection, they have had many slick fielding shortstops, strong armed and powerful hitting catchers, and athletic left-handed hitting outfielders that can run. Well, they have all of those types of players here in Long Beach and I am sure I will get to each of them before the end of the week. For today, the position player who stood out to me for more than just having a great body and tools was shortstop Zac LaNeve (6'1" 175, R/R) from Pine-Richards HS-Gibsonia (PA). He showed plus hands in the field, handled bad hops and displayed above average range. He is also a near average runner.
The one toolsy position player who started to show some playability was outfielder Michael White (6'2" 200, L/L) from Salisbury School (CT)-East Orange (NJ). White is a plus runner with flat line drive swing and teh ability to steal bases.
Game Five – Rangers vs. Brewers (Blue)
While the Rangers and Brewers (Blue) are the two teams that generally have the most high draft prospects, the Brewers "other" team, usually made up primarily of players from Northern California has frequently been the team with the most polish and impact caliber college prospects. Many of those Northern CA kids do tend to go to college then are upper round draft picks. This team is no different and they handily defeated the Reds today.
Right-hander and Aflac All-American Robert Stephenson (6'2" 185) from Alhambra HS-Martinez (CA) started the game and went three scoreless innings. He has a beautifully easy overhand arm action with looseness and plus arm speed. His fastball was up to 93 and it happens with little effort.
Following Stephenson on the mound was lefthander John Hochstatter (6'3" 205) from San Ramon Valley-Danville (CA). He carved up the Reds for two innings, with an array of change-ups, curveballs, sliders and fastballs. Hochstatter is a pitchability lefthander with a 86-88 mph fastball and though he may never throw much harder than that, his feel for his secondary pitches and his pitchability are exceptional, especially for a high school pitcher.
Outfielder/lefthanded pitcher Aaron Brown (6'1" 205) from Chatsworth HS-West Hills (CA) closed the game with a quick 1-2-3 seventh inning. He was 87-89 and has a plus change-up that he throws with identical arm speed to his fastball.
Offensively the Brewers (White) are loaded with lefthanded hitters and the most impressive of the bunch is another Aflac All-American, outfielder Billy Flamion (6'1" 187, L/L) from Central Catholic HS-Modesto (CA). Flamion is going to be a high round pick because there is no doubt he is going to hit. He has plus bat speed, a flat swing, great balance and timing, not to mention that he is an above average runner (4.23 down the line) and has an above average arm. He ended the day 2-4 with a double, a stolen base, a hard line drive single to right off a 3/4 lefty and one RBI that came on a 4-3 ground out.
There are other Brewers (White) players that will have their time in a write up, but for today, Flamion and the three pitchers stole the show.
As for the Reds, there was little to like on the offensive side, except for two catchers, Blake Swihart (6'0" 170, S/R) from Cleveland HS-Rio Ranch (NM) and Greg Bird (6'3" 205, L/R) from Grandview HS-Regis (CO). Swihart drove two balls, one to left and one to right from the left side. He has a flat swing that will allow him to hit for average. Bird is a physically imposing presence in the box and he showed his power potential with a long double to deep left (should have been caught but was hit well) and a high F8 that came off the bat well.
Two lefthanded pitchers showed promise for the Reds. Brandon Bonilla (6'3" 185) from The Pendleton School-Bradenton (FL) is the son of former MLB All-Star slugger Bobby Bonilla and has a chance to be a good pro pitcher. He creates a lot of angles, both with his delivery and with his pitches and though he is not the prettiest guy on the mound, he was up to 90 and steadily sat 87-88. The longer he went, the better his hard cutter/slider was and he even flashed an effective change-up.
Michael Howard (6'1" 165) from Prescott HS-Prescott (AZ) was notable because he has a quick loose arm and touched 91, which for a young lefty is pretty noticeable. He needs a better curveball but does have feel of a change-up.