Scottsdale - EL PASO RIGHTY DOMINATES POWERHOUSE SQUAD
The pitcher who impressed me the most over the first two days of the PW West Coast 16U Finals would have to be Eder Erives, a righty from Montwood HS in El Paso, Texas. The 5'10", 170 lb Erives spun a gem to beat one of the top teams on Saturday night. Against the Arizona Angels 2013 White squad, Erives threw a seven-inning complete game yielding 2 R/ER, 4 H, and 2 BB while striking out nine.
Erives stands out from other pitchers in this tournament not for size or velocity (83-85 MPH) but for his precocious feel for pitching and his advanced off-speed arsenal. I thought both his curveball (66-69 MPH) and especially his change-up (70 MPH) were the best in the event. Erives had exceptional command, showing the ability to jam both righthanded and lefthanded hitters and to back-door his curveball.
Erives has a sound delivery, crisp arm-action, and a good deal of athleticism which he put on display hitting a triple. Because of his small frame and lack of height, it's hard to project him into a low-90s guy and Erives might never be a high draft pick because of that. But it's easy to see him as a premium D1 college recruit because of his great feel for pitching as a high school sophomore. If he does have any growth left in him, look out for more.
THE "BRICK" CAN HURT YOU MANY WAYS
I first noticed Brick Paskiewicz (Sunrise Mountain HS, AZ) running the 60 yard-dash. The time was quite respectable for a 2013 kid, 7.01, but that's not what caught my eye. It was his long, graceful strides, and the fact that his build was so immature. By that I mean he has a very lanky frame, particularly in the lower half, and I'm sure the 5'11", 160 lb Paskiewicz will get a lot stronger in the next two years. He just looks like an athlete and one who has much more upside. I believe he'll become a plus runner in the future.
Then he threw from the outfield, showing one of the best arms in the event. An arm that could become average or better by major league standards.
From the left side of the plate, Paskiewicz handled the bat well and used the field. He doesn't have a lot of pop right now, but you can see the mechanics of a good swing. He used his legs to run out three infield hits while I was watching.
Paskiewicz took the mound in the first game Friday night for the Arizona Athletics 16 U and threw 82-87 MPH. A very animated, high-energy pitcher, Paskiewicz battled hitters all night. His curveball has a ways to go as does his velocity to get high draft consideration, but I can see that projection in his body.
The most impressive thing Paskiewicz has done is play center field. He went back on a ball to the wall that was uncatchable, then whirled around and threw a strike to third base to gun down the hitter's attempt at what appeared to be an easy triple. On Saturday he made a spectacular play in the gap. Few kids of his age show the outfield instincts Paskiewicz has shown.
This is definitely one to follow and going both ways. Paskiewicz doesn't have big league tools right now, but he already has the intensity and instincts and the big league body should be on its way.
SHORTSTOP WITH A CHANCE TO HIT
From nearby Gilbert HS, Dusty Peterson showed all-around ability as a shortstop. A rising junior who'll graduate in 2013, Peterson has good actions and arm-strength and a chance to play the position at a high collegiate level. Failing that, he should become a good 2B/3B. But it's the bat where Peterson has the most upside.
At 6'1", 180, Peterson has a baseball-friendly frame with lots of projection. He also has a free and easy righthanded swing with enough bat-speed to pull an 87 MPH fastball. Peterson had a couple of battles with Brick Paskiewicz on Friday night.
Hitters with easy swings, good approaches, and projectable bodies tend to make quick strides and for that Peterson will be followed by elite colleges.