SCOTTSDALE - The action has been HOT and hectic the last couple of days at the Prospect Wire 2011 West Coast Region Finals. Though the temps have been warm, as per usual in the Valley of the Sun during June, there has been some pleasant breezes and occasional winds to keep things pretty comfortable for the fans. However, the winds were pretty strong on Sunday and that made for some high scoring games and very tough pitching conditions, as though pitching in Arizona isn't tough enough.
As I said the other day, if you are looking for the scores and results of the games, you can get all of that at the tournament central link at www.prospecwire.com. I have been roaming the facility for four days, working to identify top players and prospects. Many players are having outstanding tournaments and producing strong results for their teams, but unfortunately I will not be able to mention all of those players by name. When scouting and covering four games at one time, the strongest individual performances often get lost in the shuffle, which is unfortunate, but understandable. Good thing all the box scores are online!
At the completion of Sunday's games, the consolation and playoff brackets were set. Advancing to the playoff rounds were Team Rawlings Elite 18U vs NorCal Valley, Angels 2012s White vs All Star Baseball Academy 17U, Murrieta Valley Hurricanes 17U vs Diamond Core Training 18U, NorCal 17U vs Angels 2012s Grey.
Team Rawlings, NorCal, Angels 2012s White, and Murrieta Valley all advanced to the semi-finals.
As for some standout performers the last couple of days...
I think player for player, the Angels 2012s White team is the most talented team here. As I look down my roster I have circled at least nine names. Their middle infield of SS Paul Panaccione (2012, Liberty HS, AZ) and 2B Austin Mill (2012, Desert Mountain HS, AZ) are both outstanding hitters and fielders. Mill lead off the quarter-final game with a home run to deep left and what made it even more impressive was that he is 5'8" 155 lbs (the 5'8" might be stretching it a bit) and he was using a wood bat. Outfielder Zach Gibbons has emerged as one of the top few hitters in the event and I even wrote "Molitor" in his notes, referring to his hitting style, which resembles Hall of Famer Paul Molitor. Lofty praise indeed but with his quiet set-up and quick hands, he does remind me of Molitor.
Outfielder David Graybill (2012, Brophy College Prep) showed well on the mound on Sunday (touched 86, a day after throwing harder at the Area Code tryouts) but with his bat speed and strength, he actually looks like a better hitting prospect. 1st baseman Chris Beall (2012, Brophy College Prep) also looks good at the plate. He has a smooth, flat, stroke and quiet approach.
As good as their position players are, the pitching might be stronger. On Sunday they had Hoffman throw a gem and today they unleased a trio of pitching prospects. LHP Cody Moffett (2012, Highland HS, AZ) touched up to 91 and still got an 89 late in the game. He is a bit of a thrower and is a max effort pitcher, he clearly has a great arm on that 6'3" 185 lb frame (he looks bigger than that). After Moffett, in the quarter-final, came RHP Cary Cornish (2012, Arcadia HS), one of my favorite pitchers in the event. He has a whip quick arm and it's loose too. He was in the 86-88 range as he closed down the quarter-final and unleashed a sharp hook too. With his lanky and EXTREMLY projectable 6'2" body, there is a lot of dreaming left on him.
In the semi-final was another talented lefty, Garrett Jeffries (2012, Mesquite HS). Jeffries is another max effort lefty but his stuff is quality, with a fastball up to 87 and a nice sharp slider. Very talented group of players.
They lost in the quarter-finals but ASBA 17U has a nice group of players. In the previous article I failed to mention their 2012 LHP Tyrell King (Millennium HS, AZ). He is a 6'3" 715 lb lefty with a quck sling type arm and projectable stuff. His fastball peaked at 85 and he has a chance for an effective breaking ball. Middle infielder West Tunnelll (2012, Boulder Creek HS, AZ) is a good athlete and a left-handed hitter who will certainly draw attention in the coming recruting season.
Murrietta Valley won their quarter-final game, in walk-off fashion, though not the way you would expect. They had a 1st and 3rd situation, with 2 outs. A ball was hit to 2nd base and the fielder chose to try and get the out at 2nd base. However, in a two out situation, you know the runner on first was getting a good seconday lead and he busted it down to 2nd base, narrowly beating the flip from the 2nd baseman. The runner on third scored and the Hurricanes went nuts on the field. They were led by RHP Isiah Irby (2012, Torrey Pines HS, CA), who threw his second complete game of the tourney. I really like the way he pitches as he is the definition of a "pitcher" and is ultra-competitive.
NorCal 17U rolled in their quarter-final game and they continue to get solid offensive production up and down the line-up. Again, it is not the star studded NorCal type team but the more I watch them, the more appreciation I have gained for their position players. Catcher Jake Shull (2012, Tracy HS, CA) is a very solid catch/throw catcher and swings a strong bat, with some pull side power. I mentioned 2nd baseman Connor Hornsby the other day and he continued his solid play. Outfielder Matt Loscavio (2012, Tracy HS, CA) swung an impact bat today and made an outstanding diving catch in shallow centerfield in the semi-final game. Infielder Bobby Schauer (2012, Downey HS, CA) has convinced me that he will be a very good college hitter too.
Though the Scottsdale Fire 18U didn't make it into the playoff bracket (which surprised me), they have some of the best players in the tournament. OF/1B Jeremy Wolf (2012, Chaparral HS, AZ) looks like he has a chance to be an impact, middle of the line-up hitter at the college level. He swings from the left side and he has some "hitterish" presence in the box. SS Adam Charnin-Aker (2012, Chaparral HS, AZ) is a good looking hitter and just has a knack for getting hits. He made some nice plays on the move as well. RHP Lindstrom (sorry, don't have his first name) was very impressive on Sunday. He has a long quick arm action and ran his fastball up to 88 mph while mixing in his laredo curveball. I think he is a 2011 grad and can see him being drafted in the coming years. There was another player on this team that I liked and again, I only had his last name, Shaps. He is an outfielder and can run and throw, while hitting from the left side. Their catcher Eric Brossart (2012, Chaparral HS, AZ) threw the ball well on Sunday and hit a couple of balls very hard. He looked like a D1 caliber player. For some reason this team couldn't advance.
In one of the consolation games I got a chance to see one of the more intriguing talents on the mound for the SoCal Dirtbags. RHP Dom Lemus (2012) showed great arm strength during the workouts and I was hoping he would pitch. Well, he did and though he was up to 86, not quite the 90 he threw from the outfield, he showed promise. That arm strength is for real and his 6'3" 205 lb frame is also attractive. A player mentioned the other day, 2013 middle infielder Jeff Nellis (Fallbrook HS, CA), showed real with the bat the last two days. He is not a big kid but he has "big" in his bat.
For NorCal Valley, they lost in the quarter-finals but went down with a fight, as they brought in RHP Aaron Pangilinan (Escalon HS, CA) when they got behind. Pangilinan was drafted in the later rounds by the White Sox two weeks ago and on Sunday he was 88-90 and had the breaking ball working too.
Last but not least, I had a chance to really bear down on Team Rawlings Elite 18U the last two days. They give the Angels 2012s White team a run for their money when it comes to the most talented team in the event, at least when it comes to the position players. Up and down the Rawlings line-up are talented and athletic hitters who can play defense as well. All of the following are 2012 grads and should be followed by major college programs... SS CJ Angle (Dana Hills HS, CA), 1B/C Ryan Barr (Mater Dei HS, CA), CF Eric Fuller (Santa Margarita Catholic HS, CA), OF Tyler Lievois (Santa Margarita Catholic HS, CA), and RHP Stevan Trojan (Capistrano Valley HS, CA). Angle hits and fields well, while possessing a strong arm and good release. Barr can hit, from gap to gap and he has some pop. Fuller is an athlete and swings the bat quite well, with good hands and an all-field approach. Lievois is a physical hitter with a strong arm. Trojan has a loose and really easy arm, up to 88 mph in the quarter-final and showing a lot of sink. He is going to throw in the low-90s in the future and that future might not be too far away.
Another player stood out for Rawlings but I only had his name; SS Austin Monte, I think that was the name I got during the INF/OF workout on Sunday when he showed a strong arm across the diamond.