Not a member yet?
Subscribe Now!

2011 Area Code Games



2011 Area Code Games

 



Wednesday, August 10
8/10/2011 4:47:45 PM

Maybe the "most improved" player over the past 6 days has been OF Nick Williams (Galveston, TX).  Everyone knows that Williams is a superior athlete with potential first round tools but he's not especially consistent with his skills in any part of the game.  The first few games, as he was doing earlier in the summer, Williams was starting his swing with shoulders and dragging the barrel through the zone, resulting in alot of foul balls to the left side and softer opposite field contact.  The past few games he's been driving his hands to the ball  instead of rotating into his swing and is crushing it to the pull side and the middle of the field.  He just tripled up the RCF gap.
 
8/10/2011 4:18:40 PM

There were plenty of right handed pitchers to choose from on a top 20 prospect list....some of those that didn't make the cut include a number of prospects who topped out at 92 mph.

I haven't included a quartet of primary position players (Joey Gallo, Sheldon Neuse, Mitchell Gueller, Carson Kelly) who would otherwise be included if they were primary right handed pitchers.  3B Rio Ruiz, who didn't throw here, would likewise have likely been a top 20 guy if he'd taken the mound.

If there were a couple of primary position players who the scouts here would love to see on the mound but who didn't pitch, they would be C Blake Hickman and 3B Corey Oswalt.

The one pitcher that everyone would have liked to have seen but didn't, as he has been suffering from back problems according to scouts, is RHP Daniel Starwalt from El Cajon, CA.


Freddy Avis (Palo Alto, CA):  Topped out at 94 mph, loose and projectable, high ceiling talent
Paul Blackburn (Oakley, CA):  Smallish RHP but topped at 90 and might have had the nastiest CB here
Tony Blanford (Phoenix, AZ): Very projectable, also OF prospect, athletic, tops at 91 with good off speed
Ty Buttrey (Matthews, NC):  Threw much better at ECP, still 90-93 here, didn't show his + CB
Chase DeJong (Long Beach, CA):  Knife thru butter here, 90 with + CB/+ change, can really pitch
Zach Eflin (Chuluota, FL):  Tremendous improvement this summer, 90-92, huge projection still there
Lucas Giolito (North Hollywood, CA):  Headliner, threw well (93-96/low 80's CB) but there's more there, especially with command
Tyler Gonzales (San Antonio, TX):  Has thrown better, 90-92 with a very sharp slider here but can command better
Ty Hensley (Edmond, OK):  Catcher at 2010 AC's, now 91-93 with potential plus curveball
Trey Killian (Norfolk, AR):  Topped at 92 with both CB and slider, more in there
Grayson Long (Baytown, TX):  6-6/190 and loose, topped at 93 but needs to improve breaking ball
Trevor Megill (Huntington Beach, CA):  6-7/220 with an effortless delivery, 90-92 and will keep getting better
Kevin McCanna (The Woodlands, TX):  Latest top prospect from The Woodlands HS, converted catcher with 3 solid pitches
Ryan McNeil (Nipomo, CA):  Strong body and quality overall stuff, 90-92, big CB, very consistent
Kayden Porter (Spanish Fork, UT):  XXL right hander who sits in the low 90's with a good split finger
Cody Poteet (Bonita, CA):  Topped out at 94 and his curveball is his best pitch
Zachary Quintana (Las Vegas, NV):  6-0 right hander with very quick, smooth arm, very consistent at 92-93
Michael Rucker (Lake Tapps, WA):  6-0 RHP but ++ command, tops at 91 with nasty slider
Teddy Stankiewicz (Keller, TX):  Much improved slider puts him in this class, topped out at 92
Shane Watson (Bellflower, CA): 6-4/200, very projectable delivery/arm, tops at 93 with power downer CB



 
8/10/2011 1:35:36 PM

I've mentioned 2014 SS Drew Ward (Leedey, OK) as being one of the rare rising sophomores ever to participate in the Area Code Games.  There's no doubt that he athletically belongs at this level, even at his age.  As if to emphasize it, Ward just took a 90 mph fastball from RHP Cal Becker and lined a 2 run double up the left centerfield gap (95 mph off the bat).

Ward has played solidly at shortstop but even as athletic as he is (he already has generated Division 1 interest on the basketball court) I think he's a third baseman down the road.  He has present arm strength but tends to throw and play flatfooted on defense at present.
 
8/10/2011 1:30:10 PM

Not only were the base numbers of left handers here on the low side, many of the more acknowledged prospects didn't throw up their normal standards.  So there aren't very many highlights here.

Trey Ball (New Castle, IN):  2013, very athletic and projectable, topped at 89 here after lots of 90-91's in Lakeland
Ryan Borucki (Mundelein, IL):  1st time seeing him, 6-3/170 with looseness and present upper 80's stuff
Austin Fairchild (Houston, TX):  Solid stuff, 89-91 with a hard curveball
Max Fried (Encino, CA):  Topped out at 93 but didn't have his usual + hammer curveball
Cole Irwin (Yorba Linda, CA):  I've seen him much better, he has all the ingredients to be a top prospect
Jordan Minch (Highland, IN):  Threw hard, up to 91, but sacrificed his command to hit the velo, loose projectable arm
Kyle Twomey (Placentia, CA):  Smooth downhill delivery, 88-90 with a nice change, CB needs more power
Hunter Virant (Caramillo, CA):  Has been sick and has lost + weight, so he gets a pass on 85-88/73 CB
 
8/10/2011 12:58:32 PM

It's indicative that 2 of the 8 teams at the Area Codes (the Yankees and the Rangers) didn't even have 3 outfielders listed on their rosters.  Of course, the all prospect Royals team has 4 outfielders on the list below, making up for that a bit. 

I have to say that I did Rangers 2B-OF Leon Byrd a disservice not putting him on the list for middle infielders, as he's played centerfield (very, very well) most of the week when he's a natural second baseman.  He just misses the cut for the outfield list.

This is one position where it would have been nice to have a list of 60 times available.

Theo Alexander (Kirkland, WA):  Very strong and well put together left handed hitting prospect
Austin Aune (Argyle, TX):  I like him better at third base but he's plenty athletic and fast enough for centerfield
Brandon Bishop (San Carlos, CA):  Plus runner who can hit and play centerfield at a high level
Mitchell Gueller (Rochester, WA):  Excellent all around athlete who shows all 5 tools
Courtney Hawkins (Corpus Christi, TX):  Prone to swing and miss but ball explodes when he squares it up
Bralin Jackson (Raytown, MO):  Looks like a speed player but has surprising power
Johnny Locher (Burien, WA):  Slender but deceptively strong, hustling type player, leadoff profile
Andrew Pullin (Centralia, WA):  Another potential 5 tool athlete from Washington, hits the ball hard
Nick Williams (Galveston, TX):  Very high ceiling bat, plus athlete, defense and baserunning skills still developing
Jesse Winker (Windemere, FL):  Didn't impact with the bat but that's been the exception this summer
Rhett Wiseman (Mansfield, MA):  An offensive factor in every game, always seems to be on base.

 
8/10/2011 11:25:34 AM

I don't remember if I mentioned RHP Zachary Quintana (Las Vegas, NV) in a previous blog but if I didn't I will correct that oversight.  Quintana is a 6-0 right hander but has a great arm.  He was steady 92-93 mph in both his outings and doesn't expend alot of effort in throwing that hard.  His breaking ball is a 79 mph slurve that could use some tightening up but there is no mistaking his arm strength and command potential.
 
8/10/2011 11:23:03 AM

Either I've done a poor job of evaluating middle infielders at this event or the majority has not stood out for professional level tools.  I suspect the truth is a combination of the above.

Four prospects definitely stand out for a variety of tool related reasons; Tanner Rahier, Gavin Cecchini, C.J. Hinojosa and Avery Romero, although I still think Romero will end up at catcher eventually.

I've left out four very talented underclassmen who belong on the list for their tools but as they are underclassmen I just didn't bear down as hard on them.  Plus the list is easier to get to 10-11 by not including them.   Those 4 are Drew Ward (2014), Sheldon Neuse, Chris Rivera and J.P. Crawford.  You'll hear plenty about them over the next few years.

SS Gavin Cecchini (Lake Charles, LA):  Showed his bat speed and hitting ability, outstanding performance
SS Zach Green (Rocklin, CA):  6-3, 205, might outgrow SS but bat would be a plus at the position
SS C.J. Hinojosa (Spring, TX):  Hit in bad luck all weak, very confident hitter with plus bat speed
SS Drew Jackson (Orinda, CA):  6-2/175 with tools and projects very well
2B Tim Lopes (Huntington Beach, CA):  Lopes stood out defensively more than any player at the event for me
SS Mike Meyers (Las Vegas, NV):  Another rangy, projectable athlete like Jackson above
SS Joe Munoz (Hacienda Heights, CA):  Yet another tall rangy SS, one of my favorites, well rounded tools
2B Kyle Overstreet (Boaz, AL):  Tools don't stand out but can ++ play, catcher might be ideal position
SS Tanner Rahier (Indian Wells, CA):  Some scouts say 3B, but I say don't move him too early....Longoria comp
SS Cabe Reiten (Spanaway, WA):  Overshadowed by his high performing Royals teammates but can play
2B Avery Romero (St. Augustine, FL):  Tools play well enough at 2B, bat plays well enough anywhere on the field
 
8/10/2011 10:57:38 AM

One of the things that my friends at Trackman record with their radar system and database for the event is the exit speed off the barrel for every contact, fair or foul.  When you are scouting a game with a radar gun behind the plate you get occasional readings for "off the bat" but not anything consistent or reliable.

They produced a list for me of the players here who have the most "contacts" over 90 mph exit speed.  The list is enlightening as it confirms what the observant naked eye has been telling me the last 5 days.

C Clint Coulter:                  6 90+ contacts
SS Gavin Cecchini:             6
OF Courtney Hawkins:       5
3B Kevin Ross:                  4
OF Andrew Pullin:               4
IF Avery Romero:              4
C/SS Alex Bregman:          4
1B Chris Shaw:                  4

Bregman must have about 4 other at bats in the 85-89 range, because he squares it up every time up.

The leader at last year's Area Code Games was OF Billy Flamion with 8.


 
8/10/2011 10:37:55 AM

There have been a good number of quality third basemen here in Long Beach and a couple of notable first basemen as well.  Here are the top 11 that stood out to me. (alpha order)

1B Austin Dean (Spring, TX):  Very athletic for a first baseman, chance to have plus power
3B Joey Gallo (Las Vegas, NV):  Must have a rep among the pitchers as he got a steady diet of off speed pitches early in the count
3B Carson Kelly (Portland, OR):  One of my favorites, has all the tools to be a 1st rounder
3B Dylan LaVelle (Lake Stevens, WA):  Crushed the ball at last year's AC's, too
1B/3B Ron Miller (Los Angeles, CA):  Like that Charlie Hayes comp, must work on defense to stay at 3B
3B Fernando Perez (Chula Vista, CA):  Professional hitter, very agile defensively
3B Daniel Robertson (Upland, CA):  Consistent quality at bats, can hit the ball hard to the opposite field
3B Rio Ruiz (Covina, CA):  Limited appearance due to football but has superior bat speed
3B Kevin Ross (Skokie, IL):  One of the revelations of the AC's, good athlete who can really hit
1B Chris Shaw (Lexington, MA):  Shaw hit the ball hard in Lakeland, has hit it hard here...one surmises that he can hit the ball hard
1B Ryan Tellez (Elk Grove, CA):  2013 that is a polished hitter who can drive the ball, must improve his athleticism
 
8/10/2011 10:00:44 AM

Nelson Rodriguez just missed hitting the second home run of the event by about 3-5 feet, lifting a ball to left field that the left fielder caught with his back against the ball.

Of course, it's 66 degrees and drizzly right here at the moment, with a predicted high of 70 degrees.  Not the kind of weather the ball is going to carry well in.
 
8/10/2011 9:30:12 AM

To say that the level of play by the catchers in the East Coast Pro Showcase last week was.....mediocre....would be far closer to honest than critical.  Therefore it's very refreshing to report that the overall quality of catchers out in Long Beach has been very good for the most part and outstanding at times.

I can't help but thinking that some of that has to do with the fact that it was 100 degrees and humid in Lakeland and an occasionally chilly mid 70's in Long Beach.  The catchers who played in both events, such as Chris Harvey and Nelson Rodriguez, have played noticeably better and with more energy.

Not only have the catchers been better defensively, with far fewer balls trickling back to the backstop and much (Much!) better throws, but a couple of the events' top hitters, perhaps the two most accomplished hitters, are catchers; Clint Coulter and Stryker Trahan.  Trahan had 3 more hits yesterday, which gives him at least 7 for the week and Coulter drove home the key runs in the Royals come from behind win that gave them a perfect 5-0 record for the week.

I started off thinking I'd mention 5-6 catchers, then 10 and now it's up to 13.  Here they are in alpha order.

Austin Barr (Camas, WA): Two top catchers from Camas, Washington, different high schools.
Alex Bregman (Albuquerque, NM):  Might be the best pure hitter here
Clint Coulter (Camas, WA):  Excellent bat is ahead of his defensive skills at present
Jason Goldstein (Highland Park, IL):  Solid all around tools, can really throw
Chris Harvey (Norristown, PA):  Hit the ball very hard and showed power.
A.J. Kennedy (Anaheim, CA):  Loves to throw and is good at it
Wyatt Mathisen (Corpus Christi, TX):  Don't be surprised if he ends up being the first catcher picked in the 2012 draft
Buck McCarthy (Saugus, MA):  Nice defense, unconventional hitting mechanics but hits the ball hard
Reese McGuire (Kent, WA):  2013, has the tools to be a PG All American next year if he gets stronger
Austin Rei (Moraga, CA):  Very quick actions, blocks well, solid right handed hitter
Nelson Rodriguez (Brooklyn, NY):  Hits the ball hard, received well
C.J. Saylor (West Covina, CA):  Don't underestimate his bat, he can really hit and has power
Styker Trahan (Scott, LA):  Best I've ever seen him by a wide margin and I've seen Stryker play a bunch.  Impressive



 
8/10/2011 8:41:37 AM

I'll be asking people this morning what the highlights were from yesterday's games but have already picked up a couple.

On a day when most pitchers had already took the mound, 3B/RHP Joey Gallo threw for the first time.  The Las Vegas native and PG All American has often said he much prefers to play/hit than pitch, but scouts are still very intrigued by his potential on the mound.  Gallo evidently did nothing to dissuade their interest yesterday, hitting 94-95 mph a couple of times during his short outing and showing the ability to spin the ball as well.

But maybe the big news was the first home run of the event, fittingly by a player who would have been on the short list of candidates to claim that distinction:  Royals 3B Dylan LaVelle.  I list LaVelle as a third baseman, although he's in the program as a shortstop, as his one "short" tool is his running speed.  His big tool is definitely his bat, however.  I also found out that he's called "The Karate Kid" by some, a reference to the fact that he's been a black belt since he was 9 years old. 
8/10/2011 8:28:39 AM

I should have done this days ago and done it every day but better late than never.

I'm asked frequently by scouts about the schedule (especially the workout schedule) for the next four days down in San Diego, where the Perfect Game National Games and the Perfect Game All American Classic will be played.

Here is the link to the detailed schedule:

http://www.perfectgame.org/AllAmerican/ScoutInfo.aspx
 
8/10/2011 8:25:54 AM

After a very rejuvenating "Office Day" yesterday, I'm ready for the last three games of the 2011 Area Code Games.  To be honest, I've been to 8-10 AC's over the years and I don't think I've ever been here on the final day of the event, which is something I suspect I share with many other scouts.  It will be interesting to see how many evaluators are here today; the parking lot was noticeably less full at 7:30 and the gate still closed to one parking area that is usually half full by this time.

Along with noting anything that happens on the field that is of interest, my plan for the day is to work on the event Top Prospect lists and pass on some impressions by position to everyone.
 
Tuesday, August 9
8/9/2011 9:48:20 AM

The ESPN3.com crew has taken over a large part of the press box at Blair Field today as they webcast today's games.  That, combined with the fact that I'm on a schedule that involves 16 straight days at the ballpark or traveling, means that today is an "Office Day" to catch up on logistics and past and future work.  I'll be back for tomorrow's final day of action from the Area Codes Games, along with a wrap up of the top prospects from the event.

Thanks,


DR
 
Monday, August 8
8/8/2011 6:27:07 PM

Something to mention before we get to the final game of the day, the Yankees and the A's.

You may have noted the lack of reference to 60 times in the blogs, one of the basics of any showcase.  60's have been recorded at the AC's for years as part of the SPARQ testing, a multi-part evaluation process administered by Nike that includes things such as a vertical leap and a shuttle run.  From what I'm told, the NCAA finally got wind of the testing and that constituted the event actually being a "showcase."  Although Blair Field is a city park that is nowhere close to the Long Beach State campus (despite what was written on ESPN this morning), it is the home field for the Long Beach State baseball team.  And according to NCAA rules, you can't have a showcase on a college campus, lest it give the host school an unfair recruiting advantage.  However, you can use the field for a tournament, which is what the AC's qualify as if you don't do the traditional showcase testing or workouts.
 
8/8/2011 4:44:02 PM

Perfect Game All American C Jason Goldstein (Highland Park, IL) is having himself a nice day in preparation for playing in San Diego this coming weekend.  Goldstein has thrown one runner out at second on a straight steal, picked another runner off at second throwing behind him and then just led off the bottom of the 6th inning with a single to right field.
 
8/8/2011 4:32:35 PM

The White Sox scouts have done a nice job of putting together a staff of nice projectable pitchers from a large geographical area (Arkansas up to Minnesota).  The latest to take the mound is LHP Ryan Borucki (Mundelein, IL), a slender 6-3, 170 lb soutpaw with a loose, projectable body.  Borucki has thrown 2 scoreless innings of what is still a 1-1 ball game, pitching mostly at 88-89 mph with a very nice feel for an 80 mph change and some spin to a 74 mph curveball.  He's the type who could easily be throwing 90-92 mph next spring if he gains some weight and strength.
 
8/8/2011 4:17:39 PM

White Sox 3B Kevin Ross (Skokie, IL) continues to hit the ball hard consistently and probably has 6 or 7 hits, although no one I asked has up to date stats on him.  He's 2-2 so far this game.  Ross is very strong at 6-1, 190 lbs.  He's had a couple of at bats where he has turned on the ball hard and driven it, but also has had at bats like the last one when he's kept his hands back well on off speed stuff, maintained his balance and made a simple and effective swing for the single.  That ability to make swing adjustments within an at bat and work with what a pitcher is giving you bodes very well for his future.
 
8/8/2011 4:06:36 PM

An old school scout here has a favorite saying that he repeats at least once a year at the AC's.  It addresses the "tendency" for scouts to be incurable gossips.

"Back in the old days, there were three sure ways to spread information:  Telephone, Telegraph and Tell A Scout"
 
8/8/2011 3:54:24 PM

White Sox CF Bralin Jackson (Raytown, MO) tripled straight over the centerfielder's head and came home on a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 1-1.  Jackson is generously listed at 6-0, 178 but has surprising whip and pop in his bat and drove a number of balls deep in batting practice as well.

Jackson's triple, in fact, carried very well in the warm afternoon air, giving  hope to the possibility that we might, after 11 games, finally see our first home run at these Area Code Games.
 
8/8/2011 3:44:12 PM

One more thing about Killian that has become obvious in the second inning.  Very few pitchers at this level are able to throw both a curveball and a true slider that are distinct and different pitches with different shapes and velocity (as opposed to throwing a slurve type breaking ball that morphs back and forth without intent).  Killian definitely can.  He throws a 73-75 mph curveball that has depth and 2 plane shape and an 80-82 mph slider that sharply dives away from right handed hitters.
 
8/8/2011 3:31:44 PM

The Nationals are back on the field for a double header, as they are one of the two teams that aren't playing on Wednesday.

RHP Trey Killian (Norfolk, AR) is on the mound for the White Sox and is an interesting 6-4, 180 lb prospect with a fast and loose arm that projects well.  Killian was 89-92 in the first inning with an 80 mph slider that had good bite to it.  Killian's delivery was pretty rough in places but nothing that isn't correctable.  Hitters did seem to see the ball very well and SS Avery Romero crushed a ball to centerfield that ended up as a sacrifice fly to put the Nationals up 1-0.  Of course, Romero seems to hit every pitcher hard.

Arkansas is kind of perplexing as a state.  Every year it seems that they have 1 real national level high school prospect.  Rarely none, just as rarely 2 or 3.  This year it was RHP Dillon Howard, the year before that it was RHP D.J. Baxendale.  This year it looks like it might be Killian.  Needless to say, Killian has a verbal commitment to the home state Arkansas Razorbacks.  But in the big picture, Arkansas needs to have year like Oklahoma did in 2011 or Alabama will have in 2012......huge depth and huge upper level talent.  The state is overdue.
 
8/8/2011 1:57:09 PM

I classified OF Mitchell Gueller (Rochester, WA) as an "interesting athlete" with tools in an earlier blog today.  I would like to amend that to "very good 2-way prospect" after seeing him take the mound (he isn't even listed as a secondary pitcher in the program).  We've already established that Gueller is a 6-3, 205 lb centerfielder with bat speed at the plate and is a 4.2 runner from the right side.  Now we also know that Gueller can throw 91-92 mph from the mound, although his off speed pitches are still on the developing side.
 
8/8/2011 1:09:23 PM

Royals C Clint Coulter (Camas, WA) continues to swing the bat with authority.  With the bases loaded in the 3rd inning, Coulter drove a ball to left centerfield that short hopped the fence about 390 feet from home plate.  What should have been a 2 run double turned into 4 runs when the runner from first base ran through the third base coaches stop sign and the relay throw air mailed off the backstop, enabling Coulter to come all the way around to score. 

The Royals offensive machine leads 7-0 after 3 innings.
 
8/8/2011 12:52:01 PM

I've mentioned the Trackman radar system a couple of times in these AC Games blogs (www.trackman.dk.com) and here's another example of what their incredible array of information can tell you.

One of the things measured on every pitch is the distance from the rubber (60'6") that each pitch is released from.  The Major League average release point is about 6 feet according to Trackman.  The top end of the scale, pitchers like Jared Weaver and Jeff Niemann and, surprisingly, Tim Lincecum, can get up to 7 feet of extension with some consistency.  That extra foot can, in terms of elapsed time it takes a 90 mph fastball reach the plate, can make such a fastball "appear" approximately 2 mph faster than a pitcher with average extension out front.

6-4, 220 lb Nationals RHP Brady Bramlett (Bartlett, TN) is the "King of Extension" here in Long Beach according to Trackman, averaging 6'11" of extension on his fastball and getting out as far as 7'4" on occasion.  As Bramlett's fastball has topped out at 91.6 mph, that means hitters are "seeing" it as more of a 93 mph fastball.

The hardest thrower here, RHP Lucas Giolito, averaged 6'4" extension yesterday, putting him in the above average category.
 
8/8/2011 12:32:00 PM

Nationals SS Avery Romero (St. Augustine, FL) did just what Rio Ruiz did last game, except from the right side of the plate.  His bomb to left field hit the invisible wall that is the Blair Field outfield and dropped into the left fielder's mitt at the base of the fence. 

I'm sitting next to a Red Sox scout and we agreed that Romero's blast would have been so far out of Fenway Park as to be a no doubter.
 
8/8/2011 12:06:58 PM

The Royals position prospects have been very impressive so far and Northwest scouts are going to have a busy spring.  They have about 6 guys who hit the ball hard every time up (Carson Kelly, Dylan LaVelle, Andrew Pullin, Clint Coulter, Johnny Locher, Sam Brown) and a couple of "Tools" players (Theo Alexander, Mitchell Gueller) who are very interesting.

RHP Zach Torson (Vancouver, WA) will be starting for the Royals.  RHP Brady Bramlett (Bartlett, TN), who was very impressive in a short outing earlier in the week, will start for the Nationals.
 
8/8/2011 10:59:36 AM

Perfect Game All American RHP Cody Poteet (Bonita, CA) is making his first appearance of the AC Games and showing seriously good stuff, as expected.  He struck out 2 in his first inning of work, pitching in the 92-94 mph range with a 77 mph hammer.

There is a side bet going in the press box with the Trackman radar as to whether Poteet's curveball will generate harder spin than Lucas Giolito's.  Giolito's curveball registered 3060 RPM's yesterday.  Poteet's has "just" been up to 2964 RPM's.  As a comparison, the Major League average (not the AC Games average) per the Trackman data base is 2415 RPM's.
 
8/8/2011 10:31:12 AM

Just as RHP Trevor Megill was making his first appearance of the event this game, RHP Shane Watson (Lakewood, CA) is as well.  Watson threw at the WWBA 17U National Championships for Yak Baseball last month and was 85-88 with a 71 mph curveball.  He was much, much better than that in his first inning of work, pitching at 90-93 mph with a hard spinning 77 mph curveball.  Watson has some effort in his release but the ball comes out of his hand easy and he has great leverage from his 6-4, 200 lb build and over the top release point.
 
8/8/2011 10:21:07 AM

3B Rio Ruiz just missed hitting the first home run of the AC Games....in fact no one (and I suspect Ruiz most of all judging by his body language) is sure how it didn't go out.  But the right fielder caught it with his back to the right field wall, so there was proof it stayed in the park.

Brewers RHP Trevor Megill (Huntington Beach, CA) made his first appearance for the Brewers and only threw 1 inning but I see no way he's not making my top 10 pitching prospect list for this event.  6-7, 220 with an ultra smooth arm action, pitched at 91-93 mph, 79 breaking ball with tight slider like shape, good change up.  I looked at his notes from last year's AC Games, the only other time I've seen Megill, and he was 85-89/75 with the same type of effortless arm action.  Very impressive!
 
8/8/2011 9:56:41 AM

I had the opportunity to talk to Alex Bregman and his father, Sam, after yesterday's game when he went 2-4 with a double and triple and hit the ball hard all 4 times to the plate.  Dad was giving his son a playful hard time, saying "hey, you promised you would hit a home run for my birthday, you could only come up with a double and triple, what's the matter?"  I told Alex that his only chance to hit one out of Blair Field (note that we have seen no home runs yet in 9+ games thus far) was to turn on something inside and hit it right down the line, which is still 348 feet away. 

First at bat today, Bregman turns on the first strike he sees and crushes it deep down the left field line.....about 10 feet foul.

It would surprise no one here if Bregman straightened one out and did clear the left field fence.
 
8/8/2011 9:30:38 AM

Good Morning from Long Beach.  First game today is the Reds vs. the Brewers.  We're at the point of the Area Codes where many of the pitchers will be pitching for the second time and many of the position players have had their chance to show their tools and skills.   The stands are a bit thinner with coaches and scouts today and the blogs might be a bit thinner as well, depending on how the day goes.

RHP Brady Lail (South Jordan, UT) starting on the mound for the Reds, easy 1-2-3 inning.  I've seen Lail throw harder (he's 86-88 today) but his curveball is very sharp at 77 mph and he's commanding it well.

LHP Kyle Twomey (Placentia, CA) starting for the Brewers, also his second appearance, which is unexpected as the long Brewers roster (34 players) contains a number of pitchers who haven't thrown yet, including PG All Americans LHP Hunter Virant and RHP Cody Poteet.
 
Sunday, August 7
8/7/2011 5:12:24 PM

The Royals were down 5-0 after 1 inning but have come back to take a 7-5 lead in the top of the 7th of this 9 inning game.  SS Dylan LaVelle (Lake Stevens, WA), who pretty much hits the ball hard every time up, delivered a sharply hit 2 out, 2 run single up the middle to drive in the 6th and 7th runs. 

The Brewers only have 2 hits in the past 5 innings after collecting 6 in the initial frame.
 
8/7/2011 4:59:53 PM

RHP Felipe Perez (Anaheim, CA) is ranked 111th in the 2012 class and I can see why.  He has a very projectable 6-3, 190 lb frame and a loose, fast arm that works really well out front.  He was 90-91 mph in his first inning of work and threw a pretty sharp 76 mph curveball.  Perez has committed to UCLA and it's hard to imagine that he won't be a 93-94 mph type as he gets stronger and more physically mature.

PG All American 3B/RHP Rio Ruiz (Covina, CA) is making his first appearance of the AC's today, as he has football camps (quarterback) most days.  He just lined solidly to right field in his first at bat.
 
8/7/2011 4:49:00 PM

At times it's been years between you see a "MT" on a program at any event.  But in the past year there have been a number of prospects from Montana getting the scouts' attention.  OF Ben Roberts was a 7th round pick of the Diamondbacks in the 2011 draft, although he hasn't signed yet. 

LHP Caleb Frare (Miles City, MT) threw earlier and was up to 88 mph from the left side.  Pitching now for the Royals is RHP Andrew Sopko (Missoula, MT), a slender 6-1, 180 lb'er with a quick, easy arm action that projects very well.  Sopko was 87-88 mph in his first inning of work and showed very hard spin on a 74 mph curveball.  He's definitely one to follow.
 
8/7/2011 4:22:45 PM

Perfect Game All American RHP Ryan McNeil (Nipomo, CA) is starting the 4th inning for the Brewers following 3 innings by Lucas Giolito.  Giolito was 93-94 and didn't command his fastball consistently during his last inning but threw some nasty curveballs.

McNeil is a solidly built 6-3, 210 lb right hander with a somewhat rotational slow paced delivery and 3/4's release point.  He's very consistent at 92 mph with a hard 80 mph curveball that gets very good depth for its velocity.

On a side note, Tim Lopes (Huntington Beach, CA) can really, really play second base.  He's exceptionally quick on his double play turn, has very soft hands and can range far to his left while maintaining his balance.


 
8/7/2011 3:53:46 PM

The Royals followed Carson Kelly's single with a walk and singles by SS Cabe Reiten (Spanaway, WA) and 2B Lane Richards (Pendleton, OR) to score 2 runs in the top of the second inning.  Only a nice catch in foul territory by 1B Corey Oswalt and a "showcase" umpires call at first base on a ground ball kept the inning from being bigger.
 
8/7/2011 3:46:28 PM

Give Carson Kelly credit for not hanging his head after a 5 run inning on the mound.  He led off the top of the 2nd inning with a rocket past the third baseman off a 95 mph Lucas Gioloto fastball that registered 102 mph off the bat.
 
8/7/2011 3:42:15 PM

RHP Carson Kelly has awfully good raw stuff but the Brewers are getting pretty good swings, especially against his fastball.  Kelly has been 90-92 with a hard spinning 78-80 mph slurve but the Brewers opened up the game with 5 straight hits.

OF Tyrone Taylor (Torrance, CA) opened with a hard single up the middle.  C A.J. Kennedy (Anaheim, CA) followed with a well placed double into short left centerfield.  SS Tanner Rahier drove in both with a hard single to right centerfield.  1B/3B Ron Miller lifted a well place single right on the right field line, followed by a true blooper by 3B Douglas Robertson over the first baseman's head.  So really only 2 of the hits were solid.

Kelly looked like he was going to work out of the inning with a strikeout and routine ground out before SS Joe Munoz (Hacienda Hts, CA) singled sharply up the middle.  Score:  Brewers 5-0.
 
8/7/2011 3:32:24 PM

RHP Lucas Giolito has a nice quiet first inning which was nicely matched by the hush in the stands as he threw.  He struck out the first hitter, induced a broken bat roller to first base on the second hitter, plunked the 3rd hitter with his "lightest" fastball of the inning (93 mph) and got the 4th hitter on a lazy fly ball to center.

The big right hander (my comparison is the Marlins Josh Johnson) averaged 95 mph on his fastball, topping out at 96.9 on the Trackman radar.  His curveball was sharp and hard at 84 mph and had the highest spin rate of any curveball recorded at the Area Code Games the past 2 years.

3B/RHP Carson Kelly on the mound for the Royals, pumping 91-92 early in the bottom of the first
 
8/7/2011 3:11:26 PM

The game doesn't start for 10 minutes but they announced that RHP Lucas Giolito will be the starting pitcher for the Brewers, which sent a nice buzz through the stands and press box.
 
8/7/2011 1:26:33 PM

I jinxed the game in the second inning with the blog about the game moving along quickly.  The pitchers, while showing good stuff, have uniformly struggled to throw consistent strikes the last 3 innings, even Karl Keglovits in his 3rd inning of work.

Nationals RHP/SS Tyler Gonzalez (San Antonio, TX) was 90-92 with an 84 mph slider in his first inning but allowed 2 runs due to walks.  He did calm down for a much easier second inning.

Nationals RHP Ty Buttrey (Matthews, NC) also topped out at 92 mph but worked behind in his first inning, also allowing 2 runs.  Buttrey threw very well both in June at the PG National and last week in Lakeland but looked visably nervous and out of sync in his first inning.

Yankees C Buck McCarthy (Saugas, MA) has swung the bat very well this game, collecting a couple of hard hits.


 
8/7/2011 12:38:50 PM

RHP's Karl Keglovits and Zach Eflin have cruised through 2 easy innings apiece.

Keglovits is primarily using a 87-88 mph 2 seamer low in the zone and coming in occasionally with a 91 mph 4 seamer and slow 73 mph curveball while keeping hitters off balance.  Eflin is doing a very good job of spotting his 91 mph fastball on the corners and working ahead in the count.

The only hit off Eflin was a line drive single by 3B Fernando Perez (Chula Vista, CA), while Keglovits was touched for a grounder up the middle by 3B Vince Vizcaino (Wake Forest, NC).  Neither pitcher has issued a walk.
 
8/7/2011 12:21:56 PM

The Yankees and Nationals are the next game, pitting the two teams from the East against each other.  But if you are tempted to think about the Area Codes as a true "National" showcase, with all due respect to the quality of the event, its history and its organizers, it really isn't.  I'm just finishing up my Top Prospect list from the recently completed East Coast Pro Showcase (which is strictly players from east of the Mississippi) and only 6 of the top 40 players from that high level event are out here in California.  It's understandably difficult to get players from places such as Florida or Georgia to come out to Long Beach for a week.

Of course, one of the exceptions is on the mound for the Nationals, RHP Zach Eflin ((Chuluota, FL).  Eflin's been getting better all summer and retired the side 1-2-3 in the top of the first, pitching at 89-92 with a 75 mph curveball.

RHP Karl Keglovits (Nazareth, PA) will be starting for the Yankees. 
8/7/2011 10:49:53 AM

PG All American OF Nick Williams continues to have a productive morning, as he just lined his third hit of the day up the middle.  He's getting the barrel out better today after fouling a lot of balls over the 3rd base dugout the first 2 days.

I'm becoming convinced that Rangers catcher Wyatt Mathisen (Corpus Christi, TX) is one of the best catching prospects in the 2012 class.  Scouts hate going to Corpus Christi on the south Texas coast, as it's not convenient or easy, but both Mathisen and OF Courtney Hawkins go to school there, although at rival schools.  Mathisen just threw out his second runner of the event, 2.02 right on the bag, and is a patient and polished hitter with bat speed.

5-7 2B/CF Leon Byrd has been on base almost every at bat for 3 games.  Either that or he pinch runs every other inning, as every time I look out there he seems to be standing at 2nd or 3rd.  Walks, hits, fielder's choices, the whole spectrum.

Rangers now lead 7-3 in the bottom of the 6th on a collection of walks and errors.
 
8/7/2011 10:15:41 AM

Scouts are really buzzing about Styker Trahan's bat and with good reason.  He followed up his 2nd inning double to LCF with a ringing triple that one-hopped the right centerfield wall and was 103 mph off the barrel.  Trahan scored on a wild pitch to tie the score at 3-3, one pitch before OF Nick Williams delivered his second single of the game.

LF Williams and CF Leon Byrd were  involved in a potentially very scary play last inning that ended up with a spectacular catch by Williams.  Both went full speed for a slicing liner in the LCF gap and both dove for the ball, with Byrd crossing just behind Williams as he caught the ball.
 
8/7/2011 9:41:44 AM

3B Jake Jefferies (Pleasanton, CA), the son of former ML 2B Gregg Jefferies, keyed a 2 run A's second inning with a double down the left field line.  2B J.R. Davis (Vallejo, CA) followed with a 2 run single to account for both runs.

Gregg Jefferies is sitting down in the first row watching his son, camera in hand.  I'm told that he is coaching at Foothill HS where Jake goes to school.

C Styker Trahan continues to impress with the bat and his new approach of staying back and driving the ball to left centerfield....this time a hard double off a 90 mph James Marvel fastball.  Trahan also threw out a runner at second base attempting to steal to end the last inning.

Obligatory Courtney Hawkins mention:  380' fly ball with serious hang time to dead centerfield...where fly balls go to die in this park.
 
8/7/2011 9:31:30 AM

Rangers vs. A's on a very misty and a bit chilly morning in Long Beach.  But it will be cloudless and 76 degrees in a few hours.

LHP Ty Culbreth (Bryan, TX) on the mound for the Rangers, RHP James Marvel (Moraga, CA) pitching for the A's.

RF Courtney Hawkins (have to get my first Hawkins mention early) made a very nice over the shoulder catch on a deep drive off the bat of Ryan Tellez to end the top half of the first.  That's about as far as I've seen a ball get hit to right field so far....flags are straight down on the pole and it's been blowing in from right (the ocean side) pretty steadily for 2 days.

Culbreth is a 6-0 lefty with a 87 mph fastball thus far and hard, sharp mid 70's breaking ball.

Marvel had a quick 6 pitch first inning, sitting at 90-91 mph with a fast paced delivery and a quick arm that keeps up with his mechanics.

I'm beginning to feel a bit for Rangers SS C.J. Hinojosa.  He's been up 7 times so far and hit the ball right on the screws 6 of them....line drives all over the field, all right at the fielders.  He's 0-7 and is swinging the bat really, really well.  This one was a line drive right at the centerfielder, a gapper if he hits it 30 feet in either direction.
 
8/7/2011 8:59:26 AM

The Area Code media people (I'm classified as media here) have asked that I share the following with the PG Blog viewers.

Each of the four games on Tuesday, August 9, will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.  Following are the links and times for each of the games (or just go to ESPN3.com):

11:30 AM EST:  Brewers vs. White Sox
http://espn.go.com/espn3/index?id=224636

2:30 PM EST:  Athletics vs. Royals
http://espn.go.com/espn3/index?id=218934

5:30 PM EST:  Yankees vs. Rangers
http://espn.go.com/espn3/index?id=218938

9:00 PM EST:  Nationals vs. Reds
http://espn.go.com/espn3/index?id=224638


 
8/7/2011 8:52:28 AM

Sorry there were no blogs from the final game of last night between the Royals and the White Sox.  I had some work for next week's PG All American Classic to finish for the CBS broadcast to catch up on while watching the game with 50% attention.

A couple of observations:

--  A scout told me that LHP Jordan Minch (Highland, IN) of the White Sox was "a good college pitcher right now who could be better than that after 3 years of college."  My initial impression is that the timetable might get moved up a bit.  Minch is certainly slender and young at 6-3, 170 lbs, but his arm really works well and he was 89-91 mph (not the 87 that the scout suggested) with a nice feel for his change up.  How he develops his curveball, which he hardly throws now, will be key to how the scouts evaluate him next spring.

--  3B Kevin Ross (Skokie, IL) continues to rake, he's strong and quick with the bat and sees the ball very well.

--  I've been watching OF Nathan Mikolas (Kenosha, WI) since he was a freshman and might be a bit calloused to him.  But the West Coast scouts out here love him and his bat speed and hitting approach, plus the fact that he's crushing the ball every at bat.  His stock is definitely on the rise.

--  2013 3B/RHP Dustin Driver (Wenatchee, WA) has a very good arm, sitting at 90-92 mph from a simple delivery with fast high 3/4's arm stroke.

--  C Clint Coulter (Camas, WA) keeps hitting the ball hard just about every at bat and shows a plus throwing arm at times.
 
Saturday, August 6
8/6/2011 5:06:11 PM

Reds C/SS Alex Bregman (Albuquerque, NM) continues to crush the ball this game, eliciting plenty of "Now who is that guy?" type comments from the scouts around me.  Bregman doubled to left field in the first inning, lined out hard to deep centerfield in the third and just one hopped the wall in left centerfield and legged it out for an Rbi triple.
 
8/6/2011 4:50:54 PM

OF/RHP David Graybill (Phoenix, AZ) is showing a good variety of tools thus far.  The 6-4, 235 lb right handed hitter knocked a couple of balls out of Blair Field in batting practice to show his raw power and has had a number of quality at bats already, including just driving a outside slider off RHP Riley Farrell up the middle to drive in 3B Joey Gallo (who had walked) for the Reds third run of the game.  Graybill pitched an inning earlier in the game and topped out at 91 mph.
 
8/6/2011 4:41:09 PM

Rangers C Stryker Trahan (Scott, LA) has been hitting the ball very well here, for the most part because he's not trying to pull the ball.  After a hard single by Courtney Hawkins started the 6th inning, Trahan hit a rocket double up the left centerfield gap (95 off the bat).  Hawkins scored on a infield error to make the score 5-2, although Trahan was stranded at third.

LHP Austin Fairchild had a very efficient 7 pitch inning in the bottom of the 5th.  RHP Riley Farrell (College Station, TX) is now on the mound for the Rangers and throwing very well.  Farrell has calmed down his delivery over the last year and is throwing 90-92 mph with very good life. 
8/6/2011 4:25:57 PM

SS Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, TX) hit a 2-out bases loaded single in the top of the 5th inning as part of a 3 run Rangers inning.  Walks played a major role in the rally, although previously mentioned C Wyatt Mathisen had a single in the inning as well. 
8/6/2011 4:08:28 PM

PG All American LHP Austin Fairchild (Houston, TX) is on the mound for the Rangers for the 4th inning.  He got in trouble early through no fault of his own on an infield squibber and an error that ended up costing him a couple of runs.  3B Joey Gallo (Las Vegas, NC) drove in one of the runs with a hard single to right field.  Fairchild was 89-91 mph on his fastball with very good run and sink and threw a hard biting 74-76 mph curveball that he could use more often.

Rangers C Wyatt Mathisen (Corpus Christi, TX) has been very strong both days so far.  He took a strong BP yesterday and followed up with a hard double in the game.  He made an excellent game throw in 1.94 this inning but the runner had too big a jump.  He's 6-1, 190 lbs and looks to be very athletic behind the plate.
 
8/6/2011 3:46:21 PM

The Rangers have been pounding the ball through 3 innings but only have one run to show for it, as the Reds outfielders have been successfully chasing down lots of balls.

2B Leon Byrd (Cypress, TX) hit his second ball of the game right on the nose and got it to drop in centerfield to get the run home in the third inning.  He was later thrown out stealing on a perfect peg from Reds C A.J. Young (Gila Bend, AZ).

RHP Teddy Stankiewicz is on the mound for his 3rd inning of work, although he's only thrown about 25 pitches.
 
8/6/2011 3:37:03 PM

RHP Teddy Stankiewicz was very sharp in the second inning as well, retiring the side in 1-2-3 order, including Joey Gallo on a very, very  high fly ball to centerfield that probably had at least 6.5 sec hang time.  He topped out at 92 mph and got another strikeout on the improved 84 mph sllider.
 
8/6/2011 3:26:38 PM

I've seen RHP Teddy Stankiewicz a couple times this summer and he's been very consistent in his velocity and mechanics, generally sitting at 90 mph with a quick arm and good downhill angle.  One concern I had with him earlier in the summer is that he didn't have ideal power on his slider, it has the proper short and quick slider shape but was only thrown at 78-80 mph.  In the first inning Stankiewicz was steady at 90 mph down in the zone and had a nice 80 mph change up but got his slider up to 84 mph with some bite to it.  That's a good sign for the future.

PG All American Alex Bregman (Albuquerque, NM) lined a hard hustle double to left centerfield for the one hit off Stankiewicz.
 
8/6/2011 3:15:53 PM

RHP Guillermo Trujillo (El Paso, TX) on the mound for the Reds.  RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (Keller, TX) on the mound for the Rangers.
 
8/6/2011 2:04:56 PM

Two pretty solid pitchers moved thru the last 2 innings quickly in what ended up to be a 4-2 win for the Brewers.

RHP Justin Garza (Ontario, CA) has a 5-11, 155 lb middle infielder's build but throws 89-92 mph from an easy, well paced delivery and gets very good life on his fastball down in the zone.  His low 70's curveball is pretty soft and light and he'd be better off with a slider in the future.

RHP Michael Sheppard (Florham Park, NJ) threw well last week at the East Coast Pro Showcase and did the same today in Long Beach.  The latest member of the Seton Hall Sheppard's was steady at 89-90 mph down in the strike zone with good sink and had good sharpness to a 77 mph slurve.  Sheppard topped out at 92 mph in Lakeland.

SS/3B Kenny Koplove (Philadelphia, PA) was impressive at both third base and shortstop on defense for the Yankees, both charging the ball with a quick release and showing very good arm strength when he needed to make a long throw.
 
8/6/2011 1:19:22 PM

The Brewers have gone up 3-1 in the bottom of the 4th inning.  PG All American 3B Daniel Robertson (Upland, CA) opened the inning with a triple to right field and scored when 3B/1B Ron Miller (Los Angeles, CA) lifted a high fly ball that carried to the warning track in left centerfield for a double.  IF Tim Lopes (Huntington Beach, CA) then followed with a hard hit single to right to plate Miller.

Every time the 5-11, 205 lb Miller comes to the plate someone says "Charlie Hayes."
 
8/6/2011 1:08:54 PM

RHP Chase DeJong was just as abusive in his second inning of work, throwing strikes with all 3 pitches and striking 2 more hitters without a good swing against him.  Impressive work.
 
8/6/2011 1:00:21 PM

RHP Chase DeJong was very impressive in his first inning of work, striking out the first two hitters and getting the third on an easy fly ball to right.  DeJong throws from a over the top release point with a fast, loose arm and gets very good downhill angle.  The 6-4 righty's fastball was 89-91 mph and both his 84 mph change up and 76 mph downer curveball were quality pitches. 
 
8/6/2011 12:54:09 PM

PG All American SS Tanner Rahier (Indian Wells, CA), following the honored baseball tradition that the player who makes the good defensive play tends to lead off the next inning, led off the bottom of the second inning with a hard double into the left field corner and later came in to score on back to back ground balls.

RHP Chase De Jong, who attends Wilson HS right across the street from Blair Field, is now on the mound for the Brewers.
 
8/6/2011 12:46:27 PM

LHP Max Fried has a very good curveball but anyone who has watched PG All American C Chris Harvey (Norristown, PA) hit over the past few years knows that Harvey feasts on off speed stuff.  With fellow All American catcher Nelson Rodriguez on first base after a walk, Harvey hammered (99 mph off the bat) a Fried curveball over the left fielder's head and legged it out for a run scoring triple.

The Brewers escaped more damage with an outstanding 1-3-6-2 double play.  Fried picked off the runner on first who had reached by walk (sorry, didn't pay attention to who it was), who was erased at second base.  SS Tanner Rahier then wheeled and threw a perfect strike to catcher A.J. Kennedy to nail Harvey attempting to score.
 
8/6/2011 12:22:52 PM

Perfect Game All American LHP Max Fried (Encino, CA) is the starting pitcher for the Yankees.  First hitter of the game for the Yankees was PG All American Rhett Wiseman (Mansfield, MA).  Nothing like starting off the game with a bit of talent.  Wiseman singled up the middle, running 4.07 on a ball the shortstop almost made the play on, then stole second base.

I'm told by scouts that Fried's high school, Montclair Prep, dropped all their athletic programs last month, putting Fried on the free agent market so to speak.  One of the rumors about Fried's eventual landing place is another area private school, Harvard Westlake.  What makes that thought so interesting is that Harvard-Westlake already has a pretty decent starting pitcher....PG All American RHP Lucas Giolito.

Fried has been 91-93 in the early going with a 74 mph curveball that he's occasionally drifting out on but that has shown very hard downer spin at times.
 
8/6/2011 10:48:51 AM

6-2, 180 lb RHP Freddy Avis (Palo Alto, CA) showed very impressive arm strength in the bottom of the 6th inning, sitting at 92-93 mph from a loose over the top arm action and low effort delivery.  Avis' curveball needs to add power, as it was a 71-74 mph downer but it had good depth and he threw it for strikes.  He did throw one change up at 84 mph and it was a pretty quality pitch.

Avis attends Menlo School, where your humble blogger graduated from high school many years ago.
 
8/6/2011 10:44:01 AM

The A's extended their lead to 8-0 going into the bottom of the 6th inning, as walks and errors have hurt the Nationals the past 2 innings.

OF Brody Russell (Bakersfield, CA) laced a triple into the right field corner for the best contact of the last few innings.
 
8/6/2011 10:03:30 AM

A's RHP Ben Eckels (Davis, CA) is a clone of the first pitcher, Paul Blackburn.  Medium framed build, fastball at 89-90 mph, nasty curveball with depth and sharpness and throws strikes.  The Nationals don't have a hit through 3 innings and the A's continue to lead 3-0 going into the top of the 4th.

A's SS Zach Green (Rocklin, CA) put a really nice swing on an 88 mph fastball from Nationals RHP Cheyne Bickel (North Palm Beach, FL) last inning but saw it die in the heavy air deep in left centerfield.

Bickel, a 2013, was 87-88 mph in his first inning but has loosened it up in his second inning of work, throwing at 90-92 with more velocity and spin to his curveball. 
8/6/2011 10:00:00 AM

A's OF B.J. Boyd (Palo Alto, CA) is an interesting player.  He's a 5-10-190 lb left handed hitter with outstanding speed and quickness and the strength to drive the ball a bit.  He hit a pretty routine 2 hopper to second base that the second baseman bobbled a bit and easily beat it out, running a 4.04 on a full swing.
 
8/6/2011 9:41:59 AM

RHP Paul Blackburn (Oakley, CA) had an easy first inning, throwing in the 89-90 area but showing a seriously nasty curveball at 75 mph that picked up a couple of strikeouts, including one that completely baffled top left handed hitter OF Jesse Winker.  The Trackman technology that we have access to in the press box has the spin rate on Blackburn's curveball at an exceptionally high level and the visual impression backs up the technological measurements.
 
8/6/2011 9:33:06 AM

The A's (Northern California) came out swinging and running against the Nationals and RHP Trey Wingenter (Madison, AL).  Wingenter is a long and lanky 6-7 right hander with a loose arm but his 87-88 mph fastball lacks deception and he is slow to the plate from the stretch.  His mid 70's curveball is a very solid pitch with good spin and bite.

OF Blaine Bishop (San Carlos, CA) opened the game with a hard single, stole second and scored on a harder single by SS Max Dutto (Danville, CA).  Dutto also stole second and scored on a single by 1B Ryan Tellez (Elk Grove, CA).  Good work by SS/RHP Tyler Gonzalez (San Antonio, TX) in the middle infield kept the score down to 3-0.
 
8/6/2011 8:48:15 AM

A couple of quick notes from the final game last night between the Reds and the Royals, which the Royals ended up winning 4-0.

SS Dylan LaVelle ended up going 3-4, hitting the ball hard on all three of his hits.  He has a much nicer looking swing in the games than in BP and the ball really jumps off his bat hard.  Don't look forward to seeing his 60 time, as he can't run in a straight line, but he does have solid infield actions that will translate well to third base.

C Clint Coulter had much the same pattern as LaVelle, swinging the bat much better in the game than in BP, where he was trying to pull the ball so badly he just rolled over everything.  Coulter had a double and triple, the double a big and deep drive to left centerfield that got to the fence quickly.

OF/RHP Andrew Pullin threw well for 2 innings to finish the shutout, topping out at 91 mph.
 
Friday, August 5
8/5/2011 8:12:28 PM

RHP/SS Zachary Quintana (Las Vegas, NV) has a nice arm.  He has a simple, easy delivery with good leverage to the plate and pretty much sat at 92 mph, touching 93 a couple of times, during the fifth inning.  Quintana's delivery is so easy, in fact, that he doesn't appear to have much deception and hitters were getting good swings at his heater, which he threw almost exclusively.

The hitter who got the best cut was OF Theo Alexander (Kirkland, WA).  I mentioned Alexander in the BP blog as a guy to watch and he came through leading off the inning, crushing a 92 mph fastball to right field that was 99 mph off the bat.  Alexander was all over the pitch and really showed his bat speed and quick hands.
 
8/5/2011 8:02:13 PM

LHP Caleb Frare (Miles City, MT) had an easy 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts to keep the Royals no-hitter alive through 4 innings (1 runner reached base against Michael Rucker on an infield error).  Frare works from the stretch with a compact, quick arm action that hides the ball well.  He pitched between 86 and 88 mph with a 71-75 mph curveball that was sharp when he stayed back over the rubber and didn't drift to the plate.

RHP Zachary Quintana (Las Vegas, NV) on the mound for the Reds.
 
8/5/2011 7:54:51 PM

The Royals used singles by OF Sam Brown (Mill Creek, WA) and SS Dylan LaVelle, a double by C Clint Coulter (Camas, WA) and a sacrifice fly by 3B Carson Kelly (Portland, OR) to score 2 runs in the top of the 4th inning.  It was the second hit of the game for LaVelle.

Brown is a very interesting hitter.  5-11/185 with some strength, he has a very polished, quick swing and squares the ball up to the middle of the field very consistently.  He's going to hit for a very high average at the next level and pick up his share of doubles and triples to the gaps.

As predicted, RHP Michael Rucker had another easy inning in the 3rd and finished with 3 no-hit innings.  LHP Caleb Frare (Miles City, Montana) is now on the mound for the Royals.

 
8/5/2011 7:36:01 PM

Kayden Porter and Michael Rucker have both cruised through 2 innings  of shutout ball.....and it looks like Rucker could cruise through 7 innings of shutout ball the way he's throwing.

Porter is now out of the game, replaced by RHP Tony Blanford (Phoenix, AZ).  Blanford is an athletic 6-3, 180 two-way prospect who showed plenty of bat speed in BP this morning.  Looks like the game may remain scoreless for a while longer, too.  Blanford throws from a smooth delivery with a fast, loose arm action and has been pounding the strike zone with a 90-91 mph, along with a big breaking 76 mph curveball and a nice 80 mph curveball.
 
8/5/2011 7:16:28 PM

Royals RHP Michael Rucker (Lake Tapps, WA) had an easy 1-2-3 inning to start off the game.  Rucker is a 6-0 RHP who throws from a somewhat deceptive slow paced delivery but has a very quick arm.  He was mostly 90 mph but had a nasty 80 mph slider with big depth that was his strikeout pitch.  He's going to be very tough to hit if he gets ahead in the count, which he did that inning.
 
8/5/2011 7:10:33 PM

Big Kayden Porter (Spanish Fork, UT) on the mound for the Reds to start the game.  Fairly straight forward inning.  89-92 with good downhill angle, pitched down in the zone, occasional 79 mph splitter and 73 mph curveball, challenged hitters well.

 SS Dylan LaVelle (Lake Stevens, WA)provided the only bump for Porter, slamming a 90 mph fastball hard (96 mph off the bat) into the left field corner for a 2-out double.  
8/5/2011 6:04:26 PM

Maybe this extra inning thing wasn't such a good idea.

Aside from adding 30 minutes to the game, we just had a nasty collision between third baseman Geonte Jackson (Sugar Land, TX) and SS A.J. Hinojosa on a little jam shot blooper between the two.  Both went down hard and fast and somehow Hinojosa held on the ball.  Thankfully both players got up after a few minutes of shaking the cobwebs out and were able to remain in the game.

Rangers win 9-5.
 
8/5/2011 5:56:30 PM

The Rangers have taken a 7-5 lead in extra innings.  Walks, 4 stolen bases and a throwing error contributed to the inning but hard hits by 1B Austin Dean and C Stryker Trahan helped, with Trahan's single driving in the second run.  Dean has had an outstanding day at the plate and hit the ball hard every at bat and during BP.

3B/OF Austin Aune just made the score 9-5 with a broken bat flair into left field.  Aune flew out deep to centerfield his last time up but got rewarded for a lesser swing this time around.

White Sox SS Kevin Ross made a sterling dive and toss to second for a force out to help limit the damage.
 
8/5/2011 5:41:08 PM

This is very unusual, if not unprecedented.  With the score tied and plenty of time budgeted between games, the scheduled 7 inning game is now in the 8th inning.
 
8/5/2011 5:35:31 PM

White Sox RHP Nick McCarty (Noblesville, IN) also had a very quick and smooth inning out of the bullpen, getting 2 easy fly ball outs and a punch out in a 1-2-3 inning.  McCarty was 87-89 mph from a short stride/high 3/4's release point that generated downhill angle and threw a sharp 75 mph curveball that he picked up his strikeout on.

The game is now 5-5 heading into the bottom of the 7th and last inning.  LHP/OF Trey Ball led off the inning with a single off Grayson Long.
 
8/5/2011 5:31:09 PM

Rangers RHP Grayson Long (Baytown, TX) had a very easy 6th inning, appropriate for a 6-6 right hander who throws with very little effort.  Long was 89-93 on his fastball, almost all at the bottom of the strike zone, and threw a 77 mph slurve with some depth and a nice 80 mph change up.  He has some resemblance to PG All American RHP Walker Weickel without quite the downhill angle to the plate.
 
8/5/2011 5:12:34 PM

White Sox OF Justin Burba (Haysville, KS) delivered his second run scoring single of the game to drive in Blake Hickman and C Jason Goldstein (Highland Park, IL) followed with an firm single up the middle to account for another run as the White Sox have pulled the score back to 5-4 in the bottom of the 5th.

Burba is a 5-9/170 John Cangelosi type with an advanced ability to square the ball up and hit it where it's pitched.

The White Sox now have tied the game up, as LHP/OF Trey Ball (2013, New Castle, IN) drove in Burba with a ground ball to shortstop.
 
8/5/2011 4:53:01 PM

RHP Kevin McCanna finished up with a very quick 3rd inning, bringing on RHP Dalton Brown (Ponder, TX) to throw the 4th inning.  Brown is a strongly built 6-3, 225 lb who throws from a back turn delivery and is pretty severely cross body (8-10" at least) on his release.  He 88-90 mph on his fastball with occasional cutting actions and threw a sharp 78 mph slider.  RF Courtney Hawkins, who is fast becoming the scouting focus of the game, helped Brown out with a nice route to a hard slicing line drive off the bat of Kevin Ross.
 
8/5/2011 4:35:53 PM

White Sox RHP Ty Hensley (Edmond, OK) on the mound for the third inning, with the score 3-2 Rangers.  Hensley was a catcher at last year's Area Code Games and took BP this morning with the White Sox.  Hensley has a tall cross body delivery that might benefit from a bit longer stride and will occasionally grunt when he releases the ball.  He was 91-93 in his first inning with good separation between a 77 mph big downer curveball and a short and quick 84 mph slider.

The Rangers did add another run when after a bloop single (there have been about a half dozen of those so far) )OF Courtney Hawkins hit an absolute rocket off the left field fence for a double.
 
8/5/2011 4:16:17 PM

SS Gavin Cecchini picked up his second hit of the game, a bloop single to short right field, to tie the score up at 1-1 in the second inning.  Cecchini also crushed the ball in batting practice and is having himself a great day.  Another run quickly scored on a passed ball to make the score 2-1 Rangers
 
8/5/2011 4:05:18 PM

I was told that McCanna was up to 94 mph last week with nasty secondary stuff, so I was very happy to see him take the mound right away for the Rangers.  The 6-1 McCanna is relatively new to pitching, having been a primary catcher until last year, but that doesn't show in his delivery or stuff.  He throws very easily from a high 3/4's downhill release and has command of 3 pitches.  McCanna was 90-92 on his fastball in the first inning, with an outstanding 84 mph change up (really, really good) and a hard spinning 75 mph curveball.

A very bloopy single and a botched double play put runners in scoring position and White Sox 3B Kevin Ross (who I really liked in BP) came through with a rocket single up the middle that was 100 mph off the bat. 
8/5/2011 3:57:57 PM

The Rangers look to have the strongest hitting team in the event.  A scout said to me between games..."Wow....Rangers.....Hit"....didn't waste his words.

LHP Brett Lilek (South Holland, IL) is the starter for the White Sox.  He didn't have his normal velocity in the first inning, pitching at 84-87 mph, but had a very sharp 75 mph curveball that he used to backdoor C.J. Hinojosa for one out.  SS Gavin Cecchini jumped on one of the fastballs and drove it hard (95 off the bat) into the left field corner.  But Lilek got OF Nick Williams to ground out (4.21 to 1B) to end the inning.

RHP Kevin McCanna on the mound for the Rangers.


 
8/5/2011 2:40:49 PM

The Northwest team at the Area Codes is always interesting to watch as there are there are frequently players from that region who haven't got much exposure yet.

3B/RHP Carson Kelly (Portland, OR) is one of the players who has been on the national stage before and he's one of my favorites in the 2012 class.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's a first round pick next June, he has all the tools.  Kelly has a very sound hitting approach and excellent bat speed and strength at the plate.

He's not very strong yet but 2013 C Reese McGuire (Kent, WA) has a very, very nice left handed swing that's going to keep getting better as he fills out his 6-1, 180 lb frame.

PG All American OF Andrew Pullin (Centralia, WA) showed some of the best left handed power of BP, which has been predominantly right handed dominated.  There have been very few balls hit out to right field (one of Stryker Trahan's stands out) but Pullin lifted a bomb to just to the right of the big scoreboard during the first round.  The ball sounds very nice coming off his bat.

I don't know anything about OF Theo Alexander (Kirkland, WA) but think I will get to know him much better this week.  He's a very strong 6-1, 190 lb left handed hitter with lots of strength and bat speed.

This Royals team hits the ball hard and has some nice swings.  OF Mitchell Gueller (Rochester, WA) has the size and strength at 6-3, 205 and a strong right handed swing with some lift when he keeps his body back and waits for the ball.
 
8/5/2011 1:47:24 PM

The second group of hitters for the Reds in BP looked like a football line.  3B Joey Gallo (Las Vegas, NV) was the smallest of the five hitters at 6-5, 205.

The rest of the group included RHP Kayden Porter (Spanish Fork, UT) at 6-5, 250, 1B Dylan Cozens (Scottsdale, AZ) at 6-6, 225, OF David Graybill (Phoenix, AZ) at 6-4, 235 and OF/RHP Joey Curletta (Phoenix, AZ) at 6-4, 230.

Gallo, of course, is one of the most talented hitters in the 2012 class and showed it well, launching balls up both gaps with authority.  I was very impressed with Graybill's swing and bat speed, though.  He gets out to his front side very early but still has the strength to show easy plus power to the pull side.  The left handed hitting Cozens has a very smooth swing that is pretty short for his size and he has plenty of room in his frame to fill out and get seriously strong.

OF Cullen O'Dwyer (Albuquerque, NM) showed outstanding bat speed from the left side, significantly more than I remember him showing during the PG National Showcase in June.  He will bear very close watching in the games.  His swing from the right side is pretty good but doesn't have close to the same raw bat speed.

SS Mike Meyers (Las Vegas, NV) has a very long and loose projectable 6-1, 175 lb build and a sound fundamental swing with the beginnings of real bat speed.
 
8/5/2011 12:55:45 PM

The Rangers put on a show in BP, hitting significantly more balls out of the park and showing more collective bat speed than any other team thus far.

1B Austin Dean (Spring, TX) hit in the first group and set the tone, crushing the ball on almost every swing and knocking 3-4 balls over the left field fence.

SS Sheldon Neuse (2013, Fort Worth, TX) is quickly becoming one of my favorite 2013 players.  He was outstanding at the PG Junior National Showcase in mid-June and is an all around athlete who can play shortstop at a high level and throw 90+ off the mound.  He took an outstanding batting practice and showed top level bat speed with a easy tension free swing.

SS C.J. Hinojosa (Spring, TX) hit some balls onto the street beyond the left field fence, which is hardly a surprise.  When SS Gavin Cecchini (Lake Charles, LA) stepped in right after Hinojosa and did the same thing, that was a bit more of an eye opener.

OF Courtney Hawkins (Corpus Christi, TX) has calmed down his swing a bit from earlier in the summer and the results showed; he peppered a ball off the RCF fence early in his round and had one come off the barrel at 107 mph (per the Trackman radar) later.  Hawkins lifted one well over the 387 sign in LCF in his last round...probably a 420' foot bomb.

C Stryker Trahan (Scott, LA) showed his power and bat speed, as usual.

One of the sleepers in the 2012 class for me is 3B Austin Aune (Argyle, TX), who has a sweet left handed swing with power.  His situation is complicated as he's a top quarterback prospect who is committed to play both sports at TCU.



 
8/5/2011 12:44:38 PM

Very few rising sophomores (2014 for this year's AC Games) have ever been included on an Area Code Games roster.  Two that come to mind immediately are Prince Fielder (who wasn't ready) and Delmon Young (who was ready).  There is one this year in 2014 SS Drew Ward (Leedey, OK) who definitely ready for this stage at his age.  The 6-4, 195 lb left handed hitter is a superior athlete who can drive the ball deep to all fields.

A very interesting hitter who I had never seen before is OF Bralin Jackson, a 6-0 "backwards" hitter (hits right/throws left) from Raytown, Missouri.  Jackson has a slender build but has some serious whip in his swing and launched one well over the left centerfield fence.  Jackson looks like he should have very good speed (the White Sox hit in shorts and he has those narrow sprinter's calves) as well.

3B Kevin Ross (Skokie, IL) is another player I'm not familiar with but who will bear careful watching in the games.  He's a very strong 6-1, 192 lbs and the ball comes off his bat hard, although his swing mechanics can get a bit stiff at times.
 
8/5/2011 11:38:23 AM

I was on the plane with Yankees catchers Scott Williams (Berwyn, PA), Nelson Rodriguez (Brooklyn, NY) and Chris Harvey (Altoona, PA) last night and didn't get to my room until 1 am, so I know those 3 are dragging a bit.  But they certainly didn't look like it.  Along with C Buck McCarthy (Saugus, MA), they all put on on impressive show as the first group in the Yankees BP round.  Harvey, McCarthy and Williams all hit home runs and Rodriguez, whose power is to death valley in centerfield here, hit a couple of balls off the CF fence.

Williams has really improved his swing mechanics and bat speed over the past few months and I was glad I had the chance to tell him that in person last night.

The 6-5 Harvey has two different swings, one that I really like and one that I don't.  When he's aggressive, getting the barrel out and looking to pull the ball, he squares it up and drives it hard with bat speed.  When he shortens up like a 5-11 middle infielder and tries to stay inside the ball, he looses bat speed and gets fisty to the opposite field.  His arms are too long for that approach in my opinion.

1B Chris Shaw (Lexington, MA), who really hit the ball well in Lakeland the past few days, packed his A swing across the country and continued to pound the ball deep in BP


It's a bad idea to break a bat in BP here.  Rhett Wiseman and Vohn Bozoian (Brewers) both had that misfortune and were unmercifully ribbed by their teammates (I suspect mostly the pitchers).
 
8/5/2011 11:21:46 AM

Being composed of SoCal players, the Brewers are kind of the "home team" at the AC's.  They also have an absurdly long 34 player roster.

Some BP highlights:

OF Vohn Bozoian (Chino Hills, CA):  The 6-5 Bozoian has some serious power and whip in his bat.  His swing mechanics are similar to 6-4 3B Corey Oswalt's but the bat speed is a bit better for me.

SS's Chris Rivera (Fullerton, CA) and J.P. Crawford (Lakewood, CA):  These are 2 of the top 2013 shortstops in the country (Rivera is #1 at present in the PG rankings) and both looked very good in BP.

1B/3B Ron Miller (Los Angeles, CA):  The ball just explodes off Miller's bat (as it has done all summer) and he does it easily and confidently.

SS Tanner Rahier (Indian Wells, CA):  Rahier's bat speed and strength are superior, the sound of the ball makes you look up if you are typing/writing when he takes his first swing.

SS Joe Munoz (Hacienda Heights, CA):  Munoz is one of my personal favorites, a "pick to click" that isn't ranked as high as I think he'll eventually be drafted/ranked next year.  He took a solid BP as well. 
8/5/2011 11:08:36 AM

A number of the Nationals best known players did not take BP and as the team is from the Southeast and they don't have a game today, I suspect they aren't in town yet.  Those include PG All American OF'er Jesse Winker, C Tomas Nido (always fun to watch take BP) and speedy OF'er Jamal Martin.  All 3 are from Florida.

SS Avery Romero (St. Augustine, FL):  Romero just crushed the ball, even hitting one out of spacious Blair Field.

NOTE:  There are very few balls hit out of Blair Field, even in BP.  The ball flat does not carry and never has with the heavy ocean air (not to mention the 387' alleys).

3B/RHP Will Craig (Johnson City, TN):  The AC's are much more aggressive about getting underclassmen on the field than the East Coast Pro.  Craig, a 2013, is a 6-3, 215 right handed hitter with serious juice in his bat.

IF/RHP Kyle Overstreet (Boaz, AL):  I'm a big Overstreet fan, he performs and hits the ball very hard gap to gap.

1B Rock Rucker (Marietta, GA), 2B Dalton Dulin (Memphis, TN) and OF Vincent Jackson (McDonough, GA) also squared the ball up very well in BP.
 
8/5/2011 10:34:12 AM

The Area Code Games originally derived their name from the fact that each team was made up of players from a particular area code in California, back in the days (the late 1980's) when just players from California were in the event and their were fewer area codes in existence.  Things have expanded way beyond that, of course, and while the AC's are still primarily a West Coast event, there are players from all over the country in Long Beach.

The teams are completely organized, selected and run by pro scouts, so I've listed the "General Manager" of each team below.

Here are how the teams break down geographically, although there is always some roster juggling that mixes things up a bit.

Chicago White Sox (GM Dan Durst):  Midwest
Cincinnati Reds (GM Clark Crist):  4 Corners, Hawaii
Kansas City Royals (GM Scott Ramsey):  Pacific Northwest
Milwaukee Brewers (GM Corey Rodriguez):  Southern California
New York Yankees (GM Matt Hyde):  Northeast
Oakland A's (Sam Geaney):  Northern California
Texas Rangers (GM Randy Taylor): Texas, Louisiana
Washington Nationals (GM Jimmy Gonzalez):  Southeast, Virginia


 
8/5/2011 10:15:52 AM

Good Morning from Long Beach, California, although my body tells me it's the afternoon in Lakeland, Florida.  Delayed flight last night, so it was a very short night for myself and about 10 players and their families that were on the same flight.

The schedule today at Blair Field is for each of the 8 teams to take batting practice (pro style, with 3 rounds each for each group) followed by 2 games (2:45/5:45).  The Nationals are on the field right now.

While I have seen most of the top players before, the Area Code Games are always good for "surprises" more than the East Coast Pro.  So I'm looking forward to seeing some new players.

Nationals are taking BP at the moment, I'll list the highlights from each BP after they've finished.
 
8/5/2011 10:07:08 AM

Test Blog