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Tournaments | Story | 5/28/2019

West Memorial Day: Day 4 Notes

Connor Spencer     
Photo: Tyler Whitaker (Perfect Game)

2019 WWBA West Memorial Day Classic: Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 Notes

Day four at the PG West WWBA Memorial Day Classic was championship Monday and the games did not disappoint.

In the 18u semifinal games LVR continued to flex its offensive muscles scoring five runs against City 18u Green. Truthfully, LVR would only need one run to win the ball game thanks to a stellar performance on the mound by two-way player and Arizona commit Tyler Whitaker (2021, Las Vegas, Nev.). Whitaker was confident from the get-go, freely throwing to both sides of the plate and mixing his breaking ball into the mix consistently. He has mid-to-high leg kick that he raises slowly, then pushes down the mound with authority. His fastball sat around 85-to-87 mph and he was touching 88. He has a shorter arm with a high three-quarters arm slot that feels free and easy as he falls off to his glove side through his finish. Whitaker finished his day going four full with six strikeouts as LVR moved on to the championship game.

AZ T-Rex Easton just edged out Juggernaut Group Baseball Academy 7-6 and New Mexico State commit Kenneth Jimenez (2020, Tumacacori, Ariz.) unloaded for a 3-for-3 game with a towering fly ball home run down the left field line. Jimenez has a stalky frame and solid mechanics behind the plate as the AZ T-Rex backstop. His arm behind the plate is a bit of a hiccup for scouts as his pop times ranged from 2.15-to-2.20 seconds. However, the kid can swing it, and has quick hands and a scrappy mentality at the plate. He uses a very open stance with some crouch, then lowers his hands down and back into his load. He has a hanging leg kick and does a nice job of getting everything out of his frame with his weight transfer. Moreover, Jimenez flashed some speed on the base paths, which is truly a luxury for a team to get that out of their catcher. AZ T-Rex Easton moved on to face LVR in the championship game.

The championship offensive heroics for AZ T-Rex Easton were provided by shortstop Travis Warinner (2020, Glendale, Ariz.) and again Jimenez who had one heck of a championship day at the plate. Warinner slashed the first two runs home for AZ T-Rex Easton with an electric triple that brought the game to life. He has an upright stance at the plate and slightly hunches over his front side. He has solid rhythm with the pitcher, and everything about his load and stride is simple and quiet. One thing that is very strong about Warinner’s swing is the amount of whip he’s able to generate with the barrel thanks to his upper half coil. As his hands load back, he gets the tip of his barrel out over the front half of his helmet (from side view). This allows him to whip the barrel back down and through the zone as he unleashes the tension generated by this coil. AZ T-Rex Easton won the 18u division over LVR 4-1.

In the 16u semifinals CV Marlins got an excellent start from righthander and St. Mary’s commit Issac Ayon (2020, Fresno, Calif.). Ayon has long and lengthy frame and his 84-86 mph fastball tends to get in on hitter’s hands because of the length. His arm action is loose and long as he really reaches down and back, then whips it up to his three-quarters slot. Ayon was effectively wild with his fastball, and the off-speed is a promising pitch with solid depth and sink when thrown with conviction. With the pitch’s firmness and rotation, the off-speed may be in fact a splitfinger fastball, and as that pitch matures with more deception, hitters will have a harder time laying off of it. Ayon went 4 1/3 innings while only allowing one hit and fanning six. CV Marlins moved on to face PFA Matadors 16u for the championship.

In the championship round PFA Matadors 16u got a quality start from sophomore right hander Gavin Meyer (2021, Hemet, Calif.). Meyer lived around 81-83 while touching 85 mph with the fastball. His straight over the top “Iron Mike” like slot creates some downward angle when he’s able to stay out in front. Throughout his outing he consistently missed up in the zone with his longer arm but was competitive throughout. He went three full scoreless innings.

Beto Beltran (2021, Coachella, Calif.) took the hill in a bases loaded jam. He then proceeded to strikeout the next two batters and force weak contact to the third getting out of the inning. Beltran has a longer free arm with a high three-quarters arm slot. His fastball sat 82-83 mph and he touched 86. Throughout his motion and into separation, he keeps his hands away from his body, and his free-flowing motions feel loose and easy. Beltran has a solid 11-to-5 shaped breaking ball that broke hard even with a larger shape at times. It felt as though Beltran could use his breaker more throughout an outing and find even more success as he was really only using it as an out pitch.

However, even with solid pitching performances for PFA Matadors 16u, CV Marlins still hung tight, and battled their way to a walk off win in the seventh thanks to Eddie Saldivar (2021, Clovis, Calif.) The sophomore infielder slashed a bases loaded shot past the diving right fielder to win the 16u division in thrilling fashion. He has an upright, slightly open stance that leads into a small swinging leg kick that closes his front side. When his front foot lands, he actually lands closed, cutting himself off slightly from the inner half of the plate. However, this helped his case to win the game in his last at bat, as he scorched a fastball on the outer half to his pull side. His hands are quiet and simple in his load, and as a whole his shoulder plane rotation, barrel plane, and hip drive all dance with each other beautifully, and the simplicity of his swing sets him up for future success.

Over at Camelback Ranch the 14u championship game took place, and 3D Gold 14u showed they may need to play in the 16u bracket in the next tournament they play in. They scored a ridiculous 21 runs in the first inning, and nearly the entire roster could be mentioned here. Top prospect from the 14u West Showcase a month ago Owen Egan (2023, Yucaipa, Calif.) continues to build on his already stellar early PG resume as he threw three scoreless innings with four K’s. He also went 3-for-4 on the day scoring three runs for 3D Gold 14u. Egan’s arm continues to get stronger with every appearance. In his championship game outing, his fastball sat 82-84 and he touched 86 mph. At the 14u West Showcase, he was clocked at 88 mph from centerfield. Egan is a very high follow, and continues to project himself as a top prospect in the near future.

Large and lengthy-bodied first baseman Zach Wadas (2023, Phoenix, Ariz.) smoked a three-run double that very nearly left the yard in right. Wadas has almost a Brandon Belt type of feel in the box with his length and strength. He uses a simple leg kick stride towards the pitcher and does a great job of staying tall on his backside. There’s still room for him to generate more whip with the barrel, but his elbow launches into the slot quickly, and his barrel gets on plane and stays on plane giving consistent back spin. Moreover, even with his length, his actions in the infield and on the basepaths still feel athletic and with purpose. 

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