High School : : Rankings
Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking Back at the PG HS Road Trip

Todd Gold         Ben Collman        
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Last week we had the privilege of traveling the country watching some of the best teams and players firsthand. This is a look back at the best prospects and highlights of the PG High School Baseball Road Trip. Thank you to all of the players, coaches and parents that took their time to help us out with information, quotes and photo requests, we couldn't have pulled it off without you.

Top Prospects

Top 2011 Pitchers

Todd Gold
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (OK)
Simply put: I haven't seen a HS pitcher with his combination of stuff and command before. Bundy spots up his mid 90s fastball (up to 97) with excellent command. He mixes in a plus slider, a very good cutter, a curveball that projects to be plus in the near future and a developing changeup that is already good in spite of not getting to use it very often at this level. In some draft year's Bundy would have a chance to become the first high school righty to ever go #1 overall. Even in this loaded draft class he'll still go plenty high. If you really want to nitpick you could say that Bundy is a RHP with average height. Though you could say the same thing about Roy Oswalt...who doesn't throw as hard as Bundy .

2. Henry Owens, LHP, Edison (CA)
The tall lanky lefty generates good velocity from a deceptive low 3/4 arm slot and a low effort delivery. Owens commands his secondary stuff well and gets a lot of break on curveball and slider. Owens' future role could vary from highly effective lefty specialist to frontline starter. The key will be harnessing command of his low 90s fastball (especially in the bottom half of the zone) to better set up the secondary stuff. Owens is a rare left handed talent.

3. T.J. White, RHP/SS, Bishop Gorman (NV)
White is a strong bodied strong armed player whose fastball was up to 91 MPH against Sierra Vista. While his command was off on the cold and windy day, the impressive arm strength and solid curveball suggest that White is generally unhittable at the high school level and will have a chance to be a successful pitcher at UNLV next year as well.

4. Blair Goldasck, RHP, Sierra Vista (NV)
Submarine mid-80s righty was very tough on one of the best lineups in Nevada (if not the country) in Bishop Gorman. Goldsack is a competitor who showed an ability to bear down and make good pitches in tough spots, allowing him to get out of a lot of tough situations in a big game.

5. Will Kuhl, RHP, Mission Viejo (CA)
Kuhl is an effective finesse pitcher, who rather than overpowering hitters with a lot of velocity, mixes his pitches and keeps hitters off balance well. Kuhl has good movement on his fastball

Ben Collman
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (OK)
We had been hearing about dominant performances by Bundy all year and got a chance to see it up close on the final day of our trip. He did not disappoint with 16 Ks in six innings. He also added an RBI triple and walk-off HR. Bundy does everything on the field easier than almost anyone I have ever seen.

2. Henry Owens, LHP, Edison (CA)
Owens was smoother and had better command than the last time I saw him at the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter last October. His fastball was good but the most impressive part was the command of his offspeed, throwing 60% of curveballs, 78% of sliders and 89% of changeups for strikes.

3. T.J. White, RHP/SS, Bishop Gorman (NV)
White did not have his best game, struggling with his control and giving up five runs in three innings to a very good Sierra Vista offense. He is a very good athlete, had two hits at the plate and was up to 91 with his fastball, also showing a changeup.

4. Matt Eureste, SS/RHP, St. Pius X (TX)
Eureste was more impressive in the field as an athletic, left-handed hitting shortstop but just missed making my 2011 position player list. He was also very impressive on the mound, getting the save in St. Pius' 5-3 win over St. Thomas. He showed a loose arm, with a 87-89 MPH fastball and a 73-77 MPH slider as his out pitch.

5. Will Kuhl, RHP, Mission Viejo (CA)
Kuhl didn't throw as hard as the other pitchers on the list, topping out at 84, but showed some very good control in throwing a five hit shutout over Servite. The Fullerton commit is projectable and while throwing mostly FBs, showed good feel for a CB and CH.

Top 2011 Position Players
Todd Gold
1. Austin Hedges, C, JSerra (CA)
Hedges is a silky smooth receiver behind the plate with an absolute cannon for an arm. The best defensive catcher in the country in my opinion, who can swing the bat well too. Very talented player with sky high upside at the next level.

2. Christian Lopes, SS, Edison (CA)
Highly polished hitter, Lopes hits for average and power to all fields. Quick athletic actions at shortstop and good arm strength, Lopes can do it all on the diamond. The only knock on Lopes is that some feel he may be close to maxed out physically on his 6 foot frame. The USC commit is similar to Christian Colon (4th overall pick of 2010 draft by KC) in a lot of ways besides have the same first name; size, position, skillset and geographic location. Lopes has slightly better top end running speed and arm strength at the same age.

3. Matt Eureste, SS/RHP, St. Pius X (TX)
Biggest surprise of the trip. I didn't know much about Eureste except that he had been putting up great numbers for the Panthers this season and a couple of positive notes on him from various contacts in the area. What I found was a very good athlete and an exceptional, well-rounded set of tools. A quick athletic shortstop who hits from the left side with good bat speed and a lot of bat whip Eureste projects as a potential 5-tool player. Also just missed the list as a pitcher, working 87-89 with low effort from a sidearm slot and a nasty upper 70s slider.

4. Ricardo Jacquez, SS/RHP, Franklin (TX)
Jacquez is a difficult player for me to evaluate. I've seen him twice now, once as a pitcher and now as a left fielder. Jacquez, a MIF prospect has a plus arm, serious bat speed and is light on his feet. His diminuative stature will likely prevent him from being drafted really high out of high school, increasing the chances that the Texas Longhorns will have the El Paso product on the field in Austin next year. Could have been higher on the list if I had a chance to see him at short.

5. Jake Hager, SS/RHP, Sierra Vista (NV)
This was a very tough call for the last spot as the list could have very easily been a top 10 for 2011 position players. A high level two way prospect, Hager is a better SS than pitcher, though he is good enough at each that he nearly made both lists. Hager's arm strength will play anywhere, but his best asset is his bat, Hager shows very good bat speed and drives the ball with authority to all fields.

Ben Collman
1. Austin Hedges, C, JSerra (CA)
He displays the best catch and throw skills I have seen for a 2011 prep catcher. Great athlete who moves well, very impressive overall. Also showed a quick bat on line drive singled in come from behind 7th inning rally.

2. Christian Lopes, SS, Edison (CA)
Lopes went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk, but was very impressive physically as well as continuing to show the smooth defensive actions and strong arm that should allow him to excel at SS at the next level.

3. Jake Hager, SS/RHP, Sierra Vista (NV)
Not quite as smooth or loose as Lopes at shortstop but his athleticism and aggressiveness at the plate and on the bases make him a very exciting player. Also showed ability on the mound.

4. Clay Williamson, OF, JSerra (CA)
An unknown to us before the trip, he is an exciting player who is the offensive leader for one of the best teams in the country. The Fullerton commit picked up the game-winning hit in the championship game of the Anaheim Lions Tournament. He is an athletic CF who can run and throw and showed very good bat speed with multiple off-the-bat velocities in the mid 90s.

5. Drew Stiner, C, Owasso (OK)
Strong, athletic catchers are hard to find and Owasso has Stiner to pair with top hurlers Bundy and Phillip Wilson. He handled velocity very well and did an excellent job handling Bundy's nasty breaking stuff, and showed a strong arm. He is not as advanced with the bat but has strength and power potential. Pop times ranged from 1.92-1.98.

Top Underclassmen Prospects

Top Underclass Pitchers

Todd Gold
1. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic (CA) - 2013
Everything you hope to see from a sophomore pitching prospect. Tall (6' 5"), left handed, live arm (fastball up to 89) and developing offsepeed stuff. Cathedral Catholic coach Gary Remiker praised Gonsalves' improved command, explaining that it is the result of a tireless work ethic. Remiker compared him favorably to another former player he coached, referring to him as a taller, left handed version of Mark Prior. Enough said.

2. Tyler Gonzales, RHP/SS, Madison (TX) - 2012
The arm is electric. Gonzales throws from a sharp downhill plane when he's in rhythm and is at times unhittable. He compliments his heavy fastball (90-93 MPH) with a hard biting slider with late sudden break and a solid curveball. Also a high level shortstop prospect, showed obvious tools at the plate and I hope to see him play short in the next year to get a feel for where he has more upside.

3. Ryan Kayoda, RHP, El Toro (CA) - 2013
Young thin athletic body with a long frame that projects well, Kayoda shows a fast whippy arm. Delivery has some similarities to Tim Lincecum, with a high release point that creates a drastic downhill angle on his pitches combined with excellent balance that allows him to stay online and in rhythm while leaning toward 1B throughout the delivery. Fastball was up to 87 and projects to increase, mixed in a nice breaking ball with big break already that projects to be really nasty as he matures.

4. Tony Blanford, RHP/SS, Bouldeer Creek (AZ) - 2012
While Blanford is also an interesting infield prospect you can't overlook his upside on the mound. One of the best power arms in the state of Arizona, Blanford mixes low 90s heat with a curveball that shows a lot of potential and is very good when he's on. Blanford is well built and still  has some projection in him and has good upside.

5. Kohl Stewart, RHP/1B, St. Pius X (TX) - 2013
Tall and young, Stewart struggled a bit with his command but showed a lot of raw potential on the mound. Quick arm action and a fastball that registered as high as 87 MPH, though his offspeed stuff is a tick behind his fastball. Also a very good hitter with good present bat speed.

Ben Collman
1. Tyler Gonzales, RHP/SS, Madison (TX) - 2012
Gonzales was dominant giving up just one hit and striking out 14. He put his name on the radar last fall in Jupiter pitching for the Cardinals Scout Team/FTB Mizuno that Henry Owens played on. Gonzales worked at 90-93, including 92 in the 7th inning. He is athletic, repeats his delivery, and also drove in a run with an RBI single. Gonzales will be getting a lot of talk a year from now leading up to the 2012 draft.

2. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Cathedral Catholic (CA) - 2013
Projectable is the first thing you think of when you look at Gonsalves' 6' 5" 180 lb frame. But Gonsalves' current repitoire is already very impressive with a FB up to 89 and a high 70s curveballl and developing CH. Gonsalves has made big improvements from a year ago, and it is scary how good he can be in two years.

3. Tony Blanford, RHP/SS, Bouldeer Creek (AZ) - 2012
Blanford wasn't quite as dominant as the above two hurlers, but was very impressive, putting his name among the top 2012 pitchers in the country. The tall, projectable RHP has easy velocity, currently 89-91, and a mid 70s curveball that flashed sharp break. He didn't need to use his off-speed much as he consistently got ahead in the count, allowing only four baserunners in his five innings.

4 Ryan Kayoda, RHP, El Toro (CA) - 2013
A 2013 to watch, Kayoda is athletic and has an arm that works easily with his FBs up to 87. Pitching against one of the top offenses in the nation in JSerra, he allowed just three runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings. It is easy to see him consistently throwing in the low 90s as his body fills out.

5. Michael Silva, RHP, West Ranch (CA) - 2012
Silva is a bit of a work in progress as he struggled with his control and off-speed but his athleticism and loose arm are very interesting. He worked 87-89 with his fastball and flashed a slider at 74 with sharp break.

Top Underclass Position Players

Todd Gold
1. Joey Gallo, 3B/SS, Bishop Gorman (NV) - 2012
The most casual fan can pick out Gallo as a star player before even taking the field, with a 6' 5" 205 lb. frame he absolutely looks the part. He lives up to the promise after he steps between the lines as well, Gallo has plus bat speed, good plate coverage and serious power potential. Gallo moves well defensively with a cannon for an arm. One of the best players in the loaded class of 2012.

2. Cavan Biggio, 3B, St. Thomas Catholic (TX) -2013
Picture a young Craig Biggio (Cavan's father and HS coach)...except picture him taller and hitting from the left side. That's Cavan Biggio, he already has good present power and projects for even more. He and Gallo were neck and neck for the #1 spot but Gallo gets the edge because of his arm. Biggio is a very mature hitter who showed off a very advanced knowledge of the strike zone with good discipline. Knows how to work the county very well for a Sophomore and is willing to take a walk if pitchers don't want to risk giving him something to hit.

3. Kenny Meimerstorf, OF, Bishop Gorman (NV), - 2013
Yet another dangerous hitter in a loaded Bishop Gorman lineup, Meimerstorf is a promising young player. Good athlete in the OF who hits for some power from the left side already and projects for plenty more. Good balanced swing with a smooth load and good separation, more of a doubles hitter at present but as he matures those hard line drives that one hop the wall right now will start leaving the yard.

4. Hunter Kopycinski, C, St. Thomas Catholic (TX) - 2012
Kopycinski has a plus arm that really stood out. Combined with good catch & throw skills Kopycinski is a high level defensive Catcher. Also showed good strength at contact as a hitter

5. Timmy Lopes, 2B, Edison (CA) - 2012
Gets overshadowed a bit by his older brother and double play partner Christian right now. But next year as a Senior Timmy will be charged with carrying on the success that Edison has enjoyed this year, and he is well equipped to do it. Lopes shows very good range and ability defensively, though his arm strength is more suited for 2B than SS at the next level.

Ben Collman
1. Joey Gallo, 3B/SS, Bishop Gorman (NV) - 2012
Gallo showed why he is the #12 rated player in the class of 2012. He is long and strong and is everything you would want in an everyday 3B. He showed a lightning quick bat from the left side on a 7th inning double to left center and a strong arm from 3B. Gallo didn't pitch in the game against Sierra Vista but was up to 92 MPH at least year's Junior National Showcase.

2. Cavan Biggio, 3B, St. Thomas Catholic (TX) -2013
The younger son of St. Thomas coach Craig Biggio, Cavan played 3B and showed smooth fielding actions and a strong arm, but was even more impressive at the plate. His left handed swing has lots of bat speed and he should develop power as well.

3. Timmy Lopes, 2B, Edison (CA) - 2012
Christian's younger brother has a smaller frame but showed the same smooth defensive actions at 2B. He picked up one of Edison's seven hits and could continue to raise his stock with a full summer and senior season at shortstop.

4. Hunter Kopycinski, C, St. Thomas Catholic (TX) - 2012
He caught my attention with his arm strength in warm-ups, firing missiles all around the infield. He continued to show off his arm on a pair of CS, one of which he registered a 1.79 pop time. He is very good behind the plate and should continue to improve offensively, making him a very interesting prospect.

5. Jesse Kay, C, Cathedral Catholic (CA) - 2012
Kay was very impressive with the bat, doubling twice and showing strength and bat speed with some loft in his swing. Kay was at DH during the game but has a very strong arm behind the plate and if he can quicken his release and consistently pop 1.90 he could be a very interesting prospect.

Road Trip Highlights

Best Games

Todd Gold
1. JSerra Walks-Off With Anaheim Lions Championship
This game had everything: high stakes (championship game), good prospects (Austin Hedges, Clay Williamson, Ryan Kayoda, etc) and a dramatic finish. JSerra came all the way back from a 4-0 deficit to walk-off with a 5-4 victory with a 2-run single by Clay Williamson.

2. Edison Escapes Fountain Valley
Lefties Henry Owens was locked in a scoreless pitchers duel with  Zach Milan until the Chargers bats woke up in top of the 7th. Edison piled up 6 runs to support their ace who afterwards said that he was excited to win his last start against their rival Fountain Valley.

3. St. Pius X Downs Rival St. Thomas Catholic in Nail-Biter
This was a fun game to watch. Two rivals trading runs back and forth in a well played game that included several good defensive plays, highlighted by Patrick Leonard's diving stop up the middle. St. Pius pulled it out 5-3 but St. Thomas got the go-ahead run on base before Matt Eureste struck out Hunter Kopycinski with the bases loaded to Save it for St. Pius X.

4. Sierra Vista's Statement Win Over Bishop Gorman
Bishop Gorman has won five consecutive state championship in Nevada. It's understandable that undefeated Sierra Vista may have had a chip on their shoulder entering the game ranked lower in spite of a better record. In spite of very cold conditions the Lions earned a hard-fought scrappy victory against a supremely talented Gorman squad.

5. The Dylan Bundy Show
Possibly the most entertaining run-rule game I have ever witnessed. While there were several other good players on the field, Dylan Bundy absolutely stole the show. Bundy dominated on the mound, tripled and for good measure invoked the run-rule by hitting a mammoth walk-off HR. He is a lot of fun to watch...if you don't have to step in against him.

Ben Collman
1.Anaheim Lions Championship
A great way to kick off our trip. One of the top teams in California posting a thrilling come from behind victory in a game filled with top prospects.

2. St. Pius/St. Thomas Rivalry Renewed
Another well-played game filled with prospects, this one had a different feel as the two rivals knew each other well, squaring off for the fourth time this season.

3.Sierra Vista-Bishop Gorman
The top two Nevada teams faced off and a big crowd was on hand. Sierra Vista's three run first inning set the tone as Bishop Gorman could not quite get over the hump.

4. Owens Shuts Down Fountain Valley
The 6-0 score is a bit deceiving as Edison scored all of their runs in the top of the 7th. Henry Owens shut down Fountain Valley, allowing only three hits.

5. Mission Viejo Edges Servite in Pitchers Duel
A crisp, well-played game ended 2-0 as both pitchers (Mission Viejo's Will Kuhl and Servites Enrique Guzman) throwing complete games.

Best Ballparks

Todd Gold
1. Stigall Field, Owasso HS (Owasso, OK)
I had heard about Owasso's great facilities, but Stigall Field still surpassed my expectations. It looks like a Minor League ballpark and while I'm not a huge fan of artificial turf it does allow the field to remain in good condition in just about any weather.

2. Cathedral Catholic HS (San Diego, CA)
Best playing surface I've seen at the HS level, rivals a lot of pro fields for how well manicured and green the grass is. Like the rest of the campus at Cathedral Catholic High School, the baseball field is very scenic and well groomed. Best music selection of any park on the trip.

3. "The Pit", St. Pius X HS (Houston, TX)
Very nice brick laiden facility and a big crowd on hand, including quite a few pro scouts. Field was in great shape and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

4. Glover Stadium (Anaheim, CA)
Venerable Glover Stadium doubles as a football field and as a result has some very unique park dimensions. The shallowest part of the park is to straight away centerfield, with a straight line fence that gets very deep in the corners. The stadium has a rich history and though it is old, its uniqueness makes it a good venue to watch a game from.

5. Boulder Creek HS (Anthem, AZ)
In a sun-drenched desert valley, Boulder Creek is a great location to watch a game during the spring. I may have felt differently if it were July, but it was a beautiful day and the field was in great shape.

Ben Collman
1. Stigall Field, Owasso HS (Owasso, OK)
A great setting for baseball with a great atmosphere and turf field that some minor league teams would envy.

2. "The Pit", St. Pius X HS (Houston, TX)
A great crowd was on hand for the rivalry game between St. Pius and St. Thomas and the field was in tremendous shape on a beautiful night in Houston.

3. Cathedral Catholic Field, Cathedral Catholic HS (San Diego, CA)
By far the most impressive high school on the trip, the school north of San Diego offers every sport imaginable with pristine facilities for all of them. The baseball field was no exception, looking up at the rolling hills of San Diego.

4. Lion Field, Sierra Vista HS (Las Vegas, NV)
With the school only 15 minutes away from the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, one would expect a feel of hustle and bustle. The exact opposite is the feel at Sierra Vista HS a couple miles south off I-15. The new school has an impressive field and balls to RF get a boost as the wind whips around the field.

5. Boulder Creek HS (Anthem, AZ)
The new school a half-hour north of Phoenix has great facilities and lit up the scoreboard the day we were in attendence, plating ten runs capped off by a walk-off HR by Alex Real.

Best Restaurants
Todd Gold
1. The Salt Lick BBQ - Driftwood, TX
Well worth the hour-plus drive east of San Antonio for one of my favorite BBQ restaurants in the country. My friends from Kansas City are going to be upset with me for saying this but Salt Lick rivals the best that KC has to offer...though I don't know that I'd quite say it tops them. It's very close.

2. The Buffet at Belaggio - Las Vegas, NV
Could have been #1 on this list if the ensuing stomach ache didn't ruin the rest of the day. Amazing selection of excellent food, this would be an excellent training ground for Adam Richman of Man Vs Food.

3. Carlos & Mickey's Mexican Food - El Paso, TX
While the atmosphere was really cool with fountains and a lot of decorations that give the place the feeling of being in Mexico a couple centuries ago, it was the food that I enjoyed the most. The menu was fairly small and yet I still had a hard time picking one thing. Though the steak ranchero proved to be a good decision.

4. Gulliver's - Irvine, CA
We actually stopped here to wait out the LA rush hour traffic and finish up the game recap before hitting the road to Las Vegas. It turned out to be a happy accident as the seafood was fresh and I don't know what they put in the creamed corn but it was amazing!

5. Pappadeaux - Houston, TX
While it loses points for being a chain, Pappadeaux has some excellent seafood and I am a sucker for good seafood.

Ben Collman
1. The Salt Lick BBQ - Driftwood, TX
The famous Austin BBQ stop with perfectly cooked ribs, brisket, turkey, and sausage. A must-stop for anyone in the Hill Country.

2. The Buffet at Belaggio - Las Vegas, NV
Really more of a 1A than a 2, the buffet's endless array of food is staggering and did not dissapoint.

3. Los Banditos de Carlos & Mickey's - El Paso, TX
Authentic Mexican food just miles fr the border. Possibly the biggest tortilla chips I have ever seen and outstanding grilled chicken tortillas.

4. Pappadeaux - Houston, TX
I don't like picking chains, but its tough to go wrong with Pappadeaux. The Mixed Seafood Grill has not let me down yet.

5. Panera Bread-multiple locations
The trip schedule did not allow us to check out the best of what every city had to offer, so multiple stops at Panera were needs for their free wireless internet and healthy fare.

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