2022 Area Code Underclass Games: Friday's Five Best

Shooter Hunt
Vice President, Scounting

SAN DIEGO -- The upperclass portion of the 2022 Area Code Games wrapped up Thursday, making way for the underclassmen. Players are split up by region on seven teams: Athletics (Northern California, Pacific Northwest), Brewers (Southern California, Hawaii), Nationals (Southeast), Rangers (Texas), Reds (Four Corners), White Sox (Midwest) and Yankees (Northeast).

SS J.D. Dix, Whitefish Bay HS, WI (2024)
In two games, Dix went 3-for-5 with a walk, and appeared to be on a mission in all facets of the game. The uber-athletic, 6-foot-2, 180-pound switch-hitter collected hits from both sides, taking aggressive cuts in all counts, and utilizing the whole field to spray firm contact. The balance, pitch recognition, and elite hand speed stand out along with the production. Dix’s high baseball IQ came into play with a stellar read on the bases to swipe third base.

SS Charlie Bates, Palo Alto HS, CA (2024)
Bates turned in a 2-for-3 performance for the Athletics after taking a quality round of batting practice the night before. The Stanford recruit stands comfortably and confidently in the box with one of the sweetest swings at the event. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound left-handed hitter covers the plate with ease and demonstrates an innate ability to change planes and track spin.

SS Kayson Cunningham, SA Johnson HS, TX (2024)
The Texas Tech recruit went 3-for-3 in the Rangers’ first game of the weekend. Just 5-foot-9, 160-pounds, he plays much bigger than his size, and the ability to be on time with a heavy barrel stood out against some elite midwest arms. The most striking contrast of the day came when Cunningham hammered a leadoff triple against a 94 mph fastball from a 6-foot-8 right-handed arm that was otherwise dominant. His bounce and effectiveness was not limited to the offensive side of the ball as he was flawless at his shortstop position making many athletic plays look easy.

C Jaydon Aukai Kea, Kamehameha HS, HI (2024)
Kea set the tone for the final game of the day with a booming, majestic home run that disappeared beyond the left field wall for a loud grand slam. The durably-strong, 6-foot, 210-pound backstop followed that up with a single in his next at-bat, ending up at second base with a hustle play that showcased surprising speed and athleticism given the powerful frame. After showcasing big power in batting practice, it was fun to watch it carry over into game play where he looked more than comfortable against some power-arms.

OF Hustyn Wheeler, Sandra Day O’Connor HS, AZ (2024)
Wheeler, an Oregon State recruit, was unfazed going up against a pair of 90+ mph arms, and went 2-for-3 on the evening including a backside double against a vicious left-handed arm. The high-waisted, 5-foot-11, 175-pound, twitchy left-handed hitter showcased impressive bat speed with the ability to spray firm contact to all fields. Unafraid, Wheeler looked more than comfortable against two of the top arms at the event, and showed well as a player to follow moving forward.


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