Prep Baseball Report

Splinterfest Takeaways

Paul Panaccione
Arizona Scouting Director

The 19th annual Bob Raymond Splinterfest Wood Bat Tournament is being held this week at multiple different sites around the Valley. This tournament gives us a great early look into some of the best high school ball clubs in Arizona as we wrap up the fall.

After checking out some of the top high school organizations in the state, we have a better idea of what baseball around The Valley could look like as we near spring competition. 


What we saw

Sandra Day O'Connor

This could be one of the deeper teams in the state, with a chance to make a post season run. They have a great mix of veteran leadership, as well as some young talent that we anticipate making an impact. O'Connor has a deep lineup with the ability to do some damage from top to bottom. We saw tough at bats and timely hitting. Having a skilled defense up the middle of the field is key, and they have that. O'Connor has a catcher that has shown he can handle a staff and knows the game, an athletic middle infield, and a center fielder who will take clean routes and go get balls in the gaps.


C Preston Lucas (Sandra Day O'Connor, 2022)

5-foot-11 170 pounds, Lucas is a solid defensive catcher swinging from the left handed batters box. The bat path is efficient, he gives himself a high probability for hard contact and that showed when we saw him this week. He's got some strength, and ability to drive the ball to the gaps, with some pull side power potential. Lucas as fundamental actions defensively. Doesn't do too much while receiving, keeps strikes as strikes, and has the ability to control the running game. This is a great guy for O'Connor to have behind the plate for them in his senior season.


OF/LHP Hustyn Wheeler (Sandra Day O'Connor, 2024)

5-foot-11 170 pounds, Wheeler is a guy we've been following for some time now and he continuously raises his stock. The Oregon State commit is currently the #3 ranked player in the 2024 class, and we expect him to stay towards the top of that list through the rest of his high school career. Wheeler throws and hits from the left side, and is more of a finesse type player. His is flat and direct, produces a high rate of contact and stays toward the middle of the field. He should be an every day guy at the top of this O'Connor lineup. Wheeler has also shown he can get it done on the mound. Strike thrower of three pitches, working in the low 80's with the FB. With a bulldog mentality on the mound, Wheeler wants the ball in big spots. He'll field his position on the mound as well as in center field. Expect good things from Wheeler this year for the the Eagles. 


RHP/1B Joshua Butler (Sandra Day O'Connor, 2023)

6-foot-6 205 pounds, Joshua Butler is going to be another key piece to this O'Connor team on both sides of the ball this year. In his junior season, we expect Butler to give his team quality innings on the mound. Butler recently committed to Arizona State, as he definitely passes the eye test with his long limbs and athletic build. Butler will pitch in the upper 80's with his FB, he's got a clean delivery and a ton of upside. He also showed through the week that he can contribute offensively for the O'Connor lineup. Butler came up in an RBI spot against west side rival Sunrise Mountain High School, and drove in a late game RBI with a single to left. 

Sunrise Mountain

Sunrise Mountain High School is coming off a great season in 2021. Last spring they were able to make it to the 5A state title game (first time since 2012), and matched up against Arizona Player of the Year Wes Kath and Desert Mountain High School. They fell short in that matchup, but it was an exciting run they made as they look to follow it up with a better ending to the story. Sunrise Mountain will be led by some veteran talent in 2022, along with some young players looking to prove themselves. 


C/SS Easton Talt (Sunrise Mountain, 2022)

5-foot-10 175 pounds, Easton Talt, Oregon State commit, is no doubt one of the top hitters in the state. He's got a mature approach at the plate with above average plate discipline. He's a tough out and rarely leave the zone. He's shown some pull side power and far above average bat to ball skills. With great athletic ability, Talt has shown he can play all over the diamond. We expect Talt to get some time both behind the plate and at shortstop for Sunrise this year. His athletic ability behind the plate is special, he moves well with an above average arm, this may be the position Talt continues his college career at. Easton Talt is definitely the leader of this Sunrise Mountain team, with Player of the Year potential.  



RHP Ryne Palmer (Sunrise Mountain, 2022)

6-foot-2 185 pounds, Ryne Palmer will be the work horse for this Sunrise Mountain pitching staff. He's been on a steady incline for the past several months and has really made a name for himself of late. The Cal Baptist commit has a great build and an arm action that works. He has been seen up to 91 mph in a recent outing, but the FB will sit about 88-89 mph. He throws the SL hard and for strikes, he's shown confidence throwing it and is definitely an out pitch. We did not get to see Palmer this week at Splinterfest, as he has shut down his throwing until the new year, but he is a notable starter for SMHS and will likely lead them to multiple wins this year. 


LHP Griffin Clapp (Sunrise Mountain, 2024)

6-foot-2 175 pounds, Griffin Clapp was noticed in an outing vs Sandra Day O'Connor. Clapp has an above average build with strength, and the ball comes out of his hand smooth. He's got some mound presence with his large build, and throws the ball downhill from a high 3/4 arm slot. The FB sat 80-82 mph and showed there is more in the tank. Clapp seems to be a future power arm from the left side. O'Connor was able to record a few hits and runs off him, but this is an arm we think will be able to contribute to a talented Sunrise Mountain High School pitching staff. 



Tolleson was able to take game one as they handled Willow Canyon in well played baseball game that gave a look into how they may look in the spring season. Coach Richardson has a group of guys that seem to be bought in to playing team baseball. They have a lineup from top to bottom that has a plan. The infield defense was a standout all around the diamond. And they were given a great starting performance on the mound from an arm that projects to get much work for them in the spring. 


SS Isaac Lizarraga (Tolleson, 2022)

5-foot-8 150 pounds, Isaac Lizarraga seems to be one of the leaders on this team, and table setters for this offense. At the leadoff spot, Lizarraga put together multiple quality at bats last night, with great plate discipline and a presence that you like to see in a leadoff hitter. He was able to work some counts while still being aggressive to his pitch. He's got a very flat swing, the bat stays through the zone very well and he attacks the top half of the baseball, which plays well to his skill set. We won't see much high air at the plate from Lizarraga, he allows the ball to get deep and the approach is evidently to the middle/off-side. He's a high energy player with smooth and athletic actions at shortstop and the glove works well. Expect Lizarraga to play steady defense on the left side, and be a catalyst at the top of the order for Tolleson throughout the season.


2B Alex Pina (Tolleson, 2023)

Alex Pina was in the 2-hole in last nights matchup vs Willow Canyon, and he stood out to be their biggest offensive threat. Pina has a compact build with some athleticism, and twitchy actions. He along with a majority of the Tolleson lineup, were very aggressive to the fastball. In any count, Pina was looking to drive a fastball to the gaps. The swing mechanics are tight to the body and simple with some bat speed. Pina does not have the strength or size that will produce much power numbers, but has the ability to run into one on occasion. In last nights game, Pina got on a fastball early in his first at bat for a triple driven to deep right center. Defensively, he's an athlete on the corners that's going to be able to make the tough plays due to his athleticism and range. He's able to come in on balls and throw on the run, and can make the play down the line that requires some arm strength. Pina will be a fun player to follow through the spring season. 


RHP Julian Garcia (Tolleson, 2022)

6-foot-2 175 pounds, Julian Garcia is kind of the wild card for Tolleson's pitching staff this year. He started on the mound last night vs Willow Canyon, and if he has outings like that regularly, it will go a long way for this team. He's got an above average build, and seems he's got more in the tank. In previous years, he's had some command issues, that was not the case last night. He was attacking Willow Canyon's hitters with a cutter/slider mix. Nothing he throws is straight and that gives him the chance to be effective. The cutter was only being thrown mid 70's, but there were very few misses over the plate, and he mixed in the slider at times. For the majority of his 5 innings of work it was cutters and weak contact, trusting his solid infield defense behind him. Garcia turned in 5 innings of 1 run baseball, work like that could give Tolleson a few extra wins over the course of the year. 


3B Tito Castillo (Tolleson, 2023)

Tito Castillo was in the 3-hole and playing 2nd base in last nights competition. He rounds out what seems to be Tolleson's top 3 threats in the order. I his first at bat, Pina was on third base with one out, Castillo wasted no time as he got a FB he could handle up in the zone and he drove it to deep center for a sacrifice fly. Expect a lot of that from this offense this year, Lizarraga/Pina getting on base, and Castillo driving them in. All hitters in the lineup, 1-9, understood team offense and moving/scoring runners. Castillo also had a plate appearance late in the game with runners on first and second with nobody out and laid down a well executed sac bunt to the 3rd base side. Castillo is just a solid veteran plugged into the 3-hole that will get on base, move runners over, drive runners in, run the bases, and play defense. Every lineup benefits from a guy like Castillo and we look forward to continue following his development. 



Liberty High School is the 2021 defending state champion. They've gotten better and better each year under Coach Raymond, and this year we will get to see how they defend their title with some stiff competition ahead of them. The Lions lost some key arms that helped them through that title run last year, so we will see if their youth can fill those gaps and if the veterans can step into larger roles. All around, Liberty will be a team with talent that we expect to make some noise, as they do every year. 


SS/P Austin Charles (Liberty, 2024)

6-foot-3 195 pounds, Austin Charles could currently be the most gifted player across all classes in Arizona. The San Diego State commit is a switch hitter, and ambidextrous thrower. He's had much success at the plate from both sides, more of a power bat from the left side. And the delivery on the mound is equally as skilled from both side, throwing in the low-mid 80's with both hands. Charles has the ability to choose whatever matchup he likes at the plate and on the mound, giving him a serious advantage. Defensively, it looks like Charles will be given an opportunity to play shortstop for the Lions this year. He's shown he can play all around the diamond at a high level, and at shortstop his athleticism has shown. Charles has above average range and arm strength/accuracy from the SS position. If Charles can contribute for the Lions offensively at the top of the order this year, it is going to put them in a great spot to make another push. 


OF/2B Jacob Lewis (Liberty, 2024)

Jacob Lewis is a wildcard for the Liberty lineup this coming season. In Liberty's matchup vs Tolleson, he was in the 2-hole following Charles. Liberty was missing a couple players on this night, but this was an interesting look with a speedy guy that can control the bat behind a doubles/homeruns threat like Charles. Lewis's best tool in the foot speed. He's looking to get on base any way he can, and then run the bases. When Lewis is on base, you can guarantee there will be some kind of action within the first few pitches. Now there is some youth here, and he is still learning the game and how to hit, but if Lewis gets the bat hot and can stay in that 2-hole for Liberty, this kind of expands their depth and options they have throughout the rest of the order. 

RHP/1B Gerardo Gonzalez (Liberty, 2024)

Gerardo Gonzalez is another class of 2024 player that we are mentioning from this Liberty roster. Gonzalez, currently ranked #9 in the 24 class, should be a big contributor for the Liberty pitching staff, and a chance to give them some offensive production as well. Gonzalez is a right handed power arm with above average size and strength. Gonzalez has been in the upper 80's and reports of him touching 90 in recent outings. As a 2024 with his build and arm action, we only expect that FB velocity to keep rising with added strength and repetition. We'll see what role Gonzalez falls into this spring for the Liberty Lions. 


Corona Del Sol

If there is one thing we saw from Corona Del Sol this week at Splinterfest, it is that these guys are physical and deep. One after another in this lineup there is strength and bat speed. They are a well coached team, they play with fire, and you are definitely going to notice them when they get off the bus. We'll see if they can use the strength to their advantage and put some wins up in that column. 


3B/1B Jalen Seward (Corona Del Sol, 2022)

6-foot-4 230 pounds, Jalen Seward has above average size and strength along with some athleticism. His footwork in the infield is far above average for a player with his build. Seward has a strong and balanced set up in the box with some serious bat speed. The swing plane is inside the baseball, almost an inside out path, and has the ability to drive balls deep to center field and opposite field. Seward is a Kansas commit that we expect to put up some steady offensive numbers in the middle of Corona's lineup.



OF/RHP Justin Corless (Corona Del Sol, 2023)

Justin Corless is an uncommitted 2023 prospect that we expect will be off the board here soon. Corless is a legit two way prospect and one of those guys we mentioned with size on this Corona roster. The bat speed that Corless produces is unlike anybody else on whatever field he is on. The ball comes off his bat with true flight to all fields with a high exit velocity. On the mound, Corless features an upper 80's fastball and his best off-speed offering is his slider. Expect to see Corless producing heavily for this offense and contributing on the mound this spring. 


3B/UTIL Keaton Walker (Corona Del Sol, 2022)

6-foot 185 pounds, Keaton Walker is a sleeper player for this Corona team that if he produces like he can offensively, he can turn Corona into a championship team. Walker is an offensive corner infielder with some strength and a swing that produces a high rate of hard contact. Walker has shown that he's got some serious pull side pop and some ability to hit for average. He plays a solid third base with an above average arm across the diamond. Corona has a very deep infield and the lineup could be tough to crack depending on other players success, but Walker is a guy that can be in impact player for Corona Del Sol this season. 


RHP/3B Myles Harrison (Corona Del Sol, 2024)

6-foot-3 190 pounds, Myles Harrison is a 2024 prospect with high upside on the mound and has shown some promise offensively as well. Harrison could be an addition to the Corona pitching staff that makes them very deep if he has success, and gives them an option in a tournament run that could win them a ball game. In his Splinterfest outing, Harrison was 82-84 mph topping at 85 mph with the FB. He showed the ability to work east/west, as well as north/south. Right now the FB is his best pitch, and he relies on it. The SL showed potential to be an out pitch eventually, but command was lacking during this outing. With the type of offense Corona has this year, it may be hard for Harrison to be a big contributor with the bat right now, but down the road expect Harrison to put up solid numbers offensively for the Aztec's as well. 



Chandler High is a team with some physicality at the top of their order that has a chance to make some noise this spring. They're a well coached ball club that is going to win a good amount of games based off grit and attacking their opponents. We saw a quality starting outing from one of their arms, and some veteran leaders in the lineup that should produce some offense. 


1B/OF Seth Moore (Chandler, 2022)

6-foot-1 215 pounds, Seth Moore is a presence and a leader for this Chandler team. We saw Moore at the Phoenix Summer Review back in September, and he had a pretty eye opening workout. Moore is at hime when he is in the box. He is comfortable and not afraid to get his swings off. He's got a two strike approach where he widens his stance and sinks into his legs, allowing him to track balls better with less head movement and a more controlled but still violent approach. Moore hunts the FB and rarely does he put a bad swing on the ball. At the Phoenix Summer Review he posted event highs for every nearly offensive category, and it seemed to translate to the game. Moore is an uncommitted bat that will fit nicely into a lineup whenever he finds his future program. 


SS/C Brody Sexton (Chandler, 2022)

5-foot-10 180 pounds, Brody Sexton showed well in Chandler's matchup against Casteel on Thursday. He's a very well put together athlete with size and strength. Hitting in front of Seth Moore in the lineup, it was a pretty good look for a 2 and 3 hole combo for Chandler. Two right handed hitters with some strength and ability to run into balls. Sexton connected with a base hit through the left side in his first at bat against a solid opposing pitcher. Sexton has also shown to be a solid defender behind the plate with good catch and throw skills with an above average arm. The arm works well across the diamond from short, as well as at the catcher position. We look forward to following Sexton and this Chandler team throughout the season. 


OF/RHP Brody Matcuk (Chandler, 2024)

6-foot-1 170 pounds, Brody Matcuk is an impact player in the making. Every time he is on the field, he attack the game. With great athleticism and tools, Matcuk can hit, run, and throw. Rarely leaving the zone while at the plate, Matcuk has high barrel awareness and hits the ball where it is pitched. As soon as the ball leaves his bat, he becomes a baserunner. During Thursday's competition, Matcuk hit a line drive a few steps to the center fielders left side, and he was able to stretch this into a double. He has far above average speed and baserunning ability. Matcuk will be a name we get used to hearing from the 2024 class, and we are very exciting to see how his career unfolds. 



Casteel is an up and coming ball club that we may not be able to say are "up and coming" anymore, because they may have arrived already. This is a team that you can visibly see they love to play together, and they love to play for the staff that coaches them. With young talent and a veteran group, this team has high expectations not only from themselves, but others around The Valley. They have a good starting pitching rotation, a solid team offense, and a defensive catcher that commands games. Casteel will be making some noise in the 5A division this season. 


RHP/OF Linden Reaburn (Casteel, 2023)

5-foot-11 185 pounds, Linden Reaburn, New Mexico State commit, made a starting appearance on Thursday vs Chandler High. He showed his bulldog mentality and the ability to work deeper into games. Reaburn wants the ball in a big spot, and should be a key piece to Casteel's solid pitching staff in 2022. The FB was 82-84 mph in this outing and the SL sat 67-69 mph. Reaburn is expected to get some quality innings this year for Casteel and has the ability to contribute offensively as well. If Reaburn has a solid year, this will be great news for Casteel, as they will be winning a lot of games. 


C Kade Thompson (Casteel, 2024)

5-foot-9 160 pounds, Kade Thompson could arguably be the top defensive catcher in the state as a player from the 2024 class. He's a five tool player, as he hits at the top of the lineup, he's the best baserunner on their team, and he's an elite defender. Thompson has a head for the game and one of his best tools is his ability to throw. He's always looking for an out somewhere on the field, and understands how to call a game. Offensively, Thompson is a high contact and low amount of strike outs kind of hitter. He puts the ball in play more often than not, and has a high percentage of hard contact. We saw Thompson at the Fall Underclass Showcase in October and he threw a 1.84 to second base, and he is consistently a sub 2 pop time. Casteel is in good hands with Thompson behind the plate for them the next 3 seasons. 


SS Karsen Waslefsky (Casteel, 2022)

6-foot 170 pounds, Karsen Waslefsky, Future Games Participant and South Mountain Community College commit, is definitely the senior leader on the Casteel roster. Waslefsky is a sure handed shortstop with the ability to make the headsy baseball play on the left side of the diamond. Hitting in the two hole in Thursdays matchup vs Chandler, this is about where we expect to see Waslefsky through the 2022 season. He's got a simple approach at the plate and will drive balls into the gaps for a high average. More importantly, Waslefsky is just another solid leader and defender up the middle of the diamond for the Casteel Colts. Expect a solid year from Waslefsky. 



We were not able to catch a Hamilton game during the Splinterfest tournament, but this team cannot go unnoticed. They undoubtably are our Preseason favorite to win the 6A State Title, with a roster about as deep as it can get for a high school. And multiple Division 1 commits, with possibly more to come. They have the deepest pitching staff in the state, and a lineup that can hurt you top to bottom, with physicality, speed and athleticism. From the 2022, 2023, and 2024 classes, Hamilton has 7 players ranked in the top 10 of PBR Arizona's lists. Along with the top 2022 player, and top 2023 player. 

Hamilton Notables

OF Gavin Turley

RHP Kole Klecker

RHP Logan Saloman

OF Prince DeBoskie

SS Roch Cholowsky

SS Joshua Tiedemann

1B/OF Zach Wadas

SS Ryan Kucherak

SS AJ Diaz


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