Prep Baseball Report

CA State Games: Day One Recap

PBR California Staff

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LATHROP, CA - The second annual California State Games got underway on Friday as close to 100 players descended on Islanders Field to showcase their skills in Day 1 of the three day event. 

Players were put through a customary pro style workout that included running the 60 yard dash, live batting practice, and a defensive portion of the workout where players showcased from their primary positions.

With Trackman and Blast Motion collecting data we will have a whole lot deeper coverage of the event in the coming days and weeks. Today though we will take a closer look at some standouts from the showcase on Day 1 at the California State Games.

‘22 SS/RHP Mikey Bell - San Joaquin Memorial HS - was a name I had circled on the roster as one to focus on. Bell has impressed in several viewings and that continued during the showcase. Bell showed his continuous strength gains at the plate where he was seemingly playing pepper with the gaps. Calm and confident defender who moves smoothly across the diamond. Will throw this weekend. 

22 SS Jack Metcho - Rodriguez HS - is one of the better shortstops in his regoin and is being noticed outside of that part of the state too. Metcho has filled out a tick since my last viewing and that has translated to more power at the plate and harder hit balls to all fields. Always a sure handed defender, Metcho is seeing the strength gains translate into more formidable arm strength. 

21 SS Dominic Giuffre - Archbishop Mitty HS - is a name I have been familiar with for some time and with the loss of the 2020 High School season, a player I hadn’t seen play in a while. Well, the wait was worth it. Giuffre opened with a sub-7 60 yard dash before putting the rest of his tools on display. His overall defensive game - footwork, hands, arm strength, instincts - were better than anticipated while his frame has the look of a guy whose been spending time in the weight room. 

‘24 SS Will Marenghi - Menlo School - While it is way too early to think about Marenghi as a front line recruit in his class, it’s not too early to view his current skill set and dream a little on what it could be after he’s physically matured a bit more. His BP round may have been the best in the sense that he stepped into the box with a plan - first few were oppo shots, the next few were up the middle shots, and the last few were pull side shots. It was an impressive thing to see from an incoming freshman. Defensively his actions were sound if not spectacular while his arm is adequate now with more strength coming.

22 MINF Tyson Smith - Saint Francis HS - made a lasting impression on me in my first viewing. Smith showed a balanced and simple setup from which he uses a slight leg lift trigger before uncoiling his backside into his swing. Has some sneaky pop now with more to come once he adds strength. Defensively he was sound at shortstop but likely projects at second base where his arm plays way up as do his instincts and glovework. 

‘22 MINF Arjan Johal - Jesuit HS - started off the day with a 7.14 laser time 60 before putting quite the hitting display during his BP round. Gets and maintains his barrel in the zone for a long time while showing very good control of it. There’s some power in there as demonstrated by the several balls he hit to the fence. Moved well on the dirt and showed enough range to stay at shortstop now with a potential move to 2B in the future where his bat would really play up. 


‘22 OF Will Bowen - Serra HS - clean all-around showing from the left-handed outfielder. Ran a 7.28 sixty-yard dash and moved around the outfield well. Solid defensively, posting a 85 mph throwing velocity on targeted throws. Batting practice yielded consistent line drives and was able to show opposite field capabilities. Blast Motion data; 69 bat speed - 20 g rotational acceleration - 76% on plan efficiency. Exit velocity of 91 mph. 

‘21 C Nathan Wood - Pacific Grove - quality catching showing across the board. Impressed with a 7.11 sixty-yard dash with sound running mechanics. Consistent pop-time average around 2.00 flat with throws on target at 76 mph throwing velocity. Quick hands and feet play up at the catching position and will help him develop quickly at the next level. Quality batting practice with average Blast Motion data; 69 bat speed - 11 g rotational acceleration - 70% on plane efficiency. 

‘21 OF Josh Algarin - TKA PSP HS - looked the part with a mature skill set and solid fundamentals. Ran a 7.06 sixty-yard dash with proper running form. Put his body into his throws to maximize his momentum while still staying balanced, enabling on target throws at a throwing velocity of 89 mph. Showed fluid hips, rotation and quick hands in batting practice. Steady pull approach and showed some to center-field. Blast motion data; 66 bat speed - 28.8 g rotational acceleration - 65% on plane efficiency.

‘21 3B/SS Brett Zimmerman - Gregori - looked the part in a solid projectable infielders build at 6-foot-1 180 pounds. Ran a 7.34 sixty-yard dash. Defensively showed lateral quickness with the ability to range to his left and right. Average throwing actions across the diamond at 82 mph. One of the few players to swing a wood bat and looked comfortable in doing so. Sprayed the ball from gap-to-gap with a 90 mph exit velocity.


‘21 1B Cole Howarth - Chino Hills HS -  Picked up where he left off from the SoCal ProCase a month ago. Howarth was peppering balls all over the field in his BP round today with encouraging Blast, and Trackman metrics.  Generates plus bat speed with explosive hip movements. Howarth has a quality feel for the barrel and is a line drive machine that can really hit and use the whole field with a patient approach. We are excited to see him carry over what he brought to the workout into game play.

‘22 1B/LHP Trevor Fox - St. Augustine HS - is an imposing figure at 6-foot-7, 225-pounds. Has a tall, long torso, and sturdy build. Shows coordinated movements with better athleticism than body suggests. Displayed explosive, strong hips and wrist in his BP session with above average Blast adn Trackman metrics. Quickness and size will play well at 1B and should have average to above-average range. Hands are a bit firm, but despite that he will be able to make the routine plays and all the throws required.

‘23 1B/RHP MJ Sweeney - St. Augustine HS - is another imposing, projectable athlete standing 6-foot-6, 235-pounds, and has not finished growing into his XL frame. Sweeney recently competed for Team California in the 2020 PBR uncommitted Future Games in Georgia last week where he showed he belongs in the discussion as a sought after recruit. He exhibited and confirmed in his BP session yesterday, he creates excellent separation in his load, with a violent aggressive attack, hinting to over the fence power potential. Can’t wait to see what he does today in game.

‘21 3B Ryan Watkins - Oak Hills HS - We saw Watkins last in the Pre-Season All-State event in January (pre-COVID-19) where he had made significant gains in his body and overall game. He has continued on that trend pointing upwards, and looking to have a big senior season for the Bulldogs. Watkins looked confident, but in control of his compact swing during his BP round yesterday, indicating he is focused and ready for in-game competition.


‘21 OF Logan Drummond - Tokay HS - Notable in so many regards, lean athletic body (6-foot-0 180-lbs), L/L profile, ran 6.94, up to 90 mph from the OF and a couple of darts right on the money, and exit velo (off tee) of 91 mph, the full set of tools was on display and they’ve all showed up for the second viewing in a row (was at our Norcal Upperclass State Games ID event). Lashed hard contact from RCF to LCF during a very impressive BP round. Certainly checks all the boxes in a workout scenario. Live AB competition will tell more of the story. A story that looks to include him as one of the top uncommitted players in Northern CA, if not the entire state. Oh, he’s also got good stuff on the mound… stay tuned!

‘22 C Jake Bold - La Jolla Country Day - My SoCal colleagues tipped me off on a few of the players they liked in workout group 4 and Bold was one of them. In fact, I could tell that he exceeded their expectations. The amount of talented catchers we saw today was ridiculous and Bold was near the top of the heap, certainly among 2022s. The BP round was LOUD and the swing was both physical but also short and quick, with outstanding barrel control. There is real power potential here. The catching tools looked good as well, a low pop-time of 2.01 and tossed a couple of dimes, while getting up to 78 mph. The 96 mph EV off the tee wasn’t too shabby either.

‘21 C Jacob Badawi - Ayala HS - The theme of multi-talented SoCal catchers continued with Badawi. Chiseled body, immediately noticeable physique. The BP round had multiple impressive swings that had him threatening the OF wall. Flat swing plane and generates power from his core while finishing well through contact. The quality of contact in that round backed up his 99 mph EV off the tee in his cage session. The raw arm strength can improve (74 mph), as can the throwing mechanics, but his quick feet and transfer help the arm play up (median pop-time around 2.08, one lower time, a couple higher). Ran 7.09, indicating the type of athleticism that plays well behind the plate.

‘21 OF Michael Cunningham - Cathedral HS - The OF group was as impressive as the catchers in group 4 and Cunningham put multiple tools on display and has me looking forward to seeing how it all plays in competitive action. Strong athletic body (6-foot-0 175-lbs), he started off his day with a quick 6.82 60-yard, followed it up with a crisp 91 mph EV off the tee, and the BP round was clean. Hands work inside, got separation and extension, while maintaining a disciplined stroke. The contact was hard and he peppered the LCF gap multiples times, while also driving the ball to CF. Easy approach to the ball in the OF, accurate throws up to 87 mph. 

‘21 C Rocco DiFrancesco - Dana Hills HS - The parade of physical hitting and quality-throwing catchers from SoCal continued with DiFrancesco. Definitely catches the eye at 6-foot-0 195-lbs, then proceeded to live up to the pre-event report I got… ‘pounds baseballs.’ The 91 mph EV off the tee was just a glimpse of what he’s capable of at the plate. The ball jumped off his bat and he showed power in his hot spots, but equally impressive, maybe more so, was his ability to make hard contact on tosses that weren’t where he was looking and just trying to blast. He covered multiple zones and showed swing versatility, while maintaining hard contact. Balanced and sees the ball well, with separation and extension. Oh, the defense, that was good too. Couple of low pop times (1.97 & 1.99), with a 76 mph arm. Quick transfer and accurate arm. 

‘21 C Blake Penso - Huntington Beach HS - At 6-foot-3 210-lbs, Penso is hard to miss in a showcase scenario like today. He possesses the two tools that generally are at the top of the list for most scouts when it comes to catchers, power in the bat and a strong arm. Now, the arm, at 78 mph isn’t yet a plus arm, but there are some mechanical adjustments he can make and more will come out as he develops. The pop times were highly competitive (2.0, 2.0, 2.01 as his best three) and again, he’s still got plenty of development ahead of him. Now, the carry tool for him is going to be power, provided it’s usable. The 100 mph EV off the tee is obviously impressive. He’s able to get the barrel into the zone early and stay on plane and doesn’t have to get off his ‘A+’ swing to get to his power.