Prep Baseball Report

California Draft Preview

Nathan Rode, Les Lukach and Blaine Clemmens

The 2018 MLB Draft will take place June 4-6. To get you ready, Prep Baseball Report is releasing state previews with notes on high school draft prospects in its comprehensive coverage area. For more information on the prospects included in the High School Draft 100, click on the links to the players’ profiles to view comments, news and videos.

Cole Winn, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS, CA (Mississippi State)
Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS, CA (Louisiana State)
Matt McLain, SS, Beckman  HS, CA (UCLA)
Chandler Champlain, RHP, Santa Margarita HS, CA (Southern California)
Kameron Guangorena, C, St. John Bosco HS, CA (Cal State Fullerton)
Cole Roederer, OF, Hart HS, CA (UCLA)
Osiris Johnson, SS, Encinal HS, CA (Cal State Fullerton)
Dominic Pipkin, RHP, Pinole Valley HS, CA (California)
Brandon Dieter, RHP/IF, South Hills HS, CA (Stanford)

OTHERS TO WATCH: In Southern California, SS Emilio Rosas (Mater Dei HS, CA) is a slick defender and has impressed at every high level competition he’s participated in. Be it the National High School Invitational or The Boras Classic, the Southern California signee has stepped up when the lights are on. Rosas shows some high-level defensive tools that have kept him in scouts’ sights, but the inconsistency with the bat paired with his lithe frame are areas of concern. While Rosas has shown the ability to play shortstop now, he also has the athleticism to move to a corner outfield spot in the future. RHP Bryce Collins (Hart HS, CA) works quickly from an abbreviated windup, showing an electric arm and using his flexibility to stay on top of his high-3/4 arm slot. He pounds his fastball with angle to the glove side. It sits 88-91 regularly with the ability to dial up the velocity when needed and change eye levels with the pitch. He’s got multiple offspeed pitches with his slider having late action off the plate and occasional tilt. The changeup is an above average pitch already with diving action out of the fastball path. His curveball has slower, 12/6 action with the ability to dial up the spin as needed. RHP Joe Magrisi (Torrey Pines HS, CA), a Cal State Fullerton recruit, is a physical 6-foot-1, 200-pounder that looks more like a linebacker than a pitcher. But once you get him on the mound you can see why he’s got so much helium this spring. He threw six consecutive shutouts at one point this season and set a new state record with 54.2 scoreless innings. His fastball shows life at 91, but it is his curveball at 74-77 and his changeup at 72-76 that are incredibly intriguing. Those pitches really make his fastball play up and when you consider his slider at 79-81 might be his best pitch long term, it’s easy to dream on the projectable arm. A Southern California recruit, RHP Ethan Reed (Aliso Viejo HS, CA) was late to baseball after playing basketball and had some consistency issues. He also appeared to have changed some things mechanically that has affected the velocity he showed last summer. Reed’s 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame projects well and his three-pitch mix shows flashes of making him a set-up man at worst. LHP Erik Tolman (El Toro HS, CA) had some of the most helium coming into the spring after a big summer on the showcase circuit. He pitched in the low 90s while mixing in a plus slider over the summer, but saw his velocity dip in the spring. Even so, he maintained command of his arsenal. RHP Julian Tristan (Northwood HS, CA) offers intrigue on the mound thanks to his athleticism and wiry, 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame. He pitches at 88-90 with a long, loose and whippy arm while flashing a tight, late-breaking curveball and above-average changeup. He is committed to Santa Clara. SS Jake Moberg (Vista Murrieta HS, CA) showed a loose swing and athleticism over the summer, but had a lackluster year at the plate. He is committed to UCLA.

In Northern California, RHP Joe Ammirato (Bellarmine College Prep, CA) has flashed a fastball up to 92-93, with life and angle, along with a big change of pace overhand curveball. His quirky delivery and commitment to Cal likely has the scouts leaning toward sending him to college and seeing how it all plays out in the Pac-12. RHP Dennis Boatman (Woodcreek HS, CA) is a UCLA signee and at 6-foot-5 he certainly had scouts waiting to see what his spring would bring. Though he did flash the pitchability and projectable stuff that intrigued them in the first place, the raw stuff and inconsistency left them wanting a little more. LHP Brett Hansen (Foothill HS, CA) was an early Stanford recruit, but de-committed and switched to Vanderbilt. He has polished stuff and projects to have starter ability. His upper-80s fastball started ticking above that and his breaking stuff has a chance to be well-above average. RHP Cody Jensen (Jesuit HS, CA) is a Stanford recruit and though the body and stuff all suggest he's a draftable pro prospect now, he’ll be a tough sign like all Stanford recruits. He's long and loose with top-end stuff in the 89-91 range and he has feel of the zone. RHP Ian Villers (Northgate HS, CA) is built like a workhorse, with a 6-foot-5 body and present day strength, yet room to keep getting stronger. He is a Cal recruit and had a following through the spring. He showed the ability to maintain his velocity, even flashing a 92 fairly deep in one of his late spring starts. The body and arm and fastball are all there, but it's the breaking stuff that has to improve. RHP Alex Williams (Redwood Christian HS, CA) had a spectacular season as both a pitcher and hitter. Another Stanford recruit, he could wind up being one of the top arms out of this class. His feel for three quality pitches, athleticism and upper-80s fastball all project favorably. LHP Patrick Wicklander (Valley Christian HS, CA) flashes a four-pitch mix from his mid-3/4 slot, including a mid to upper 80s fastball that shows late and aggressive run at the plate. His slider and curveball come from the same arm slot with his slider having cutting action off the fastball path and his curveball being a slower pitch. LHP Chase Watkins (St. Francis HS, CA) utilizes a compact arm from the 3/4-release, hiding the ball well behind his front arm and showing late explosiveness out of the hand. The fastball works at its best when he’s touching the height of his high 80s range and allowing the pitch to have its two-seam run late at the plate. He matches his upper 80s fastball with an above average changeup in the mid to high 70s that has late arm side sink off the fastball plane. His curveball has slurvy 1/7 break and is often used down in the bottom third of the zone, but flashes as a solid third pitch. OF Ryan Holgate (Davis HS, CA) was one of the more heavily followed and scouted players in Northern California. He is a physically built left-handed hitter with known power. He had a good season with the bat, but it was the power that he did at the very end of the season, with home runs coming in bunches, that just might have nudged this Arizona signee a little higher up boards. Another left-handed hitter with projectable power and what was believed to be a bit more polished hit tool is 1B/OF A.J. Miller (Casa Grande HS, CA). Miller was also a standout at the Area Code Games and had plenty of eyes on him all spring. However, the power didn't really play in games and some late season struggles at the plate may have pushed his stock down. Further, Miller is still searching for steady play at one position and hasn't really shown the defensive chops that scouts would like to see. He is an Oregon signee. 1B Christian Almanza (St. Mary's HS, CA) is a big left-hand hitter with a hit tool that jumps off the page. He looks the part of a slugger and very well may slug someday, but it's the flat line drive stroke that keeps him in the middle of the field that really stands out. He is a massive target at first base, with a large wingspan and good footwork over there. He’s not the most known name in the region, but the Utah signee checks off all the boxes for a professional hitting prospect. SS Jeffrey Jamison (Del Campo HS, CA) is a Fresno State signee and when it comes to tools, he takes a back seat to very few players. He has elite speed and the ability to use it on the bases. He has projectable power to suggest that average power at the pro level is possible and defensively, he has glove skills and baseball actions that draw the eye. His arm is strong and overall, that speed, power and defense combo absolutely projects to have him in the conversation in the 2021 draft, if not maybe in the mid to late rounds this year. C Cameron Barstad (Serra HS, CA) has a big arm and a strong hit tool form the left side. He is committed to Oregon. C Cole Elvis (Vacaville HS, CA) is one of the more intriguing prospects, as he took on catching full time as a senior and showed promise behind the plate. He has a plus arm, works hard at blocking and has the athleticism to develop as a frontline defender. He is committed to California. A Southern California recruit, C/SS Tyler Lozano (St. Mary's HS, CA) could become one of the top players in the class thanks to his overall athleticism and usefulness all over the field.

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