Fall Ball Report: 10/16/18


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

After having to postpone our Senior Games due to the whacky weather that ran through SoCal last weekend, by Wednesday I was dying to see some baseball so I headed out to a midweek triple-header to get my fix, and boy did I.

The day started at El Toro High School where the Chargers hosted Santa Margarita, and while most frontline arms have been shut down for the Eagles, the Chargers trotted out a 2019 right hander that was very intriguing.

From El Toro I headed over to Windrow Park where the Ryan Lemmon Fall League is in full swing. As I walked up Beckman was taking on Corona Del Mar in the second inning meaning I missed Tennessee commit Tommy Wilcox on the mound for the Sea Kings. Only in SoCal does it take 38 minutes to travel less than 11 miles at 4:30 PM. Despite missing Wilcox on the mound, I did get to see why Beckman is once again loaded headed into 2019.

The nightcap featured what is going to be a very good Laguna Beach team against Segerstrom who has a shortstop that is worthy of a few looks.

All-in-all it was a great day of baseball in SoCal and, more importantly, I got my fix. For a day-or-two at least.

Let's get into it...

2019 3B Sean McLain (Beckman HS) has big shoes to fill. Whether he likes it or not, the comparisons to his brother are inevitable. That's what happens when big bro was a first round pick in the MLB Draft. To his credit the younger McLain seems brush that aside and instead has made quite the name for himself. While where he'll play might still be in question, whether or not he will play is no question at all. McLain's bat continues be one of the best in Orange County, if not all of SoCal, in his class. He shows high level bat speed and a control of the barrel that separates him from his peers. His ability to get the barrel on the ball while being aggressively selective is impressive. He looks like he's going to shoot out of canon on each pitch, which is exactly what he does after he connects with the ball. His all around game has taken a step up since the end of the spring season. He's been one of the most consistent players in the region throughout what can be a long summer/fall season for players.

2019 LHP Trevor Ernt (Beckman HS) proved last spring that he has the goods on the mound en route to an 8-0 record to go with a 0.78 ERA. The uncommitted southpaw shows command of three pitches that he throws for strikes in any count. Simply put he just gets hitters out. He doesn't overpower hitters, he just makes them uncomfortable. I've seen Ernt pitch at least four times since spring and the reason he's so good is his unpredictability. Sure the coaches may call the pitches, but Ernt has the ability to execute them. Because of his ability to confuse hitters with his command of three pitches, Ernt has the look of a backend bullpen arm on the next level. An opportunity he should get in the future.

2019 RHP Justin Goldstein (Beckman HS) had been known as one of the better uncommitted arms in his class until he pledged to the University of Oregon a couple nights ago. The Ducks are getting a good one in the highly projectable righty who, when his collegiate career, should have a chance to continue pitching barring a serious injury. At 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, Goldstein has a ton of physical projection which bodes well for his loose, clean arm actions. There's a tick of effort in his delivery, especially when he rears back and really comes after a hitters, as he did a few times last night touching 88 mph while living in the 86-87 mph range comfortably. His fastball showed the life at the plate we've become accustomed to seeing. It was a nice bounceback from a shaky outing last week. His two-plane slider has plus pitch potential and his curveball can be unhittable at times. Like I said, Oregon is getting a good one

2019 LHP Cutter Clawson (Laguna Beach HS) has had a whirlwind summer/fall season. He's racked up some frequent flier miles and had the opportunity to participate in the Area Code Games as a member of the Brewers. Such is the life when you're considered one of the top prospects in a region known for producing just that, top prospects. That long season can be a grind which is why when looking at prospects it's important to not discount the body of work because of what you last saw. Clawson had an inconsistent outing last night before eventually settling down and showing his stuff. He pounds righties in with a fastball that bores into their hands on a downhill plane giving it movements in two directions - down and in. His curveball command wasn't its usual sharp, biting self. Instead it was loose and up. Again, body of work. His changeup continues to develop and while it wasn't spectacular last night, it was effective in getting hitters out front. I expect things to be back to normal for Clawson after his shutdown period and into the spring.

2021 SS/RHP Eric Silva (Laguna Beach HS) was a locally known name prior to becoming a known name nationally after pledging a commitment to UCLA last week. The sophomore showed why there's such a buzz surrounding him. On the mound he shows a loose, clean, easy arm with little effort in his delivery. Gets good drive down the mound and lower half works in sync with the upper half. His fastball shows run back to the arm side as it nears the plate with life. He has the type of commands that allows him to spot it in all quadrants of the strike zone. His curveball is a present above average pitch with plus potential. He showed a true two-plane 12-6 shaped curveball that he dropped in the zone for strikes. It's tight and sharp with late action. It's nasty. His changeup flashes above average at times too with it's late deceptive sinking action back to the arm side. He kept the pitch down each time he threw it and induced swing-and-miss results each time as well. At shortstop Silva shows to be a highly athletic player who is highly instinctive and sure of himself. Made a play to his right - showing off his range and arm strength - that was eye opening. Will be interesting which direction his development takes him, whether it's to the mound or on the dirt Silva is highly projecable at both positions.

OTHER NOTABLES:

2019 RHP Cole Danaher took the mound to start thing off for El Toro and was strong in his two-inning outing. The 6-foot, 170-pounder shows a clean, easy arm that's fairly compact in the back through to a ¾ slot. His fastball shows life at the plate and he didn't seem afraid of running it in on righties. Once he had hitters thinking it was coming he snapped off a slider that flashed fade and tilting action at the plate. Danaher shows some projection with both pitches as it appears there's way more in the tank which should come to him with continued physical growth...Danaher's battery-mate, 2020 C Paul Skenes, is showing that he may be one of the best catchers in his class despite his under-the-radar emergence and his commitment to the Air Force Academy. The former a case of priorities while the latter is a result of them. Academics are a priority both for Skenes and the Air Force Academy, making this a great fit for both parties. He is a physical, soft handed catcher with a power arm that could work on the mound if catching doesn't work out, and there's no indication it won't. Skenes controls the running game with his arm that popped 1.89 - 2.00 consistently throughout the game. He also provides power at the plate for the offense as demonstrated by his home run into the wind...2019 LHP/OF Beck Townsend (Santa Margarita HS) shows characteristics of being a prototypical leadoff hitter. He's smart, aggressive yet selective, and seems to have a very good understanding of his role in that position...2019 SS Connor McGuire (Beckman HS) was a guy last year that left you asking yourself "how is he not committed" after watching him. Well, the smart coaches at UC Irvine saw what many people saw and got a commitment from the uber talented McGuire who'll slide over to shortstop this season for Beckman. McGuire is a physically gifted and talented player who shows a high level of baseball intelligence on the field. His fluid footwork and understanding of angles coupled with his athleticism allow him to make difficult plays look easy. At the plate his power, and its potential, are beginning to show itself more consistently pairing well with his present bat-to-ball skills....2020 1B Cooper Munro (Beckman HS) has taken his commitment to the weight room seriously and the results are beginning to show themselves in a big way. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Munro has gone from soft around the edges to a firmer version of the guy that attended the SoCal Underclass Trials back in June. He looks leaner, stronger, and more prepared to compete for a starting job on a loaded team....2020 C Aidan Booth (Laguna Beach HS) will be an intriguing player to follow because of his current skill set and projection behind the plate. Booth provides a large target with broad shoulders upright in his low, quiet crouch. Shows effective catch-and-throw skills with pop times in the 2.02 - 2.15 range. His footwork is sound and his arm is accurate. At the plate he's aggressive and shows feel for hitting. There's plenty of physical projection left for Booth as well....Segerstrom ran out a shortstop that looks the part of a player that will have a chance to play beyond high school on some level. There was no roster and I didn't have a chance to chat with the coach before the game, but the player wore #9 and is a lean, wiry strong athletic player with twitchy reflexes and instincts. Plays aggressively and showed a strong, accurate arm across the diamond. UPDATE: the Segerstrom shortstop is Nick Ochoa, a transfer from Mater Dei.  

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