LA Open: Quick Hits


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

The Inaugural Los Angeles Showcase took place at Maverick Field in West Covina, California and was open to players in all classes. The event attracted over 50 players. The participants were put through a pro-style workout that saw them run the 60 yard dash, batting practice, and a defensive workout before the pitchers took the stage to throw their bullpens and close out the event.

As part of our continuing coverage of the event we will continue to break down all the data, roll out stats, content, and videos from the event, but first here are some quick hits from what we saw at Maverick Field.

NOTE: Be sure to click on player profiles for full event stats and video. 

+ 2019 Connor Clift (Canyon HS) was arguably at the top of what was a loaded catching group at the event. If the present power in his bat didn't get you excited then his skills behind the plate sure did. As a catcher Clift is quick and instinctive showing the ability to beat the ball to the point both with the glove and when blocking balls in the dirt. Clift shows big time power at the plate and seems to have it all working at the right time. Clift shows present above average bat speed and uses his strong, physical frame to drive balls to all fields with power. Has present pull side over-the-fence power with projectable power to the gaps. Hit two home runs during BP with one of them landing on the shed about 60 feet beyond left-center-field wall. Uses a wide base with high hands setup before a leg lift triggers the swing where his fast hands and plus barrel control whip through the zone. Consistently got the barrel on the ball showing his feel for hitting. At 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, Clift has a strong, durable frame to withstand the rigors of the position.

+ 2022 SS/2B Frankie Peralez (Bishop Amat HS) demonstrated high level athleticism across the board in the event. Listed at 5-foot-5, 140-pounds, Peralez plays much larger than his present size. With large feet it's easy to project growth on his wiry strong frame. After running a 7.36 in the 60, Peralez opened eyes with a loud round of BP where he shows a nice, easy swing with sneaky power to the pull side. Shows above average bat speed and feel for the barrel squaring and driving balls to all fields. Maintains excellent balance through his compact but powerful swing. Registered a 74 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively he showed excellent body control and balance along with range to both sides and a true backhand. Arm strength is presently average with accuracy from all angles. Shows the ability to make throws on the run with accuracy with present arm strength. 

+ 2020 RHP Warner Rhodes (Hart HS) showed one of the loosest, cleanest arm actions we saw at the showcase. Uses a deliberate delivery where he takes his hands high above his head and has a high, snappy leg kick before a his whippy arm snaps off pitch after pitch. Fastball has hard, late run back to the arm side. His curveball shows late with good depth with tight spin. He varies the shape from a true 12/6 down to 10/4 both with his above average command. Showed feel for a changeup that flashes downer fading. Slider is a potential wipeout pitch with it's late, hard biting action and tight rotation. At 6-foot, and only 145-pounds, there's a lot of room for physical growth to fill out his long, wiry strong frame and his squared shoulders.

+ 2022 OF/RHP Bryan Martinez (Paloma Valley HS) is an athletic player who showed well in the outfield, at the plate, and on the mound. The freshman ran a 7.22 60-yard dash to open things up before getting into the batter's box where he showed a middle approach with quick-to-fast bat-to-ball skills. Sets up balance and quiet; it's a simple setup and go. Showed feel for the barrel by spraying line drives to all fields. In the outfield he showed good body control and athleticism in charging/gathering balls. His arm has present strength with accuracy from a high-¾ slot. Arm is fast which he showed on the mound where he's raw but oozes projection. The righties arm is whippy and loose from a full arm path through to the same high-¾ slot as he shows in the outfield. His command of all pitches was erratic but all three flashed above average at one point or another and all coming from the same arm speed. Fastball shows late running action - almost changeup like movement. His curveball was sharp with hard action late while his changeup was a softer fastball.

+ 2019 C/3B Connor Brady (Chino Hills HS) showed advanced actions behind the plate where his quiet, balanced setup allows him to get to pitches without giving away the location. Maintains weight evenly down the middle of his body. Shows excellent catch-and-throw with a clean exchange and a fluid release. Popped 1.96-2.01 range with his misses just slight up the second base line. Showed quick recovery skills on balls in the dirt. At the plate he showed a wide, open stance and above average bat speed that resulted in loud, hard contact throughout his round. Consistently squared balls up to the gaps on a line from a middle approach. Uses a high leg kick for timing and incorporates the lower half into the swing well. Body works in synchronicity. Swing is easy with projectable developing power on his five-foot-11, 165-pound frame.

+ 2021 3B/OF Tobey Brown (Coronado HS) showed a loud round of BP where he elevated everything with consistent barrel contact. Generates his power with a strong lower half that works well with his upper half. Aggressively attacks balls from a wide, left leg way back stance. Big leg kick trigger before driving off the bag leg through the ball. Maintains his barrel on an uphill path through the zone and into contact resulting in line drives to all fields. Defensively he profiles as a third baseman presently with sufficient arm strength and accuracy to stay there in the future. Plays through balls while under control of his body. Shows fair range to either side along with soft hands. Arm can get a tick long in the back but it's strong and accurate from a few angles.

+ 2020 C Carter Kay (Villa Park HS) is showing impressive physical growth since we last saw him at the SoCal Underclass Games. His body is beginning to fill out with strength from the top down. As a result of the added strength Kay is showing more explosion at the plate where his smooth, short path to the ball generated line drives to all fields. He continues to do an excellent job with the lower half in his swing as his short stride and quick hips allow him to generate torque and clearance for his barrel path. Defensively Kay continues to be one of the most sound catchers we've seen this year. His is arm is getting stronger but the accuracy remains. He popped in the 1.97-2.04 range on the day with all throws on the bag. He shows average quickness behind the plate, but his ability to block and recover, along with his big arm makeup for any quickness issues.

+ 2020 3B/RHP Aaron Echevarria (Santa Fe HS) came ready to get after it and it shows itself when you discuss early standouts. Echevarria had a very loud round of BP where he barreled balls to the gaps throughout the round. Shows present bat speed and uses his proportional strength very well. Gets his barrel on plane and its keeps it in the zone a long time. Defensively he showed to have enough arm strength and accuracy to stay at third base. Showed average range with good lateral movements and quickness. Throws were accurate across the diamond. On the mound Echevarria showed a loose, compact, quick arm through to a high-¾ slot with regular effort. Fastball shows sharp, downer cutting action presently. Seemed as though the more it cut the more his command wavered, but the pitch was nasty. Curveball shows sharp, sweeping movement. He also shows some fee for the changeup that flashes fading action. There's some deception to his delivery as he starts closed and uses a short back turn to hide the ball.

+ 2020 SS Emiliano Torres (Palm Desert HS) showed to be the slick fielding shortstop with an incredibly projectable left-handed bat that we've seen develop over the last couple season. An average runner, Torres is quicker than he is fast and it shows in his defense where he is a rangy, twitchy, athletic middle infielder with a strong, accurate arm. Shows quick, fluid footwork along with excellent body control. Hands are very soft and exchanges are clean and fluid. Plays through balls aggressively while showing the ability to throw accurately on the run and from multiple angles. At the plate Torres shows just how high his ceiling is with as smooth a left-handed swing as we've seen this year. Has a simple setup with slight back load before exploding his back hip, hands, and barrel into the ball and through extension. The entire process is very rhythmic and athletic. Got extended on several balls on the outer half and drove them to the left-center-field wall. Shows present gap power which really projects as his 5-foot-11, 150-pound frame continues to fill out and add strength.

+ 2020 C/SS Nick Ochoa (Segerstrom HS) was a jack-of-all-trades guy in terms of consistent performances. The junior showed some raw tools at the plate where his swing flashes explosiveness and present strength. When he stayed on the ball through extension there was obvious power. Showed a calm, easy setup that was balanced through contact. Sprayed balls to all field on a line. Behind the plate he shows a quiet setup with soft hands and excellent block-and-recover skills. He's quick behind the plate while his arm is strong and accurate - popped 1.99-2.08. Frames well without giving up pitches while providing a large target. At shortstop his athleticism really shows in his range and athletic movements. He's a bit raw at the nuances of the position but has plenty of ability to develop there. His arm plays now as does the range and the soft hands. With continued development there Ochoa has a chance to be a very good next level middle infielder.

+ 2019 3B/SS Ryan Cho (Westview HS) is a big (6-foot-3), strong (200-pounds), physical third baseman that put on quite the display during his round of BP. Cho possesses present strength in the lower half that he uses very well in his swing to generate present power - generate a 90 mph exit velocity off a tee. Starts even-to-slightly-open before significant back load shifts all his weight before a short stride drives his explosive hands and barrel through the ball. Shows present bat speed from a high hands setup with pull side power and a middle approach. Hit a homerun during his round of BP. Defensively Cho showed quick, sure hands with quick, clean transfers and enough arm to handle the left side of the infield. Throws showed carry and accuracy across the diamond. His footwork was fluid and he played through the ball. Can handle the backhand as well as the throw on the run. His quickness may be better suited for third base where his hands and instincts would play up.

+ 2019 C James Park (Mira Costa HS) was a one of the standouts in a loaded group of catchers on the day given his projection at the plate and his present skillset behind it. Defensively Park showed a quiet setup with a wide, balanced base. He provides a large target thanks in part to his strong, squared shoulders. Frames and receives well with soft, forgiving hands. Doesn't give pitches away due to his actions. Shows good instincts and recovery on balls in the dirt. At the plate Park shows very good feel for the barrel and projectable power. Drove one pitch over the netting in left-center-field on a line and in a hurry. Shows a middle-middle approach with the ability to turn and barrel pitches on the inner half. Starts slightly crouched and open before using a short leg stride and kick trigger to get going. Stays inside the ball with quick hands and gets extension post contact. At 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, Park has some projection left physically as his frame looks like it can handle more mass/strength.

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SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Senior Games (Invite Only) CA 11/10 JSerra High School

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