Prep Baseball Report

LA County: MLK Team Notebook

Steve Doherty
SoCal Area Scout


At The Yard Podcast

LONG BEACH, CA. - The Long Beach State “Dirtbags” newly appointed coaching staff hosted its first MLK Team Camp Saturday through Monday of the holiday weekend. The camp brought teams from LA, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties together for three games at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field, and the beautiful campus field, in the shadow of the Pyramid at Long Beach State. Head Coach Eric Valenzuela, Assistants Danny Costanza, Bryan Peters, and support staff put together a field of top high school programs that boasted MLB Draft, Division I, and uncommitted talent alike for evaluators to admire.

Before the Long Beach State Team Camp got underway on Saturday, Edison HS traveled to Manhattan Beach on Friday where they took on Mira Costa HS in a exhibition game that featured MLB Draft prospect, outfielder Petey Halpin (Mira Costa HS), a University of Texas signee. The scouts came out in droves to catch a look at the Northern California transfer, and the Longhorn recruit did not disappoint. 

Harvard-Westlake was playing MLK weekend without its star outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, who took his official recruiting trip to Vanderbilt University. However, in a twist of events, Crow-Armstrong, known as “PCA”, shocked everyone by showing up and playing in the Wolverines last game early Monday morning. I have to say it was a pleasant surprise.

In this MLK Weekend Notebook I will take a look at some of the teams and standouts after the entire four days of action from the South Bay to the Long Beach State Team Camp.

mira costa mustangs

2020 OF Petey Halpin The University of Texas signee in my opinion is as close to a 5-tool threat we have in Southern California. Since my last viewing at the Area Code Games Halpin’s frame has made significant gains and projects to add more. Now barrel chested, arms fill out uniform sleeves, and core and legs are more defined. He possesses two tools that can’t be taught (speed & arm strength). Halpin has current power and squares the ball up on a constant basis, however, the power tool will become more frequent with age and maturity. He's a quick-twitch athlete with plus feel/aptitude for the game and has the speed, athleticism, and body control to stay in center field. If all comes together this season, Halpin has the potential to be a high round draft pick and an everyday CF in MLB in the future. 

2021 OF/RHP Jonah Storey (Uncommitted) A two-way threat that will be counted on to play multiple roles for the Mustangs. On this day he hit in the 2-hole behind Halpin; an optimal place in the lineup to get plenty of fastballs to hit. He showed an advanced approach at the plate and had multiple quality at-bats. He projects to add strength, is very mature, and is a player that college’s need to take notice of. Storey started in left field and later toed the rubber (seen here), where he featured a 3-pitch mix that was able to keep hitters off balance.

edison chargers

2020 MIF Tyler Weaver (Uncommitted) A virtual unknown until this past summer where he played for the SoCal A’s Scout Team. Weaver stands on a small/medium, strong, athletic frame that has ample room to add more weight and muscle. He impressed onlookers with his athleticism, run tool, quality at-bats, and his ability to play multiple positions. This uncommitted recruit is the epitome of a senior leader for the Chargers and will be a key cog in their success as a whole. Clocked a 4.00, 4.03, 4.00 on home-to- first run times (seen here). College coaches need to pay attention to Weaver this season. He will be an added value to any program. 

2022 RHP/OF Tyler Prystajko You will be hearing Prystajko’s name come up this year as someone to be reckoned with and no doubt will be climbing up the national rankings in the next three years. He has a large, lean, proportional, athletic frame with significant room to add on weight and muscle. A two-way threat that just recently committed to the University of Washington as a RHP. Prystajko has recently begun to throw off the mound to live hitters and in the coming weeks we all will see why he was sought after as a frontline starter. A tremendous physical athlete that has attributes of a future major leaguer. A fierce competitor with a high ceiling. Going to be exciting to watch for the next few years. Mark my words “He will be in the MLB draft discussion as a pitcher his senior year” 

harvard-westlake wolverines

2020 OF Pete Crow-Armstrong In a surprise turn of events, PCA suited up in Harvard-Westlake's final game of the Team Camp Monday morning. Fresh off a plane from his official recruiting trip at Vanderbilt University over the weekend; he arrived and did this his first at-bat. Like Halpin, Crow-Armstong is as close to a 5-tool player as it gets in Southern California. All of PCA’s tools may be a tic above Halpin’s at the moment, which would put him ahead in the draft in my opinion. The development of his power tool will determine his overall impact potential in the draft. I love watching this kid play. He keeps you on the edge of your seat to see what he might do next.

2020 UTL Tyler Ganus The Oregon signee was one of the standouts all week. Medium sized, strong, athletic frame with a high motor. This future Duck plays hard with his hair on fire and it rubs off on his team mates.  A super-utility competitor that does everything well. He plays outfield, first base, pitches, and has high production numbers from each position. Setup in the box is a little unorthodox, almost like an old-school Pete Rose, but hits the ball hard on a consistent basis. Almost decapitated a pitcher on a hot-shot back up the box in a night game at Blair Field.  Clocked a 4.22 home to first base seen in this clip. I want this guy on my team going into battle. 

2020 SS Drew Bowser The Stanford signee brings a physically mature, projectable, athletic frame very similar and comparable to a 17-year old Alex Rodriguez. Bowser possesses the aptitude and feel for the shortstop position and middle of the batting order talent. If his physicality and size continue to advance, one could see a move to third base at the next level. Currently shows a compact stroke where the ball jumps off the bat. Bowser will occasionally hit home runs, but until he reaches full maturity, we will see high double totals. Will be fun to watch his development this season and see if he takes the next step to become a high draft pick.

2020 RHP Jack Hassett The NYU commit has been a pleasant surprise in my viewings of Harvard-Westlake this fall/winter. Hassett shows a three-quarters delivery with some effort. Finishes and falls to first base side, but is compact and steady until the release. Sat at 86-88 with arm side movement in this outing, with a hard tilting slider. Shows slightly above-average arm speed that allows him to maintain velocity. All of his offerings come out of the same arm slot making it tough on hitters who were frequently late. Hassett is a cerebral pitcher that gets immediate feedback from what the hitters are trying to do and uses that information against them.

2022 RHP Christian Becerra (Uncommitted) The sophomore has a slim, projectable build that has significant room to add weight. Becerra gave a different look from the last viewing. Has over the top arm slot. Fastball had more of a cutting action rather than a tailing action on this night sitting 84-86 which made hitters tardy. His arsenal played up given his improved control and command from last outing. With age and physical maturity, we should see an uptick in velocity on all of his offerings. College coaches and recruiters need to take notice.

san dimas saints

2020 SS D’Andre Smith The USC signee showed off his tool set this week in front of  MLB scouts and he didn’t disappoint. Exhibits a medium, compact, muscular, quick-twitch, athletic frame with some physical projection remaining. Setup is neutral in the box, has a short swing with excellent bat speed that lends itself to a high contact rate. Defensively, has plus hands, actions and above-average range with smooth, fluid movements laterally. Above average arm that can handle the left side, not a plus arm but good enough to stick at shortstop; would be a plus arm at second base. What really got my attention was his toughness and his ability to push through pain after getting drilled in the knee. He continued to play hard through the pain with an excellent attitude.

2020 OF Isaiah Marquez It was kind of a job interview for the Long Beach State signee this week. Marquez brings a physical presence to an already physical Saints lineup. He displayed some raw power in BP before the game. You would like to see it show up in games, but currently has gap power. As he matures, ages, and learns his swing, there is no doubt there’s over the fence power potential. Marquez runs well and covers a ton of ground in the outfield. Takes proper routes to balls and displays a plus arm tool as seen in the video. 

2020 RHP/C Liam Rocha This is my first look at the CBU commit and came away impressed. Has loose, lean, athletic frame, tall, high waist, excellent body projection that can add some good weight and strength.  Rocha repeats his mechanics extremely well, comes from a  three-quarters arm slot with good balance, strong drive off of the rubber,  long stride, and gets tremendous extension and deception within the delivery. Rocha’s ability to throw strike after strike makes me believe he's got a chance to be a front line starter at the next level. The ceiling is high for this recruit. Rocha is a two-way threat and will be counted on to make a big contribution offensively (see 2nd video clip)


yucaipa thunderbirds

2020 SS Jordan Andrade The UNLV commit has been a vital piece for this Yucaipa program for four years now. Andrade has been the cornerstone in the middle of the infield his whole high school career. Every year his tools have steadily improved proving he’s ready to take the next step. Andrade doesn’t get enough credit for his hit tool. He exhibits consistently that he is a producer that can drive the ball deep into gaps for high doubles totals.  Andrade is one of the more polished defenders around and has proved that he has the arm strength to stay on the left side. He is not a burner on the bases, but shows aptitude and awareness.

2023 OF/RHP Owen Egan (Uncommitted) One of the top freshman in the country and our #3 ranked player in California for the 2023 class. Egan is a USA alum that brings multiple plus tools to the table. He’s an impact two-way player for the Thunderbirds and will be counted on to produce immediately on both sides of the ball.  Egan possesses a strength to his game rarely seen in such a young player. A primary outfielder that's extremely athletic with a plus arm. The bat is loud with consistent hard contact. He hits at the top of the lineup and will be a table setter for this team. Really excited to track and follow his progress for the next four years.

2022 INF/OF Jacob Reimer Another talented young athlete in the stable for Yucaipa. Reimer, a Cal State Fullerton commit is our #20 ranked player in California for the 2022 class. There is not a game that goes by that Reimer does not hit the ball hard consistently. He has real raw power that we expect will turn into homerun power in games. He hits a ton of doubles currently and produces RBI’s with much more in the tank. If progress continues and he continues to grow physically, we might see a permanent shift to the outfield. He didn’t get the results he was looking for on this night, but we look forward to following him for the next three seasons. 

servite friars

2020 Catcher Garrett Guillemette The USC commit is primed for a big senior campaign. With his body being toned up from last season, it looks like he is more durable behind the dish. He is going to be counted on for his senior leadership with such a young talented pitching staff. He was definitely tested this week as his staff didn’t have the optimal command. Guillemette has been instant offense for the Friars for a few years now, and they will count on him being the same offensive force this season. There is no question that he is one of the best catch and throw backstops in the State. Displayed his hand cannon a few times this week. I caught one on video in this clip.

2022 LHP Chris Grothues The UCLA recruit toed the rubber on Monday for the for the first time since his commitment to the Bruins. It would be a true test to see how the sophomore measured up against a stacked Harvard-Westlake lineup. The lefty shows an atypical, funky delivery slightly cross-firing, coming from a low three-quarters slot. The release is also tough to pick up as he really gets out front over his front leg and reaches out and almost snaps it out of his hand adding to his deception. Came with a three-pitch mix. Fastball sat 83-85 topping 86. Curveball and changeup came out of the same slot at 76-78.

2020 1B Jake Lappin (Uncommitted) Physical would be the word to describe Lappin. Standing at six-foot-one 220lbs, he brings a imposing presence in the middle of the lineup for the Friars. Displays excellent balance, rhythm, and bat speed with his smooth left handed stroke. Currently has high doubles totals, but anticipate over the fence power potential. Was pounding the baseball all week. For a big guy, he has quick feet, uses proper techniques, and is nimble around first base turning the double play with ease.

2022 RHP Xavier Cardenas (Uncommitted) One of the surprises on the weekend for me. Tall, lean, projectable frame that has significant room for physical projection. You can dream on the body and predict it will add strength. A two-sport athlete (basketball) that really displays athleticism on the mound. He has had minimal practice up to this point of the year due to basketball obligations. The fastball will not blow you away currently sitting 84-86, but he shows a big league curveball as seen in the video. Will be fun to watch his development for the next three years. This is a recruit colleges need to pay close attention to.

maranatha minutemen

2020 INF/OF Eli Paton  has a large, muscular frame with all around strength in the upper body, a defined lower half, and popeye forearms and wrists. There is not much more room to add muscle and may be maxed out physically. More growth in the frame could push him off first base permanently into a corner outfield position. Paton is a physical specimen and will hang his hat on his hit and power tools. Offensively he displays solid barrel control, is able to manipulate barrel in zone and spray ball to all parts of the field with authority. The top and bottom half remain in sync, and hips have natural and easy torque. Shows a classic, natural left handed swing that produces for the Minutemen. 

2020 1B Brock Vradenburg The Michigan St. signee stands on an extra-large, prototypical first baseman's frame with long arms, legs and high waist. Vradenburg displays a natural, rhythmic left handed swing path with an advanced, aggressive approach. Shows plate awareness and the ability to use both sides of the field. Defensively, he demonstrates soft hands, excellent footwork around the bag, and the ability to turn the double play with ease. Had a whale of day smashing two triples on the day seen here.


2020 Catcher Austin Machado (Uncommitted) This is my first look at Machado.  Has a medium, strong, athletic build that has room to add weight and muscle. Displayed the ability to put the bat on the ball consistently with his natural left handed swing. There will always be room on a roster for an athletic catcher. He seemed to be a leader and controlled his pitching staff throughout the game. Defensively, he was able to keep the ball in front of him and threw a runner out with a 2.09 pop time. 

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