NCTB Fall Classic: Day 2


Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

Day Two of the NCTB Fall Classic was packed with some of the top arms at the event including both committed and uncommitted players. Quick-armed future starters were, seemingly, in every game, and those coaches in attendance got a good look at them in multiple situations. Some battled out of pressure situations while others had to deal with miscues and errors by teammates. Overall, there was a lot to like about the arms that rolled out on Saturday. The position players, also, made themselves known. Having seen them perform in a workout and one game, Saturday gave a chance for coaches to continue to follow highlighted players as well as look for new ones to build a case. With future, more in depth breakdowns coming, here are some quick hit notes from the action on Day Two:

+ 2018 RHP Alex Benavides (Gilroy HS), a San Diego State recruit, has long, wiry-athletic frame at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds with plenty of room to grow out. He came out firing fastballs at 87-89 early on with a spin rate that approached 2700 on the FlightScope machine. His slider (75-77) was ripped off with fastball hand speed, and he showed confidence to throw it in any count. The pitch seemed to “reset” his release point, and he would go to it when he had lost his slot on a couple fastballs. His slider is currently a swing and miss pitch, and has a chance to develop into a plus pitch in the future as it featured RPM’s at or around 2800. The highly projectable right-hander interestingly slowed down to throw some batting practice fastballs that showed more sink. A gifted athlete, Benavides also smacked a deep double to left centerfield.

+ 2019 RHP Will Kempner (Valley Christian Schools, CA), a recent Gonzaga commit, has a whippy-loose arm that delivers out of a true ¾ slot, and looks like it could go even lower if he wanted to in the future. He touched 89 mph one time before settling in at mostly 85-87 with late arm side life. Kempner drove his fastball to the bottom of the zone, and it appeared to jump on hitters. His changeup worked 78-81 with some fading action, and his slider was a sweeping pitch at 70-73. However, he mostly pitched off his fastball which he was able to control to both sides of the plate. Kempner has a durable, 6-foot, 200-pound frame, and will have a chance to continue as a starter at the next level given his feel for a three pitch mix.

+ 2021 1B/LHP Blake Burke (De La Salle HS, CA) has a physical presence at the plate at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, and has the power to match it from the left side. His barrel shows lag in the zone with a flat barrel, and his quick hands drive through the baseball. Burke has had some strong at-bats against solid arms, and looks like he will develop even more power in the future. He has shown the ability to utilize the entire field.

+ 2020 C/3B Jake Pina (Franklin HS, CA) had a nice day at the plate going 2-for-3 in the early game for Schutt Speed. Pina has a durable frame, and his swing exhibits some strength through the zone. He roped a double in his first at-bat, and worked uphill through the zone with strength. His hands show some quickness after starting relaxed below his back shoulder. His frame looks like it should continue developing in the future which makes him an interesting player to follow.

+ 2020 C/SS Landon Wallace (Whitney HS, CA) still looks very young, but has athleticism that will be greatly aided in the future by more strength. He featured soft hands behind the plate as he was a quiet receiver with solid blocking skills. His arm strength is still developing, but he has enough of a foundation that he should continue progressing as he gets stronger.

+ Uncommitted 2018 LHP/OF Robbie Muniz (Washington HS, CA) looks like he may have a chance to help a school at some level as a position player. He laced a line drive single to right field, and showed a balanced approach at the plate. His swing works uphill, and he shows line drive strength with quicker hands. There is some lag in the zone.

+ Uncommitted 2018 SS/P Zach Thomas (Cantwell Sacred Heart HS, CA) is going to be a solid two-way addition to a program at some level. He started the game for Birds Baseball, and showcased a short, quick arm that delivered directly out of his ear. Thomas was able to sink his fastball at 82-85 to both sides of the plate, and looked like an athletic infielder on the mound. Also showing off an average slider (72-74) with tight spin at times that he showed the ability to throw for strikes, Thomas competed on the mound and got out of some tough spots. At the plate, he has an aggressive approach with a handsy load, and hunts pitches early in the count.

+ Uncommitted 2018 C/P Anthony Diaz (Gahr HS, CA) has taken quality at-bats so far this weekend. The durably-framed 5-foot-9, 180-pounder has quick hands that rip through the zone on a level plane with a higher finish. He is balanced in his approach with a solid base, and is rarely fooled on pitches. He battled deep into counts before working a couple walks on the day. Diaz also hopped on the mound where he may be able to contribute at some level. His fastball worked 81-84 from a near over the top slot, and he showed feel for a two-tier breaking curveball at 69 mph.

+ 2020 INF Chaz Myers (Heritage HS, CA) had a big, two-out line drive single to left centerfield in Birds Baseball’s game. The young-looking, maturing infielder takes an uphill path with his barrel with some twitchy actions throughout. Still developing strength, Myers has a wiry frame, but shows the ability to spray line drives from gap to gap.

+ 2020 LHP Uday Narottam (Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, CA) may only be 5-foot-9, 160-pounds, but he pitches much bigger. Facing an older, experienced lineup, Narottam swiftly got out after out. He worked quickly while pounding the zone with a fastball at 77-79 that touched 80 mph as well as showing off advanced feel for a breaking ball that got several swings and misses at 62-66. Narottam showed poise on the mound, and cleanly repeated a crisp delivery with a loose arm.

+ Uncommitted 2018 OF Cameron Geyer (Granada HS, CA) has shown well throughout the weekend. The athletic, high-waisted outfielder has played hard all weekend, and shows some strength through the zone from the left side. He stayed on a double to the left centerfield gap, and has had solid at-bats, so far. Interesting to note, Geyer also showed off a strong throwing arm from right field.

+ Uncommitted 2020 INF Tommy Troy (Los Gatos HS, CA) has been a treat to watch all over the diamond the first two days. The 5-foot-9, 155-pound infielder is a ball of energy, and has a quick first step with a strong, loose arm that makes him fun to watch all over the infield. Constantly in the game, Troy is always talking and fielding “dry ground balls.” He has had some excellent at-bats, and is best described as a “ballplayer.” I was most impressed when he smartly scored from second base on a slow roller to third. It showed off his athleticism and high baseball IQ.

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