Prep Baseball Report

NCTB Fall Classic Underclass Standouts

Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

The talent in California reloads every year. As one class graduates, a new, talented group is ushered in. In part two of On the Hunt’s introduction to California, some of the talented underclassmen from NCTB’s Fall Classic are highlighted. Of the eight prospects highlighted, there are four impressively athletic infielders, two left-handed pitchers with feel for how to pitch, two powerful two-way prospects.

Blake Burke 1B / LHP / De La Salle, CA / 2021

Burke’s size stands out as he has a durable, 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame that is still maturing and adding muscle. Though I am sure he has been (and will be) up higher with his velocity in the future, I saw Burke towards the end of the fall where he was likely very tired after a long summer/fall season, and he sat mostly 80-82 with his fastball. Burke features a short, strong arm that delivers out of a high ¾ slot without much use of the lower-half as he mostly falls down the mound. He repeats his delivery with relative ease, and showcases some athleticism. His breaking ball (63-65), though thrown slower, featured tighter spin and flashed multi-tier break that should allow it to continue developing into an above average pitch in the future. While it is easy to want to dream on a physical left-hander on the mound, I was an even bigger fan of Burke at the plate. Starting upright and square, Burke hands load semi-deep down and back with a medium-sized leg-lift stride. He demonstrated advanced feel for the barrel while taking relaxed swings, and showing comfort in the box. The barrel takes a flat path through the zone with plenty of lag before finishing with a loose, high, one-handed finish. I watched Burke hit the ball hard all weekend, and marked down that he took “aggressive yet controlled” swings. The ball jumps off his bat to all fields, and it is scary to think that he is just a freshman with the pull side power that he already possesses. Burke moves around much more athletically than his 8.01 60-yard dash time would lead on, and I would expect that number to go down as he matures into his frame.

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