Prep Baseball Report

Norcal 9 - Way too early look at 2021

Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - As we have been updating our rankings for the various grad classes, certain schools start to stand out as having numerous players in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 classes. When looking at potential success for future seasons, I generally start by identifying how much talent and experience (REALLY important) returns on the mound, but a deep and experienced offense matters too. Given that some sections had just gotten underway and coaches were easing players into the season, the stats for 2020 don't tell as much of the story as they otherwise would have with a full season. But they do tell part of the story.

There of course will be transfers, there will be injuries, there will be positive development of some players and regression of others and maybe some 2020s will reclassify and return for another crack at a senior season. However, those factors don't play into this crystal ball look at 9 teams I will have my eye on for 2021.

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Listed Alphabetically

Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) - Monarchs were off to a 5-0 start and much of that was on the strength of a staff that had gotten 27 of 32 innings from juniors and sophomores. 2022 RHP Tristan Fox (11 IP, 9 K, 1 ER), 2021 RHP Jake Geis and 2022 P/3B Anthony Cabrera will be key pieces, as will 2021 Anthony Sanguinetti, who was off to a strong start in this spring (10 IP, 1.40 ERA, 6 K, BB). As a team they were hitting .383 with 15 doubles and it wasn't all from star Nick Yorke. Toolsy 2021 OF Reymello Murphy was hitting .500, as was 2021 INF/P Matthew Halbach. 2022 INF Zach Yorke was off to a .375 start with a pair of doubles.

Buchanan (Clovis) - Bears will return a loaded offensive team, maybe the top offense in Northern CA, with returning starters at most positions and younger players pushing them for time. 2021s Temo Becerra (SS/P), Austin Young (C), Josh Williams (OF), along with 2022s Max Bernal (1B), Corbin Ybarra (OF), Drew Smith (3B), Jett Ruby (MIF), and OF/IF Evan Wallace will all return. As for pitching, returners Becerra, Bernal (LHP) and 2021 RHP Christian Williams will be relied on, and keep an eye on a trio of 2022 RHPs, Colby Evans, Sam Tookoian and Hayden Beckwith. 2023 SS J.P. Acosta could also find his way into the mix.

Clayton Valley Charter (Concord) - One of the top teams in Northern CA in 2020, the Ugly Eagles relied heavily on a talented group of seniors. However, they will return 2021 LHP Mason Oakley and 2023 RHP Kyle Connelly, two of the top arms in their respective classes. Look for 2022 1B/RHP Jacob Krieg to also make an impact on the mound as well. Offensively they will lose a lot but the experience both Krieg (hit 3rd this spring) and 2023 C Ryder Helfrick (led off) got this season will matter. 2022 OF Leighton Helfrick has plenty of talent to make an impact and a pair of talented 2022s will join the mix, INF Justin Walker & IF/C Cubby Cortez

Lincoln - Though the Fighting Zebras were 0-5 when the season was paused, they are not devoid of talent. Perhaps they just hadn't hit their stride yet. They also had to wait for transfer 2021 SS T.J. McCuistion to be eligible. So he will be on board for 2021, along with some real talent on the mound, in particular 2021 LHP Jack Nilsson and 2021 RHP Evan Odin. They will need 2022 RHP Sebastian Edwards to turn his considerable talent into consistent performance. To be straight, the team ERA and overall performance in 2020 wasn't pretty and talent alone does not win HS baseball games, but worst to first? It happens.

Los Gatos - The Wildcats were off to a 5-2 start and one of the better public school teams in the region. In 2021 they should be regarded as a section contender as they will bring back significant talent on the mound and on the diamond. Offensively they are in good shape with juniors Tommy Splaine (C/P), Logan Johnstone (OF), Kai Hori (2B), Teague Drotar (OF), and Jaden Mazzaferro (C). 2021 RHP Jimmy Moore was (4.1 IP, 11 K, 1 ER) is a real talent and they will bring back experience in 2021 LHP/OF Michael Splaine (6.1 IP, 10 K). All three pitchers (T. Splaine included) will have to cut down on the walks. Even if that doesn't happen, the offense has a chance to be prodigious.

Palo Alto - From the same league as Los Gatos, the Vikings will be another team to watch as they were 5-1 when the season stopped. They will return significant position player talent with 2021s Aidan Berger (C/INF), Zander Darby (INF), Ritter Amsbaugh (INF/P), Matthew Caren (3B) and 2022s Henry Bolte (OF) and Xavier Esquer (INF). Of the 42 innings pitched, 32.2 came from pitchers who will return, headlined by 2021s Ryan Harvey (LHP), Callum Olsen (RHP) and Amsbaugh. Joining them will be 2022s Rowan Felsch (LHP) and Jack Haight (RHP). The team was hitting .329 with 16 extra base hits and had pitched to a 1.17 ERA. That's a team to be reckoned with.

Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) - One of the smallest schools/programs mentioned here, the team was off to a 4-1 start and almost all contributions were made by their junior class. The Bruins' 1-2 punch of RHPs Ty Uber (13 IP, 20 K, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB) and RHP Ty Stewart rate with just about any school's best pair of pitchers and that's a great place to start. All 36 pitched innings this year were from juniors and a staff ERA of 0.97 isn't too shabby. Of 150 plate appearances, only 25 came from seniors. Uber is also a talented hitter (OF) and SS Logan Schweizer was off to a very strong start at the plate while showing some power (HR, 2B) and speed (4 SB). Also of note, 2021 P/UTL Dean Bernaldez is a switch-pitcher and off to a .333 start at the plate.

San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno)- The Panthers were 8-1 when the season was stopped and having made the decision to compete in the Central Section D1 playoffs, they were a marked team. When 2021 arrives they will be a favorite in the section, with an athletic and deep squad. Offensively they are led by two outstanding 2021s, MIF Eddie Saldivar and OF/RHP Tanner Sagouspe, both multiple year varsity performers. The 2022 class is very strong, with SS/P Mikey Bell and speedy OF Jack Sampson, along with a pair of RHPs, Charlie Monterrosa and Bryce Padilla. Each of the 2022s were contributing members of this spring's team. 2021 RHP Zach Fuson will also return.

Valley Christian (San Jose) - Year in and year out the Warriors are one of the teams that seem to be in the mix. Their top pitcher was 2023 RHP Jacob Hudson, one of the top freshmen talents in the region (14.2 IP, 22 K, 2.39 ERA). He returns with a couple of 2021 RHPs, Jonathan Cymrot (11.1 IP, 15 K, 2.47 ERA) and Griffin Allen. Allen has a chance to develop some of the best raw stuff in his class but needs some refining. 37.1 of their 44 pitched innings return next season and the 2021 class of hitters has a chance to be very good, including Cymrot, Allen, SS Trevor Haskins, UTL Jaxson Wall, and Jacob Froess. 2022s Eli Martinez (MIF) and  Easton Kreshel (OF) are talents waiting in the wings.



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