Prep Baseball Report

Northern California Underclass Games: Team 1 Analysis

Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

The inaugural N. California Underclass Games took place on Saturday, August 25th at John Smith field on the campus of Sacramento State University. The Underclass Games were a culmination of our Underclass Trials Series which attracted players from all over the region.

The day featured a workout in the morning for position players where they went through our hitting wheel, took on-field BP, before finishing up with a defensive workout. Players were split into four teams with two simulated games following the morning workouts. Teams consisted of players in the 2020-2022 classes.

Playing the first game of the day was Team #1, which featured one of the top 2022s in the region, a couple of the top 2020 catchers in the region, two projectable corner infielders and a toolsy outfielder who has been steadily coming on.

In this edition of Team Analysis we take a look at the players on Team #1 through the eyes of our scouts and regional director of scouting.

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NOTE: The reports on players from Team #1 are listed in no particular order. Click on player name for full statistical performance numbers and video.

Anthony Hernandez OF / Antelope , CA / 2020

5-foot-7, 135-pounds, average build, lean body type, certainly not a big young player but performance in the metrics indicate that he has quite a bit of strength in that smaller body type. During batting practice he displayed an open stance, produced quite a few line drives, did tend to pull the ball on the ground and hit off the back foot at times. Somewhat aggressive top hand grip. Game at-bats produced contact up the middle and to the pull-side. Defensively showed a strong arm given his present size with a loose and short, quick and clean arm action that allows him to get rid of the ball well. Moved to the ball well with fluid actions and athleticism.

Kobe Rolling 2B / SS / Will C. Wood, CA / 2021

5-foot-7, 150-pounds, compact body with some strength, particularly strong lower body and well-proportioned throughout, built like a middle-infielder. Rolling’s energy and game savvy are a couple of things that stood out and have each of the times we’ve seen him. Runs more quick than fast and gets up to speed quickly, able to put pressure on the defense with hustle. Has a quick bat with middle/oppo approach and a short swing. Can get to velocity, swing works best when letting the ball travel and driving the ball into the left-centerfield gap, which he showed ability to do vs offspeed pitches in game action. Worked LONG and deep count at-bats in both game plate appearances, can spoil pitches and can definitely frustrate a pitcher and run up some pitch counts. Defensively does a great job with pre-pitch readiness, positions himself well and displayed good instincts/anticipation. Good transfer around the bag on the double play turn, quick feet and plays well below the ball, range is good. Lively bounce in his step as well.

Ricky Damico C / 1B / Serra, CA / 2020

5-foot-10, 155-pounds, lean athletic body type, good build and athleticism for the catcher position, would also fit well at 2nd base. Plays the catcher position athletically with life in his actions, with an arm that is quick and gaining strength as we’ve seen him a few times this summer. Pop times indicate his foot quickness and timing of upper and lower half, as well as a clean and quick exchange. Did things behind plate cleanly. During batting practice showed good balance and a line drive swing plane, with a gap to gap approach. Reached twice in two game at-bats, with a walk and solid single to right field. BP approach transferred to game hitting approach. With size and strength he certainly has a shot to gain on peers who are presently bigger and stronger. Good baseball player.

Ruben Rivera LHP / OF / San Ramon Valley, CA / 2022

5-foot-11, 142-pounds, thin build on a young tall body, size and strength gains will tell more of a story for Rivera in the coming years. Offensively he was a bit uphill with his swing path during batting practice, with a tendency to hit off the back foot. Game at-bats did produce a well hit ball that ended in an E4. Defensively moved to the ball well with fluid actions, loose arm with some life in what came out as average arm strength that very likely will continue to evolve into an above average arm. On the mound he pitches with a high-3/4 slot with an easy arm action that has quite favorable projectability. Good direction down the slope, does pitch with a slower tempo and actions. Quite a few of his pitches were up but when he got to a good release point and finish there was movement/sink/run with the fastball. Curveball with rolling action and 1/7 shape. Projects more favorably as a pitcher at this time.

Jaron Nevarez 1B / LHP / San Ramon Valley, CA / 2022

5-foot-9, 160-pounds, athletically put together, appropriate strength given his age, moved on the field with confidence and baseball type actions, looked to be a legitimate two-way player at this stage of his development and should continue to compete as a position player and pitcher. During batting practice displayed a tall set-up and open stance, short swing, has makings of some pull-side pop. Stayed back on change-up well in game competition for a solid single. Defensively the ball came out of his hand quite well up to 79 mph. Fielded the ball cleanly and set up well to get rid of throws. Size may eventually move him to the outfield where his arm would play well. On the mound he did a lot of good things. High-3/4 slot, athletic delivery, shallow backside arm action before getting to a bit of a goalpost takeaway, quiet head throughout delivery. Worked with a slower tempo. Fastball control was good, has a little bit of run but mostly straight. Best pitch was curveball which at times had good spin and action, while other times was loose, basically indicating some inconsistencies in his release point. Used that pitch well in a backdoor manner to right-hand hitters. Struck out 3 of 4 batters he faced. Good 2022 follow for sure.

Tyler Shaw SS / 2B / Serra, CA / 2020

5-foot-9, 155-pounds, compact body type on average frame, well-proportioned and has the look of a middle infielder. Having seen Shaw a few times we again saw what makes him a good player, which is his feel and instincts for the game, along with a good internal clock and high level of skill. Other players have bigger tools but he can play. Defensively he has an advanced feel for the game. Quick release, sure hands, good angles and timing/tempo, excellent pre-pitch, can pick up and throw it across accurately. Very steady defender. Tools profile better at 2nd base but can play shortstop in a pinch. Offensively he showed a balanced set-up with a small/minimal load, a bit mechanical in the box. Contact and line-drive oriented swing with a middle of the field approach, quite simple in a good way. Game approach showed that same approach, with a hard hit 4-3 and very hard hit line drive to the shortstop. Consistent and winning type player with ability to enhance/complement a good team with ability to play the game.

Elvin Delic SS / RHP / Consumes Oaks, CA / 2021

5-foot-9, 175-pounds, strong young player with stout build on compact body type. Strength comes out in quite a few ways and he’s a player to watch in Northern California in the 2021 class. Bat talent stood out quite clearly. Batting practice round displayed good things, including confidence in the box and a hitterish feel. Smooth easy load, showed some present day power and ability to drive the ball to the pull-side. Didn’t find as much success in the games as he saw some good offspeed pitches, but two at-bats don’t take away from his hitting talent. Defensively his arm action is long-ish and the ball came out of his hand very well with above average arm strength. In regard to his defensive tools and body type, he really profiles well as a catcher, though he did not catch, that is merely an observation/opinion/projection, where his hitting ability would be a strong asset to the catching profile.

Logan Azem OF / Serra , CA / 2020

5-foot-10, 165-pounds, lean athletic build and good baseball body type, some solid present day strength and plays with athleticism. Balanced set-up, smooth load of hands, good timing of lower/upper body, line drive pull-side approach during batting practice. Ball comes off bat well and with his gap to gap approach, including ability to use the opposite field, his hitting ability and quickness are a good combination. Game at-bats showed ability to make solid contact to all fields and good barrel awareness. Defensively possesses a good arm that plays at all three outfield positions. One of the better looking outfielders in the workout, over the top slot with good accuracy and throws that carry. Fluid and clean to the ball and athletically gets to a good throwing position. Overall does quite a lot quite well, simple and efficient but also athletic and still has a ceiling to reach. Given his size and arm and foot quickness, would be interesting to see him as a middle infielder.

Gabe Maya LHP / Christian Brothers, CA / 2021

6-foot-1, 140-pounds, long, lithe body on a thin frame but there is a real chance for favorable physical projection, looks the part of a young left-hander and he didn’t disappoint in performing as such. Loose arm action, hides ball pretty well, ball out of glove and to release point easily, two-piece backside arm action, works with good tempo and body works fluidly. Does get to a bit of a stiff front side and spins off heel but that front side delivery does work for his breaking ball as it often does for pitchers that get to a stiff front leg. Lots of fastball run and though the velocity will need to tick up quite a bit, the movement and life/length was good which simply indicates that he needs some physical strength (of lower body too) to help the stuff play up. Curveball was best pitch and even at lower velocities it’s got above average spin and he’s got feel of the pitch. Very effective vs left-handed hitters with both the shape and bite. Given time and physical maturity, he’s got a shot as a left-hander who can spin it and has feel of that pitch.

Landon Wallace C / SS / Roseville, CA / 2020

6-foot-1, 160-pounds, strong and lean body type, well-proportioned, favorable physical projectability. One of Northern California’s top 2020 uncommitted catching prospects. Metrics, workout evaluations and game performance all added up. Offensively he’s got a chance to contribute as a catcher who can hit. Batting practice round showed off gap to gap approach, good balance, fast hands and intent to damage the ball. High intensity swings and high intensity in the box, with good finish through the ball. Quiet barrel on the way to the ball leads to good barrel control to and through the zone. Game at-bats wielded a pair of hard hit ground balls, one in the middle and one to the right side, ran both of them out. Aggressive again was the term that came to mind. Defensively he showed a good arm and real quick feet and transfer skills. Pop times were low and throws were on the bag. Good mechanics and quick release, gains good ground during his release. Block skills and athleticism behind the plate were definitely on display. Ability to pounce on balls in dirt and recover is quite good. Does tend to sit high at times when perhaps catching and receiving would be more appropriate. All in all, a talented all-around catcher, with defensive and offensive tools along with good intangibles.

Matthew McMahon RHP / 1B / Cardinal Newman, CA / 2020

6-foot-2, 150-pounds, long and lanky, lots of arms and legs and clearly still growing into his body. Given his still developing body, McMahon’s projectability is quite favorable. Two-way high school player though the pitching ability looks to have more upside. Overhand slot, loose and agile delivery, generally good direction to the plate but was spinning off a bit which caused inconsistent release point. Stride was landing on his heel and upsetting his balance, which could indicate that his stride is a little long. Arm works free and easy, loose and clean. High lift allows him to gather over the rubber. Fastball has been steadily been increasing as we’ve seen him a few times the last year. Didn’t use the breaking ball in this brief outing. Offensively he had a good showing with a smooth and rhythmic load, starting from a tall and open stance. Displayed some pull-side pop in BP then backed it up with a triple down the right field line in game action. Showed zone discipline in his second plate appearance. Defensively he moves around 1st base well and the arm is consistent with what he shows on the mound.

Kenny DeCelle OF / Vacaville, CA / 2020

6-foot-2, 170-pounds, lean and athletic with strength and some twitch. Athlete’s build, plays varsity basketball as well. Toolsy player with good metrics and also gaining polish that is showing up in game competition. Tested well with the top exit speed of the event (92 mph), showed balance at the plate during BP, starts in a crouch with wide feet, good extension, bat speed is there and he projects to develop gap to gap pop. Made plus contact in both game at-bats, once on single to left field and then a deep F7 that was hit well. Offensively he’s got tools to be a standout in the 2020 class in Northern California. Defensively he’s got arm strength and projects to have an above average arm, gets rid of the ball well and with his overhand slot his throws stay on-line and have some carry. Overall his tools rate well, including speed, which shows up much better underway and in a straight line 60-yard dash vs his out of the box home to first time. Athlete who is turning into a baseball player.

Kevin Haynes 3B / RHP / Jesuit , CA / 2020

6-foot-2, 180-pounds, long and lean body type with long legs and a high waist, fills out uniform well and looks the part, good physical projection. Showed well as an offensive talent. Tall set-up at the plate, quiet approach with short/minimal stride, hands consistently work inside the ball, has some lift and ability to drove the ball with some loft type power. Swing is easy and as he grows into his strength he has a chance to hit for usable power. Showed home run power in BP round. Used middle and opposite field approach in game at-bats. Good looking young hitting prospect. Defensively takes good angles to the ball and gets feet set up well to make accurate throws. Takes his time with good tempo, showed soft hands and an arm that works from 3rd base, projecting as an average arm. On the mound he has a clean though somewhat mechanical and deliberate delivery, overhand slot, and short stride, with a shallow backside arm action. Velocity will have to tick up to consider him as a pitching prospect beyond the high school level. Tilted the fastball well and kept the ball down, small curveball shape and got to good extension with change-up while working that pitch down in the zone. Projects more favorably as a position player at either 3rd base or possibly 1st base.

Joey Bell 3B / 1B / P San Joaquin Memorial, CA / 2020

6-foot-3, 180-pounds, long and lanky, good frame to continue to add size and strength, ran pretty well given his size which bodes well for his chance to become more powerful. Offensively he showed well, with bat speed and an easy move through the ball that resulted in hard contact. Tall set-up, fairly short stride and good balance. A bit rotational in the BP round but did repeatedly find the barrel. One of top performers in the game action, with two hard hit balls in both at-bats, singled off an 84 mph fastball and also singled up the middle vs another 80+ fastball. Defensively he displayed an above average arm that has a chance to become a plus arm. Footwork was a bit choppy with a few too many steps as he set up to the ball but clearly working at developing proper footwork. If that becomes more natural for him then he’s got tools to handle 3rd base. On the mound has an overhand slot, on-line stride, arm works pretty easily while producing low-80s velocity. Stride leg stiffens up a bit as he gets toward extension, which caused the fastball to be up a bit too much as he was falling off line toward 1st base. Curveball was best pitch, as he displayed good feel of it and some late action. Presently a bit further along as a position player prospect but given his size and arm strength, he has a chance to develop as a pitcher too.

Aidan Kelly SS / 3B / Bellarmine College Prep, CA / 2020

6-foot-3, 185-pounds, lean body type with good present day strength but a frame to add more size and strength. Offensively he displayed balance at the plate while starting with a tall set-up, with quiet hands as he loads, short swing with good bat speed can produce gap power. Has some lift in swing and fairly aggressive stride. Strong hands and made good barrel contact, gets through contact well and hands worked inside the ball, handled the fastball well in game action and handcuffed the shortstop into an error on a very hard hit ball. Defensively he circles the ball as he approaches fielding it, gets rid of the ball quickly with a solid arm that has more in there when he might need it. Moves well laterally and does have some range due to a good first step. Soft hands. Raw foot speed and size may end up making 3rd base his best fit on the field. Plays with good baseball energy and enthusiasm.

Jordan Gonzales RHP / Christian Brothers, CA / 2020

6-foot-0, 195-pounds, thicker body type with some upper body strength, particularly through his shoulders and upper back. Strong lower body and pitches with good balance. Overhand slot, calm backside arm action with minimal arm swing, hooks/curls wrist a bit. Good direction to the plate and lands with good balance while maintaining that balance through release as he gets to a firm/flexed front side. Finishes pitches well with his backside allowing more life on pitches than his velocity might otherwise indicate. Fastball at times had good riding action and that sneaky velocity as hitters had trouble with the fastball. Struck out 5 of the 7 batters he faced and it was primarily against his fastball. Good usage of his curveball and good finish of that pitch. Not a big biting curveball but steady action that gets deep enough into the zone to keep hitters off it. Understands how to pitch and with three usable pitches (has mid-70s change-up) and some bulldog in him.

Joseph Taddie C / 1B / Leland, CA / 2020

6-foot-4, 225-pounds, long and strong and certainly a noticeable body. Good leg strength with long legs. Strength comes out in his offensive game. Tall set-up, fairly short stride with good balance. Short swing with a quick bat that produces good pop. Has the the look of a hitter who can control the barrel with limited swing and miss and also produce extra base hits. Ball leaves his bat quite well and it doesn’t take a lot of effort for that to happen. Stays on a line drive swing plane. Worked middle of the field in game at-bats, resulting in a hard hit single to centerfield in one at-bat. Defensively he has a good arm that works for the catcher position, though it’s not a plus arm. Despite big frame his feet work well and he gets throws off quickly with consistently low pop times and was generally accurate around the bag. Showed heady nature as a player during game action and plays the game aggressively. Overall he’s performed well during a few summer viewings and is rising among 2020 catching prospects in Northern California.