Prep Baseball Report

Northern California Underclass Games: Team 2 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 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 #2, which featured a couple of St. Mary's College commits, a couple younger siblings of two of the region's top 2019 grads, and 2021 players who continue to rise up our rankings as they move through their high school years.

In this edition of Team Analysis we take a look at the players on Team #2 through the eyes of our scouts and Northern California Director of Scouting.

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NOTE: The reports on players from Team #2 are listed in no particular order. Click on player name for full statistical performance numbers and video.

Jason Booker OF / 3B / Rodriguez, CA / 2021

5-foot-10, 150-pounds, lean wiry body type, athletic player with quick twitch movements. Versatile player capable of playing centerfield or 3rd base, would be interesting to see if he could handle a middle infield position given his strong arm and quick feet. Offensively he is a slashing type hitter with above average bat speed and the ability to handle good fastballs. The ball leaves his bat well with the ability to get into the gaps. Flat swing and good balance, lets the ball travel and trusts his hands, has ability to stay on the fastball but also stay back on offspeed pitches. Both game at-bats were hard hit singles on curveballs (one to LF and one to RF). He’s an above average runner down the line and a plus runner underway, also showed usable ability to steal bases so he’s not just a fast kid. Defensively has a quick and strong arm with low trajectory throws and as he gets stronger he should maintain the whippy arm and develop a plus arm. Talented player.

Andrew Neil 2B / RHP / Freedom, CA / 2020

Saint Mary’s College commit, 5-foot-10, 155-pounds, one of the top 2020 players in Northern California. Compact athletic build. The hit tool is a standout tool right now and plays up as a left-handed hitter. Short stroke with plus bat speed and high level barrel contact skills. Can pull hands in and still drive the ball as well as lashing balls pitched middle and away. Real quiet in the box with a small load, hits from an initial crouch, very quiet in the box and sees the ball well. Gap to gap, line to line now with extra base pop and should develop some homer power in the coming years, even at his size. Neil is also has base stealing skills and his instincts/reads on the bases can cause some havoc. Defensively has a strong arm that plays up the middle. Athletic actions in the infield and a quick release. Will play 2nd base as a junior and likely shortstop as a senior due to the presence of one of California’s top 2019 players at his school, SS Kyren Paris. Neil also pitches and certainly at the high school level he has a chance to be well above average. Quick short arm action like that of an infielder, high-3/4 slot, painted corners with the fastball, occasional riding action, change-up with good feel and finish, used change-up well in right on right at-bats. Curveball is an 11/5 shaped pitch that is a usable secondary pitch within his repertoire.

Aidan Lawrence SS / OF / California, CA / 2020

5-foot-10, 145-pounds, lean lanky body type and a good young athlete, still developing strength that will enhance his tools in the coming couple of years. Older brother Connor Lawrence is a top 2019 player (catcher, Tennessee commit) in the region and two-time Area Code participant. The run tool stands out most prominently for Lawrence at this time, with above average speed down the line and plus speed underway. Showed bat speed and some twitch in the hitting metric station, indicating that as he gets stronger there is more to come with the bat. Hits from a tall stance and showed balance, though with some hip drift that tends to speed up the pitch. Will need to develop a more consistent approach and timing to the fastball. Defensively has an overhand slot as an infielder, good transfer of ball from glove to hand, there is some life out of the hand and perhaps a bit lower slot would create a little more looseness of his arm stroke (older brother has a plus arm, so perhaps he will evolve similarly). Calm and clean infield footwork. Will be an interesting player to see this coming spring.

JC Ng OF / 1B / Menlo School, CA / 2021

5-foot-9, 140-pounds, lean athletic body, lively actions, good athlete with baseball skill, starting to emerge as one of the better players in the region in the 2021 class. All tools are present and rate well presently with favorable projections for each tool. Also brings energy and intensity intangibles with his talents. Balanced hitting approach, gets behind the ball well at contact, hands work inside the ball and uses hands well in his swing. Also gets to and through the ball with good extension as he throws the barrel through contact. Willing to use the whole field while also having the ability to lash balls to the pull side. With his speed and present size he’s best off staying gap to gap with a line drive approach. Can put pressure on the defense with footspeed and hustle, he’s also a heady baserunner. Defensively moves around the outfield with life and ready feet. Strong arm with long arm action, ball exits hand well and certainly has a shot to develop a plus arm as he ages and gains strength. Strong follow in the 2021 class.

TeJean Smith 2B / SS / Capital Christian, CA / 2021

5-foot-9, 155-pounds, compact and athletic middle infield type body, strong with some nice life in his actions. Aggressive player with a good look in his eyes. Offensively has talent and the set-up is good, while using his lower body well in the swing. There is a hint of some pop that comes from his well above average hand speed and use of the lower body but the loft in the swing plane doesn’t really complement his present size and strength. Maybe someday, because the hands are fast and he can work inside the ball with gap and opposite field extra base potential. Defensively displayed soft hands and solid arm that should continue to tick up over the next couple of years. Footwork could quiet down and be more efficient as he approaches the ball. Feet are light and with hands and arm he has the talents to be an above average middle infielder, likely at 2nd base. Also pitched and competed well. Fastball velocity gave better glimpse of his raw arm strength. High-3/4 slot, quick arm, athletic delivery with good direction. Works quickly. Fastball had some sinking action, good spin on the curveball, spiked the change-up. Should pitch as a high school player and eventually play only a position at some point down the road.

Nick Putnam C / OF / San Ramon Valley, CA / 2022

5-foot-10, 125-pounds, long and lean young player with good physical proportionality. Body still long way from maturity, which also must be kept in mind regarding his physical tools. Older brother is one of the region’s top 2019 pitchers (Jake Putnam) who has a plus arm, which could play out as the younger Putnam develops. Offensively he has a balanced swing and his hands work well to and through the ball. Hits with a good base and allows hands to work with good separation, eventually will develop some loft type power. Game at-bats showed ability to stay balanced and adjust to offpseed pitches as he worked a couple of breaking balls into the middle of the field. Defensively he sits in good receiving position and showed good technique, good leg agility. Putnam put up some pop times that don’t jump off the page yet but as a 2022 he’s got time to shave those down. His transfer is good, tends to stand up too tall as he comes out of the crouch which slows the times and takes away ability to drive the ball toward 2nd. Something to work on as his arm strength and overall physical strength improves.

Hayden Matulich OF / 2B / Pioneer, CA / 2020

5-foot-11, 170-pounds, strong build on compact frame, put together well with good proportions. Legs have some bow to them. Serious and intense player who just grows on a scout that bears down on him. Strength comes out in Matulich’s game, particularly with the bat where he’s got quick and strong hands and good barrel talent. There is some lift in the swing but not too much, will give him the ability to drive the ball into the gaps and over heads of outfielders who cheat in. Good hitting balance, starts with a narrow base with a rhythmic move toward the ball and good timing of his lower body and hands. Ball comes off his bat well and he has ability to compete with the bat beyond high school. Can grind at-bats and be a tough out vs good pitching. Runs well enough on the bases, good instincts and aggressiveness, though near average running speed is the best he could be. Defensively we’ve seen him play outfield and infield (during the spring), took reps in outfield in the showcase. Arm plays well and there may be more in there but the footwork to the ball and as he throws will have to smooth out. Frankly would think 3rd base might be a spot for him. In any case, this is a good baseball player who comes to play.

Ian Torpey RHP / 3B / Pioneer, CA / 2020

5-foot-11, 167-pounds, average body type, core/base has some strength and could allow him to build some good lower body strength that will only enhance his stuff, which presently is intriguing now. Overhand slot, good direction down the slope, works quickly and attacks hitters. Repeated the delivery well and showed ability to mix pitches all from same slot. Have seen his velocity a tick higher but given the time of year that can be forgiven. Fastball fairly straight though occasionally some life/sail action up in the zone. Control of the fastball was good to the corners. Best pitch is 11/5 curveball with late breaking action. Can also change the shape of it and make it more slider like with a bit more velocity. Good feel of the ball, wouldn’t be a shock to see him sitting steadily in the mid-upper-80s by his senior season. As a position player he’s also got talent to offer, with the ball coming off his bat well and his arm playing well across the diamond. Good barrel control throughout the swing and displayed some pop in the middle of the field in the BP session. Likely a starting caliber high school position player and pitcher beyond the high school level.

Sky Jones RHP / 3B / Saint Francis, CA / 2021

5-foot-10, 175-pounds, thicker stout body type, chance to pack on some muscle on lower half and develop lower body power as he matures, shoulders are fairly narrow. Competed as a two-way player in the showcase, primary spot is on the mound. Overhand slot, arm speed is solid and shoulder works with looseness. Short arm action, some cross body stride, stiffens up front leg as he get through release point, has some rhythm and uses core well throughout his delivery. Fastball was sneaky, occasional riding action and was an effective pitch for him. Showed feel of the curveball with some slurvy break which comes from having to get his hand around the cross body stride. Given his age and time of year, that peak of 83 mph will keep going up as he moves through his high school years. Offensively he has some strength in the bat. Starts with an open stance and makes an aggressive move to the pull side with some barrel life. Lays back on ground balls a bit much, defensive tools are that of a 3rd baseman, with enough arm for the left side and limited range.

William Heron 1B / 3B / Rio Americano, CA / 2021

6-foot-0, 185-pounds, strong muscular body type, streamlined and well-shaped, particularly the lower body. Hits from a wide base, minimal forward movement, hands work well to the ball and finish well through contact. Good separation. Could develop a little more rhythm and work in the middle of the field a bit more to allow his strength to play better and given his ability to use his strength he’s got a chance to develop middle of the field pop. Defensively he has good feet and works to stay low through the ball. Early prep for balls hit his way, does tend to move a little conservatively but he’s working to put coaching into his play. Got back to the bag well on the 3-6-3. Arm is not strong, not sure if it was a soreness issue but it appeared that he was tentative with throws. Works angles well.

David Rodriguez 3B / P / Vacaville, CA / 2020

6-foot-0, 175-pounds, sizeable frame with ample room to fill out, lower body has chance to pack on power throughout the hips and upper legs, two-way player we’ve seen a few times, continues to show ability with the bat and glove as well as talent on the mound. Overhand slot with good direction toward the plate, has feel of his body movements on the mound, lower body works well though could establish more stability so as not to fall off and lose some of his stuff. Arm works well and clean, showed late life with the fastball as he gets to good extension. Curveball has nice spin and good late action. As he gains more lower body strength his velocity will steadily tick up. Arm works easy and he doesn’t have to work very hard to get to his low-mid-80s. Demeanor on the mound is good and he’s also a good athlete off the mound. Makes sense as he is a good third baseman with an easy and projectable arm. Let’s throws go without max effort and ball still comes out nicely. Ball exits bat well and the longer he stays on the ball and uses the opposite field the better he is. Tends to tip over a bit as he fields ball and then has to regather feet and find the target. Feet do flow well to the ball. Has feel of the bat and power projects to be above average, particularly to the pull side. Strong follow as a talent and as a two-way player.

Connor Charpiot RHP / 3B / Maria Carrillo, CA / 2020

5-foot-10, 180-pounds, thicker body type, full throughout the hips and upper legs. Overhand slot, arm works easy, shallow two-piece backside arm action, good direction down the slope, when he got to good extension his stuff played up. Fastball was fairly straight. Did appear to be working too hard toward max effort in the game action which took away from his control, particularly of the fastball. Timing of lower body and hand separation where also off, again, affecting control. When timing was good he showed good lower body stability which obviously allows the ability to get to a more consistent release point. Used both a slow spiked curveball and a slider. Is likely better than what he showed and seeing in the spring would be good, the arm works and he’s got a delivery that should work as well.

John Sheehan C / OF / Cosumnes Oaks , CA / 2021

6-foot-1, 175-pounds, good frame, room throughout to keep gaining size and strength, long and lanky now with some wiry strength, good body type. Interesting tools on this young catcher. Arm strength and potential bat talent both stood out and that is a profile that generally will get a catcher on the radar of college coaches. Slightly open stance, fluid load and swing prep, minimal forward movement and stays behind ball nicely. Has some present gap pop and projects to have more that will play through his high school years. Let’s ball travel and though didn’t have the greatest two game at-bats, his approach was consistently in the middle of the field. Defensively he showed high level transfer skills and a strong arm. The times he posted are not going to hold up in game play with the need to do the primary job of a catcher, that being to receive. Has good agility and moves around athletically. Tools are there, making them all happen consistently in game play will dictate what kind of player he becomes. Talked the game well too with leadership skills. All in all a talented 2021 catcher who should be considered among the best backstop prospects in the region in his class.

Victor Martinez RHP / 1B / Rodriguez, CA / 2020

6-foot-3, 185-pounds, long body and good frame though shoulder width is fairly average, young body that still has a way to get to physical maturity. Hip flexibility could improve so he can get to a better lift and have more agility on the mound. Stride is of average length and showed some inconsistencies with foot strike and direction. Arm works well, overhand, short backside arm action, hides the ball pretty well, delivery is athletic if not entirely polished. Can gather over the rubber better and longer. For as many things as he can improve, he’s still got a lot to like. Fastball run was there when he finished well. Curveball with 11/6 break and at times had LATE bite and bottom-out action. As a position player he’s also got talent. Balanced at the plate with an athletic swing, good bat speed and some pull side power. Aggressive nature in the box, quiet strong hands, fairly short to the ball with aggressive stride. Has power potential. Defensively his hands work and his feet are efficient around the bag, release can speed up but certainly a competent 1st baseman. Hopefully keeps playing as a two-way player through high school, he’s got a chance to pop either way.

Isaac Ayon RHP / 3B / Central , CA / 2020

Saint Mary’s College commit, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, big lanky and type of frame that will allow him to grow into a powerful adult athlete. Competed as two-way player at showcase and though pitching stands out more presently he does have position player talent. On mound he’s got a shot to be one of the better pro prospects in Central/Northern California in the 2020 class. High-3/4 slot approaching overhand slot. Stab on backside and comes out of it well though he does take the arm swing behind his body a bit which on days when the timing isn’t there could cause some control issues. Lots of good stuff with the fastball, heavy action, life at the plate, to go along with good velocity. Big hard 11/5 curveball with makings of being a plus pitch. Change-up is good, with feel and could be a plus pitch as well. Lot to like with this young pitcher. Offensively he showed lots of life in the bat with present power and promise of more. Hands work easily and gets to good extension and separation. Balanced and strong. Gets behind the ball well, drove ball over head of centerfielder in game action. Defensively has soft hands and a big arm, does take an extra step too much getting to release, likely would move to 1st base beyond high school level but the arm is a plus infield arm.

Nicholas Thomson SS / 2B / Valley Christian, CA / 2020

Northwest Nazarene University commit, 5-foot-9, 150-pounds, compact athletic middle infielder type body with a hint of physical projectability, switch-hitting middle infielder without big tools but can definitely play the game. Quiet hitting approach, steady and disciplined approach and understands his strengths as a hitter. Flat swing with middle of the field line drive approach, particularly from left side where he uses his hands well and gets through contact. Contact oriented hitter with ability to provide competitive and quality at-bats. Good infield arm, ball exits hand nicely, good hands and efficient and clean footwork. Runs well with speed to make the defense play clean. Ran bases with aggressiveness. Very steady all-around player with a chance continually evolve and outperform peers who may possess bigger present day tools.