Prep Baseball Report

Quick Hits: Brewers Underclass Area Code Tryout

Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

The Brewers Underclass Area Code Games team tryouts took place on Friday at Dedeaux Field on the campus of the University of Southern California. The event traditionally attracts the top rising juniors, sophomores, and freshman from across Southern California and this incarnation was no different with roughly 100 players in attendance all vying for an opportunity to make the team.

The players went through two rounds of batting practice before moving into a defensive workout and eventually facing live pitching. The roster was pared down after the defensive workout as the team of scouts decided on they wanted to see face live pitching.

Players are challenged by the showcase format to be on point every opportunity they have because of the limited action they'll see. In a sense though that is the separator for the players that will make the team and those that won't.

Let's take a closer look at the players that caught our eye on the day.

- 2020 OF Pete Crow-Armstrong (Harvard Westlake HS) continues to show why he's in a tight race to be the number one player in the class in the state. Not only does he posses a huge arm in the outfield - which he showed off during the defensive portion - but he had one of the five hits on the afternoon as well. Crow-Armstrong showed off his sneaky power during BP where he peppered the gaps and showed some pull-side pop as well. The Vanderbilt commit appeared to be on another level than every other outfielder in attendance.

- 2020 SS Milan Tolentino (Santa Margarita HS) should see his rankings improve when we update them in a few weeks. The shortstop is hyper-athletic with a combination of great hands, footwork, and body control of any of the middle infielders in attendance. Tolentino shows great feel for the barrel and has current pop that he showed during batting practice. The UCLA commit was clocked at 4.29 home-to-first on an infield single showing off his hustle and speed from the left side.

- 2020 OF Jake Vogel (Huntington Beach HS) is another player that should see his ranking climb when they're updated. Vogel showed off his all-field power during batting practice by barreling everything up and using the whole field. Vogel showed a strong arm during the defensive portion of the workout in which his accuracy was eye catching. The UCLA commit also showed some speed down the line where he was clocked at 4.18 home-to-first.

- 2020 SS/RHP Jordan Thompson (Helix HS) was one of the most intriguing players on the field given his combination of abilities at shortstop - where he shows above average hands, footwork, and arm actions - and on the mound where he opened several eyes. The LSU commit worked 88-90 with a fastball that shows life as it enters the zone pairing that with a curveball in the 74-78 range that flashed late break. He retired batters on a broken bat blooper to shortstop, a strikeout and a soft liner to first base.

- 2020 RHP Ty Collins (St. John Bosco HS) is a high ceiling prospect with a loose, whippy fast arm. While command issues riddled him during the season he looked sharp today working 86-89 with his fastball that he moved side-to-side and a curveball at 74-78 that was tight and flashed late breaking action as it entered the hitting zone. Collins also took batting practice and worked from the outfield but it appears that his future is on the mound.

- 2020 OF Nathan Nankil (Bonita Vista HS) showed well during all facets of the showcase especially during the batting practice and defensive portions. A gap-to-gap hitter with present power, Nankil uses a slight hand rock motion to trigger his swing that resulted in loud contact throughout his two rounds. In the outfield he showed a strong, accurate arm that should improve with added strength. The Cal State Fullerton commit plays loose and seemed to enjoy every minute of the event.

- 2021 SS/C Isaac Rodriguez (Murrieta Valley HS) projects very well on his athleticism alone. Took one of the best rounds of work from shortstop showing accurate throws with carry, plus footwork, body control, and clean exchanges. He also got behind the dish where he popped in the 1.97-2.03 range. At the plate he shows feel for the barrel with some pop, albeit inconsistent.

- 2021 C Charlie Saum (St. Bonaventure HS) was a known name after his big freshman season and he backed it up today. Shows flexibility and athleticism behind the plate where he popped in the 2.03-2.11 range with throws that were on the bag and on a rope. His batting practice rounds produced a few loud shots showing his feel for the barrel and fast hands. A highly projectable prospect, Saum will be a fun player to follow.

- 2021 C Charlie Fick (Rancho Bernardo HS) was just okay during the defensive workout where his pop time were in the 2.11-2.32 range, but once the game action started it was if he was an entirely different player. He's quick out of his crouch and showed feel for calling pitches. Threw out a would-be base stealer by a step-and-a-half with a throw timed at 1.94 by multiple watches. At 5-foot-10 160-pounds it's easy to dream on his projection.

- 2020 RHP Caleb Bennett (Corona Centennial HS) catches your eye immediately because of his 6-foot-3 195-pound frame. Then he stepped on the mound and showed he much more than a big body on the bump. Working 85-87 with his fastball and 76-79 with a slurvy breaking ball, nothing comes out of his hand straight creating uncomfortable at-bats for hitters. He faced four hitters striking out three and allowing the aforementioned single to Crow-Armstrong.

- 2020 3B Colby Canales (Servite HS) is an LMU commit that looks the part and backs it up. At 6-foot-3 185-pounds, Canales shows above average tools across the board with his big arm, nimble footwork, clean exchanges and excellent body control. At the plate he showed flashes of power while peppering the gaps with would-be base hits. With continued physical development Canales should develop into a legitimate over-the-fence type hitter who excels defensively.

- 2020 3B/RHP Max Rajcic (Orange Lutheran HS) is currently the third ranked player in his class and he showed it during the showcase. A solid and consistent BP where he drove balls with authority was followed by an excellent defensive workout where his arm strength and footwork on display. But it was on the mound where the UCLA commit continues to make a name for himself with a wipeout slider that touched 80 mph and a fastball that shows late life at 91-92 mph.

- 2020 RHP Hunter Barnhart (Paso Robles HS) showed his three-pitch mix on his first three pitches and all were impressive offerings. His fastball flashed armside run at 87-89 jamming righties in the box. His curveball can be loose, but when he threw it with conviction was an excellent pitch showing late breaking action at 72-73 mph. He also showed a slightly above average changeup at 83-84 that flashed late depth and sink. The Arizona State commit was one of the better arms at the event.

- 2020 3B Kevin Sim (Torrey Pines HS) had one of the best rounds of batting practice that ended with a home run about halfway up the net in left field. Starting from a power load with hands just above his waist, Sim gets the barrel in the hitting zone on a slightly uppercut path and uses his strength to drive balls to all fields. The 23rd ranked player in his class, Sim was a line drive machine during his two rounds of batting practice. Sim also showed nimble footwork and a strong arm during the defensive portion of the workout. The University of San Diego commit pitched as well touching 86 with his fastball.

- 2020 SS/OF/RHP Jonathan Vaughns (St. John Bosco HS) is just a freak athlete. At 6-foot-2 206-pounds the two-sport standout (Vaughns is a Power 5 level recruit in football) is raw but incredibly projectable in baseball. His arm strength was matched only by Crow-Armstrong in the outfield portion of the workout. During his shortstop work he shows excellent footwork and clean defensive actions. On the mound though is where his future may be. His fastball worked 89-91 and shows late run to the arm side. Vaughns' curveball at 78-79 is a true two-plane pitch and he also showed a changeup at 80-81 mph.