Quick Hits: Rising Stars ID: Inland Empire

California Staff

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Inland Empire, CA - Our Rising Stars ID: Inland Empire event this past Sunday might have been the most loaded Rising Stars ID we’ve ever had. The event drew close to 50 players from the ‘27/’28 classes and more than half of these players were standouts in our staff's eyes. Several of the participating players showed advanced skillsets on both sides of the ball as well high upsides where we are excited and confident in their future development. 

This July, PBR California will be taking a team to the Jr. Future Games for the first time. This unique event is run in conjunction with, and at the same facility as, the Future Games which last year hosted over 360 college coaches. Adding to the spectacle is the uniqueness of the event being open to uncommitted players only. 

The Rising Stars ID series will serve as the springboard for players looking to be a part of the best event in the country for uncommitted players, and this first event certainly did not disappoint with as many as 20 players having really solid performances in what was the first showcase setting for many of them. 

Players were put through the traditional pro-style workout that included the 60-yard dash, BP, and a defensive workout using Trackman, Swift Technologies, and more to measure every movement. 

In the coming days and weeks we will continue to roll out content, but in this post we’ll break down some early standouts from the Rising Stars ID: Inland Empire.  

Be sure to follow PBR California on Twitter and Instagram for videos/notes throughout the weeks of the high school season.


‘27 MIF Dylan Seward, N/A

  • Seward is one of the more exciting ‘27s we've seen in all of CA. It's a very intriguing MIF/switch-hitting profile. Our staff saw him twice last year at events and a couple months later there has been some noticeable growth in the frame where he has gotten a bit taller and more athletic. The swing from both sides is smooth and polished where it has present rhythm and balance from both sides while also starting to impact the ball with more authority. The defense at SS is where he stands out the most where he is smooth in all facets whether its the footwork, ranging ability, glove-to-hand quickness, etc. It’s an advanced skillset that continues to show better each time out. 

‘27 MIF Gavin Smith, Corona HS

  • Gavin is another MIF that is showing signs of having a bright future up the middle. Since our last viewing, he has added some size/strength with some improvements with his athleticism (event low 7.04 60yd). At the plate, it’s a simple load/trigger where he gets creates quality separation. The swing itself works on a clean/on-plane path through the zone with good extension which aids in his present ability to backspin the ball consistently to the pullside. The defensive skillset is advanced as well where his hands/feet work together getting to his spots and working fluidly through the ball and pairing it with an easy 81 mph arm across the diamond. 

‘27 LHP/1B Jacob Melendez, N/A

  • Melendez put together the loudest BP of the day and paired that with a standout bullpen. He put on a power display in his two rounds where he blasted several balls to the RF wall showing some advanced bat speed to a natural lofty swing from the left side. Then on the mound, he was up to 82 where he has a loose/whippy arm within an under-control/easy delivery. Melendez currently stands a tall and physical 6-0/170lbs and for a ‘27 it should be an intriguing  power-arm/power-bat profile to follow the next couple of years. 

‘27 C Codey Brown, Ayala HS

  • Codey was easily one of the more impressive catchers we had out on Sunday. During BP he showed some present upside with the bat. It's a raw swing with present bat/hand speed where he delivers a direct barrel with a strong top hand. The bat path works steep-level and when he was on time he was making some of the loudest contact of the day through the middle of the field. Behind the plate, he had the event low pop-time of 2.01. He has a compact exchange and an ability to work quick to release with a 73 mph arm. During bullpens he showed a quiet body while using minimal glove movement when receiving/framing. After this first look, Codey has solidified himself on our radars as one of the top '27 catchers we've seen to date. 

‘27 RHP/3B Beckett Berg, Notre Dame HS

  • The 6-3/170lb RHP/3B had one of the better two-way performances on Sunday. At the plate, it's a simple/compact swing that delivered barrels to all fields. Defensively, it was fundamentally sound actions that he paired with a strong/accurate arm that played from multiple angles. But it was what that arm did on the mound during his bullpen that was most impressive. He’s a simple/repeatable mover down the mound where he uses a shorter arm action that works to a consistent slot on all pitch types. He commanded all 3 pitches well which included an 80-81 mph FB, a 70 mph sweeper up in the 2700s in rpms with feel for it in-zone along with a quality fading CH he was able to kill induced vertical break on and get up to 17 inches of fade with. Berg shows the early ingredients of a special arm to watch down the road. 

‘27 RHP/OF AJ LaSota, N/A

  • AJ, similar to Berg has a solid two-way skillset. He swings it from the left side where the swing is smooth with a present ability to stay inside the baseball and spray it to all fields. But the highest upside for him currently is what he does on the mound where he has a live arm for a ‘27. Mechanically there’s a lot to like. His arm gets deep into scap load while delaying torso rotation into footstrike. His arm works into quality layback with whip to release. The FB was up to 83 mph and paired it with 2 quality secondaries. The CH shows effective differential off the FB from a velocity/shape perspective being able to kill some IVB and add fade. The SL showed early signs of + potential where he swept it up to 19 inches at a 2750rpm clip. Currently a lean 5-10/140, we are excited to see what he can do on the mound when that frame starts to fill. 

‘27 MIF Zion Martinez, Yucaipa HS

  • Martinez is a player our staff has been excited about for some time as we have seen him at a couple of prior events and he is always a standout. The bat is very advanced and improves each time out. It’s a whippy LH stroke that flashes twitch in BP with his quick hands that deliver a consistently accurate barrel through the zone. Then up the middle, he is able to display some of his athleticism with his foot speed and pairs that with defensive skill with a sure glove that shows present glove-to-hand quickness and some sneaky arm strength across the diamond. We wouldn’t be surprised if Zion made an immediate impact as a freshman next year at Yucaipa. 

‘27 OF Enrique Max Lopez, Aquinas HS

  • Max had one of the more standout bats of the bunch on Sunday. It was as serious of bat/hand speed as we’ve seen during our Rising Stars Series and he does it without needing to make big moves through his load/swing doing it under control and with balance. Throughout his 2 rounds, he produced plenty of high EV barrels while showing an ability to stay inside the baseball and work the whole field, especially the RC gap. Then in the OF, he had one of the stronger arms where he topped an easy effort 81 mph where his throws had both accuracy and carry to the bag.

‘27 OF Ricardo Hurtado, Orange Lutheran HS

  • Hurtado showed an intriguing profile and current skillset that should continue to trend up. He stands a lean/athletic 5-10/150lbs that should fill out quite well. In BP, it was another guy who stood out with his bat/hand quickness pairing it with a bat path that worked through the middle of the field which allowed him to consistently pound LDs back up the box (50% LDs, 92% Sweet Spot). Then in the OF, his athleticism shined in his approach where he aggressively attacked the baseball and got off 85 mph throws quickly with ease and accuracy. 

‘27 SS Joseph Flores Jr., N/A

  • It was just an all-around solid showing for Flores. In BP, he displayed one of the better RH swings we saw that day. He has a relaxed presence in the box where he has a simple/smooth leg lift trigger into landing thats never rushed. The swing is of the uphill variety where he has an innate ability to lift the ball to the pullside with backspin due to the way he is able to turn the barrel through the zone. At SS, it was solid fundamentals where his feet worked well through the baseball with soft/clean hands and an accurate arm across. 


Rising Stars ID: Bay Area CA 04/23 College of San Mateo
SoCal Rising Stars Game CA 05/21 Cerritos College 
CA FUTURE GAMES TRYOUT CA 06/03 Fullerton College
NorCal ProCase CA 06/04 Chabot College - Hayward
SoCal-NV-AZ-ProCase CA 06/04 University of Southern California - Dedeaux Field
NorCal Rising Stars Game CA 06/06 Islanders Field (morning)
Team CA Future Games ID CA 06/06 Islanders Field (afternoon/early evening)
Bay Area State Gamess Open ID CA 06/14 College of San Mateo
OC State Games Open ID CA 07/11 Hart Park