Prep Baseball Report

San Diego Swing: MLK 2020

Jack Shannon
San Diego Area Scout

SAN DIEGO, CA - The San Diego Swing is back in action as MLK weekend gave America’s Finest City two preseason high school baseball tournaments to take in at the home of the University of San Diego Toreros and San Diego State Aztecs. If there was a high school equivalent to major league spring training games in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues you found it here in San Diego as the sunny winter days gave it that early spring feel. Both tournaments possessed an abundance of Southern California baseball talent and showed just how hard each team has been working. Certain players packed the stands with professional scouting heat looking for the next Keoni Cavaco. It came as a bit of surprise to see how competitive the games were both on and off the field as the competitiveness both on the field and in the dugouts was evident and even led to a benches clearing altercation. Needless to say, it was an exciting and competitive weekend of Southern California high school baseball. 

This edition of the San Diego swing takes a look at one player from all eighteen respective teams in the two tournaments. Fowler Park, the home of the Toreros hosted five San Diego County teams (Granite Hills, La Jolla Country Day, Madison, Patrick Henry, Rancho Bernardo) and five Orange County teams (Aliso Niguel, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran) respectively. While Tony Gwynn Stadium, the home of the Aztecs hosted seven San Diego County teams (Point Loma, St Augustine, Poway, Cathedral Catholic, Eastlake, San Marcos, Carlsbad) and one Riverside County representative in Murrieta Valley. 


+ 2020 3B/RHP Michael Davinni a University of San Diego commit is a legitimate two-way player at this level and next. Showed command of his fastball to both sides of the plate at 88-90 mph and flashed a slider with serious snap to it at 77-80 mph. Offensively blasted a home run to deep left-field at Fowler Park and acted like he’d been there before. Key bat and arm that showed he can help lead Aliso Niguel during the 2020 season and make an immediate impact at the college level. 


+ Carlsbad started side-arm right-hander and San Diego Christian commit Everett Kennedy against Poway on Monday. The funky right-hander pitched well over three innings yielding one hit, striking out 3 and allowing no runs or walks. Commanded the zone with a three-pitch-mix and created timing issues for the opposing hitters. Most impressive was the amount of bad swings he garnered from a consistent year-in year-out line-up with a fastball that topped at 80 mph. It is very rare to see a side-arm starting pitcher at this level and it is clear that he creates deception and timing issues making him a valuable arm on a good team. 


+ Arguably the best pro pitching build belongs to 2020 right-handed pitcher and San Diego State commit Nico Ryder at 6-foot-4 215 pounds. Over 9 appearances during the 2019 season posted a respectable 3.15 ERA 1.15 WHIP 12 K stat line over 20 INN. The right-hander got the start monday against a potent San Marcos line-up, despite the up and down inning he showed a projectable frame and steady 88 mph fastball. Relied heavily on his curveball at 72-75 mph but had trouble finishing the pitch and giving it that desirable swing and miss action. Flashed a two-seam fastball with arm-side-run and average change-up with sink at 75 mph. Should see heavy usage behind staff ace Cooper Rons this coming season and is inline to make a big impact on the Dons 2020 season. Projectable frame and firm fastball make him a name to watch down the line. 



+ The best 2021 player out of the 18 teams was Eastlake short-stop Marcelo Mayer. The toolsy left-handed hitting short-stop showed just why with a confident and consistent preseason showing. On Saturday he displayed not only his well known swing but his instincts and ability to steal bases. After a 9-pitch at-bat ended in single to right field, Mayer then took second after six throw overs to check on him. Mayer showed his sweet swing with a bases clearing double on Sunday and defensively played with ease and skill. Mayer had a big summer on the tournament and showcase circuit following the Titans 2019 Open Division Championship where he played on the left-side with 1st round draft pick Keoni Cavaco and was also named a San Diego County All-Star as a sophomore. Now the leader of a revamped Titans roster must show why he belongs in the early round 2021 MLB Draft discussion with a player-of-the-year type performance this coming season. 




+ Uncommitted 2021 OF/LHP Austin Smith started on the mound for the Eagles, hit in the middle of the order and switched over to center-field after he was done playing. Also suits up as a rangy safety for this high school football team. All-around athleticism was evident on the field as he showed toolsy actions and the ability to both pitch and hit. Legged out a first-pitch triple and topped out at 84 mph on the mound. Natural talent along with his left-handed bat and arm make him a desirable talent at the college level. 



+ Uncommitted 2022 RHP Jack Smith stood tall and strong on the mound at 6-foot-4 205 pounds. Mature feel for pitching, repeatable mechanics and three-pitch-mix project him as a starting pitcher. Commanded the fastball to both sides of the plate at 82-83 mph, spun a curveball ahead and behind in the count at 67-69 mph and showed a change-up with arm-side-run at 71-72 mph. Young Huntington Beach arm that will make an impact during the 2020 season and will likely find himself on the recruiting radar sooner rather than later. 


+ 2020 OF/RHP EJ Kreutzmann a Columbia University commit blasted the weekends farthest home-run as he hit a no-doubter into the netting protecting the Manchester Dorms at the University of San Diego. The blast even had one professional scout comparing that swing to Brian Giles. The football star threw for 5,083 yards and 10 touchdowns along with 595 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns this past season with a quarter-back rating of 128.8. During the 2019 baseball season he posted a batting average of 234, on-base plus slugging of 799 and hit 5 home-runs. The early season power display along with the 2019 season OPS and 5 homeruns show me that he is inline for a big 2020 season and will not be surprised to see him hit 10 homeruns this coming season. 


+ 2020 RHP Zach Locke a Long Beach State commit came to play as he had one of the more dominant outings of the weekend striking out 7 in 3 innings working solely off his fastball and curveball. Worked fast and pounded the strike zone with his 87-89 fastball to both sides of the plate with carry through the zone garnering numerous swings and misses. Showed off his above-average curveball at 75-79 mph with tight spin and late bite using it as a get me over strike early and a strikeout pitch ahead in the count. His simple yet quick mechanics are repeatable and his athletic build shows room for more and projection down the line. Showed confidence on the mound and should be one of the top pitchers in Orange County during the 2020 season. 


+ The biggest surprise of the weekend was 2021 Victor Arreola who was listed on the roster as a 2B/C but impressed on the mound in his one inning of work against a stacked Orange Lutheran line-up. The right-hander commanded his fastball with arm-side-run at 85-87 mph. Scape-loud and an over-the-top release point show where his velocity comes from and give his pitches good downward plane and show some projection down the line. Displayed a curveball at 69-70 mph and a change-up with some fade at 73-74 mph. Both pitches showed deceleration in the front in effort to locate the pitch which is very common in raw pitchers. Overall showed above-average mechanical repeatability from a position-player pitcher and hopefully his showing helps convince the Madison coaching staff just how valuable he could be on the mound this coming season.



+ Uncommitted 2021 SS Sebastian Guzman showed good baseball instincts and an all-around game coveted by college recruiters. Was a menace on the basepaths with his jab steps and secondary leads, garnering multiple pickoffs and attempted back picks from the opposing catcher. Showed patience at the plate and hunted the low fastball with his patience being highlighted with a ten pitch walk. Quick actions and soft hands defensively at short-stop and average arm make him an adequate infielder at the high school and college level. Left-handed bat, above-average base running, soft hands and ability to stay at short make this an uncommitted name to watch as he will acclimate quickly to the college game. 


+ Uncommitted 2021 OF Ryan Kay pounded two stand-up doubles to right-centerfield in three at-bats Saturday. The athletic converted infielder has a big arm and patrolled center-field well throughout the game. A converted infielder, Kay looks the part of a field general in center-field where his overall athleticism plays up, particularly his first step instincts he demonstrated on a ball hit to his left in the gap. Kay got an incredible jump and sprinted directly to the spot before looking up to make the catch. It was textbook play for a centerfielder made all the more impressive considering his newness to the position. 


+ 2020 RHP Christian Rodriguez a Cal State Fullerton commit got the start for the Lancers under the Fowler Park lights in a highly anticipated winter start. Rodriguez has clearly been working out as he has noticeably gained lean weight and showed an even more imposing presence on the mound. Rodriguez yielded an early run as Madison stayed very aggressive and hunted the first pitch fastball that was consistently 89-91 mph throughout his start. Tempo looked greatly improved as well as he worked quickly and looked more in control. His curveball showed the same spin as seen before at 75-77 mph. Rodriguez discussed that he spent this off-season working on staying more inline and keeping his shoulders more relaxed. Along with two different split-finger fastball grips, a cutter and two-seam pressure point grip differentiation off his four-seam fastball grip are other changes he has made. Extremely mature and intelligent pitcher that is in control on the mound and confident in his abilities. Will be under the microscope this spring heading into the 2020 MLB Draft and seems up to the challenge. 


+ Uncommitted 2021 RHP/OF Kyle Wilsie possesses a strong right-handed pitcher build in a 6-foot-1 205 pound frame. High ¾ arm slot with good lower half drive but failed to utilize his front side to his advantage. Fastball tailed with some tilt at 84-86 mph and shows the potential for more. Sharp curveball at 70-71 mph with good arm action and command of the pitch. Change-up ran at 78-80 mph but was too close velocity wise to his fastball. Strong build with a sturdy lower half shows potential and projection coupled with a current mid-80s fastball gives him a nice platform to work off of. An uncommitted arm to watch this coming season that will have the comfortability to work behind University of San Francisco commit and fellow right-handed pitcher Max Jones. 


+ The 2023 arm to watch is clearly Duke Eckstrom as the former Team USA 15u member highlighted day 3 with his pitching ability. The combination of his stuff, mound presence and projectability make him an exciting prospect to watch. His fastball worked comfortably at 83-85 mph side-to-side and up and down. His breaking ball breaks like a slider at 69-72 mph and looks like his fastball out of the hand, already showing swing and miss ability. Showed a change-up at 73-75 mph with some fade but could really take him to the next level with pitch improvement. It will be interesting to see how the Pointers deploy their prized young pitcher and just how much he will throw this spring. The inverted W throwing mechanics will be a cause for concern from some professional scouts but no one is discounting what he currently possesses and the massive potential and projection that he has. 


+ The reigning runner-up in the open division will rely heavily on 2020 INF/RHP Ivran Romero a University of San Diego commit. Romero will pitch and play third-base this coming season and will give opposing pitchers a difficult middle-of-the-order duo to navigate with Trevor Tishenkel hitting next to him. Romero started on Saturday showing command to both sides of the plate with his fastball at 83-85 mph. The curveball and change-up show similar to what we’ve seen in the past and his advanced feel and command of the pitches will help him pitch deep into games. The committed senior is experienced and ready to help lead the perennial winning Poway program during the 2020 season. 


+ Once again Rancho Bernardo has a roster featuring a slew of commits with INF Chad Abel sticking out as an uncommitted 2020 to keep an eye on. Shows a grinder mentality on the field and hustled throughout the game. Highlighted the numbers game when he hustled down to first at 4.21 seconds on a ground ball to second. Solid build and seems to get it done at first and in the outfield but without a true position. Hit well during the tournament and shows that his left-handed bat has ability. Baseball instincts and his ability to play multiple positions make him a viable asset at the college level and this spring’s offensive output will help determine his future. 


+ The player that has been creating the most professional interest in San Diego County is San Marcos LHP/OF Kyle Carr. The wiry strong and broad shouldered 6-foot 165 pound left-hander has been generating buzz since this past summer with a fastball that reached 92 mph in the Area Code games and during the recent MLK tournament. Working mainly 88-89 with the fastball, Carr touched 91 several times in his outing. It was his high spin rate slider that really stood out as he located it to both sides of the plate as an out pitch. It looks sharper with a later break than we saw over the summer. Carr’s curveball has also shown gains from the summer. Touching 76 mph with the pitch, it features tighter spin with more depth. Coming from the same slot, and tunnel, as fastball, the pitch is very difficult to pick up for hitters. As well, a video of him touching 97 mph via twitter went viral over the winter. Carr hits third in a potent Knights line-up that already features two other division one commits and showed why with a solid offensive weekend output. His natural athleticism and ability shows fluid hips and a quick bat that generates gap-to-gap line drive  power with current home-run ability as well. Carr did not pitch during the 2019 season so it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff manages his load and how Carr responds to the professional scouting interest. Preseason player-of-the-year candidate. 


+ Saints 2023 uncommitted first-basemen MJ Sweeney is hard to miss at 6-foot-7 235 pounds. The son of former big leaguer Mike Sweeney had a nice game Saturday collecting a line-drive single and towering double, both to the pull side. Hitting mechanics are relatively simple for a big guy with overall early timing mechanisms to enable him to keep his long and extended on-plane swing through the zone for an extended period of time. Athletically is raw and needs help with base running but shows some positive actions that are also being utilized on the football field as a left-tackle. Should find himself receiving big at-bats in a potent Saints line-up this coming season. Highly projectable frame, power capability and baseball bloodline project well for the young first-baseman. 



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