Season Preview: Monterey Toreadors

Ryan Ozella
N. California Area Scout

With the 2019 high school baseball season just around the corner in California, we've been rolling out team previews from around the state.

In this edition we take a look at the Monterey Toreadors. The Toreadors returns a solid core of players and look to be contenders again in the deep Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL).

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Team: Monterey 

Nickname: Toreadors

Section: CIF-Central Coast Section, Division 2

League: Pacific Coast Athletic League (PCAL)

Head Coach/Years at school: Michael Groves (38th year)

Team Twitter Handle: @Dores_Baseball

2018 Overall Record: 16-11

2018 Postseason Finish: CCS- D2: 1st Round Loss to Pioneer  

Number of Returning Starters: 7

Number of Returning Pitchers: 4

Top Returning Players:

'19 SS Michael Carnazzo, '19 C/INF Joey Pinto, '19 P/INF Chas Brown, '20 OF Michael Mugan, '20 INF/P Justin Deal, '20 OF/P Steve Bull

College Commits:

'19 SS Michael Carnazzo - San Jose State; '20 OF/P Michael Mugan - Santa Clara

2019 Outlook:

The Toreadors are looking to continue the forward momentum they've been building on from the last two season following up a 2017 10-16 record with a 16-12 record in 2018. 2018 was a streaky season seeing the 'Dors have three 4-game win streaks and an 8-2 stretch during the middle of the season that pushed them up the Pacific Coast Athletic League standings. But a 3-5 stretch to end the season scuffled their chances at a league title sending them to a tough playoff matchup against a strong Pioneer team, leading to an early exit in the opening round of the CCS-D2 Playoffs. 

The 2019 team returns a group of experienced, veteran players looking to remove last year's finish and make a lasting impact on their high school careers and legacy at Monterey. Longtime coach Michael Groves will be relying on this group to impact the newcomers quickly and getting them ready to be tested on a weekly basis in a deep and talented PCAL conference. When asked what he liked about the team, Coach Groves mentioned their returning experience and the offensive/defensive skills they possess. This group is relying on the leadership of this core group of players to carry their young pitching staff through some growing pains and look to win games with some early offense. 

Leading the 2019 'Dors will be sparkplug and offensive catalyst '19 MIF Michael Carnazzo who returns after topping the team in almost all offensive categories during 2018 hitting .447 with 10 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases. The San Jose State commit showed a soft glove with quick feet able to range well in the infield and a compact stroke made for consistent hard contact at the top of the lineup. He'll be joined by fellow senior '19 C/INF Joey Pinto who will look to once again anchor the defense behind the plate and the offensive lineup. Pinto had a strong season hitting .373 with 7 extra-base hits and tying for the team high in RBI's. Behind the plate, he flashes defensive blocking and receiving skills with an arm that will help his young pitchers keep runners in check. '19 RHP Chas Brown is the one guarantee for the rotation and ascends to the #1 pitcher spot after a big Junior season where he struck out 42 in 50 innings and held opposing offenses to a 1.97 ERA. 

Behind the three returning Seniors are a talented group of Juniors who played significant roles for the 2018 'Dors and will look to continue to build upon strong seasons. '20 OF Michael Mugan, a Santa Clara commit, has made big strides through the Summer/Fall showing off his twitchy CF skills, big arm and a loud bat that will look to do damage around other big hitters in the lineup. He hit .333 and flashed the big raw power in his swing (4 2B, 1 HR) that he was able to tap into more often in viewings during the summer. '20 INF Justin Deal is another impact Junior returning after playing all over the infield and pitching as well. Deal hit .357 with 7 doubles while getting 21 K's in 7 appearances on the hill. Deal's defensive versatility is matched by his quick release and smooth infield actions allowing him to fill in and impact the team in multiple ways. '20 Steve Bull is another returning Junior who flashed two-way potential for the 'Dors in 2018. Bull hit .277 as a rising Sophmore with 6 doubles showing off his gap-to-gap styled bat. He also shined on the mound where his 1.98 ERA in 7 appearances will look to be built upon for the 'Dors to have more success in 2019. 

The PCAL continues to grow with newcomer St. Francis SCP adding to the depth and quality of talent in the league and creating more competition for an already deep league. Weekly two-game matchups with have teams ping-ponging up and down the standings all season, and one hot streak late in the season could be the difference at the top. Having three in-conference games against league rivals like Salinas, Christopher, Monte Vista Christian, Hollister, Gilroy, and Palma will make the 'Dors have to play to their strength while navigating the tough conference schedule for them to reach the postseason again. The Toreadors non-conference schedule shows no let up with notable games vs. Archbishop Mitty, Leigh, Soquel, and Santa Teresa. That's a gauntlet of challenges for this experienced squad making for solid competition in and out of season.

Returning seven starters and four pitchers is a good sign that the 2019 Monterey Toreadors will be making an impact on the PCAL and into the CCS Playoffs. If they can continue to find consistency and come out on top of some close games, the Toreadors could be playing late in May. 


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