SoCal Top Prospect Games: Team 1 Analysis


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

 

 

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA. - The inaugural SoCal Top Prospects Games took place September 14th-15th at JSerra High School where players in the 2020-2023 participated in a pro-style workout before taking the field for game play. Players were selected to participate in the invite-only event after being seen at a prior event of throughout the spring/summer seasons. Players participated in two-games over two days after the showcase. The games were seven innings each with starting pitchers going to and two-way players only throwing one inning. 

Earlier we released our Quick Hits and Stats Leaders from the event and now we present a breakdown of Team One from the SoCal Top Prospects Games.

TEAM ONE ANALYSIS

PITCHERS

Jacob Keffer RHP / 2B / Mater Dei, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. Five-foot-9, 150-pounds. Medium frame that is lean and wiry strong with squared shoulders and strength down into the wrists. Lower half has plenty of room to add strength. Stands tall on the mound with a slight dip-and-drive delivery through to a high 3/4 release point. Arm is loose and clean with very little effort. Despite his size he’s able to generate downhill plane on his fastball that he works to both sides of the plate for strikes. Pitch was fairly flat although there were hints of run later in the outing. Curveball has a chance to be a special pitch given his ability to not only command it, but use it as a put away pitch as well. He starts the pitch at the knees/slightly above of hitters before the bottom falls out and buries itself to the back foot of lefties with its 11-5 shape. The pitch comes from the same tunnel as the fastball and with the same arm speed adding to its deception.

Joseph Russo RHP / 1B / Walnut, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. Five-foot-11, 200-pounds. Large frame with strength throughout, particularly in the lower half which he incorporates very well into his delivery. Uses a high leg kick in his dip-and-drive delivery with compact arm swing before releasing through a high 3/4 slot. Hides the ball well behind back leg adding to the deception. Arm is clean and loose. Fastball shows some run into righties on a downhill plane. Commanded the pitch very well for strikes using both sides of the plate and elevating to change eye levels. Curveball showed to be a tick loose at times but when thrown with conviction flashed 11/5 shape and downer action. Changeup may be his best pitch as it shows heavy arm side run with late sinking action to the back foot of righties. Used as an out to pitch a few times and induced swing-and-miss results repeatedly with the pitch.

Kai Willis LHP / 1B / John F. Kennedy , CA / 2022

Uncommitted. Five-foot-10, 137-pounds. Large, long, lean frame with long legs/arms a high waist and large feet. Willis oozes projection as his frame is nowhere near done growing and should easily withstand the addition of good weight/mass. Starts upright before a late knee bend is used to drive down the mound. He’s compact in the back with the arm and releases from a high 3/4 slot. Fastball showed slight run into lefties and at times flashed downhill angle. Threw what looked like two varieties (4 seam/2 seam) of the pitch generating different actions one would expect. Curveball flashes 2/7 break from the same tunnel as the fastball. It’s presently more of a tumbling curve, but he was able to bury it for swing-and-miss results several times. 

Mason Schultz RHP / 1B / Rancho Cucamonga , CA / 2022

Uncommitted. Six-foot-1, 200-pounds. Large, physically strong, frame with squared shoulders and strength down into the forearms/wrists. Large hands. Stays tall on the backside before exploding down the mound with significant back leg drive. Arm is quick, clean, and compact through to a high 3/4 slot. Fastball flashed late run into righties on a downhill angle that generated weak contact. Schultz threw a two-seam fastball that showed late sinking action and resulted in swing-and-miss attempts. Schultz showed the ability to bury the curveball down in the zone often bouncing it at, or just beyond, the plate. Command eluded Schultz later in his outing, but he demonstrated enough feel of his three pitches to make it easy to dream on his upside/potential. 

Billy Bzura RHP / RHP / Mira Costa, CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. Large, lean, athletic frame with squared shoulders, high waist, long legs and large feet. Plenty of room for physical development. Bzura uses a dip-and-drive delivery through to a low 3/4 (almost sidearm) slot. Uses a fast and high leg kick and keeps the ball behind the lifted knee adding deception to his delivery and making it hard to pick the ball up out of the hand. Worked the fastball 80-82 with ample run to the arm side generated by the arm slot that he maintains on every pitch. Changeup is a very projectable pitch at 73-74 mph with it’s diving arm side run that paralyzed right handed hitters and had lefties waving at. Bzura’s slider had the same effect in reverse at 68-70 mph causing headaches for righties and freezing lefties. Bzura was able to maintain and repeat his mechanics. Worked a clean two innings.

TWO-WAY PLAYERS

Matthew Lopez 3B / SS / Huntington Beach, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. Five-foot-9, 155-pounds. Large, athletic frame with some strength in the midsection down into the thighs. Squared shoulders with ample room for continued physical development. On the mound Lopez showed very good feel for fastball and curveball from a true dip-and-drive delivery that has some deception with a whippy leg kick and a very short, compact arm action in the back that makes it difficult to pick up the ball. Fastball shows hints of run but is by-and-large straight at this time. However, he is able to command it very well and when paired with his secondary pitches it plays up. Slider has the traits of a wipeout pitch in the future with it’s late fading action to righties out of the same tunnel as the fastball. Pitch induced swing-and-miss results now. Lopez’s changeup shows late movement as it enters the zone. The action on it was almost “spiking” as it approached the plate. Curveball flashes 1/7 shape to it presently. Pitch can be loose at times. At the plate Lopez shows a simple, aggressive approach that resulted in consistent barrel contact both during the workout and in-game. Hands are quick and he’s able to get the barrel on-plane and keep it there. Maintains balance well while using his lower half to drive balls. Defensively he showed smooth actions at third base with ample arm strength on his accurate throws. Showed the ability to turn the double play and can make throws from multiple angles.

Cade McClelland 1B / LHP / Mission Viejo, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. Six-foot-5, 215-pounds. Extra large frame with strength in the lower half. Sloped shoulders with some strength and plenty of room to add mass/strength to overall frame. Long legs/arm with a high waist and large feet. On the mound McClelland starts tall before driving down the mound with a significant knee bend and push off back leg. Full arm path in the back through to an over-the-top release point. McClelland is naturally able to generate significant downhill angle on his fastball that he worked black-to-black for strikes and weak contact. The pitch showed some hints of life as it entered the zone, but the angle with which it entered the zone made it difficult to square up. The curveball was inconsistent as it was often left to the arm-side. However, when on, it was a 1/7 breaker that shows tumbling action towards the plate. McClelland’s changeup was his best pitch this day with this downward movement and late fade to righties making it virtually unhittable. At the plate McClelland showed a short, powerful stroke from the left side that consistently squared up balls. Stays back and ends with weight on his back leg with a somewhat uppercut stroke. Squared the ball up consistently both in the workout and in-game. Defensively McClelland showed average footwork around the bag at first with a strong, accurate arm on throws across the diamond. Big upside player who is just scratching the surface of his abilities. 

Caden Aoki SS / RHP / Huntington Beach, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 5-foot-10, 160-pounds. Lean, wiry strong frame with some projection remaining and room to add strength, particularly in the lower half and shoulder area. Aoki began the day running a 7.48 laser-timed 60 yard dash before moving into the defensive portion where he showed athletic actions while working out at shortstop. May profile best at second best where his athleticism will play up. Arm strength (79 mph) is fair with accuracy. At the plate he shows a longer stroke built for power that may come in the future. Starts slightly crouched before driving the back hip/hands into the ball while looking to elevate the ball. Smoked a standup double to left field in-game. On the mound Aoki really shone during the event touching 86 mph with the fastball and snapping off an above average curveball (72-73 mph) that shows tight rotation and late break down in the zone. Shows a lot of confidence in the pitch. Aoki’s changeup was virtually unhittable at 73-74 mph with late downer movement when entering the zone. Aoki shows the ability to pitch backwards allowing him to get ahead in counts with his above average secondary pitches. 

Jayden Steinhurst RHP / OF / Quartz Hill, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. 6-foot-5, 195-pounds. Extra large frame with long legs/arm, a high waist and large feet. May not be done growing. Steinhurst has made a commitment to his physicality and it shows as he appears much lighter and stronger than our last viewing. A two-way player (OF/RHP), Steinhurst profiles as a future starter on the mound with his loose, whippy arm action. Uses a pronounced shoulder turn to add deception while keeping the ball almost even with his back leg before exploding down the mound through to a high 3/4 arm slot. Lands inline consistently on a bent knee before driving off the back leg. Arm speed is present and obvious. Working the fastball 83-85 mph with very good downhill plane, Steinhurst was able to command the pitch to all quadrants of the strike zone while dropping in a tight curveball that flashes 11/5 shape with late breaking action. Steinhurst also played in the outfield where he shows solid footwork and an accurate arm. He registered a 90 mph exit velocity off a tee.

POSITION PLAYERS

Garrett Teunissen C / SS / Hillcrest , CA / 2021

Uncommitted. Five-foot-8, 150-pounds. Medium frame with strength throughout and room to add mass/strength. Offensively Teunissen shows quick hands with strength in the wrists to manipulate barrel angles and still be able to drive balls off the bat with an opposite field approach. Uses a slight load onto back leg with a pronounced leg lift trigger. Rotational through the ball with fair use of the lower half. Defensively he sets up low in his crouch before using his lower body strength to explode out of crouch and gain ground towards second base on throw downs. Shows soft hands with a strong accurate arm - all throws were on the bag. In game his ability to frame and block pitches were demonstrated several times as he “bought” his pitcher a few strike calls.

Matt Little C / OF / Orange Lutheran , CA / 2022

Uncommitted. 5-foot-11, 170-pounds. Physically strong with broad shoulders and plenty of room for continued physical development and strength gains. Started off running a 7.07 laser-timed 60 yard dash. Worked out both in the outfield and at catcher and showed the ability to handle both positions. In the outfield he showed a strong, accurate arm (80 mph) with throws routinely on the bag. Footwork was average. Understands angles to balls as demonstrated on a fly-ball in-game that required him to charge 20 yards to his right before making a difficult play look routine. Behind the dish he showed more arm strength (79 mph) with accuracy to the bag after a couple balls on the second base side with pop times in the 2.0-2.11 range. Stays low on throws showing excellent hip flexibility. 

Joshua Bruce 1B / 3B / Bonita Vista, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. Six-foot. 190-pounds. Large, physical frame with some proportional strength throughout, but especially in the lower half. At the plate he starts slightly open before using a short leg lift trigger. Has present hand speed with which he whips the barrel through the zone on-plane. Maintains balance throughout swing into finish. Gets full extension and does not get cheated at the plate. Showed a knack for battling off tough pitches in-game before getting barrel on the ball. Defensively Bruce showed athletic actions at first base where he was light on his feet while attacking balls under control and funneling them out front. Arm works as it was accurate across the diamond and on the double-play turn. 

Jordan Jaffe 3B / SS / Calabasas, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. Six-foot-2, 175-pounds. Large frame with proportional strength throughout. Frame has room for additional strength/mass. Offensively there are flashes of what are to come with his quick bat and ability to manipulate barrel angles through the zone. Shows the ability to get the barrel on the ball with an opposite field approach that should result in high doubles totals when paired with his instincts on the bases. Starting from a slightly open and upright stance, Jaffe does an excellent job of using his lower half to drive towards and through the ball. Had several in-game hits including an RBI single to right field that would’ve gone for extra bases had the defender not made a great play. Defensively he’s a rangy third baseman with enough arm strength to make accurate throws from multiple angles. Footwork is fair while his hands are soft and fast with clean exchanges. Highly projectable athletic third baseman.

Nathan Beckley C / OF / San Clemente, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. Six-foot, 170-pounds. Medium/large frame with proportional strength throughout with squared shoulders and a high waist. Beckley showed off his defense behind the dish during the gameplay where he consistently smothered balls in the dirt and used his athleticism to recover and limit advancement from baserunners. Shows soft hands with a quick, accurate arm that should continue to develop strength. Offensively Beckley uses a high leg lift trigger to initiate his swing before driving through the ball with a strong back-leg push. Favoring the opposite field, Beckley has the bat speed and strength to pull one which he did for a double in-game. Shows good feel for the barrel and routinely squared balls up.

Jonathan Shupe OF / OF / La Mirada, CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 6-foot, 180-pounds. Large frame with proportional strength in the upper and lower half. Body has room for continued physical development and refinement. Offensively Shupe shows a balanced setup/finish with a level bat path through the zone. Gets extended post contact. Bat plays in-game where his pitch recognition and ability to read spin out of the hand are exacerbated. Swing can get rotational at times with the lower half disappearing, but he’s able to get the barrel to the ball with fast hands. Defensively Shupe shows fair footwork in the outfield circling and charging balls while keeping his feet moving and funneling out front. Arm strength should continue to develop as he physically matures but it shows accuracy presently.  

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Rising Stars Showcase CA 09/21 Santiago High School
SoCal Uncommitted Senior Games CA 09/28 Fullerton College
NorCal Uncommitted Senior Games CA 10/06 College of Marin
NorCal Top Prospect Games CA 10/13 College of Marin