Prep Baseball Report

SoCal Upperclass Games: Quick Hits

Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

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LA MIRADA, CALIF. - The annual SoCal Upperclass Games blew into Biola University and brought with it some top uncommitted talent from around the region. The event featured a showcase followed by a 12 inning simulated game in which pitchers threw to five batters per inning. With several ranked players in the 2022 and 2023 classes, the SoCal Upperclass Games featured some quality fall baseball with arms leading the way. 

In the coming days/weeks we will continue to roll out more detailed content but today we wanted to roll out some quick hits highlighting some early standouts from the day. 



Amari Yolas OF / SS / Palisades Charter , CA / 2023

The uncommitted outfielder from Palisades Charter immediately caught our attention after posting the fastest 60 with a laser timed 6.65 before showing significant upside during his BP round that saw him use an all fields approach with some of the quickest hands at the event. While the BP didn’t necessarily translate to many hits in-game, he consistently got the barrel on the ball and drove it to the outfield. There’s rawness to his offensive game but polish defensively where he made an eye opening catch sprinting about 40 yards to left to make a run saving catch in the gap that drew plenty of “oohs and ahs” from the crowd.

Ben Lee C / OF / St. Monica Catholic, CA / 2022

It seemed as though every time you looked up Lee was doing something that grabbed our attention. With a compact and powerful frame, Lee is arguably one of the better uncommitted catchers in his class given his defensive prowess and his ability to consistently get the barrel on the ball. Hit a missile to LF in his first plate appearance that was hit so hard he couldn’t extend it to a double. It’s a simple, aggressive approach with quickness in both the hands and the barrel. Defensively the catch/throw tool is on par with some of the best in the class. He gets rid of the ball quickly with accurate throws to the bag. Pop times are a little deceiving given his ability to get rid of it quickly. For good measure he worked in the outfield where he handled himself very well and registered an 84 mph outfield velocity.

James Whitman 1B / OF / Helix, CA / 2022

We’ve been tracking Whitman’s progress for a couple seasons now and the uncommitted senior is starting to show the signs of a player who has put it all together in his final prep campaign. Put on a show during BP with more than a half dozen exit velos of 90mph plus. Hit a BP homerun and also did it in-game launching one halfway up the netting in left field. At 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, he’s a physical specimen that still has room for added strength to his already physical frame. Showed positional versatility playing both first base and in the outfield where he showed athleticism and instincts that would indicate he can handle both positions. Finished 3-for-5 with a pair of singles and a homerun.

Davis White RHP / OF / Harvard-Westlake , CA / 2023

White came out to the upperclass games with something to prove and he walked away having accomplished just that. The junior right hander attacked hitters with a FB/CB/CH arsenal that has shown marked improvement since our last viewing. White did an outstanding job of mixing pitches and eye levels to keep hitters off balance while keeping pitches below the knees consistently. Worked the fastball in and the changeup away to lefties while reversing the approach to righties. Maintains a consistent tempo and pace on the mound with clean and repeatable mechanics. White will undoubtedly provide depth to a loaded Harvard Westlake team that aims to repeat as CIF Champions in 2022.

Jordan Cole RHP / SS / Orange Lutheran, CA / 2023

Cole got the nod as the starter in the gameplay portion of the event and did not disappoint, allowing only one hit in 10 batters faced while registering four strikeouts and inducing weak groundouts for the rest of the outs. Working in the mid-80’s with the fastball it was his changeup that proved to be the difference maker as he pounded righties in - particularly with two strikes - to induce weak contact. Cole did an excellent job of working the entire strike zone with his FB/CB/CH combination. He ran a 7.2 60-yard dash. At the plate he had two hard hit line drive singles, both of them up the box. For good measure he stole a pair of bags too.

Ryan Skjonsby 3B / 1B / Long Beach Poly, CA / 2022

As far as uncommitted left-handed hitters go in California, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than Skjonsby. The left-handed hitter looks to do damage every time he steps into the box and he usually accomplishes that. Pounded a standup double into the RCF gap that saw him sit back on a breaking ball on the inner half before exploding into it. Simple and consistent approach with present bat/hand speed is what you get from Skjonsby who has shown/proven that he can handle velocity as well as offspeed. Showed positional versatility by playing multiple positions (OF/3B/1B) well enough to give you a good feeling that he could play any of them with continued focus on those spots. 

Eric Perez C / 3B / Culver City, CA / 2022

In our first look at Perez in this type of setting our entire team walked away impressed with the uncommitted senior from Culver City HS. It’s tough to lock him into a position because he did both - catcher/MINF - very well during both the showcase and gameplay portion. Catch/throw behind the plate plays now with a 75 mph velo and pops in the 2.01-2.06 range with all throws on the bag. Gets rid of the ball quickly just like when he’s on the dirt where his athleticism and footwork really stand out. At the plate he had a pair of hard hit balls - one off a FB away that he managed to pull into left field for a knock. Had a hard hit line drive to the right side that was caught on a standout play by the second baseman that would’ve gone for extra bases. 

Ben Lyons RHP / OF / Rancho Bernardo , CA / 2023

The uncommitted junior from Rancho Bernardo has arguably one of the best performances overall of any player in attendance. On the mound he carved hitters in his first inning working through five batters on just 12 pitches. He was feeling it so much he went a third inning giving up only a pair of hits over 15 hitters. Worked mainly 82-84 with the fastball that he showed above average command of dotting it up consistently. His changeup comes from the same tunnel making FB play up while his curveball was a very good change of pace pitch. At the plate he showed a consistent all-fields approach during BP while carrying that over to the gameplay portion. Smoked a ball to left field before going to RCF for a single later in the game.


SoCal Underclass Games (Invite-Only) CA 09/25 University of San Diego
Northern California Academic Games CA 10/16 Menlo College
Unsigned Senior Games CA 10/17 Hart Park