Prep Baseball Report

SoCal State Games: Underclass Brain Dump

Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

The wide-spread and plethora of talent in the Golden State converged on Orange County for PBR Tournament’s “California State Games.” With talented players popping up on every field throughout four age levels (14U, 15U, 16U, 17U), the event was truly a dream for a scout and evaluator. Recruiting has sped up considerably across the country with young players committing earlier and earlier, but the depth of talent in California always provides for uncommitted players to be found at any point in the process. Below are just some of the players/prospects in the under class (2022-2023) that caught the eye of National Crosschecker, Shooter Hunt, while he was On the Hunt.


Jacob Reimer SS / RHP / Yucaipa, CA / 2022

Reimer first came on my radar at the PBR California Preseason All-State event where he very well might have been the top prospect in attendance, and while he didn’t play much with the varsity in the spring (Yucaipa had a LOADED team of upperclassmen), he looks primed to step into a big role in 2020. The 6-foot, 180-pounder finds the barrel seemingly with every swing that he takes, and he picked up multiple hits in almost every game that he played with some present power to the pull side along with the ability to drive the ball to both gaps. His hands flow fluently down and back with a bigger leg hang that lands semi-abrupt before the hands rip the barrel through the zone. He is confident in his hands on the infield, and his strong arm showcases carry across the diamond. His foot speed will likely shift him to third base in the future, but the power in his bat should help him stick on there. Perhaps even more promising about Reimer’s future is the quiet intensity that he plays the game with: he appears determined to be the best on the field at all times, and that drive can be seen in the way that he plays the game.

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Taer Rodriguez SS / RHP / La Sierra, CA / 2022

Rodriguez has been one of the top young players to emerge at the PBR California State Games. The 5-foot-9, 155-pound, high-waisted infielder opened the weekend by going 4.15 down the line on a drag bunt, and has continued to put the pressure on defenses with his speed. Setting up open with his hands held at the ear, he separates them down and back with a bigger leg kick before quickly working level through the zone. His athleticism carries over to the swing, and he showcases some surprising strength that included a deep double to centerfield on Saturday. He moves well on the infield, and looks like he could also shift to centerfield if needed given his speed and hands. Rodriguez is definitely a player that college coaches will want to make a note of to get eyes on in the future.

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Kai Caranto SS / 2B / Harvard Westlake, CA / 2023

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more polished player in the 2023 class than Caranto is, and he is one of the younger players in that class. Standing 5-foot-7, 150-pounds with a more compact frame, Caranto caught my eye with his pregame preparation that included one of the more impressive long toss sessions that you will see from a player of that age. The shortstop followed up his pregame-showing with memorable performance in the field where his crisp, savvy play looked like that of a prospect much older. He went comfortably to the back hand in the hole on multiple occasions, exhibiting the arm strength to get the ball across the diamond on a line. Meticulous in his footwork, Caranto put himself in excellent position to allow his silky-smooth hands to work, and his advanced glove-to-hand skills provide for a quick release from all angles. At the plate, the right-handed hitter is quiet with the head throughout the approach, utilizing a leg kick to push the hands further back in a load before ripping them through the zone on a flat path. There is some deadness to the hands late, but his strong wrists whip the barrel through the zone and help to provide some intriguing, growing power from gap to gap. His pitch recognition is advanced, as he is able to keep the hands back no matter what is thrown his way, and his ability to cover the entire plate stands out right now. Overall. Caranto looks the part both at the plate and in the field, and coaches will want to mark him down as a player to see sooner rather than later.

NOTE: Caranto’s arm strength also carries over to the mound where the ball jumps out of his hand, and he demonstrates feel for multiple pitches while showcasing the same polish that he does as a position player.

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