2023 Area Code Upperclass Games: Athletics Quick Hits & Superlatives
August 22, 2023
PBR Draft HQ staff was on hand in San Diego, Calif., earlier this month to take in the annual Area Code Games. Shooter Hunt previously published team-by-team player rankings inside of his ‘Impact 60’ series for the Underclass event that preceded these Class of 2024 players we're breaking down below. Shooter and Draft HQ Advisor Ian Smith teamed up to produce these Area Code Upperclass scouting reports and superlatives from each of the eight teams in San Diego.
TOP PROSPECT: SS Charlie Bates
Bates came into the event as the top prospect in NorCal and he reaffirmed what he has done all summer. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is one of the few sure-fire prospects in the class who will stick at the premium position thanks to twitchy-hands and quick release with a strong arm. He danced around in workouts before performing admirably throughout the week. The left-handed hitter provided some power potential during batting practice, but it is his bat-to-ball skills and ability to spray the yard that stand out most notably. While the power and impact potential of the bat are a bit behind some of his peers in the upper echelon of Day One, his higher floor as an all around player still places him firmly in that group.
TOP PITCHER: RHP Nic Abraham
Heralded as the top “pure pitcher” coming out of NorCal entering the summer, Abraham backed that up with a sensational, commanding performance in San Diego. Facing an elite Brewers lineup stacked with premium prospects from rival SoCal players, Abraham struck out five in three innings without allowing a run, and he limited the Brewers to just two baserunners (one hit). The 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-hander holds some durable strength on an athletic frame that screams of a future innings-eater. He pounded the bottom of the zone at 91-92 mph, working to both sides with the pitch before showcasing his best secondary offering, a low-80s changeup with killed spin in the 1,400s rpm range that profiled well off of the fastball. A shorter slider, 79-81 mph, played up because of his ability to throw it for strikes. The long-legged, projectable right-hander was in command at all times, and while the stuff is average across the board, his mound presence, ease of operation, and especially the strike-throwing ability (a rarity in this day and age) allow each pitch to play up a grade. When graded out against the elite arms in the class, Abraham’s ceiling might be set a tick lower, but his floor is raised considerably higher.
SLEEPER: IF Jax Gimenez
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Santa Clara recruit took some great swings from both sides of the plate throughout the week in eliciting hitterish vibes with a frame that should hold substantially more strength in coming years. Less famous than many of his A’s teammates, the switch-hitting infielder collected three hits throughout the week, and while the production was not loud, per se, his ability to slow the game down while in the box against some elite arms stood out as a promising follow going forward.
PICK TO CLICK: LHP Austin Steeves
A smooth mover without the sexy premium velocity of some others at the event, Steeves commanded a 87-89 mph fastball to both sides of the plate from a near ¾ slot that had hitters swinging at what appeared to be an invisi-ball. Countering with a perfectly profiled changeup at 81-82 mph, with which he killed spin in the 1,500 rpm range, his elite pitchability stood supreme as he stepped across his body for some deception. Repeating the delivery effortlessly, Steeves was flawless in two appearances that featured five strikeouts in three innings without yielding a baserunner. Less assuming at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Steeves grabbed the spotlight on Day One with a brilliant showing against a slew of SoCal primo prospects. Still more, the high-spin breaking ball that has been seen the past was not featured as prominently, and is likely to bump the southpaw up in future looks. As PBR California’s reigning Pitcher of the Year, the now-Stanford recruit struck out 158 batters in his junior campaign, further underscoring his advanced pitchability that shines during live looks like this one.
OF Tatum Marsh
The Stanford recruit brought impact with both the bat and glove throughout the week, and Marsh certainly looks the part at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds; offensively, he has a compact, efficient bat path with ability to drive the ball to all-fields. He picked up clutch late inning hits to both left and right fields, including on a fastball he turned around for an opposite-field home run. He displayed one of the best outfield arms of the week, with multiple strong, on-target throws including an impressive assist to gun a speedy runner at home. There is some freakishness to his athleticism, as the outfielder's raw look at the plate still delivers some thunderous cracks off the barrel. He posted a 4-for-13 week that included multiple extra-base hits, and while the swing-and-miss (5 Ks) that was present is something of note, the higher exit velocities and steady upward trend that he has shown of the past year likely outweighs it.
RHP Miles Tenscher
Who doesn’t love funk from a submarine slot? The Cal commit offers a legit feel for three pitches, with the fastball causing a ton of deception. Mostly mid-80s, while touching 89 mph with “rise-ball” characteristics and some carry through the zone. A low-80s changeup could be an out-pitch long term with ability to maintain arm speed and consistent arm-side fade. He also lands a mid-70s sweeper in the zone, and can be a solid pitch as it continues to develop.
OF Liam Barrett
Barrett just kept building a case for himself throughout the week with steady play that included some gritty at-bats and firm contact. The 6-foot, 165-pound left-handed hitter is not a burner, holding more average speed, but the bat-to-ball skills stand out, and he sprayed line drives to all fields with the promise of some pull side power to be developed. More strikingly, his plate discipline and trust in quick hands allowed for a 1-for-8 showing to still jump off the page when considering the five walks racked up. A Santa Barbara recruit, Barrett presented the look of a college performer who just keeps getting better and forces himself into top 5 round consideration over time.
RHP Liam Golden
Long-limbed with gangly athleticism, Golden was a revelation in his early morning look for the Athletics. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander moved exceptionally well down the mound from a crisp, compact delivery that featured elite uncoiling and a whippy, quick arm. The fastball exploded out of the hand at 91-94 mph with heavy arm-side life at times, and he procured a collection of in-zone misses. He featured a curveball at 76-77 mph (1,900 rpm) that featured more of a gradual tumble, but the electricity of the hand speed out front warrants the potential of a firmer slider to become a developable offering to pair in the future.
1B Tate Medicoff
Medicoff only had eight plate appearances on the week, and even without a hit (two walks), he still presented some intrigue, especially during batting practice. A stout, 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed hitter who spreads out in delivering force from the ground up, his easy rock of the hands without a stride allowed the barrel to spring through the zone with some eye-opening strength. Impacting the ball with some dangerous intent throughout batting practice, Medicoff sent some majestic shots sailing high over the wall during a time in the day when the ball was not carrying. There is substantial power potential, and given the ability to turn the barrel with authority, and especially the low-maintenance approach, there is a chance that Medicoff continues to climb over the next year.