2023 Area Code Upperclass Games: Reds 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 Ty Southisene
It’s nothing new for the Tennessee commit, but Southisene was the catalyst for the Reds all week long. Exceptional plate coverage and pitch recognition paired with a lightning-quick bat allows Southisene the ability to do damage against a plethora of pitches. Stood out among his peers being one of the few players on the week who was able to barrel up 95-plus velocity as well as tying the event-high with six hits. Undersized in a “traditional” sense, Southisene plays much bigger than his 5-foot-9, 165-pound stature, with tremendous bounce and twitch throughout. Effortless mover in the middle infield with butter-smooth hands and an explosive first-step that plays way up on both sides of the ball. Southisene has above-average tools throughout the profile with a high-octane motor, and now put together outstanding performances on the biggest stages of the summer. In a time where stocks can fluctuate greatly, Southisene continues to trend up.
TOP PITCHER: RHP Trey Gregory-Alford
The word imposing is the first thing that comes to mind when watching TGA. Standing at every bit of 6-foot-5, 235-pounds, with outstanding athleticism for the frame, the Virginia commit is an easy mover creating huge extension paired with a strong lead-leg block. Gregory-Alford will work out of the stretch often, and can repeat his mechanics well out of both the stretch and windup. Fastball command and velocity is the calling card for TGA while adding deception from a compact arm circle that hides the ball well. It works at a comfortable 93-95 mph with ride and run, and a plus feel to paint the edges at will. There can be some heaviness to it at times due to the arm angle, and shows consistent ability to get whiffs in-zone. He pairs the fastball with a low-80s slurve that shows tremendous upside; present feel to manipulate the shape while creating depth, and above-average command to land for strikes. There’s been flashes of a solid mid-80s changeup as well this summer, but Gregory-Alford didn’t need it in San Diego. Day One buzz has been the topic all summer, and this look certainly didn’t change those thoughts as we head to the fall.
SLEEPER: OF Ky McGary
Even without a full results laden week, it was fairly easy to walk away impressed with McGary. Twitch is evident with the Arizona State commit at the plate showing a quick-trigger toe tap and explosive hand speed. Gets on-time quickly with great feel for the barrel to drive balls to all fields, depositing doubles to left and right for his only hits of the week albeit consistent good at-bats. McGary showed some tools in the outfield that could prove to be centerfield staying-power with advanced routes and positioning, on top of potentially a plus-plus run tool. At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds with premier athleticism, there’s still significant projection remaining for McGary and his overall profile gives me shades of a mirror-imaged Austin Overn, the sophomore outfielder from USC.
PICK TO CLICK: OF Landon Hairston
You’re not going to be blown away at first glance with the Arizona State commit, but the outfielder just does everything well. An advanced eye for the strike zone with above-average barrel accuracy to fire line-drives to all fields. Rarely looks overwhelmed at the plate in any situation and has the makings of a potential 50-plus hit tool if this upward trend continues. Tracked balls well with quality routes and positioning, but likely to profile in left field long-term where the hit tool can thrive without pressure on the glove. Currently looking as a future two-hole hitter for the Sun Devils, but the high-level hit tool with some projection remaining can continue to raise Hairston’s draft stock heading into the fall and spring.
LHP/OF Cam Caminiti
One of the more polarizing players in the 2024 class after reclassifying from 2025 with legit two-way tools, Caminiti checks many boxes on the “what they look like” chart. Long and lean with a high waist and projection throughout. Great balance and electric arm speed in simple, repeatable mechanics from a high three-quarters slot. Fastball lives 91-93 mph, with ability to reach back for 4s and 5s and hard arm-side run that induces heavy swing-and-miss, including all four Ks in the outing via the heater. The LSU commit shows ability to land two distinct breaking balls for strikes in a mid-70s curveball and low-80s that could be above-average pitches with continued improvement in feel to spin. Changeup is the best present secondary with ability to kill spin and velo in the low-80s with added tumble. Young for the class with a true starter’s mix and frame, and Caminiti is just scratching the surface of his true potential.
LHP Mason Russell
It’s hard to find a delivery and operation that’s easier than Russell's. Athletic and flexible with above-average extension and arm speed in a high three-quarters slot. Impressive pitchability with an innate feel to land third pitches for strikes that was on display by landing first-pitch strikes to 9 of the 13 batters faced in his outing. High-spin fastball lives 89-92 mph (2,500-plus rpm) with some carry and natural cut that plays well up in the zone. Low-80s slider (2,700-plus rpm) creates sharp tilt, and has shown ability to add sweep. Changeup is used sparingly, but flashes upside, especially to right-handed bats with arm-side tumble. Plenty to like and build on in the Arizona commit.
C Burke-Lee Mabeus
Sound up ‼️— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) August 10, 2023
2024 C Burke-Lee Mabeus (NV) with a NO-DOUBT shot to RF.
The @OregonBaseball commit has took great swings all week, and absolutely unloads here. Premier bat with a chance to be plus behind the plate. #PBRinSD // @ShooterHunt // @PBR_Nevada pic.twitter.com/zEIWI6P2UY
Standing out defensively throughout the week from both behind the plate and at first base, Mabeus came through with some impressive barrels as the week started to wind down. The switch-hitter offers massive raw power from the left-side and tapped into it with a no-doubt shot to the pull-side with a double-plus bat flip for good measure. There’s some patience at the plate that can teeter on passiveness for the Oregon commit, and can lead to seeing tough counts and pitches. Continued development of bat-to-ball skills with some added aggression will allow the massive raw power to thrive for Mabeus as this draft cycle develops.
SS Dane Most
A very solid defender on the left side of the infield, Most presents a physical 6-foot-2 frame with plenty of projection remaining. Flashed good range with carry and accuracy across the diamond. Simple right-handed cut shows advanced barrel control with ability to pepper the middle of the field, and picked up a couple of sharply hit knocks back where they came from. The Nebraska commit stood out in batting practice with ability to create loft to the pull-side, and could be a window into future power potential.
C Chris Newstrom
There is significant raw power in the 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame that was on display with a towering pull-side homerun that was, surprisingly, his only hit of the week despite the great at-bats he showed over the week. Impressive hands in the swing with ability to create separation and loft with ease. Premier defensive versatility with tools to profile nearly anywhere on the diamond with a high-ceiling behind the plate with present athleticism.
LHP Salvador Valenzuela
Really interesting look at 2024 LHP Salvador Valenzuela (AZ)— Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty) August 7, 2023
88-90 w/ some natural cut, untouchable when elevated.
Mid-70s CB held shape while creating depth. Flashed a upper-70s CH as well w/ tumble.
Clean delivery with pitchability. Arizona commit.#PBRinSD // @ShooterHunt pic.twitter.com/ZME6BHeQk4
It was an effectively wild outing for Valenzuela as the first pitcher of the week for the Reds, racking up one of the highest swing-and-miss totals of the week with seven strikeouts with just 55 percent strikes over three innings pitched. Fastball has some interesting characteristics at 88-90 mph with some late life and cut that kept hitters off-balance with some ugly swings. Curveball has loopy, 11/5 shape that creates depth and some present command to land for strikes. Low-80s changeup is a good change of pace pitch, and flashed some tumble. There’s a great baseline of pitchability here, and can develop into a potential weekend arm for the University of Arizona.