Prep Baseball Report

Area Code Games Monday Notebook

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

LONG BEACH, CA—The 2019 Area Code Games began Monday, bringing many of the country’s top 2020 prospects to Blair Field for the week. There were four batting practice sessions in the morning, followed by three games, starting with the rivalry tilt between the Athletics and Brewers. Here are some highlights from the day’s action…

+ We got a matchup of top pitching prospects right out of the gate with RHP Jared Jones (La Mirada HS, CA) vs. LHP Kyle Harrison (De La Salle HS, CA). Harrison made a case as the state’s top pitcher. He struck out five in two innings, allowing two hits and a hit batter. His fastball ranged from 87-92 mph with good arm-side life. His slider is above average with hard sweep at 76-78. He can lose the zone at times when he gets out of synch, but he has a loose, easy delivery. Jones wasn’t at his best, walking five batters in two innings. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out two while sitting in the low 90s with his fastball. His slider didn’t have the snap we’ve seen in the past, but he still showed a good changeup in the mid 80s.

+ C Tyler Soderstom (Turlock HS, CA) had loud contact on the day, squaring up a lineout to right field off a 91 fastball from Jones. Later, he hooked a two-run triple down the first base line that made its way to the right field corner.

+ LHP Ronan Kopp (Scottsdale Christian Academy, AZ) started for the Reds and logged two innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out three. The first inning was a breeze, as he struck out two in the inning. He started out at 89-92, dipping to 87-90 in the second. He has a long, loose frame and works quickly, pitching with a high leg kick and high-3/4 slot. He can spin a curveball from 71-75 with 1/7 shape and late break. He also throws a firmer slider in the high 70s to low 80s with more tilt. Kopp was able to get a lot of swings and misses on his fastball as well.

+ RHP Case Williams (Douglas County HS, CO) has a strong, durable frame and sat 90-93 in one inning of work, striking out two. He also mixed in a sharp curveball with 11/5 shape at 77-78.

+ 1B Tanner Witt (Episcopal HS, TX) has a long frame and the ball can jump off his barrel. He had two hits Monday, both singles, recording velocities of 101 and 100.

+ RHP Travis Sthele (Reagan HS, TX) started for the Rangers and had a fairly easy two innings of work. He started out sitting 93-95, touching 96, and spotting his fastball wherever he wanted. He also showed feel for an above average changeup in the mid-80s with hard run and sink. While his slider was inconsistent, it flashed sharp, late break at 79-81. He struck out one and allowed one hit. SS Cole Foster (Plano HS, TX) helped him out with a nice play ranging up the middle and then Sthele knocked down a ball back at him that was 103 off the bat, recovered and got the out at first.

+ In the nightcap, the Royals started RHP Mick Abel (Jesuit HS, OR) against the White Sox, who countered with RHP Cade Horton (Norman HS, OK). Abel didn’t have his best fastball, but was still 89-93 and flashed an above average slider and changeup. The slider flashed late bite at 82-84 and the changeup has fade at 83-84. He struck out four and allowed two hits and two walks in two innings.

+ Horton breezed through the first inning, getting a strikeout looking on an above average slider. He allowed a run on one hit in the second and added one more strikeout. His fastball was 91-93 with a spin rate in the 2300-2500 range. The slider was 78-79 with late break.

+ Lastly, LHP Dax Fulton (Mustang HS, OK) had two perfect innings, striking out the side in the first and adding a fourth strikeout in his second. His fastball was 89-92 from a high-3/4 slot and loose delivery. His curveball is a plus pitch, sitting 79-81 with tight break. He also mixed in a heavy changeup in the mid 80s.

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