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Game Notes (CA): Match-Up Spotlight


Blaine Clemmens
Northern California Director of Scouting

WOODLAND, CA - Woodland is the home of big league MVP Dustin Pedroia and one of the great baseball towns in Northern California. They play at a really nice city park with an old-school feel and there were lots of fans (and MLB scouts) on hand to see their Woodland Wolves take on the Dixon Rams in a conference game. The Wolves had Oregon State signee 2019 LHP Cooper Hjerpe on the mound and opposite him was 2020 LHP AJ O'Neal for the Rams.

The scouts were obviously on hand for Hjerpe, a member of the Area Code team last summer and our #36 ranked player in California (#4 LHP). The Wolves won the game pretty handily on the strength of a big 4th inning. It started off as a good day on the mound for O'Neal, but it unraveled in that 4th inning. Let's get into what we saw.

As always, you can click the highlighted name for bio information, previous notes, stats, video etc.

SCOUTING NOTES:

Cooper Hjerpe is a long and lean 6-foot-2 185-pounds and pretty well streamlined. Long arm action, loose and fast arm. The slot is lower, say 3/4 and he occasionally gets beneath the ball on his way to release. The stuff at it's best was 88-89 mph, with occasional cut action when pounding in vs right-hand hitters and a lot of run/life to his arm side. Not a lot of angle to the fastball however and most of the movement, both cut and run was lateral. The fastball is going to tick up in college and there is little doubt that he will be a 92-93 mph arm at some point. His curveball was a slower 69-71 mph breaking ball and he was inconsistent with it all game long. At it's best it was a fairly big soft rolling breaking ball and other times he cast it and had minimal action, with below average control. It did improve as the game went along and he didn't run away from it, which was good to see. Hjerpe only used a couple of change-ups (75 mph) and it looked like a good and usable pitch when he did use it. A slider seems like it would be a better breaking ball for him, given his slot and arm action. What he did well with the fastball was corner pitch, particularly on the arm side. Hjerpe is a solid athlete and went to right field after he was finished (5 IP, 9 K, 4 BB, 4 H, 3 ER). For good measure he went 1-for-3 (2B, 2 RBI).

As for the younger left-handed pitcher, 2020 AJ (Adam) O'Neal, he was certainly intriguing. He's a really long and thin bodied player who hopefully has quite a bit of size and strength gains ahead of him, particularly his lower body. He seemed very comfortable in who he is and was really doing a nice job until that rough inning. More on that down this report. Long easy arm action getting to a high-3/4 slot, fluid delivery with high knee lift, good direction and seemed to be in solid control of the delivery. As for the stuff, the fastball was 79-84 mph and settled in around 82 for most of the game, occasionally going to get 84 when he felt it was needed. Future velocity gains likely will come from physical maturity and strength. He controlled the fastball fairly well and there is just enough movement when he was locating well. Some occasional cut on the glove side. In warm-ups showed a curveball glove flip to the catcher but the ball was coming out like a small cutter/slider, with loose spin and minimal action (75-77 mph). There were a couple he got down near the back foot of right-handed hitters but it wasn't generally a pitch the other team had to be concerned with, which by the time the 4th inning rolled around, they had figured that out and went to hunting the fastball and made quite a bit of hard contact. Ended up being a 6-run inning vs O'Neal but to his credit, his body language didn't change and when he went to 1st base after his day on the mound was done he switched over to position player mode and continued to communicate with teammates well. He's got a shot as a position player too, with a nice easy swing that works gap to gap and what looks to be quite a bit of patience and a discerning eye. As a left-handed hitter facing Hjerpe he did a great job of not chasing and walked twice, to go with a HBP and then against a reliever he doubled to RCF in his last at-bat. He's not a runner at this point (5.12 on the turn).

OTHER NOTES:

There were a couple of other players I took note of... for Dixon HS, 2019 RF Migel Eliason (R/R) hit two balls hard vs Hjerpe, one a single grounded up the middle and the other a ball he pounded in the RCF gap, both on fastballs. He has fast hands and legitimate power potential. The bat can play beyond the high school level but will have to tighten up his approach which fell apart late vs softer tossers. He showed susceptibility to the curveball and repeatedly pulled off the ball that was on the outer half, which was the exact opposite of what he did vs Hjerpe. Big burly strong body type at 5-foot-11 200-pounds... His teammate 2021 1B Mateo Martinez (L/L) took the best hacks all day for Dixon. Flat swing, good timing, swing happens easily, competed very well vs Hjerpe and gave away nothing, stayed closed and stayed on each pitch, good timing to the fastball though like Eliason he didn't look very good vs the breaking ball, also not a runner as he went 4.78 down the line. Lean lanky body type... 2020 Woodland catcher Dylan Fullerton (R/R, looked to be 6-foot-0 190-ish) had a good day going vs O'Neal, with two well struck balls for hits and both the opposite way (one split the gap for a double), showed balance to the fastball but like the Dixon hitters, when facing a slower CB later in the game he looked like he hadn't seen one before. In any case, he also received quite well and has strong soft hands. The arm strength is fair... Woodland 2-hole hitter 2020 2B Kyle Betzer (R/R, avg build) went 1-for-4 (2B, 2 RBI) but it was a pretty hard 1-for-4, with a well struck 5-3 and L5 and hard hit F8. Strong hands, obviously good barrel awareness and though was a bit too pull conscious, he looked capable have handling the bat well.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
South Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/14 Archbishop Mitty HS
North Bay Junior Future Games Trials CA 04/28 Clyde P. Smith Field - Cardinal Newman HS
Northern California Future Games Trials CA 05/26 Islanders Field
Inland Empire Futures Games Trials CA 06/01 Norco High School
SoCal ProCase CA 06/08 Hart Park
Northern California ProCase CA 06/09 Delta College - Nick Cecchetti Field
Bay Area Open Showcase CA 06/26 Laney College
Inland Empire Top Prospect ID CA 07/23 Santiago High School
Norcal Top Prospect ID CA 07/24 St. Mary's College
Junior Future Games NATIONAL 07/30 LakePoint
Rising Stars Showcase CA 09/21 Santiago High School


N CA FGT

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