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OC Preseason All-State Quick Hits


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

            

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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA. - The Road to the California State Games began at the second annual Orange County Preseason All-State held at JSerra High School. Players descended on St. Pierre Field to show their fall/winter progress in the leadup to the spring season just a few weeks away. The invitation only event drew over 200 requests which was narrowed down to the 80 participants selected.  

Players were put through a customary pro-style workout that included a laser-time 60-yard sprint, a round of batting practice, a defensive workout that includes double-play turns for infielders, and concluded with bullpen sessions for pitchers. We purposely did not include games because we didn’t want to put pitchers who aren’t ready to face live hitters in that situation. 

With 80 players in attendance there will be lots of breaking down of players by position that we’ll post in the coming days/weeks. In the meantime we thought we would get started with some Quick Hits to highlight some early standouts. These are the guys that caught our immediate attention during one or multiple areas of the showcase. With multiple stations during the hitting wheel, players are given ample opportunity to show their wares with the bat. It also gives us the same opportunity to evaluate. 

However, the best part of the event is without question the interaction with the players. In almost every case players that were in attendance we had seen whether at previous PBR events, the summer circuit, or the high school season. Because of that visibility between our staff and players the conversations on the field are much more than a hello. Discussing future college plans, strength gains, skill refinement, other players, their high school team, all these things are part of the conversations on the field and, for our team, are the best part of doing these events. 

So after spending a few hours on the field with the players and evaluating their gains both physically and on the field since our last viewings, and after an initial review of notes/videos we present a Quick Hits look at early standouts. 

(Note: Players are listed in no particular order)

+ 2021 SS/2B Ali Camarillo (San Ysidro HS) - The Cal State Northridge commit showed his wiry strength along with a continued focus on the middle of the field when hitting through the first half of his round before moving to more of a pull focus showing more consistency with the barrel with this approach. Shows a simple, athletic setup that includes a short leg kick/stride that accentuates the backside drive. Remains balanced while driving his hands through the ball and into finish. Defensively he shows very soft hands that are fast and consistent. There’s fluidity to his movement while the arm strength is present allowing him to make throws from any angle as he demonstrated in his slow roller opportunity where he came from below the knee and threw a dart at the chest of the first baseman. 

+ 2022 OF/2B Austin Overn (Foothill HS) - The recent USC commit was the seventh player to run the 60 and made sure to make his presence felt from the top by running a laser timed 6.55 before taking to the hitting wheel showing his present and projectable power. Started off with live BP where he peppered the gap to the pull side while showing the ability to work middle. Generates bat speed with very fast hands and a simple toe tap stride into the ball. Registered an 86 MPH exit velo which backed up what he showed in BP. The frame is long at 5-foot-11 and lean at 155-pounds, but there is present strength in the shoulders and down through the arms. With a high waist and some present lower half strength the projection for future growth/strength gains is obvious. Defensively he’s athletic and fluid getting to and working through the ball. Arrives under control and ready to get rid of the ball which he does cleanly and with present arm strength - 84 mph to home plate. 

+ 2024 SS/OF Benjamin Reiland - At 5-foot-9, 140-pounds Reiland doesn’t stand out too much physically other than there is noticeable strength on the frame, but when you watch him on the field you immediately see why he is widely considered one of the best players in his age group and the only 2024 invited to the event. After posting a 7.15 laser-timed 60, Reiland demonstrated the type of control of the barrel that is found in players much older than him. He sets up with a fairly neutral and balanced stance with his hands just above the shoulder. Uses a heel lift into stride before exploding his hands into the ball routinely squaring the ball up and showing future gap power. It was one of the more mature rounds of BP on the day. A natural shortstop, Reiland also worked out in the outfield showing a big, accurate arm that registered an 82 mph velocity on throws home. However, it was his athleticism out there that really stood out. The footwork is in sync with his body as he arrives at the ball funnelling it out front before taking a short crowhop then release. If shortstop is where Reiland stays than he’ll be more than able to handle himself there. Much like in the outfield the footwork and overall athleticism stands out as does the ability with the arm. 

+ 2023 RHP/1B Carter Elliott (Redlands East Valley HS) - Five-foot-11, 145-pounds, long, lean, wiry strong build. Elliot showed flashes of his strength at the plate when his barrel was on time by driving balls into both gaps while focusing on the middle of the field. Registered an 86 mph exit velocity. Showed fair footwork around the bag at first base during the defensive portion of workout. On the mound He may flashed his most projection. Using a dip-and-drive delivery Elliott is able to hide the ball very well through his compact arm swing in the back. Fastball shows some life as it gets to the zone on a downhill plane. His curveball looks more slider right now flashing tight spin and sweeping action with the occasional traditional curveball break. His changeup flashed good speed differential from the fastball and while he shows feel for the pitch, it’s still a developing tool in his arsenal. 

+ 2021 SS Davis Hildebrandt (Cypress HS) - The uncommitted junior shortstop continues to pack the strength onto his frame and the result is an athletic middle infielder that can make just about any play and throw necessary while pounding balls at the plate. Hildebrandt’s strength has translated to a more powerful game from the plate where he registered an 84 mph exit velocity before taking to the on-field BP portion where he shows his short to the ball approach with an extended follow through. Consistent with the barrell, Hildebrandt drove balls gap-to-gap with his final ball going off the left-center field wall. Defensively he continues to show a powerful and accurate arm along with the footwork and hands necessary to stay at the position in the future. Plays with excellent control of his body and an internal clock that see him get rid of the ball quickly. 

+ 2021 SS/2B Edgar Rosales (Long Beach Poly HS) - Five-foot-7, 160-pounds. Squared shoulders with strength down throughout the entire frame. Don’t be fooled by size here, Rosales is an absolute player. Started his day by running a 6.98 laser-timed 60 before moving into the hitting wheel. After registering a 90 mph exit velo he stepped into box and proceeded to pound balls to all parts of the field including one off the right-center field. Swings with controlled aggression after a significant leg lift and stride. Maintains barrel on plane throughout his swing. Defensively he really stood out with his athletic, silky actions. Stays low and behind the ball with proper footwork and balance. Arm strength is obvious (87 mph) with the ability to make throws from most angles. 

+ 2023 LHP/1B Gavin Williams (Mater Dei HS) - Five-foot-11, 160-pounds, lean, strong build. Williams worked as a two-way guy at first base and left-handed pitcher. Williams showed his feel for hitting from a low, crouched setup using a toe tap timing trigger. Flashes present bat speed and very good feel for the barrel with the ability to drive balls to gaps. Keeps it simple in the box. Williams showed athletic actions at first base along with accuracy on throws. It’s on the mound where Williams really stood out as the southpaw showed a three-pitch arsenal that he commanded at a very high level and will certainly make him a name to know. Works from a deliberate delivery with a full arm path in back through to a 3/4 release point that he’s able to repeat. Nothing was straight out of the hand as the fastball showed significant arm side run making with changeup play way up as it comes from the same tunnel before dying at the plate. Showed the ability to start his pitches at various parts of the plate. 

+ 2021 SS/RHP Zach Peters (Los Alamitos HS) - Not our first viewing of Peters but it certainly will be the most lasting as he showed his overall abilities both at shortstop and on the bump combined with legitimate hitting skills. Sets up slightly open using a leg lift trigger before exploding off backside. Keeps hands in motion during setup and pairs them with leg lift getting his barrel on plane which he maintains through the zone. Hands are explosive. Easy to see high RBI, consistent gap power coming on his 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame. Defensively his actions are smooth and consistent. Backhand is pure while showing the ability to adjust to bad hop. Hands were quick on the turn. On the mound it was our best viewing of Peters as he appears to have increased command and velocity with more consistent mechanics. Touching 89 mph with his fastball it comes from an almost over-the-top slot on a downhill plane that he worked black-to-black. It’s tight and fairly straight showing the occasional hint of run. Curveball is sharp and tilts away from righties and will be a more than effective pitch. It was the changeup that showed the most improvement since last viewing. Coming from the same tunnel as the fastball there’s late depth and fade. While he touched 78 mph with the pitch, the action on the pitch was best noted at 76 mph. 

+ 2021 RHP/OF Brady Ashworth (Foothill HS) - A lot has changed for Ashworth since his last PBR event, namely the added strength on his 6-foot-2 frame that is all arm and legs with power behind it. Ashworth showed that when his barrel is on time he’s able to drive a ball out. Starts fairly upright and slightly open with high hands and pounds ball with a controlled yet aggressive swing. Registered an 87 mph exit velo and went off the wall in right-center field. In the outfield he’s athetlic and attacks balls under control arriving ready to throw. Exchanges were clean and arm was strong (82 mph) and accurate. With enormous hands, Ashworth has projection on the mound where he works everything down while pounding a lively, heavy fastball at 85 mph. Works down with curveball that flashed average action while his changeup plays up given the velo differential and late action. 

+ 2021 C Daniel Briones (Bishop Amat HS) - A veteran of PBR events, it’s always a treat for us to have Briones because he is one of the best catchers in his class in the state and because he’s a great, great kid. After posting a modest 7.41 60 time, Briones proceeded into the hitting wheel where after pounding an 85 mph exit velo he took to pounding the gaps with line drives with the type of consistency with the barrel we’re accustomed to seeing from him. Behind the dish he’s quick out of the crouch - watch his video, he does not cheat - with a powerfully accurate arm that produced event best pop times (1.89-1.97) on five throw downs that were all on or close enough to the bag to allow a middle infielder to make a play on a runner. Caught bullpens and showed improved agility, particularly to the hand side where he got the chest in front more easily than in past viewings. 

+ 2021 SS/RHP Sebastian “Pollo” Flores (Cajon HS) - After a standout showing to end the summer at the California State Games followed by an equally good fall with the SoCal Athletics Scout Team, Flores came to the Preseason All-State ready for what should be a huge junior season for the silky smooth shortstop who can pitch and help Cajon win games there too. Showed continued consistency with his barrel control during BP where favored the big part of the field. Twitchy strength throughout his frame. Manipulated barrel plane well. On the mound Flores showed at least average command of three pitches with nothing straight out of the hand. Arm can get long in back at times causing his mechanics and timing to go awry, a sign of lack of work as a pitcher maybe. Fastball worked 84-86 mph, while his curveball worked 76-78 mph with both flashing side-to-side movement. Change has developed significantly since last summer while maintianing it’s velocity at 76-78 mph. 

+ 2023 SS Will Burns (Mission Viejo HS) - Six-foot-1, 170-pounds, large, physical, and strong frame. Higher waist with thickness in lower half. Squared shoulders with a thick neck. Burns is the 14th ranked player in the Class of 2023 Rankings and the starting QB on Mission Viejo’s 10-0 freshman football team. He’ll also be a name every college recruiter will know before too long, assuming they don’t already. He’s not a football player playing baseball, he’s an athlete who plays football and baseball and does both very well. Opened with a laser-time 6.89 60 before entering the hitting wheel where he recorded a 91 mph exit velocity which tied him for third-best amongst all participants. Uses his long frame well in his swing after starting from an upright, open stance with high hands. Not much movement other than a slight foot drift into the ball. Hands are explosive and when his barrel was on time we got a sneak peek of the power that will come as his last ball smashed off the wall. Defensively he has the tools to stick at short in the long term and should see his fair amount of time their this spring. The arm is, as you would imagine, big and accurate. Was 84 mph across the diamond.

+ 2020 SS Garret Ostrander (Del Norte HS) Continues to show the polish of a Division I middle infielder with graceful and smooth actions. Has improved his 60 time (7.02), infield velo (86), and exit velocity (90), since participating in the Uncommitted Senior Games last fall, a sign of his commitment to his game. With a 3.5 GPA to go with his improved overall game, Ostrander will certainly be a name to follow this spring assuming he’s not off the board by then. Showed more consistent power to the big part of the field than we’ve seen in past viewings while his defense has maintained its consistency. 

+ 2021 OF/SS Ryan Brech (Yorba Linda HS) Has the look of a guy ready to explode on the scene this season. At 6-foot-1, 175-pounds Brech is long, lean, wiry strong, and very much an athlete on the diamond. Opened with a 6.92 laser-time 60 that caught our attention before completely having it during BP. After posting a 93 mph exit velo, Brech showed his raw gap power during his round. There’s some movement in the back with the hands that may be causing timing issues, but when the barrel meet the ball on time it’s going to be loud. In the outfield he covers a lot of ground with a long gait breaking down in time to funnel the ball out front and not lose his momentum to his target. Arm was strong at 84 mph with accuracy. Several flashed carry to the bag/plate. 

+ 2020 Shaun McHale (Valencia HS) Left a lasting impression at the SoCal Uncommitted Senior Games where he was in the midst of the rigors of a long football season. Now a few months later and completely focused on baseball, the two-sport standout should be a very desirable player for recruiters. There’s not much that McHale doesn’t do on the diamond. He hits. He hits for power (91 exit velo). He runs (7.05 60). And he defends with an arm that plays way up because of his athleticism. Showed a tick more consistency with his barrel plane on attack. In the fall, the barrel would drop before hands, now those two parts are more in sync allowing him to maintain barrel on plane. McHale is a 3.5 overall GPA player and has maintained a 4.0 through the first semester of his senior year.

+ 2021 Jonah Storey (Mira Costa HS) participated in the Top Prospects Games last fall where he stood out with his overall athleticism in the outfield and at the plate where his right handed stroke projected gap power. Storey improved on his outfield velocity (84 mph) and his exit velocity (90 mph) from the Top Prospects Games. He continued to show athletic and easy actions in the outfield where he funnels balls out front under control and shows clean exchanges with sub 1.0 glove-to-release times. Storey hopped on the mound for the first time where he shows a lively arm with an 84 mph fastball that works downhill in the zone and side-to-side. Storey’s curveball was tight with late tilt at 65-66 mph while his changeup works off the fastball tunnel before dying at the plate at 75-76 mph. When asked after his session if he’s been pitching much Storey replied in his casual style, “no, not really.” Well, here’s to hoping we get to see that more often this spring because the are is free and easy with way more in there.  

+ 2021 C Ethan Felix (Redondo HS) has added strength and mass to his frame since our last viewing and it’s paying off at the plate for the uncommitted junior catcher/third baseman. Posted a 90 mph exit velocity topping his previous best at PBR event. Catch and throw has improved significantly after cutting out some upper body movement that was causing timing issues. Popped in the 2.01-2.05 range with throws at or within playmaking area. Showed well defensively at third base as well where the footwork played up since last viewing. Arm was accurate. 

+ 2021 OF/RHP Braedon Ross (Christian HS) is the 19th ranked outfielder in the Class of 2021 State Rankings and a player with the arrow pointing straight up now that he’s up to 185-pounds and likely not done growing at 6-foot-3. The strength gains have seemed to meld with and, in fact, improve Ross’s athleticism in the outfield. In the past he tended to look stiff, now everything is fluid and under control. Funnels balls out front and is in proper position to get rid of the ball quickly. Arm strength has improved as well registering an 83 mph outfield velocity with improved accuracy as a result. The strength gains are very noticeable at the plate where after registering an 88 mph exit velocity, Ross produced one of the louder rounds of BP where he sprayed line drives gap-to-gap. Going to be a very fun player to follow this spring.

+ 2023 RHP/3B Zachary Brown (Villa Park HS) At 6-foot-3, 190-pounds with a long, lean and strong frame with a high waist and a thick lower half, Brown is easy to recognize on the diamond. Same is true on the football field where he excels as well. In fact, Brown narrowly missed our initial Class of 2023 rankings in part because we hadn’t seen enough into the fall. The power is undeniable and when the barrel is on time it’s a sight to see. As with most freshman there are things to work on. Unlike most freshman his father is a legend in baseball coaching in Orange County so you know the work is likely to get done. Uses his long levers in unisyn to produce loud contact with a consistent barrel plane through the zone. Keeps his hands inside the ball and has the strength to get the barrel through it. When he gets extended it’s pretty. It’s also powerful as demonstrated by the balls of the wall. At third base he showed fair footwork and glovework. Arm works from there with accuracy. On the mound is where he may have the most upside which is insane to write considering what I just wrote. While there’s still a way to go on the mound, Brown’s frame and stuff really project to that of a future power pitcher. Works downhill with a three-pitch mix that starts from compact arm path and jumps on you from a repeatable 3/4 slot. Came across body a couple times as his timing on the step varied. In general, it was a strong showing. 

+ 2023 C Ralphy Velazquez (Huntington Beach HS) is the #19 player overall in the Class of 2023 State Rankings and showed this weekend why he’s already such a highly regarded player. Appearing to have added somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 pounds, Velazquez’s newfound strength paired with his sweet left-handed swing was a pleasant surprise. After posting an 88 mph exit velocity, he pounded the right-center field gap with line drives with backspin. It’s a simple swing without a lot of wasted motion allowing him to produce a consistent barrel plane. Behind the dish the strength gains appear to have aided with athleticism as he’s quicker to point when needs to shuffle. Popped in the 1.99-2.09 range with throws on the bag. Exchanges were quick and clean.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Central Valley Preseason I.D. CA 01/11 Clovis North HS
Winter Update Series powered by South Bay Sport Training CA 01/12 South Bay Sports Training
Winter Update Series powered by EM Sports CA 01/13 EM Sports - Rancho Cucamonga
Winter Update Series powered by Monterey Bay Pirates CA 01/17 Monterey Bay Pirates Facility
California Far North Preseason I.D. CA 01/18 Chico HS
NorCal Preseason All-State (Invite-Only) CA 01/25 Islanders Field at River Islands
Winter Update Series powered by Paradigm Sport CA 01/26 Paradigm Sport
Winter Update Series powered by EM Sports CA 01/27 EM Sports - Long Beach
Super 60 Pro Showcase NATIONAL 02/02 The MAX - McCook, IL
Winter Hitting Update powered by Mike Murphy Baseball CA 02/08 MMB - Walnut Creek

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