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SoCal Top Prospect Games Quick Hits


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

 

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA. - The inaugural SoCal Top Prospects Games took place September 14th-15th at JSerra High School where players in the 2020-2023 participated in a pro-style workout before taking the field for game play. Players were selected to participate in the invite-only event after being seen at a prior event of throughout the spring/summer seasons. 

Many ranked players in their respective classes participated with most being uncommitted giving the college coaches in attendance ample opportunity to evaluate potential recruits. Before doing a deep dive into prospects that participated let’s take a look at some early standouts.

QUICK HITS

Devin Martinez SS / 3B / Citrus Valley, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 5-foot-8, 165-pounds. Strong, physical, frame with some projection remaining from a strength standpoint. Martinez shows a short, compact swing where he gets the barrel through the zone on plane consistently. Has some present bat speed and a good understanding of the strike zone and pitch recognition while showing an opposite field approach with some pop to that side. Registered an exit velocity of 80 mph off a tee. Had a standup double in-game action. Defensively is where Martinez really stands out where his instincts, footwork and quick hands take over. He was consistently in proper position and is an excellent communicator on the field. The arm strength is fair (74 mph) and accurate showing the ability to make throws from multiple angles.  

Jack Kirrer RHP / 3B / Mater Dei, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. 5-9, 155-pounds. Lean, athletic frame with some strength to it and plenty of room for physical development/projection. Long arms/legs and a high waist. Started the day running a laser-timed 7.34 60 yard dash showing an athletic gait. Defensively Kirrer showed smooth actions at third base where his soft hands and quick transitions were on display. The arm works there as it’s accurate with some strength (81 mph) across the diamond. At the plate he showed feel for the barrel with some pop to the pull side. Swing got a tick long at times, but his hand speed allowed him to catch up. Kirrer took to the mound where he shows a clean, loose arm action and the ability to work/command pitches inside and out. Coming from a high ¾ slot, Kirrer showed feel for four pitches with the slider flashing major potential. It’s a sweeping pitch with late diving action away from righties that was unhittable. Works quick and maintains his pace. 

Ryker Billingsley 2B / OF / Chino Hills, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 5-9, 150-pounds. Athletic, strong, lean frame with some projection remaining. Billingsley is a versatile defender on the infield showing the footwork, glovework and accurate arm (76 mph) that will allow him to play anywhere on the dirt. Has range to both sides and the arm to make throws from multiple angles with quick hands. At the plate Billingsley showed a short and quick stroke that saw him get barrel on the ball consistently. Absolutely abused the left side during the game action where he had multiple hits that he shot the other way or up the middle. Shows enough hand/bat speed for the pull side but appears to favor the other way. Finished 3-for-5 with a pair of walks in two games. Quicker than he is fast (7.63 laser timed 60). Billingsley is instinctive on the bases taking bases on balls in the dirt and getting first-to-third routinely.  

Caden Aoki SS / RHP / Huntington Beach, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 5-foot-10, 160-pounds. Lean, wiry strong frame with some projection remaining and room to add strength, particularly in the lower half and shoulder area. Aoki began the day running a 7.48 laser-timed 60 yard dash before moving into the defensive portion where he showed athletic actions while working out at shortstop. May profile best at second best where his athleticism will play up. Arm strength (79 mph) is fair with accuracy. At the plate he shows a longer stroke built for power that may come in the future. Starts slightly crouched before driving the back hip/hands into the ball while looking to elevate the ball. Smoked a standup double to left field in-game. On the mound Aoki really shone during the event touching 86 mph with the fastball and snapping off an above average curveball (72-73 mph) that shows tight rotation and late break down in the zone. Shows a lot of confidence in the pitch. Aoki’s changeup was virtually unhittable at 73-74 mph with late downer movement when entering the zone. Aoki shows the ability to pitch backwards allowing him to get ahead in counts with his above average secondary pitches.  

Ryan Watkins 3B / SS / Oak Hills , CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 5-10, 180-pounds. Strong, physical, compact frame that has some room for added mass/strength. Watkins is a strong, powerful third baseman that has simply hit in every viewing we’ve had. With a slight uphill barrel path, Watkins is able to consistently square balls up and drive them into the gaps. The load/swing can get long but his hand/bat speed allows him to catch up with the barrel. Registered an 86 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively he shows excellent footwork with smooth actions and an accurate arm that registered a 76 mph position velocity from third base. Plays hard, loose and under control.

Matt Little C / OF / Orange Lutheran , CA / 2022

Uncommitted. 5-foot-11, 170-pounds. Physically strong with broad shoulders and plenty of room for continued physical development and strength gains. Started off running a 7.07 laser-timed 60 yard dash. Worked out both in the outfield and at catcher and showed the ability to handle both positions. In the outfield he showed a strong, accurate arm (80 mph) with throws routinely on the bag. Footwork was average. Understands angles to balls as demonstrated on a fly-ball in-game that required him to charge 20 yards to his right before making a difficult play look routine. Behind the dish he showed more arm strength (79 mph) with accuracy to the bag after a couple balls on the second base side with pop times in the 2.0-2.11 range. Stays low on throws showing excellent hip flexibility. 

Brandon Heidal C / Orange Lutheran, CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 5-foot-11, 200-pounds. Strong, physical frame that is beginning to shed unwanted weight and adding strength. Heidal shows elite level catch/throw skills that are on par with anyone in the state. With pops in the 1.97-2.02 range with accuracy - his misses were to the second base side. Shows above average footwork on throws while exploding out of his crouch after sitting low with good hip flexibility. At the plate he shows a slightly uphill barrel path that favors the pull side. Consistently squared balls up during BP and in-game with great balance. Can be top hand dominant. Showing improved bat speed in recent viewings which is a tribute to his commitment to improving his physicality.  

Christian Miranda SS / 2B / Notre Dame , CA / 2022

Uncommitted. 5-foot-11, 165-pounds. Athletic, twitchy, wiry strong frame that oozes projection and has ample room for continued physical development. Posted a 7.40 laser-timed 60 yard dash to get the day started. Miranda showed a quick, smooth, left-handed line drive stroke that resulted in consistent barreling of the ball. Miranda showed some power in BP by one-hopping the base of the right field fence and putting together several quality at-bats in-game. Registered a 79 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively is where Miranda presently stands out with his level of athleticism, instincts, footwork and soft/quick hands. The arm is accurate and strong (79 mph position velocity) with life and run on throws.

Jackson Van Ness OF / Esperanza , CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 6-foot, 170-pounds. Long, lean, wiry strong frame with room to add strength. Started running a 7.21 laser-timed 60 yard dash before moving into the hitting portion of the workout where he registered a 76 mph exit velocity off a tee. Van Ness shows a quick bat with sneaky pop that should improve with added strength to his frame. Remains balanced throughout the swing. Can catch up to inside pitch and elevate. Defensively he shows excellent footwork while playing under control of his body. Registered an 83 mph outfield velocity with accurate throws that flashed carry. Smoked an RBI single to right-center-field in-game.

Evan Yates 3B / RHP / Martin Luther King, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-foot, 152-pounds. Long, lean, wiry frame with plenty of physical projection remaining. Huge hands, long arms/legs, large feet with a high waist give an indication of remaining growth. Defensively Yates shows versatility by being able to play third base and the outfield and do both at an above average level. On balls off bat to first baseman’s glove, Yates registered times of 3.85 (at him) and 3.96 (backhand). Quick hands/release play up with his strong, accurate arm (78 mph) across the diamond. Throws were in the chest of the first baseman each time. Offensively Yates’s game played better in-game than during the workout. Shows a balanced, smooth stroke with excellent control of barrel and the ability to catch up to pitches on the inner third of the plate. Most present power comes when he pulls the ball, but is able to drive balls the other way. Yates also pitches and has been as high as 87 in the past although he didn’t throw in this event. 

Xavier Martinez RHP / OF / Otay Ranch, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-foot, 165-pounds. Long, lean frame with long limbs and large hands. Present strength in the lower half which he uses very well in his dip-and-drive delivery. Working from a high 3/4 slot, Martinez is able to generate very excellent downhill plane on all pitches while working black-to-black with command of his three-pitch mix. Fastball (80-82 mph) shows hints of arm side run down in the zone. Curveball (68-70 mph) is a sharp, high spin rate pitch that shows late, deep breaking action with 11-5 movement. Used as an out pitch a couple times in game action. Changeup shows deep diving action late. Arm is loose with clean mechanics. Very little effort in his delivery.

Reed Coffin RHP / SS / Rancho Buena Vista, CA / 2020

Cal State Northridge commit. 6-foot, 160-pounds. Lean, wiry strong frame with long legs/arms and large hands indicating lots of future physical development/projection. Stays tall on the backside with a full arm path through to a high 3/4 slot/release point. Throws across body at times. Arm is loose with clean mechanics. Lands inline on bent knee before driving off the back leg to generate power. Shows extreme confidence in the fastball that he worked black-to-black with plus command of the pitch that flashes late running action into righties. Coffin’s slider projects to be a plus pitch as it’s presently above average with its late sharp biting action. Registered two strikeouts with the pitch showing his belief/ability to throw the pitch in any count. 

Kaden Moeller 1B / LHP / Martin Luther King, CA / 2021

Long Beach State commit. 6-foot, 175-pounds. Large, physical frame with present strength throughout and plenty of room for continued physical development. Moeller backed up his state ranking with a strong performance overall that saw him register a 91 mph exit velocity off a tee and an 85 mph infield velocity from first base where he shows the nimble footwork of a player smaller than him. Moeller took to the mound where he was making his third appearance since the end of the season and the southpaw didn’t disappoint by pounding the strike zone with an 86 mph fastball that he put wherever he wanted and often overmatched hitters thanks in part to the late running action on the pitch. Moeller backed that up with a devastating curveball at 73-75 that flashed tight spin with late 1-7 break from the same tunnel as the fastball. Moeller then flashed his above average feel for his changeup at 77-80 mph that flashed late diving action leaving righties baffled.

Jonah Storey OF / RHP / Mira Costa, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-0, 175-pounds. Large, athletic frame with squared shoulders and wiry strength throughout. Storey began by running a 7.39 laser-timed 60 yard dash showing an athletic gait with little wasted movements. At the plate he stays tall with a slightly open stance before a leg lift trigger gets things started. Shows fast hands allowing his barrel to get to balls on the inner third; let’s balls get deep. Has some power (81 mph exit velo) in his swing presently that should continue to develop as he fills out. Swing is compact. Remains balanced throughout. Defensively he shows an excellent first step while remaining under control. Arm is strong (81 mph) with average accuracy although his misses were to the correct side of the bags. Instinctive base runner who is not afraid to take a chance on the basepaths. 

Garrett Riley LHP / 1B / Mater Dei , CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 6-foot, 180-pounds. Large frame with present strength throughout particularly in the lower half. Perhaps no player has changed his body like Riley has who has dropped 30 pounds since giving up football to focus exclusively on baseball. Listed as a LHP/1B, Riley’s future is likely on the mound where he shows an easy arm action that he’s able to repeat. Uses a slight dip-and-drive delivery with a full arm path through to a high 3/4 arm slot that he repeats consistently. Gains ground down the mound and lands inline consistently while staying balance and using his lower half very well. Working 84-85 with the fastball, Riley was able to command the pitch to specific quadrants in the strike zone changing eye levels from one pitch to the next with the fastball that flashed slight run to the arm side. Buries the curveball for strikes with the pitch never getting above the top of the knee of hitters. Throws his change up with fastball arm speed adding deception to the pitch that dives away from righties as it enters the zone. Riley showed athleticism around the bag at first to go with a 77 mph exit velocity off the tee. While he may be a good two-option in high school, he profiles best on the mound where there’s ample projection remaining.

Brett Pierson RHP / Orange Lutheran, CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 6-foot-1, 195-pounds. Large frame with strength in the shoulders down to the wrists. Has present strength in the lower half as well. Uses a dip-and-drive delivery with a full arm path through to a 3/4 slot. Arm can drag in back at times. Pierson showed to be a capable strike thrower with three pitches. Fastball shows downhill plane with some slight late action at 83-85 mph. Commanded the pitch in-and-out and threw it for strikes. Curveball (73-76 mph) shows sharp, late break with 11-5 shape. Used as an out pitch, Pierson showed extreme confidence in the pitch. Best out pitch on the day was his slider at 76-78 mph with it’s late diving action the pitch comes from the same arm speed and tunnel as the fastball making for an uncomfortable at-bat. Pierson challenged hitters consistently with his three-pitch mix. Impressed with his response to adversity.

LeTrey McCollum OF / C / Vista Murrieta, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-foot-3, 170-pounds. Extra large frame that is lean, wiry, and twitchy. Long legs/arms with large hands. McCollum’s overall game is a bit raw, but there’s no denying the present tools and projection he possesses. Ran a 7.22 60 yard dash to open before showing off a slightly handsy swing at the plate where he routinely squared the ball up. Starts upright before using a leg lift/toe tap trigger to initiate swing. Gets barrel on plane and keeps it there throughout his swing. Shows excellent balance throughout the swing and can get to the outside pitches with the barrel. Defensively McCollum shows excellent footwork while getting to and working through balls while funneling out front. Transfers were quick with strong, accurate throws to the bags at 77 mph.

Billy Bzura RHP / Mira Costa, CA / 2020

Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. Large, lean, athletic frame with squared shoulders, high waist, long legs and large feet. Plenty of room for physical development. Bzura uses a dip-and-drive delivery through to a low 3/4 (almost sidearm) slot. Uses a fast and high leg kick and keeps the ball behind the lifted knee adding deception to his delivery and making it hard to pick the ball up out of the hand. Worked the fastball 80-82 with ample run to the arm side generated by the arm slot that he maintains on every pitch. Changeup is a very projectable pitch at 73-74 mph with it’s diving arm side run that paralyzed right handed hitters and had lefties waving at. Bzura’s slider had the same effect in reverse at 68-70 mph causing headaches for righties and freezing lefties. Bzura was able to maintain and repeat his mechanics. Worked a clean two innings.

Christian (CJ) Zwahlen RHP / 1B / Dana Hills , CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-foot-3, 200-pounds. Extra large frame with strength in the shoulders down to the wrists and in the upper part of the lower half. Zwahlen uses a dip-and-drive delivery with a short arm path through to a 3/4 slot. His arm is loose and his mechanics repeatable. Working from the middle of the rubber, Zwahlen commanded his 85 mph fastball black-to-black while keeping it below the knees of the hitter flashing downward action. Zwahlen kept his curveball low in the zone with it’s 11/5 shape by starting it just above the hitters knee and inducing several swing-and-miss results. His changeup at 77-78 mph was an effective out pitch with its late diving action to the back foot of righties. Zwahlen showed he prefered to set up hitters by starting away before pounding them in.

Jayden Steinhurst RHP / OF / Quartz Hill, CA / 2022

Uncommitted. 6-foot-5, 195-pounds. Extra large frame with long legs/arm, a high waist and large feet. May not be done growing. Steinhurst has made a commitment to his physicality and it shows as he appears much lighter and stronger than our last viewing. A two-way player (OF/RHP), Steinhurst profiles as a future starter on the mound with his loose, whippy arm action. Uses a pronounced shoulder turn to add deception while keeping the ball almost even with his back leg before exploding down the mound through to a high 3/4 arm slot. Lands inline consistently on a bent knee before driving off the back leg. Arm speed is present and obvious. Working the fastball 83-85 mph with very good downhill plane, Steinhurst was able to command the pitch to all quadrants of the strike zone while dropping in a tight curveball that flashes 11/5 shape with late breaking action. Steinhurst also played in the outfield where he shows solid footwork and an accurate arm. He registered a 90 mph exit velocity off a tee.

Justin Johnson 2B / SS / Xavier College Prep, CA / 2021

Uncommitted. 5-foot-10, 160-pounds. Large frame with lean, wiry strength throughout. Johnson starts slightly open at the plate before a high leg kick trigger initiates his swing where he shows the ability to manipulate the barrel angle with his fast hands and present strength. Gets extended through the swing that remains balanced throughout. Smoked an RBI single to left field in-game. The ball was hit so hard it allowed the outfielder to get to it quickly and get it back in, otherwise it’s an extra base hit. Defensively Johnson, listed as a middle infielder, showed very well at third base where he may profile best with his middle infielder instincts. Arm (76 mph) works from the corner with Johnson’s accuracy and quick release.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Rising Stars Showcase CA 09/21 Santiago High School
SoCal Uncommitted Senior Games CA 09/28 Fullerton College
NorCal Uncommitted Senior Games CA 10/06 College of Marin
NorCal Top Prospect Games CA 10/13 College of Marin