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USD MLK Team Camp Day One


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

                          

At The Yard Podcast

SAN DIEGO, CA. - There’s nothing better than being in San Diego. It is America’s Finest City after all. And when it’s your hometown and you get to see eight games over two days, well, the city is made even finer. 

The University of San Diego hosts its annual MLK Team Camp Friday through Monday of the holiday weekend bringing teams from Orange and San Diego Counties for three games at beautiful Cunningham Field at Fowler Park. Toreros assistant coaches Brock Ungricht and Matt Florer, along with an excellent support staff, put together a field with as many as five potential PBR California Power 25 teams. 

Don’t get me started on the chicken and tri-tip Ungricht cooked up on the Traeger...it was mouth watering! But I digress…

Friday night saw Orange County powerhouse Huntington Beach play two games, one against San Diego powerhouse Rancho Bernardo and one against Patrick Henry. The third game featured Granite Hills of San Diego against Aliso Niguel. For me it was the second viewing of Rancho Bernardo in a week after seeing them in Orange County the prior weekend.

In this MLK Weekend Notebook we’ll take a look at some standouts from the first day of action at the USD MLK Team Camp. 

2020 INF Chad Abel (Rancho Bernardo HS): In the three games I’ve seen of Rancho Bernardo’s in the last week, Abel has collected at least six hits and hit the ball hard every other time. I say at least because all the morning coffee caught up to me during one of his AB’s. In his fist at-bat of this game he smoked an 85 mph fastball on the inner half into the right center field gap for a standup triple. Followed that up with another hot shot to the same side for a single. Over the course of the three games he’s made enough plays to convince me of his ability to play there in the future. He plays under control with fair range to the left, but the charging plays he seems to make with ease with enough arm strength to make throws from many angles. An all out type player.

2021 INF Peyton Schulze (Rancho Bernardo HS): Showed an advanced approach to hitting over the course of the three games of his I saw. And while he didn’t always get the desirable result, he stuck to his approach and plan at the plate. A big, physical 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, Schulze appears thicker throughout his frame from my last viewing. Hit several balls hard showing an all fields approach and more than enough strength to drive balls on a line. The Long Beach State commit looks ready for a big spring. 

2020 SS Noah Sudyka (Aliso Niguel HS): Continues to impress with his overall game, particularly his high level defensive play. Showed his range on a play up the middle where he gloved the ball and made the flip to second for the out. At the plate he continues to show fast hands and developing strength as shown on his standup double to left center field. Heady baserunner who isn’t going to run himself into outs. Excellent pickup for UC San Diego when they nabbed his commitment last year. 

+ 2020 OF Jake Vogel (Huntington Beach HS): The 12th ranked player in the California Class of 2020 rankings, Vogel certainly has the attention of scouts and for good reason. Vogel hit for the cycle in his first four at-bats spanning the Oilers two games. The home run (below) was a sign of his improved power at the plate - Fowler Park on a January late afternoon doesn’t provide ideal power conditions. That followed a standup double to lead off the game. He’s short to the ball maintaining hands inside the ball and using quick/strong wrists to get the barrel through the zone. His speed remains a plus and his outfield defense appears to have taken a step up in his leadership and general ease with which he patrols centerfield. The arrow is pointing way up for Vogel. 

2020 RHP Chandler Cameron (Rancho Bernardo HS): At 6-foot-5, and close to 200-pounds, Cameron is easy to spot on the mound where his long limbs add deception to his delivery. Works from a full arm path through to a high 3/4 slot that he repeats. Ball gets on hitters in a hurry and nothing appears straight out of the hand. There’s projection, not only with the frame but the stuff. The arm works. Video below is from 1/11/20. 

+ 2020 OF Jag Burden (Huntington Beach HS): The 33rd ranked player in the California Class of 2020 rankings, Vogel had one of those nights that everyone has in baseball. He put together quality at-bat after quality at-bat before finally breaking through with an RBI double in the second game. The ball was a shot off the bat into the left-center field gap that saw Burden take third on the throw showing his excellent instincts on the bases. Burden also showed his defensive prowess a couple times, including a running play towards the line in right along with a strong, accurate throw to third base. 

+ 2023 OF Aidan Espinoza (Huntington Beach HS): Espinoza has the look of a future star for the Oilers based on his left-handed bat alone. While only a freshman his approach at the plate was advanced and he showed no fear whatsoever. Drew an 8-pitch walk that saw him spoil three would-be strikes. Later he lined a double into the leftfield gap that dropped short of the outfielder. Easy to envision that stroke with added strength and the subsequent results. An average runner out of the box, Espinoza is quicker than fast, something that should improve as he ages/matures physically.  It’s early for Espinoza, but the ceiling is very high for the left-handed hitting freshman. 

+ 2023 C/1B Ralphy Velazquez (Huntington Beach HS): The 19th ranked player in the California Class of 2023 rankings, Velazquez showed very well for himself at the Orange County Preseason All-State where all of his metrics showed improvement from a previous event. Those gains are translating in-game where he’s very comfortable in the box and has shown the ability to handle mid-to-upper 80’s velocity. He’s worked on his body and it shows as he’s shed a good portion of extra weight and looks a whole lot stronger than he did in the summer. Velazquez will play a role for Huntington Beach this year at the plate and first base while potentially getting innings behind the dish, his natural position and one where his physical gains have translated to improved athleticism. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Winter Update Series powered by Monterey Bay Pirates CA 01/24 Monterey Bay Pirates Facility
NorCal Preseason All-State (Invite-Only) CA 01/25 Islanders Field at River Islands
Winter Update Series powered by EM Sports CA 01/27 EM Sports - Long Beach
Winter Update Series powered by EM Sports CA 01/28 EM Sports - San Diego
Winter Update Series powered by FBK1 CA 01/30 FBK1
California Far North Preseason I.D. CA 02/01 Chico HS
Super 60 Pro Showcase NATIONAL 02/02 The MAX - McCook, IL
Winter Update Series powered by Mike Murphy Baseball CA 02/08 MMB - Walnut Creek
SoCal Underclass Games ID - Los Angeles CA 02/09 O'Malley Family Field
Winter Update Series powered by EM Sports CA 02/10 EM Sports - Rancho Cucamonga
2020 PBR Future Games (California Invite) CA 07/29 LakePoint Sports


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