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West Coast Championships: Day 1 Notebook


PBR California Staff

IRVINE, CA. - The Inaugural PBR Tournaments West Coast Championship kicked off on Thursday at the Great Park in Irvine and fields in the surrounding area. With over 60 teams in four divisions from 14U through 17U, there was ample opportunity to shuffle from field-to-field and get eyes on many players throughout the day. 

Let’s dive into some standouts. 

+ 2020 SS Alex Rodriguez (Damien HS) - The USC commits frame is beginning to fill out and with it comes some strength with the bat and improved athleticism on defense. Rodriguez made a sensational play defensively to end the first game and picked up there in second game where the offense came to life. He looks more comfortable in the box where his simple setup is balanced before whipping his fast hands through the zone with control of the barrel. Rodriguez is quicker than fast but even that area is improving with a 4.41 home-to-first time. 

+ 2021 OF Wyatt Thames (Coalinga HS) - At 5-foot-10, 165-pounds, Thames has the look of a football defensive back with equal quickness. Flashes some raw power at the plate that is easy off the barrel. He’s twitchy strong with noticeable strength throughout the frame. Young for his class - he’s still only 15 - Thames nailed a line drive single to left field before taking second on the throw. In his next at-bat he had a loud line out to right field. Projectable athlete in the outfield who showed off his arm on a throw from left field that just missed getting the runner. 

+ 2023 Cody Nitowitz (Cathedral Catholic HS)  - Showed to be an athletic outfielder with a high baseball IQ in regards to his defense and his positioning. Showed off an accurate arm on one play where he ranged to his right towards left-center field where he made the catch before circling and throwing a dart to first narrowly missing his effort to double up the runner. Rangy outfielder with some quickness. Shows a patient approach at the plate taking what the pitcher gives him and fighting off pitches. Had a hard hit ball for a double. 

+ 2023 Jaycob Villalpando (Frontier HS) - Had an impressive day overall in terms of showing well if not in results. With a balanced, quiet setup, Villalpando has quick hands that allow him to drive the barrel through the zone on plane. Shows excellent footwork on the dirt where his quick hands and clean transitions impressed. In the second game he took to the mound and showed he has some tools there. Works his fastball side-to-side of the plate while his curveball flashes depth when thrown with conviction. 

+ 2022 1B Tyson Flaig (Valencia HS) - Big bodied first baseman at 5-foot-11, 175-pounds with nimble feet around the bag who consistently scoops balls out of the dirt. Flaig had an absolute monster first game going 3-for-3 with all three balls hit hard - two to the pull side, one the other way. An average runner, Flaig won’t cost you on the bases with mistakes. Will be a fun player to follow as his body mature with added strength. 

+ 2023 OF Cooper Hansen (Notre Dame HS) - 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, large, physical frame with plenty of maturation remaining as he continues to add strength. Shows a mature approach at the plate from an upright stance with high hands before a high leg lift trigger gets the swing started. Stays balanced through the zone showing good feel/control of the barrel. Had a loud fly out in game. An average runner, Hansen shows good instincts in the outfield when tracking balls.

+ 2022 OF Justin Roulston (Culver City HS) has developed significantly since our last viewing. He’s all of the 6-foot-2, 175-pounds he’s listed at and it’s a long, lean, wiry strong, twitchy frame with large feet and long limbs. Defense has improved in the area of charging/gathering balls, it seems more natural and easier now. Arm strength has improved as well as he showed with a strong, accurate throw from right field that held a runner at third. At the plate he drew a couple of walks and didn’t have many pitches to offer at. When he did put a swing on the ball it was aggressively controlled with quickness through the zone. Clocked at 3.19 on a stolen base after one of his walks.

+ 2023 SS/RHP Roman Martin (Servite HS) impressed once again with his overall game both on the mound where the arm works well, and on the dirt where his defensive actions are what you come to expect from a SoCal shortstop. There’s projection in his 5-foot-11, 140-pound frame that has long limbs and a high waist. Working from a high 3/4 slot, Martin repeats his mechanics and arm slot well and consistently. Defensively he showed excellent footwork with a quick first step and natural instincts in reading balls off the bat. Moved well to both sides with fair range while the hands/transfers are fast and clean. 

--LES LUKACH

2021  INF/ Rhp Elie Kligman 5-foot-11,165-pounds (Cimarron-Memorial) - Impressive day playing three games for TB SoCal. Showed good actions at short with smooth hands, strong arm and good reads off the bat. Showed well at the plate as he recorded 3 hits and a couple RBI including a standup double..

2021 OF Miles Smith (Crossroads HS) Very impressive day both in the outfield and at the plate. Is ultra athletic showed it off in the first game making a diving catch. Good reads off the bat and a lot of range. At the plate he didn't disappoint 3 hits 2 singles and one stand up double. Has a lot of speed a threat on the base path. Had two stolen bases and recorded a sub 8 time to 2nd on his double. 

2020 1B Liam Critchett (Redondo Union) 6-foot-2 195-pounds. Had a consistent day at the plate by his standards going1-for-1 with an RBI single and registering 2 walks. Did flash his speed as he stole one base. Critchett shows surprising speed for a bigger guy along with a high understanding of running the bases. Worked well around the bag at first in-game going back to make a difficult catch look easy in foul territory.

--RUSS MORGAN

+ 2020 RHP Eric Marrujo (Upland HS) Uncommitted. Really impressed with his ability to command the zone on all of his offerings today. Fastball sat 83-85, touching 86. Slider had tilt, and changeup showed glove side fade. Displays clean arm action and a repeatable delivery.     

 

+ 2020 OF Elijah Buries (OLU) Uncommitted. 6-foot-1, 180lbs. solid, strong athletic frame. A mystery why he is still uncommitted. Can do everything well; run, hit, and throw tools are all above average.  Buries plays hard and is always in the middle of the action. Has position flexibility as he can play in the infield as well. Will be an impact player for the Lancers this year.

+ 2020 INF Zach Chonkich (Redlands HS) The Pepperdine commit checks in at 5-foot-11, 165lbs, medium, wiry strong frame. Hit leadoff today and played a solid third base. Has athletic actions all around with above average glove and run tools. Took three quality at-bats and made an athletic play on the run seen here.

 

+ 2019 C Cody Johnson (Utah Valley College) The 5-foot-11, 205lbs, soon to be college freshman, sits on a large, sturdy frame. The defense stood out today showing his capacity to be a hunter and cut down the running game. Johnson recorded two big outs on back picks seen here in critical moments in the game.  Really liked his aggressiveness at the plate, as he barreled up a couple balls. Looks like he’ll fit in nicely at UVC.     

+ 2020 MIF Jordan Andrade (Yucaipa HS) The 5-foot-10, 165lbs. uncommitted recruit is seen here doing damage with a big double. Andrade hits third in this stacked lineup, plays shortstop, and leads by example. I’m expecting a big summer and fall, which should land him on a college roster again sooner than later. He has a ton of experience and will be called upon to be a leader his senior season at Yucaipa.

+ 2020 INF Anthony McFarland (JW North HS) The UCR commit stands 6-feet, 170lbs. Shows a proportional strong, athletic frame. This is my first viewing and came away impressed with his overall strength to his game. Squared the ball up three times and plays with infectious energy. The Manager mentioned to me that McFarland is having the best all-around summer on the team up to this point.

+ 2023 3B Cameron Kim (Norco HS) Uncommitted. The incoming freshman really stood out among his elders. Kim Checks in at 6-foot-2, 170lbs. lean, wiry frame with plenty more room for added strength and muscle. This recruit will be  a difference maker at the varsity level next year and be an impact player for years to come. His offensive approach and maturity level at such a young age is impressive and his ability to square the ball up consistently with loud contact is the separator. Defense is raw and needs polish, but has a solid fundamental base to work from.

 

+ 2022 1B Ryan Geck (Millikan HS) The uncommitted sophomore stands at an imposing 6-foot-3, 230lbs. Has a solid, muscular frame that has not finished developing yet, which is a scary thought. Since my last viewing, it seems he has tightened up his body and is making the commitment to being more physical. Geck’s power projects through the roof and makes you dream of what is to come.  Will be fun to watch his development over the next couple years. This is your prototypical first baseman with raw power that will make you sit on the edge of your seat when he toes the batters box.

+ 2020 1B Nate Petrutis (Pacifica HS) The uncommitted senior checks in at 6-foot-1, 195lbs. Since my last viewing Petrutis has lost about 20lbs. and looks like he is making the commitment to his body. The physical gains are tangible which will positively affect his overall game. Should be exciting to watch what he does his senior campaign. Petrutis is instant offense and always has been. Here is a hard hit single his first time up. He was walked three times in his next three at-bats.

+ 2020 RHP Jared Casebier (Trabuco Hills HS) Uncommitted. 6-foot-170 pounds, proportional frame with long arms and legs. Shows non-traditional old school windup mechanics and is able to repeat his delivery. Has high three-quarter arm slot, quick arm speed, with short and loose arm action. Featured a 12/6 curveball that has late sharp movement from the same arm slot as the fastball and possesses full command of the pitch. Fastball sat 83-85, touching 86. Works quickly and efficiently, which bodes well for his defense behind him.

+ 2021 C/3B Robbie Ayers (Moorpark HS) Uncommitted, checks in at 6-feet, 160lbs. lanky, coordinated frame with significant room to add weight and muscle.  Ayers uses a gap-to-gap line drive approach displaying his ability to use the whole field. Demonstrates excellent plate discipline and advanced strike zone awareness. Defensively he is solid behind the plate. Shows above average athleticism, flexibility and does an excellent job getting low and manipulating his body to block balls in the dirt. Ayers exhibits an above average arm tool that he showed off in between innings.

2021 INF/OF Kai Moran (Cleveland HS) Uncommitted 6 foot 175 pound switch hitter. He showed some serious pop from the left side. He recorded two base hits both doubles. Both he one hopped the right-field fence with one rbi. Showed a classic left handed swing and was able to turn on the inside pitch. Frame looks like he can add strength and weight. 

--STEVE DOHERTY


UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
Junior Future Games NATIONAL 07/30 LakePoint
2019 PBR Future Games (California Invite) CA 07/31 LakePoint - Cartersville, GA
California State Games CA 08/17 Vanguard University
Kern County Prospect I.D. CA 09/07 Cal State Bakersfield
SoCal Top Prospect Games CA 09/14 JSerra High School
Norcal Top Prospect Games CA 09/21 College of Marin
Rising Stars Showcase CA 09/21 Santiago High School
Northern California Uncommitted Senior Games CA 10/06 College of Marin

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