Inside Pitch: Fall Showcase Season Winds Down and Notes on the AZDR Fall Showcase
The October showcase season is now behind us, and high school programs begin pointing toward the spring season.
Once again the Heid family have done a fabulous job of providing the top showcase events west of the Mississippi by hosting the Fall Classic events.
Arizona families and players need to be very thankful that Ted and Tracy Heid have created this opportunity right in our backyard.
This month has produced an unusually high amount of rain, and played havoc with scheduling at times. The Senior Classic actually lost some games due to the weather, And for the most part people were understanding.
However, I have been told that there were some pretty ugly emails sent to the Heids, wondering why games were cancelled and why there was no contingency plans.
Now Ted and Tracy are very good at what they do, but they do not have the ability to impact the weather. In addition, the only contingency plan available to a tournament director is to build in rain days, thereby increasing the length of the event. With so many people traveling in from out of town, this really is not an option.
I’ve been attending these tournaments for around 15 years now, and I believe this was the first case of rain impacting the events.
If you are one of the people who sent disparaging communiques to the Heid family, shame on you. In the future, please pull your head out of your backside and think before you react.
Some comments on the recent AZDR Fall Showcase:
The weather washed out the Class of 2021/2022 event, and several of those players opted to attend the Oct. 10 event for 2018/2019 players.
60 times were slow in general , I’m sure at least partly due to the recent rains softening up the turf.
Brophy 2019 Andrew Talamante ran a 6.8 and Hamilton 2020 IF Shane Anderson came in at 6.9.
Anderson is an interesting player who showed well as an outfielder and in the dirt. He threw 82 from the OF, and exhibited smooth infield actions. He’ll likely have a tough time getting on the field at Hamilton this spring, but he looks very capable if the opportunity arises.
Chandler 2020 Efrain Manzo, who I talked about last spring quite a bit, continues to look like one of the best bats in the junior class. In addition to pounding the ball at the workout (93 on exit velo with wood, tops at the event), I caught him during the Junior Classic and he just seems to consistently find the barrel.
Mountain Ridge 2020 Ryan Ellis, who caught for the Lions last spring but worked out as a middle infielder, is a smallish player at 5-7 140, but don’t sell him short. The left handed swing is loose with really good rhythm and there’s surprising juice in the bat. He’s also stronger than he looks, testing very well in the grip test.
Casteel 2019 OF/1B Marcus Lucas is an under the radar guy with some real ability. He swings it from the left side with authority. The swing is aggressive with very good bat speed and he gets the barrel on plane early. He looks equally competent at 1B or an outfield position.
Mountain View 2019 OF Tyler Barnes posted the 2nd best exit velo at 92 MPH. This was my first look at Barnes and he did not disappoint. He’s a physical 6-1 195 with a super loose left handed swing.
Apache Junction 2019 Austin Sample took one of the better rounds of BP, which did not surprise me one bit. I’ve seen enough of Sample over the last several months to know that he will hit at the next level. He’s balanced, very quiet in the set up, but he takes a very aggressive hack from the left side and shows a knack for barreling the baseball. He sent one ball far over the fence in right at Phoenix College.
In addition, Sample jumped on the mound in the live scrimmage and was up to 86 with a clean , directional delivery that produces a lot of quality strikes.
Michael Quinones (Cesar Chavez 2019) is a 5-11 210 pound catcher/If who I had not seen before. He’s very physical but not stiff at all. At the plate he really gets the bat head out with authority. I also liked how he handled himself behind the dish during the scrimmage portion of the event.
Valley Vista 2020 Brysen Hamilton is a Catcher/1B who attended a year ago and has really cleaned some things up. He has a powerful frame at 6-3 200 and looks very athletic on the field. The swing has a lot of strength and looseness to it. I also like his personality. He carries himself like a natural leader.
2019 OF/1B Larry Ross from Westview HS showed a combination of athleticism and strength. He threw 78 from the OF and put up a very good grip number of 134. He could stand to improve his peed (ran a 7.5) but he can help someone at the next level.
2019 1B/RHP Connor Watson from Red Mountain is a guy I’ve seen quite bit of during the HS season and playing with Wilson Sandlot. There’s nothing flashy about his game, but he’s very fundamental and has some good strength I his 6-0 200 pound body. He posted an 87 MPH exit velo.
I’ve always liked Millenium OF/2B Alex Figueroa. He’s not the biggest guy at 5-11 160, and he could stand to improve his speed, but he’s a fundamentally sound player who handles the bat well and has good positional flexibility.
2019 1B Seth Funderburk from Casteel is a physical 6-3 220 pounds and looks more athletic every time I see him. He ran a 7.15 60 and posted a good grip number. At the plate he shows a solid fundamental swing but tends to feel for the baseball. He’s going to be an interesting player to follow over the next few years.
2019 Liberty OF Christian Contreras got a tough break last season when JD Wadleigh moved in from Colorado, leaving Christian as the odd man out in the Lion outfield. He can play, a good runner (faster than the 7.1 he ran) who also has some bat speed. He could be a break out type guy this spring.
2019 Willow Canyon SS Dallan Curthoys recently committed to Ottawa University. He has a lanky 6-3 165 pound frame that moves very well in the infield. His actions are smooth and he has great hands. A the plate he has a sweet bat path and gets his front foot down on time. He will add a lot of strength in the next couple of years.
2020 Hamilton 1B Trevor Desiderio is a physical specimen at 6-3 200 pounds. He’s really starting to grow into his body, and the athleticism seems to improve every time I see him. The bat will probably be his calling card. He posted the highest grip strength number at the event, and balls jump off his barrel. As an added treat he took the mound in the scrimmage and was 83-84 with very good downhill plane. There is certainly a lot more in there.
O’Connor 2020 Colton Kucera really caught my eye. He ran a 7.1 although I know he is much faster than that. There as a lot of wiry strength in his 5-11 170 pound frame, and he plays the game with great energy. He’s capable of playing all over the infield defensively. At the plate he has a very simple quiet set up and gets the barrel in the zone early.
Desert Vista 2019 OF Jack Malone was profiled in a Prospect Snapshot recently. He’s another really under the radar guy who committed to Point Loma after the Senior Classic. He has a sweet left handed swing with some gap to gap juice. He covers a ton of ground in the OF and he has a strong arm.
Chandler 2020 1B Luke Bass grabbed my attention last spring for the Wolves. At 6-2 220 he has a strong build. He swings it from the left side and really whips the barrel through the zone with authority.
Casteel 2020 IF Connor Hatch is an interesting guy. For starters he’s a top level student with a 4.6 GPA. In addition, he has a very atheltic 6-1 180 pound frame that moves well in the infield. The 60 time was a respectable 7.2 and he put up a solid grip number (126).
2020 O’Connor 3B Greg Bozinovich has a football like build at 6-0 225, and there is a lot of power in there. The bat will be the calling card here, and when he gets the barrel to the baseball he is capable of doing a lot of damage.
2020 Kaiden Frees from Corona del Sol is a guy I have seen several times playing with Canyon Thunder. He’s a wiry 6-0 170 pounds with a very loose athletic body. At the plate he has a very whippy swing, although he could probably stand to be a little quieter in the box and not be so pull happy. Still, I love the athlete and added strength should help his overall game.
2020 3B Michael Saylor transferred to Pinnacle from Chaparral this year. He has a strong frame at 6-1 200 pounds. He showed some good athleticism in the infield portion, and he generates a ton of bat speed, posting a very good exit velo of 90.
Corona del Sol 2020 OF Jake Burkhardt has a loose body with some strength to it. He put up a good grip number and it shows in the swing, where he has the ability to really get the barrel through the zone with authority. He ran a 7.1 60 on a slow track.
As far as the younger position players, 2021 O’Connor MIF Chase Valentine has very flashy infield actions, and shows the ability to throw from multiple arm angles. He’ll need to get stronger and faster over the next couple of years, but there is a lot of raw material here.
2021 Horizon OF Eric Barratta has a really loose, athletic body. He swings it from the left side and gets good separation and bat speed. He’s only 5-9 140 pounds right now, but he put up a solid 108 on the grip test and an exit velo of 88 with wood.
2019 RHP Mason Dillow from Chaparral (6-1 185) is a guy I have been following closely for over a year. The arm action is loose and the ball comes out of his hand easily. His velocity continues to increase. He was a firm 86-87 on this night. In addition, he gets very tight spin on a mid 70s curveball that has plus tilt to it. This is one to really keep your eye on this spring.
2019 RHP/3B David Enriquez worked at an easy 85-86 with the fastball, and showed off a late breaking slider at 74-75. The delivery is balanced, directional to the plate and there’s not a lot of wasted motion. He also showed off some pop in the bat during BP.
2020 Adam Koski from O’Connor is a 6-3 185 pound RHP. Fastball velocity was 83-84 and he flashed a 2 plane breaking ball in the mid 70s. He works downhill and is clearly a guy to keep your eyes on.
Mountain Pointe 2020 Caleb Lomeli is a 6-3 190 pound RHP. He was comfortably 84-85 with the fastball and threw a 68 MPH curveball that he had some problems commanding. The arm works well and there’s good downhill plane to the fastball.
2020 RHP/1B Brendan Thome from Desert Ridge is a physical beast at 6-5 225 pounds. He’s still growing into his body so there is some stiffness to him. Still, the fastball was 82-83, ad there’s clearly a lot more to come. He comes at hitters from a ¾ slot and showed a slider shaped breaking ball at 68-69.
Logan Deskin is a 2020 RHP from Boulder Creek. He has a very athletic 5-11 155 pound frame. The delivery is loose and athletic. The arm circle is clean and quick and he worked in the 80-81 range with the fastball. The curveball has some good tilt to it at 64-65 and he showed a solid change up with arm side fade at 72. As he adds strength to his frame he will be a strong follow.
2021 LHP Max Zdimal from Notre Dame is a legitimate 3 pitch guy with a very quick arm. The fastball velo was in the low 80s. He has a mid 60s curveball with tight rotation and very good downhill movement. The changeup was 69-70 with very good tumbling action and great fade.
2020 RHP/IF Jack Nehls from Westview showed fastball velo of 80-82. He’s athletic and balanced and seems to repeat his delivery well. His curveball was 68 MPH and shows some promise as an out pitch.
Finally, 202 RHP/3B Kyele Roe from Goldwater was a guy I’d never seen before. The 6-0 185 pound Roe was 82-83 with the fastball, and flashed a 70 MPH slider shaped breaking ball and a 70 MPH changeup. He maintained his arm speed well on both pitches. I’m looking forward to seeing more in the spring.