The 2013 Perfect Game WWBA Memorial Day Tournament West took place this place past weekend at the Camelback Ranch and the Goodyear baseball facilities outside of Phoenix. I was there as part of the Perfect Game team serving in the role of scout at the Camelback Ranch facility. I was able to see 11 games over the course of three days in all age groups (14U, 16U, 18U).
The SoCal Sox (Huntington Beach, Calif.) won the 16U title over BPA Demarini 2017 (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) in a matchup of Southern California teams. The East Bay Bombers (Northern California) won the 14U title over the Lasorda University (Arizona) team. The Arizona Athletics Black defeated the All Star Baseball Academy (Arizona) for the 18U title.
I saw only one 18U game the entire weekend and didn't see any prospects that stood out.
Below are my thoughts on some of the top players that I saw. The players are listed in no particular order.
2016 INF Logan Pouelson won the tournament MVP award for the 16U division after finishing the weekend batting .429 with 3 RBI and 5 runs scored. The sophomore from Huntington Beach high school was arguably the best hitter in his division. The left handed hitter continued to build on an impressive freshman campaign that saw him draw comparisons to former HB Oiler, and current Los Angeles Angel, Hank Conger, from his head coach. Batting in the two hole for the Sox, Pouelson managed a .429 OBP and slugged at a .714 clip. Already garnering plenty of recruiting attention from colleges, there were whispers that UCLA is in the lead for his services post high school, assuming, of course, he isn't drafted and chooses to sign.
2015 RHP Noah Davis (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 17 K, 5 H, 3 BB) of the SoCal Sox won the tournament Most Valuable Pitcher award for the for 16U division. The Huntington Beach Oiler followed up an impressive performance in the CIF playoffs that saw him knock off nationally ranked Mater Dei, with a great weekend in Arizona. Sitting 83-85 with his fastball, the righty touched 87-88 several times. Davis flashed what could eventually become a plus curveball to go along with a developing changeup. Returning from a strained oblique muscle that saw him miss a month of the high school season, Davis showed why he will be a highly sought after prospect.
2017 SS Emilio Vasquez of the East Bay Bombers was arguably one of the best defensive shortstops I saw this weekend. Headed to Mt. Eden high school in Merced, Calif., he also doubles as a pitcher and collected the win in the 14U championship game for the Bombers. A ridiculously fluid smooth transition compliments his great footwork and strong arm. His lanky frame has room for growth and development which likely will take place when he gets into a high school lifting program. As a pitcher he already sits 80-81 and has touched 84, according to his coach. There is room for improvement at the plate as pitch recognition appears to be a problem.
2016 C Zachary Barnhart of the Las Vegas Rebels Elite team was as impressive a catcher as I saw this weekend. The freshman earned the starting catcher spot for Las Vegas powerhouse Rancho high school in mid-March. He stands 6'1" and has a solid build that can add more weight easily. With pop times in the 2.01 - 2.12 range, he should be one of the most sought after prospects in his class. He combines great footwork with his soft hands. He called the entire game and has an understanding of how to call pitches to specific situations.
2016 RHP Dawsen Bacho of the East Bay Bombers was as impressive on the mound as he was at the plate. The 6'0" RHP sat 77-79 and hit 82 several times. He has great command of the fastball to go with a developing curveball and changeup. His command on the curveball needs work but it is as close to a 12-6 pitch as possible. The changeup is a sweeping wipeout pitch that he didn't throw often but was effective when he did. The San Marin (Calif.) high school product has a very advanced approach at the plate and has a plan when stepping into the box. He takes off speed pitches the other way and lays off bad pitches. His future is likely on the mound as he velocity should see an uptick once he's able to put on more weight.
2015 SS JT Navarro of the SoCal Sox was one of the best defensive shortstops I saw all weekend. A fluid transition to go with great footwork and a strong arm will make him a household name soon for college coaches. The Fountain Valley (Calif.) high school product had a productive weekend at the plate (.350, 7 runs) for the Sox en route to the 16U title.
2017 SS/RHP Joe Rodriguez of the IE Elite is an intriguing player. The future Redlands East Valley (Calif.) high school product has a lot of Justin Garza in him. A small frame but a great understanding of how to pitch, he sat in the 77-79 range and hit 82 several times on the mound. His curveball is a work in progress but he didn't need to use it too often given his ability to spot the fastball very well. At shortstop he is fluid with his footwork to go with an above average arm and good range.
2015 C Tyler Murray of Huntington Beach (Calif.) high school would have been the best overall catcher at the event had he not scuffled a bit at the plate. Defensively, he was very impressive for the SoCal Sox. His combination of soft hands, great footwork, and a plus arm was on display all weekend. With pop times in the 1.99 - 2.12 range, he threw out two would-be base stealers and back picked two others at first base in one game. He calls a very good game and has a very good understanding of calling pitches in specific situations. He didn't allow a passed ball - even on what should have been wild pitches - this weekend.
2017 LHP Nick Pratto (3-1, .64 ERA, 17K, 1ER, 0BB) opened eyes all weekend for the BPA Demarini 2017 team. After throwing a stellar game to get BPA into the 16U title game, he took the hard-luck loss in the finale. Sitting 77-79 he got the fastball up to 83 to go with a very good changeup and curveball that has good shape to it. The future Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) high school pitcher was the standout on a team full of very good players.
2017 INF Tyler Lasch had a great weekend at the plate for the BPA Demarini 2017 team. He batted .500 with 14 RBI for the 16U runner-up. The future Mission Viejo (Calif.) high school prospect turned heads with his bat speed and pitch recognition.
2017 LHP Jack Owen had as impressive a weekend for a two-way player as anyone in the 16U division. Finishing with a .438 BA with 4 RBI, he also was 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6K, 6H, 2 BB in 10 innings pitched. Headed to JSerra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) high school, he is certain to make a run at a spot on the varsity team next season.
2016 INF/RHP Austin Green of El Toro (Calif.) high school showed well both defensively (SS/2B) and on the mound. He touched 81 a couple times while sitting 76-78 most of the day.
2017 RHP/UT Charles Nies hit .333 with a pair of walks. Headed to JSerra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) high school.
2017 MIF Brett Borgogno hit .350 with 6 runs. Headed to Chino Hills (Calif.) high school.
2015 1B/C Cooper Moore hit .562 with 7 RBI, 5 runs, 5 doubles. Had pop times in the 2.01 - 2.1 range. A standout on the JV team at Huntington Beach (Calif.) high school, he is certain to make an impact on varsity next season.
2017 C Garrett Cichella a very high baseball IQ for a player his age. Calls an outstanding game. Take charge type of guy behind the dish. Headed to Tracy (Tracy, Calif.) high school in the fall.
2017 3B/SS Noah Castro very good footwork to go with a smooth transition and a strong arm. Headed to Citrus Valley (Highland, Calif.) high school in the fall.