I made it out to Concordia University in Irvine on Sunday, October 20, 2013 for a scout ball game between the Yankees and the SoCal Red Sox. This was the second time I've seen the Yankees and the first time seeing this Red Sox team.
There were several intriguing prospects on both teams and below are some notes on those players in no particular order.
2015 RHP Cole Acosta (Santa Fe Christian HS) - The 6'3" 175 pitcher showed why schools like TCU, Auburn, and Oregon State are actively recruiting him. Acosta sat 86-88 with his fastball while flashing a filthy 76-78 slider that hitters scuffled with all day. The big right hander also had a wipeout curve that was 70-72. Hitters were off balance all day against Acosta who maintained his velocity for the two innings he pitched which included a 15 pitch pop-out to his fourth hitter of the day.
2015 C Gavin Johns (Chaparral HS) - The junior was unquestionably the best catcher on the afternoon. The switch hitting backstop, who is getting attention from Indiana and Pepperdine amongst others, showed very good receiving skills to go with an uncanny ability to block balls in the dirt and keep them in front. Clocked 1.87 - 1.95 pop times all afternoon along with 3.5 times down the line. Had two hits in three plate appearances. One of them was a 9 pitch double.
2015 RHP/INF Jeff Kross (Upland HS) - The 6'6" Kross showed very well for himself in his two innings of work. Commanding an 86 - 88 fastball to go with a 77-79 changeup, it was his 70-72 curve that was his best pitch. In one AB he went up 0-2 on a highly regarded prospect on two curveballs before jamming with the fastball resulting in a weak groundout to second base. Kross looks like a different player from last year and his pitching is reaping the rewards. UCSB, University of Washington, and the University of Virginia are reportedly recruiting Kross the hardest. 2014 RHP Aaron Dominguez (Chino Hills HS) - The Mississippi State commit was lights out on the mound for the Yankees. Featuring a fastball that sat 87-89, Dominguez touched 90 twice. However, it was his curveball that proved unhittable. A true 12-6 break that was anywhere from 68-72 kept hitters out of synch all day. His changeup wasn't at it's best but was effective due to his ability to throw the other two pitches for strikes. Listed a 6'0", Dominguez has an attitude on the mound that will suit him well in the future. 2014 C Chris Hudgins (Valhalla HS) - The senior catcher was a step below Johns but showed well for himself. With pop times in the 1.9 - 2.2 range, it was his ability to call the game that stood out. The second and third time through the lineup he showed a knack for calling pitches differently to hitters. A good receiver with very good footwork as well. At the plate he showed signs of a solid foundation while not always having success. Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine are reportedly showing interest in the senior catcher.
2014 MIF Samori Buchanan (Temecula Valley HS) - The lanky MIF showed incredible speed on a standup triple to RCF. After another base hit, he stole second on an incredible jump that didn't even draw a throw from the catcher. Buchanan flashed the leather while playing shortstop making a play deep in the hole before making a strong throw to get a speedy runner at first base. Likely a 2B at the next level, Buchanan is receiving recruiting attention from Nebraska and Air Force amongst other.
2016 Joshua Leaser (Coronado HS) - The sophomore batted leadoff for the Yankees and didn't disappoint. Had two at-bats that were over 9 pitches, the latter going 14 before lacing a single to RCF. Showed a very quick bat and great plate coverage along with an obvious disciplined approach. Listed as a RHP, he didn't pitch while I was there.
Others that stood out:
2015 INF James Garcia (Don Lugo HS) - Showed very good defensive skills playing shortstop by twice charging and making the barehanded play to nail a runner at first. Also made a play behind second base to get a runner at first. 2015 INF/RHP Peter Lambert (San Dimas HS) - Showed good glove work and arm strength by twice making plays deep in the hole to his right and getting the runner at first. Also showed a solid approach at the plate twice taking balls the other way for base hits.
2014 INF Jordan Abernathy (Damien HS) - The senior showed incredible speed with a standup triple that didn't even draw a throw from the cutoff man. The hit came on the 7th pitch of the at bat.
2016 MIF Shane Martinez (JW North HS) - While he didn't collect a hit when I was watching, the sophomore showed a very good approach at the plate in both appearances. His first AB was a 9 pitch ground out. His second was an 8 pitch pop out to RF.