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2015 Players To Watch

After much discussion with pro scouts and college coaches, I decided it would be fun to put together a list of some of the top players I've seen in SoCal heading into the 2014 season.

In this edition the focus is on the 2015 class. Based on evaluations and conversations with scouts, there could be as many as 12 players from this list selected in the top 10 rounds of the 2015 MLB draft.

This list includes players I've seen in person and four which I have not. The players I have not seen made the list based on the recommendation of pro scouts.

This list limited to SoCal (Los Angeles to San Diego and the Inland Empire), with the exception of one player from the Bay Area, that I saw at a showcase in SoCal. The list is in alphabetical order by first name and is not intended to compete with anyone else's list. There are certainly players which may deserve to be on the list, but again, unless I've seen them, or they were recommended by a pro scout, they were left off the list.

*Cannot guarantee the accuracy of college commitments

Position Player School College  Notes 
RHP/OF/INF Alex Carrillo West Covina Very good footwork and glovework with strong arm. Uses a wide base at plate. Attacks pitches with a quick swing that results in gap-to-gap hits. Uses lower body very well.
LHP/OF Alfonso Rivas La Jolla Country Day Arizona More than likely projects as an OF given his defensive skill and his advanced approach at the plate. Gap-to-gap hitter. Positions himself well in CF and possess a strong arm.
MIF/RHP Austin Clifton Heritage Defensively stout player that positions himself well for every scenario. Attacks inner half of pitches. Gap-to-gap hitter. Don't let the size fool you, kid can play. 
RHP Austin Rubbick Buena  Sits 84-86 with great command of the fastball. CB was 73-74 which he throws for strikes in any count. Has a good understanding of how to pitch. 6'5" 205 with a thick lower half. Should gain velocity when the upper body catches up to lower half. 
LHP Bailey Falter Chino Hills UCSB Some consider Falter the top LHP in his class. Very projectable 6'4" 175 frame. Primarily a fastball pitcher who does show a 1/7 break on his curveball. Sits mid-80's with a whole lot more in there.
INF Bobby Fulkerson Orange Lutheran Carried a late-season hot streak into the summer/fall showcase series where he was a standout. Has cooled a bit but scouts love his LH swing that goes with his above average speed. Projects at 2B at the next level because of the lack of power. Defensively he has very good glovework, footwork, and quick transitions. 
1B/3B Brandon Alamo Cypress Big bodied physical INF who flashes power at the plate. Projects as a 1B at the next level where he shows good footwork. The bat plays at the next level.
SS Brandon Perez Mater Dei Oregon A starter since his freshman year, Perez will add closer to his duties this season. He's been on such good teams that he's often overlooked, expect that to change this year as he will now be the upperclassman leading the young guys. 
INF/RHP/OF Brendon Davis Lakewood A very projectable bat that continues to get better at every showcase. 6'4" frame has plenty of room to add weight. The next in a long line of stars out of Lakewood HS. 
C Chris Betts Long Beach Wilson Tennessee  Arguably the best catcher in his class in terms of complete package. Stellar receiver with quick release and footwork. Big time power potential. Doesn't get cheated at the plate. No wasted AB's. 
C Chris Ceballos Chino Hills Shows quickness behind the plate with good footwork to go with a strong physical build. Good arm strength with online throws. Right handed hitter that shows the ability to square up balls. 
1B Christopher Brue Bishop O'Dowd  Big time power potential. Very quiet approach. Unleashes bat on ball.  Uses lower half very well. Squares up a lot of balls. Good footwork around the bag. Big, physical build. 
RHP Cole Acosta Santa Fe Christian Sits 84-87 with the fastball that he spots incredibly well. Loose arm with a 3/4 slot. Slider is a wipeout pitch at 78 that he doesn't throw regularly although it may be his best pitch. The CB is a work in progress. Has three pitches that all project which makes this RHP a draft watch.
MIF Dallas Tessar Chaminade Washington Quick twitch player with incredibly fast hands/transitions. Very good footwork allows him to get to balls that he sometimes shouldn't. Also plays football. At the plate he has a disciplined approach with good pitch recognition. Doesn't waste AB's. Gap-to-gap hitter with power potential. 
C/RHP Dametri Evans Tahquitz Sits 84-86FB with lots of sink. Heavy/firm ball. Tight spinning CB that sits 67-69. Has an idea how to pitch. At the plate, uses a high leg kick to produce some pop. Good power potential. 
MIF Dickie Brown Los Alamitos Quiet approach/hands at the plate. Attacks the inner half. Line drive hitter. Defensively uses good footwork to get into proper position. Has arm that makes all throws. 
RHP/1B Drew Finley Rancho Bernardo USC Finley sits 85-87 with loose and easy arm actions. There appears to be a lot more in the right arm of this 6'3" pitcher. The curveball has a sharp 12/6 break.
MIF Duncan McKinnon Redondo Union MIF that demonstrates incredible hands with great transitions. His above average footwork will allow him to get a shot at SS at the next level. The switch hitting bat plays from both sides. 
LHP  Erik Cha Ayala  Very cerebral pitcher that sits 85-88FB, CB 74-76, CH 78-80. Knows how to pitch in every situation and doesn’t give in to hitters at all. Competes and is only getting better.
SS Ethan Lopez La Mirada USC Lopez burst on the scene last year playing 3B and flashing stout glovework to go with a strong arm. At the plate, Lopez demonstrated an advanced approach that should improve and serve him well in the Pac12. 
MIF Grant Crandolph Westchester Nimble footwork; quick hands; smooth transitions; very good baserunner with above average speed. Uses quick hands at the plate and attacks the inner half. Short load with consistent stride.
INF Greg Caldwell Damien Very strong arm across diamond (88) to go with very good footwork. Plays the ball well. Inside out swing that allows him to hit to all fields. 
INF John Cresto Cathedral Catholic Big time power potential in his 6'3" 205lb frame which is arguably his best tool. The junior also possess a pretty big arm across the infield. 
RHP Jonathan Olsen Damien UCLA Efforless delivery that results in consistent location. Sits 87-88FB, 71-73CB. Big athletic frame. Works downhill. Throws a heavy ball. Has a chance to add velocity when the body fills out.
OF  Jordon Myrow S.O. Notre Dame UCLA Huge arm (94 from RF-3B) to go with good bat skills. The bat projects to a power bat. Generate incredible bat speed to go with very good discipline and pitch recognition. Doesn't get cheated often and doesn't waste AB's. 
C/OF Joshua Ludeman Corona Centennial  Consistent approach at plate. No sway. Uses lower half very well. Good speed down the line. Consistent results at plate. 
MIF Karl Kani Cathedral Washington Attacks pitches using very quick hands through zone. Very consistent approach at the plate. Possesses very good pitch recognition. Defensively positions himself very well with quick feet. Makes all the plays/throws.
LHP Kolby Allard San Clemente Fullerton Impressive LHP that sits mid-to-high 80's with his fastball that flashes incredible command. Curveball is a knee buckler. Commands the zone and doesn't give in to hitters. Throws any pitch in any count.
LHP/1B Kyle Hatton Norco UCSB Big time power potential. Squares up a lot of balls. Extends and uses lower half very well and stays quiet. Sits mid-to-high 80's with FB. Will have an opportunity to be a two-way guy in college, but ultimately projects on the mound. 
RHP/OF Kyle Molnar Aliso Niguel UCLA Sits low 90's with FB and has a wipeout slider at 79-81. CB sits 74-75.Effortless, repeatable delivery which doesn't place a lot of strain on the arm/body. Has two-way potential as he swings the bat very well, but his future is on the bump. 
C/3B Lucas Herbert San Clemente UCLA Big time power potential. Has an opportunity to hit for average as well. Defensively has the tools to stay behind the plate. 
SS Mitchell Hayes Great Oak Nevada Very good defensive actions with quick hands and transfers. Very good bat speed in an aggressive approach.
LHP  Nick Sprengel El Dorado USD Another top LHP in his class, Sprengel flashes excellent command of three pitches (FB/CH/Split). Sits mid-80's with the FB that runs. Curveball is swing-and-miss and has a tons of break. His changeup runs away from RHH. Throws all pitches for strikes in any count. A very confident pitcher who will only get better as he adds muscle mass. 
3B/RHP Niko Navarro Los Osos San Diego State The 3B was unquestionably the best defender on the field 3 of 4 times I saw him play during the scout ball season. Has an advanced approach at the plate to match his speed. A strong arm compliments his very good defense.
LHP Patrick Sandoval Mission Viejo Vanderbilt Have seen him touch 91 several times. Generally sits 87-89. Curveball is an out pitch at this level and could be the same on the next level. Needs to develop more consistency against premium competition.
RHP/INF Peter Eitapence Alta Loma Good footwork defensively with average arm speed across diamond. Compact swing with high leg kick. Slap hitter. On mound, pitches sidearm which makes stuff look firmer than it is and hard to pick up. 
LHP/OF Quentin Longrie Jserra UCLA Above average defender that tracks balls well and has the arm strength from OF. Sits 87-88FB with run; 78-79CH with lots of movement; 74-75CB with 12-6 and 10-4 movement. Will likely be a pitcher at the next level, but the bat and OF defense can not be ignored.
OF/LHP/!B Rigo Fernandez Beverly Hills Very consistent bat. Goes with pitches well. Attacks inner half well. Gap-to-gap hitter that uses a quiet/repeatable approach at the plate.
C Ryan Finemann Agoura  Notre Dame Very good receiver with soft hands. Quick feet and exchange. Has been timed sub 2 several times. Knows how to call a game. Shows power potential with a swing that stays short and quick through zone. 
RHP Solomon Bates Oak Hill USC Rare is the player that lives up to the hype, but Bates is close to being that rare player. Mid-to-high 80's pitcher that scuffled a bit at the Area Code games but impressed during scout ball season. Potential two-way guy that swings it. 
INF Spencer Rouse Loyola Above average defender with slick fielding motions. Takes big hacks with a swing that gets long at times. Gap-to-gap hitter with power potential
MIF Timothy Nelson Ayala Attacks pitches with quick hands and a quiet approach. Goes with pitches, both inside and out. Very smart baserunner that flies around the bags. 
C Ty Greene St. Augustine CAL With pop times in the 1.99 - 2.05 range to compliment soft hands and ability to call games, the 6'1" Greene showed during scout ball season that he has to considered one of the top 3 catchers in the class. The bat isn't far behind the defense. 
1B Tyer Durna Ayala Very aggressive hitter that knows his zone and doesn't chase pitches. Power potential. Above average 1B. Good footwork around the bag. 
C Tyler Murray Huntington Beach Good receiver that's shown sub 2 pop times. Posseses quick hands which allows his transitions to be smooth and on target. Defense is ahead of the bat a little, but has shown power potential. Needs to show more consistency in his pitch recognition.

--Les Lukach
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