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Hogan @ Benicia, 4/15/11

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Last Friday I caught the Hogan @ Benicia game, which was won by Benicia, 3-0 (I think that was the score), behind a complete game shutout from senior RHP Peter Reyes.  Reyes is a talented and still developing pitcher who has a bright future.  Whether he gets that shot at the college level after his senior season or after junior college, there is a 88-90 mph fastball in his future, to go with a usable CB and good CHG.  He nees to keep his front hip closed longer, he needs to get his front foot on the ground sooner and when he does all that, his arm speed, which is already upper-80s arm speed, will start to produce higher velocity readings.  His top velo was 86 in this game.  Here is some video of Reyes if you are a college coach.  He is a tough kid, a football player, a no nonsense player who also hits pretty well when he is playing CF (which is when he is not pitching).

The other senior I like from Benicia is senior SS Ryan Wheat (5'9" 160, L/R).  Wheat has legit bat speed, a SS caliber arm and he seems to have feel of the game.  He does get to the pullside way too much and needs to learn to let the ball travel a bit, but so do a lot of other young hitters.  He can play D and I do really like his arm and his field presence is good.  Wheat seems real comfortable in the game, even carrying on personable conversations with the home plate umpire prior to an at-bat.  

BHS sophomore 2B Willie Calhoun (5'8" 160, L/R) can swing the bat and is going to hit as a collegiate player someday.  I also saw a flash of ability in soph 1B Tyler Hall (6'1" 178, LHH).  He is still young and a little raw, but he has the swing and body to be a hitter.  Keep him on the radar. 

Windsor @ Petaluma, 4/8/11

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

I was only at this game for a few innings but did get there to see a few of my favorite players from Petaluma HS; junior SS Dylan Parks, junior 3B Daniel Comstock, and senior C Spencer Neve.  If you are a college coach concerned with finding and recruiting players who can hit with the new BBCOR bats, look no further than Daniel Comstock.  He is strong, he is patient, he uses the whole field, he drives the ball, and he keeps hitting really simple.  Comstock also catches, plays 1st base and at the HS level is a very good pitcher.

As for Parks, he is an athletic hitter, he has good bat speed, tools, raw power and as he gets more polished, he is going to be an impactful hitter and overall athlete on the field.  Here is some video of a double by Parks.

As for Neve, he is a talented and as of this writing, an uncommitted senior player.  He can receive, he can really throw and he has a nice hitting stroke.  He was the quarterback of the PHS team and that kind of athleticism and leadership translates really well to baseball and the catcher position.  The last Petaluma HS uncommitted senior catcher who found his way into a D1 program in August after his senior year?... Cal junior catcher Chadd KristHere is some video of Neve.

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BBCOR Bats Update: Halfway through college season

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

The NCAA has done a study, at about the halfway point of the NCAA college baseball season (D1, D2, D3) and has found, not surprisingly, that scoring is down, home runs are down, ERA is down, shutouts are WAY up, and batting average is WAY down.  I think most that have paid attention to the change expected the results, though the amount of shutouts at this point of the season (444) vs this point last year (277) is quite dramatic. 

Here is a link to the NCAA article

You will notice in the graph in that article, that even though batting average is way down and runs per game are down and home runs are down, strikeouts per game (compared to the same midway point in the season) are also slightly DOWN.  That might surprise you, but it shouldn't.  The reason is strikeouts are down when all the other offensive stats are down is more pitchers are pitching to contact, throwing more strikes and throwing more strikes earlier in the count.  One stat I didn't see in the study is the amount of pitches thrown per game.   My guess is that pitches per game are also significantly down.

The best comment in the article is this one... “But I’ve heard coaches say that the guys who are good hitters are still good hitters,” Keilitz said. “Guys who coaches didn’t consider to be good hitters but still hit for good average with the old bats aren’t hitting for good average anymore with the new bats.”

3 N CA high school kids in BA Top 50 for MLB Draft

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Three Northern California high school players are ranked in the Baseball America Midseason Top 50, relative to the draft this coming June.  I can't argue with the three players they ranked but do think there could be a player or two they are missing.  Then again, doing a ranking like that is tough stuff and realistically, there is no right or wrong on April 12th, when the ranking was published.

Bishop O'Dowd HS RHP Joe Ross is ranked #44, Central Catholic HS OF Billy Flamion is ranked #45, and Alhambra HS RHP Robert Stephenson is ranked #48.  I haven't seen any of the three this spring but saw Flamion and Stephenson a few times last summer and fall.  It has been a long time since I have seen Ross. 

Since I have spent most of my game time at high school games this spring looking for players to invite to Bay Area World Series, I have not gone to see Ross or Stephenson or Flamion.  I also have not spent much time at college games but I am surprised to not see Cal RHP Erik Johnson in the ranking.  Then again, I don't know what Erik's stuff is like right now in April.  

What is interesting about having three area high school kids rated that highly, and none of them are committed to Stanford, it is conceivable we could see all three sign out of high school, which around these parts, is pretty rare.  So many of our top high school players have just not been signable, away from their college scholarships. 

More than a handful of those kids in recent years were headed to Stanford (Diekroeger, Appel, Piscotty) and it seems the Stanford signees never sign, except the rare rare rare exceptions and other kids good enough to sign were not going to be taken high enough where they felt the pro opportunity was going to be better than what they would get after three years of college.  There have been a few to sign recently (LHP Robbie Erlin) but for the most part, the MLB teams just have not been able to take our high school kids high enough to offer them enough bonus money to bypass college. 

I have NO IDEA what the signability is for any of those kids is by the way.  I do know Flamion signed with Oregon, Ross with UCLA and Stephenson with Washington.  If I was a betting man (and I occasionally play some cards!) I would guess that Stephenson signs (2nd round), Flamion signs (supplemental 1st round), and Ross goes to school and will turn down at least 2nd round money, if not more.  Again, those are GUESSES!! 

USF's Zimmer pitcher of the week

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .


Zimmer Named West Region Pitcher of the Week

InsidePitching.com, an online pitching magazine, named USF sophomore Kyle Zimmer the West Region Pitcher of the Week.

Zimmer, in the longest outing of his collegiate career, struck out 14 of the 27 batters he faced on Saturday, April 9 against Saint Mary’s. His performance was the second most strikeouts in a game in school history, second only to Con Dempsey’s 16 against Saint Mary’s in 1946. Ten of those strikeouts were swinging.

According to InsidePitching.com, Zimmer’s 14 strikeouts marked the highest strikeout total in week eight of the collegiate baseball season. 

“Each outing, Kyle develops in ways that continue to surprise us,” said Greg Moore, USF associate head coach/pitching coach. “We are grateful to InsidePitching.com for recognizing the results of his hard work. Knowing Kyle, he’ll push himself to be even better next week.”

The 6-foot-3 right-hander yielded just one walk and scattered five hits in 7.2 innings of work. He opened the game on a tear, striking out four of the Gaels’ first six hitters and worked out of trouble in the seventh inning. After giving up a single and walk, and a passed ball advanced the runners to second and third with no outs, Zimmer struck out three straight to end the inning.

Zimmer had this to say after his performance, “I was going off my plan to keep it simple and work off my fastball. I tried to establish both sides of the plate and mix in my spinner and changeup. And Mason [Morioka] did a great job behind the plate to get under everything and give me so many strike calls.”

The La Jolla, Calif. native is scheduled to take the mound again on Saturday, April 16 at Portland.

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