Locals in BA 500 draft prospects

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Baseball America has some value when it comes to scouting and rankings for the draft.  I don't consider their evaluations as the end-all be-all for information because much (most) of what they get comes from second and third hand information.  When you read stuff on Baseball America is also important to know that when they do talk to scouts and scouting directors and agents (named as "an AL scout" or a "NL scouting director") they are getting information those sources WANT to put out and a lot of it actually misinformation or propaganda, depending on the source.  But they do the work to compile lists and try their best, with the info they have, to guess a draft order.  

Of the 500 players listed in this draft preview (you need to be a subscriber), there are 42 players listed from this area.  Either they are FROM the area or they go to a college in the area.  I will have to comb the list a big more to see if there are kids from the area at colleges outside of the West.  They are listed in the order they appear, with their overall rank.  Enjoy!  Long live Northern California, one of the hottest of all baseball prospect hotbeds!

3. RHP Kyle Zimmer, USF

4. RHP Mark Appel, Stanford (Monte Vista HS)

26. 3B/OF Stephen Piscotty, Stanford (Amador Valley HS)

42. OF Mitch Haniger, Cal Poly (Archbishop Mitty HS)

56. RHP Freddy Avis, Menlo School (signed w/Stanford)

57. RHP Paul Blackburn, Heritage HS (signed w/ASU)

74. RHP Derick Velasquez, Merced College

82. RHP Dylan Baker, Western Nevada College

97. 2B Tony Renda, Cal (Serra HS)

Final D1 Weekend Wrap-up

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

By now the NCAA regional bids are already awarded and we know that Fresno State and Stanford are in.  Fresno State won the WAC tourney and Stanford earned an at-large bid and will host a regional.  Fresno State, Pepperdine, and Michigan State will be in that regional.

Let's see how all of our regional teams did...

- Stanford (1-2 vs Cal, 38-16 season, 18-12 Pac-12) - The Cardinal dropped an 18-inning game in game one of the series, got pounded 15-5 in game two then bounced back to win game three 5-3.  They were awarded an at-large NCAA bid and will host a regional.  The Cardinal remain a strong contender to reach the College World Series.  They have a couple of first round draft prospects and a handful of other players who will be drafted in the top 10 rounds.  This is a talented and experienced team.

- Fresno State (5-1 @ WAC tourney, 30-26 season, 8-10 WAC) - Is there a tougher team to eliminate from a tournament than Fresno State?  The Bulldogs played a WAC tourney record six games and won five, including the WAC title clinching 4-3 13-inning victory over Sacramento State.  The winner of that game had a NCAA tourney bid on the line and Fresno State salvaged what had been a pretty substandard season by their program's standards.  However, they are alive and well and have pitching that can contend in a regional.  They play Stanford on June 1st and they are the only team who has beaten Stanford's outstanding All-American Mark Appel.  The rematch is set.

Regional bids handed out, Cal Poly not invited

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

I've been tracking the weekend performances of the D1 teams in our region and because there are so many players from our area at Cal Poly, I have also been including the Mustangs.  All season long I felt that Cal Poly was a NCAA regional caliber team.  Well, despite playing in a conference that is very good, and finishing 16-8 and alone in second place in the Big West, the Mustangs were denied a regional berth.

The theme remains the same for teams from the West.  Because the tourney selection committee values strength of schedule and RPI so much, and the RPI basically resides in the SEC and ACC, teams in the West can't get RPI in their favor.  SEC teams own the RPI from year to year and they do not play teams that could realistically take any RPI points from them. 

It is well documented how strong the programs in the West are and year after year the College World Series shows exactly that.  However, the NCAA committee doesn't care.  The Pac-12 got five teams in (that's all they deserved), the Big West got ONE team, the WCC got two teams and had Pepperdine not won the WCC, my gut says only San Diego would have gotten in.  A 34-22 Gonzaga team was denied.  Long Beach State was great in the conference season but it's overall record was not great.  UC Irvine was left out and they had a 31 win season.  Again, it was good, not great. 

I think when all said and done, the issue is that teams in the West, particularly in California, play other quality teams in non-conference games and they all beat each other up.  The average and below average teams in the Pac-12, Big West, and WCC are GOOD teams.  Many of them would finish at the top of so many conferences in the Midwest and East.  So what happens is their overall records don't stand out, yet you also don't see many 15 and 20 win teams.  You see a bunch of 26-30 win teams out here, all around .500 and it's because they are all solid teams that beat other.

Shockingly, the WAC got two teams in.  Fresno State earned the WAC automatic bid by defeating Sacramento State on Sunday, with a 13th inning walk-off win (congrats to the Hornets for a great season, despite the disappointment they feel right now, it was a great year for their program).  However, New Mexico State also got in and not only that, they are in as a #2 seed.  New Mexico State is not as good as Gonzaga or Cal Poly, in my opinion, but they are in.  The WAC was a bad conference this year and they got two teams in.  The Big West was a GOOD conference this year and they got ONE team.  I don't understand it but that is the way it goes.

Fresno State will play in the Stanford regional with Pepperdine and Michigan State.  As per usual, the West teams that do get in have to play other very strong teams from the West and they will knock each other off.

The Pac-12 got only five teams in but a sixth would have been in had ASU not been ineligible for post-season play. 


Sacramento State will play for WAC title

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Sacramento State entered the WAC tournament as teh #2 seed and so far is undeated.  They will play the winner of the Fresno State/Louisiana Tech game (currently led by La Tech 4-1 bottom of the 4th) for the WAC title and the automatic NCAA bid.  That game will be tonight at 7 PM.  Because Fresno State and La Tech have both lost, the winner would have to defeat the Hornets twice to win the tournament.  The Hornets are in the driver's seat as they continue their best ever D1 season.  If it isn't their best season ever, it certainly is since I came to the area in 1999.

Good luck!  Hopefully it will come down to Fresno State and Sacramento State so the region will get at least one of them in the tourney.  The WAC will be a one bid league.

Scouts two deep to see Zimmer/Agosta/Wisdom

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Yesterday I went out to catch my first glimpse of USF righthander Kyler Zimmer as USF was at Saint Mary's.  Junior righthander Martin Agosta was on the hill for the Gaels and it was my first look at him since he was at Jesuit HS.  I was joined at the game by a few dozen scouts.  I also got my first look at SMC junior 3rd baseman Patrick Wisdom.  Did they know I was attending?

It was actually a great Friday for scouts in the area but more so, for the crosscheckers, scouting directors, special assistants to the GM and I would think a GM lurking around the area somewhere.  After the USF/SMC game a number of them were all headed over to Stanford, to see all the prospects in the Cal/Stanford game, including Mark Appel, Stephen Piscotty, Tony Renda, Kenny Diekroeger and a few others.

It is pretty rare a crosschecker or scouting director or GM can come to one region and put his eyes on at least three 1st round prospects and quite a few 2nd/3rd rounders in one day.  So what did I see and what did I hear?  Let's get to it.