A busy week of high school games for me continued at Redwood HS today, for a Redwood vs Branson tilt. Redwood won 6-1 behind the pitching of senior RHP Andrew Stahl, some teamwide timely hitting but mostly behind the struggles of Branson junior RHP Jordan Lazor, whose control issues early in the game led to most of the Redwood runs. Lazor didn't have a great day, but I liked him anyway and will get to his report in a bit.
I was actually at the game to check in on three players: Branson senior SS Kenny Rabin, Redwood senior 3B Casey Levy-Tulloch, and Redwood junior P/OF Cal Becker. Rabin was 2-3 with a couple of singles up the middle and made his plays in the middle, while also throwing a clean inning at the end of the game, Levy-Tulloch was 0-1 with a walk and a productive ground out that moved a runner from 2nd to 3rd base with less than two outs, and Becker, who I have been told is a talented pitcher, was 1-2 with a loud double deep to right centerfield. Becker didn't pitch, which is what I wanted to see him do, but he also looks like he has a chance to hit at the college level. He is really put together well, has bat speed and a nice middle of the field approach, with an aggressive swing.
Rabin is one of the better high school fastball hitters in the area. I have seen him play quite a bit and he rarely ever misses a fastball. Today he struck out in his first at bat but in the next two, the first hittable fastballs he got he drilled back up the middle. I love the way he handles a wood bat and how his hands work in his swing. He is a rare high school hitter who can really control the barrel of a wood bat and his wrists are great assets for him. In the field he is a steady player, with a nice arm action and fielding actions that are much improved from last fall. Rabin is an outstanding student with a high SAT score, can handle the bat RIGHT NOW and makes his plays. I have seen MUCH LESSER talents and students get walk-on opportunities at D1 programs and succeed beyond the high school level. For Rabin to be uncommitted still, it baffles me, really does.
As for Levy-Tulloch, he is really hitting well this spring. He is a big lefthanded hitter and though I didn't see it last fall, he does have some thump in his bat. He has made some adjustments in his approach, set-up and overall aggressiveness at the plate and those adjustments are paying off. He took close pitches today that were balls and swung at what HE wanted to hit. When it was time to have a productive AB, he did it. Then, for good measure he made the standout defensive play of the game. Playing 3rd base, with two outs, he was playing even with the bag. The Branson hitter smoked a ball down the line and Levy-Tulloch dove to his right, snagged the ball on a short hop, got up and stepped on the bag for the 3rd out (obviously runners were on 1st/2nd). Levy-Tulloch is a big kid, about 6'1" 210 lbs but he has good lateral agility and light feet... and not just for a big kid... for ANY player ANY size. As he keeps hitting, he is really making a believer of me about how his bat can translate to the college game. He is also an outstanding student with a strong SAT score, so any team in need of some lefthanded thump who can play the corner infield spots, keep him in mind.
Lastly is Branson junior RHP Jordan Lazor. Like I said, he really struggled with his command and it was the fastball he couldn't find for stretches, including hitting at least two, maybe three hitters. Lazor has a nice strong build, with a particularly strong lower half. His arm works well and though his velocity was a bit down when I put the gun on him (that was after he hit a couple and then took something off to find the zone), he is going to be just fine, especially because I liked his best pitch, a nice slider he threw with some feel.
One more player I noticed was Redwood C Andrew Bailey. I think he is a sophomore because he was not listed on the roster and I can only assume he was recently brought up. He has a ways to go as a hitter and his raw arm strength can improve, but he is an excellent receiver and has feel behind the plate. He has a lanky build and really large feet that look like they are waiting for him to grow some more and add about 30 pounds someday.