With a little rain in the area it is always good to know who might be playing on a all turf field. The SRHS vs MCHS game was supposed to be at San Rafael HS, but they moved it to MCHS, which does have a turf field, only the mound is dirt. The weather cleared up and it was a good day for baseball.
I had to leave the game in the 5th, had to get back to Petaluma by 5:40 or so, and when I left the game was 5-0 (they lost 11-0). San Rafael was not really close to touching MCHS senior RHP Al Geraldi (5'10" 140 lbs or so). Geraldi is not a big kid, obviously, but he is a college prospect and I could see a D1 giving him a walk-on spot. He has a really loose, quick arm, ATTACKS hitters, has moxie and confidence on the hill and beyond that, he touched up to 85 and has a good curveball. He IS going to throw harder just simply from getting more physical development that will come naturally. I could see him someday in the 86-88/89 range in a couple of years with a plus curveball. It is likely that he goes to a JC first, but keep his name in your lists if you are a college recruiter.
MCHS senior LF Connor Murphy had a strong game and lit up the crowd with an inside-the-park home run. If you were not aware, the Marin County League is still using wood bats, which began after the injury to Gunnar Sandberg last winter. Murphy crushed a ball over the centerfielder's head and motored around the bags, eventually making a GREAT slide at the plate to avoid the tag. To my knowledge Murphy is headed to Wake Forest this fall. He has improved as a player since I last saw him and I really like the energy he brings to the team.
Senior OF/3B Tyler Scott had a nice game and made VERY strong contact in two at-bats, just missing having a couple of home runs. He has really gotten bigger and stronger from when I saw him last June and looks every bit the type of kid that is going to UCLA to play football, and possibly baseball too. I am not a big fan of his arm action, but he has a strong arm and his physical presence in the box and ability to translate that into power with wood, well, that speaks very well for his potential future with the bat beyond the HS level.
Though he didn't start and I only saw one at-bat, I really liked what I saw of soph SS Jared Goff (L/R, though he could be a switch-hitter, I just happened to see one at-bat and it was from the left side). In pre-game I noticed his long and lanky, young build and fluid movments and arm during the pregame inf/of. In that one at-bat I liked the smooth oppo stroke I saw and generally liked the presence and set-up he had in the box.
But beyond all of that, the best thing I saw yesterday was DH Gunnar Sandberg, he of the head trauma injury last winter that spurred the new metal bat regulations in California high school baseball, really hitting the ball HARD. I had never seen Gunnar hit or play and was impressed with his bat speed and aggressive nature at the plate. That opinion and evaluation has NOTHING to do with his injury. The kid has bat speed and he smoked a couple of balls yesterday. It was VERY cool to see. If you didn't know anything about him and his history, his performance might not be significant to a casual observer and I am certain Gunnar wants it that way. He is back playing the game he loves and playing it well.
Before the game I was talking to new MCHS pitching coach, Jesse Foppert. He was funny too, because Fopp said to me, "Blaine, you will like my senior righthander today, he is not a big kid but his stuff is electric and he is GOING to deal today." He was right! Many of you might recall Jesse as the #1 prospect of the Giants (and in all of baseball) a few years back. He had a nice rookie year for the Giants in 2003 (8-9, 5.03 ERA) and had a few STELLAR outings. He suffered an arm injury later that season and eventually went under the knife for Tommy John surgery and never did regain his form that made him such a hot prospect. I had the opportunity to coach Foppert at USF in 2001. He is from San Rafael, played at San Rafael HS and now, in addition to running his own pitching academy for local kids, he is volunteering at MCHS.
Many former MLB and minor league players are coaching across the country (and in Northern CA) and when a person like Foppert can come back to where he came from, he can have a tremendous impact on some young kids. There are strong indications that Foppert has already made a big impact on MCHS senior LHP Rob Woodcock, a talented kid who is a prospect. Woodcock is headed to Santa Clara next fall but it is not out of the question that he is drafted either. Looking at his body yesterday and the way he was working before the game, and from talking to Foppert about his work and brief time with him, I could see some positive influence from Foppert. Another former USF (and Padres minor leaguer) player, Joey Railey (Deer Valley HS), is coaching the JV team there. Former MLB catcher Jerry Goff is also coaching at MCHS and I already mentioned his son as a player of interest. The new head coach at MCHS is Coach Grayson and interestingly enough, back in the summer of 2001 I had an opportunity to coach his son Brett, with the once greate but now defunct Lafayette Generals.