Summer ball: South County Sun Devils vs EJ Warriors

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Last Saturday I saw the South County Sun Devils in a doubleheader at Ohlone College, as part of the Zoots Tournament.  It was a sweltering day but I got a good look at the SC Sun Devils and also their opponent in game two, the younger EJ Warriors team.  The Sun Devils are a team from up north in the 530 area code, with players from Redding, Red Bluff, Palo Cedro, etc.  They will be in Peoria (AZ) for the USA West 17u Championships and should be seen, especially for any college team looking for infielders.  They have four good ones and a couple of good pitchers I saw.

I was there primarily to see a 2014 grad for SC, infielder Kaelan Crisosto (6'1" 170, R/R).  He didn't disappoint but I was also impressed with a few of his teammates.  Here is what I saw, with some information from the player packet, such as grades...

Kaelan Crisosto (2014, INF, Enterprise HS) - He's not only a very good athlete, but apparently a very good student (3.8 GPA, with college prep and honors courses).  I also found out that he is an outstanding basketball player and that explains some of what I saw in the game.  His body is lean and strong and heading into his junior year he is well on his way to being a body that draws attention on the field.  Crisosto has all-around skills for baseball.  He is going to be a good college hitter, he has good infield hands (good to the backhand too) and instincts, he can steal bases despite not being a plus runner, he is versatile enough to play in the outfield, and he played with nice pace and feel.  He also appeared to be a great teammate, always sitting at the front of the dugout entrance, greeting every player in and out of the dugout, even on a 95 degree day.  As a hitter he has a line drive swing and will develop some power.  For this team he hits lead-off and when he gets on base he goes.  Defensively I saw a quick release and that he has a good clock that allows him to know how much he needs to put on a throw across the diamond.  His throws were accurate, both across the diamond and on his relay throws.  Crisosto has good lateral agility and also showed hops as he leapt to snag a high line drive.  He will have to get faster to be able to make the slow roller plays and high choppers that get past the pitcher.  I like this player, he is going to play major college baseball and I think really develop into a good player, potentially into a professional prospect during his college years.  He will be at BAWS in San Luis Obispo.

Evan Sinclair (2013, MIF, Red Bluff HS) - Sinclair (5'10" 160, R/R) impressed me right away as a defensive player and after two games I was able to appreciate all of his abilities.  He is a good athlete, capable of playing 2B, SS, and in the outfield.  His arm is accurate and his hands are very good.  One play in particular stood out when he was at 2nd base.  There was a ball hit to his left and he was on it very quickly, with a great first step.  Then he had to go into a dive/slide to get to it and the last hop really jumped up on him.  He made a good reactionary adjustment to that hop and though he wasn't able to complete the play, he nearly did and most players would not have gotten a glove on it.  Sinclair ran 4.43 down the line so he has some footspeed that should get a little better.  His jumps on the bases were also good so this is a good athlete who can do some things on the field.  Sinclair is a good baserunner too, with quick reactions and good anticipation of balls in the dirt.  He should be able to steal bases and get extra bags for his team, with his ability to run and his instincts.  A lot of his best contact went to right field and there is some swing length but he showed a consistent ability to get the barrel to the ball.  The player packet showed a 3.46 GPA with 1350 SAT/22 ACT.

Charles Edwards (2013, MIF/P, Anderson HS) - Anderson (5'11" 175, R/R) grew on me during the day.  He pitched game one and though I don't see him pitching past high school, at least not at the four year college level, he competed well (FB topped at 83).  Edwards showed the ability to make adjustments as a hitter and he did it within an at-bat.  He waved at a first pitch CB (obviously not a good idea to be swinging at 1st pitch CBs) and looked bad.  However, he got another one later in the at-bat and kept his hands and weight back and hammered it for a double in the middle of the field.  He isn't a big guy but he has some strength and bat speed.  All day long he was finding the barrel.  Defensively he played well and his arm looked good across the diamond, tracking accurately with carry.  Edwards is a fair runner (4.55 down the line) but he moves around well on the field.  One other thing I observed about him was his energy for the game and how much fun he has.  I was sitting near their dugout and he was chatting between every inning, mixing it up with his teammates, and it was clear his teammates like playing with him and enjoy his personality.  Anderson is a 3.2 student and will retake his SAT in October.  Anderson will be at BAWS.

Justin Allen (2013, MIF/CF, Foothill HS-Palo Cedro) - Allen (5'10" 165, R/R) was a blast to watch and off the field I enjoyed him too.  Like I said, I was near their dugout (actually was on the field seated just outside their dugout) and he came up to me two or three times with questions.  Before the game Coach Crisosto asked me to speak to the team about college baseball, scouting, etc., so Allen wanted to take advantage of having the chance to pick my brain.  Allen played centerfield in game one and moved to the infield in game two.  He showed a good arm and good baseball instincts in centerfield, with good ball tracking skills and nice jumps on the ball.  One play stood out, which was how he played a sinking liner with a runner on first.  He kept it in front of him as he had to pull up on it, controlling the ball well and throwing out the runner at 2nd base who had to wait to see if the ball would be caught.  Allen is built like a 2nd baseman and I think that is where he will end up and he will be a good one.  He plays with tenacity, energy, and toughness.  Allen hits third for this team and though he isn't a big kid, he has some strength and bat speed.  The ball comes off his bat well.  His approach reminded me of a Longoria-type approach, with a narrow set-up and very handsy/wristy swing.  He made good adjustments during the day at the plate too.  Good player and a 3.6 GPA with a 1450 SAT.

Joseph Beck (2013, LHP/1B/OF, Lassen HS) - Beck (6'0" 175, L/L) started game one in right field and came on to close it out.  In game two he played first base.  I liked his defense and intangibles at first base and he showed the ability to handle the bat too, with a nice flat swing and good hands that produced consistent contact.  At first he moved around well and REALLY talks the game and provides leadership, especially with how he handles mistakes on the field and tough situations.  It appears as though he has very good baseball make-up.  All that is great but I liked him best on the mound.  He closed game one with a very nice inning, getting up to 86 mph with some sink on the fastball.  His curveball was 71 mph and is still developing.  Beck has a short quick arm action and I think he is going to be a very effective lefthander with his ability locate the fastball and with the movement he gets.  He's a good baseball player, with a 2.82 GPA and 1250 SAT.

Brandon Erickson (2012, RHP, Foothill HS-Palo Cedro) - If you are a college looking for a late filler to your incoming pitching class this fall, you might want to look into Erickson.  Now, I do not know his grades, but I know he has three quality pitches, was up to 87 mph and shut down a good hitting EJ Warrior team on an extremely hot afternoon.  He has a good delivery, repeated well, located well, changed speeds effectively and was able to throw the change-up right on right well.  His curveball had bite on it was well.  He pitched loose and comfortably and clearly has feel for the craft.  His fastball had good run on it and it is going to get into that 88-91 mph range in the future.

Like I said, I saw a doubleheader and in game two the SC Sun Devils played EJ Warriors, a team of kids from the East Bay (Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, etc.).  Game one was against the Sonoma Rebels but none of their players stood out to me.  I was familiar with most of the EJ team and though they lost and Erickson really handled them well, they have some good players, most of whom will be at BAWS next weekend.  Who did I like?  Glad you asked...

RF Draco Roberts (2013, Dougherty Valley HS, R/R, 6'3" 175) is a GOOD looking player with a strong all-around skill set.  He has a plus arm, runs well and with his bat speed and lanky frame it looks like he is going to develop into a strong middle of the order hitter at the major college level.  He also knows the game and plays with intensity, with the awareness to take advantage of an opponents mistakes.  INF Mason Melin (2013, Monte Vista HS, R/R, 6'2" 200) is a player that immediately draws attention due to his body.  He just LOOKS good and presents himself well on the field.  Melin is a strong and athletic kid and I can see him developing usable power at the college level.  He was in left field this game but from what I know is a fomer SS who now plays third base at the high school level.  The third baseman for EJ was Cody Snider (2013, Dougherty Valley HS, L/R, 5'9" 185) and he is a GOOD player who can hit.  Snider has a quick bat, short stroke and has some pop.  He recently moved to third base full time from catcher and also is playing a lot of outfield this summer.  I saw him with a Brewers scout team last fall and liked him quite a bit.  There is no doubt in my mind that he can and will hit.  Another good looking player on this team was SS Sawyer Gieseke (2013, Las Lomas HS, R/R, 5'10" 175).  He has a plus arm, good hands and though he isn't much of a runner, he moves well laterally and showed the ability to make some tough plays, including going up the middle.  He would appear to have some good fielding instincts.  Offensively he has some strength and aggressiveness at the plate.