Nine to Know: Rising Stars


Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - College baseball recruiting is at an all time fervent pace with players as young as eighth grade committing to Power Five schools while still in middle school. Identifying young talent has become a necessity for college coaches as they hit the recruiting trail in earnest with the summer tournament and showcase circuit quickly approaching. 

Prep Baseball Report California will be running the Rising Stars Games on June 4, 2022 at O’Malley Field, home of the Harvard Westlake Wolverines. In preparation for the event we have been hosting Rising Stars events throughout the Southland in an effort to identify players that college coaches will want to see at this event. We’ve held an event in Los Angeles, Orange County and have another scheduled for the Inland Empire next month. These showcases are purposely held with smaller numbers in order for our staff to give extended reps to the players to show their skills providing us a foundation upon which to build throughout their high school careers. 

The players listed below all stood out for various reasons during their participation in the Rising Stars showcase. Whether at the plate or defensively, in most cases both, or on the mound, these players are Nine to Know for college coaches as we head into the summer. 

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NINE TO KNOW

***BE SURE TO CLICK ON PLAYER NAME TO SEE VIDEO AND DATA OF HIS PERFORMANCE

Rockson Akahi 3B / RHP / N/A, CA / 2026

Few, if any, players at the OC Rising Stars showcase impressed more with the bat than Akahi. There’s present power from the left side with a simple, attacking swing that produced loud contact throughout his two rounds of BP. With consistent barrels, Akahi showed the ability to use the whole field with noticeable power to the pull side and a max exit velocity of 93 mph off the bat. At third base he shows soft hands with enough arm to make throws across the diamond from all angles. Incorporates the lower half very well beginning his swing with a significant leg lift trigger that collects his weight on the backside before driving through the ball.

Isaiah Hearn OF / LHP / N/A, CA / 2026

A 7.03 laser timed 60 from an 8th grader will immediately grab your attention which is what Hearn did to start his day. When he’s 6-foot-3, 180 pounds you pay close attention to the rest of his day and all that Hearn did was continue to impress. He’s a gap-to-gap hitter that consistently gets the barrel to the ball, catching it out front with hard hit balls on a line. It’s a simple stroke with the type of hand speed that most elite hitters possess. Shows a compact swing path with advanced bat speed while letting his hands work tight and inside the baseball. Stays behind the ball while showing excellent use of the lower half.

CJ Weinstein 2B / SS / N/A, CA / 2026

It’s not often you see an eighth grader bang baseballs out at a high school field, but that’s exactly what Weinstein did. Shows above average bat speed for his age with lift in the swing and a two handed finish. Had more line drives than fly balls while impacting the baseball consistently out front resulting in backspun baseballs. Had two home runs to the pull side during his final round. More of a pull hitter presently, but did go the other way on a couple of occasions. Defensively there’s present athletic actions on the dirt while showing the ability to throw on the move and manipulate arm angles. Also pitches where he shows some projection with a free and easy arm action and a moderate arm swing.

Alex Harrington SS / RHP / Maranatha Christian, CA / 2026

Opened his day with a 6.98 laser timed 60 yard dash that showed his athleticism - almost looked like he was jogging. At 6-foot-2 160 pounds, Harrington oozes projection and did nothing to dissuade us of that during his showcase. Moves very well on the dirt showing soft hands and quick feet to get around the baseball. Arm strength is apparent and he showed the ability to make throws from all angles. At the plate is where he really stood out with an average exit velocity of 83 mph; hit two out during his two rounds of BP. Catches the ball out front with the barrel consistently with more line drives than fly balls and ground balls combined. The body is very projectable as are his current tools.

Hunter Harrington OF / RHP / Maranatha Christian, CA / 2026

At 6-foot-2 160 pounds, Harrington immediately catches your eye. When he runs a 6.95 60 yard dash you focus on the rest of the day to see the rest of the tools, and with Harrington there are plenty. With an 84 mph OF velo and 90 mph max exit velocity, Harrington is chalk full of tools that recruiters will find desirable. There’s still some rawness at the plate, but with his present strength and hand speed he’s able to make up for less than perfect contact meaning that even when a ball wasn’t perfectly struck he had enough behind it for it to result in what certainly would be a base hit in game situations. Defensively he covers a lot of ground and shows fast hands by getting rid of the ball quickly. Takes good angles to the ball with excellent and efficient footwork. Also pitched with a mid-70’s fastball and feel for a breaking ball and changeup.

Gavin Hottle SS / RHP / Orange Lutheran, CA / 2026

We have seen Hottle at a couple of our events and the progress he continues to make is noticeable. At 6-foot-1 175 pounds, Hottle is put together for a player his age with present strength in the frame. Shows advanced defensive actions with light feet, quick hands, quick and clean funnel and exchanges. Could move to third in the future and provide big power numbers from the spot while playing with shortstop actions. At the plate he loads slow and early into a mild leg lift trigger bringing his hands back. Bat gets into a good early connection position and works level into the zone through finishing with high hands. Consistently works the middle of the field with line drives while occasionally lifting the ball in the air with some power.

James Tronstein SS / OF / Harvard-Westlake, CA / 2026

Perhaps no player at any of the Rising Stars events showed more present “ready-made” tools than Tronstein, a shortstop/outfielder headed to Harvard Westlake. After running 6.80 sixty, Tronstein put together a professional couple of rounds of BP. In his first round he worked the middle-pull side of the field showing the ability to back spin the baseball with some power. In his second round he worked the middle-opposite field with more line drives and one home run to left-center field. It’s a compact, yet powerful, swing with natural rhythm in the swing with present bat speed. Defensively it’s hard to tell where he projects more - shortstop or outfield. Shows aggressive footwork in the outfield creating good momentum to get off strong throws with above average arm strength - 84 mph - and accuracy on throws. At shortstop he moves gracefully flashing soft hands with fast, clean exchanges and accuracy on throws at 81 mph.

Brock Johnson OF / SS / Stockdale, CA / 2026

At 6-foot-2 175-pounds, Johnson has the type of frame that recruiters desire in outfield prospects. Johnson is highly athletic running an easy 7.01 sixty that should easily improve over the coming years. Very projectable in the outfield where he showed a clean funnel up to the belt before unleashing a powerful, accurate arm at 84 mph. At shortstop he shows an understanding of the position with sound fundamentals with his feet and glove getting around and working through the ball. Also pitches where the arm is clean and repeatable and shows some projection. At the plate he stays behind the ball well using an aggressive lower half resulting in more line drives than fly balls and ground balls with a peak exit velocity of 95 mph on Trackman. Strong hands with advanced bat speed for his age with consistent hard contact.

Anthony Murphy OF / RHP / Corona, CA / 2026

Our second viewing of Murphy in a showcase setting did not disappoint as the future Corona Panther is a name all recruiters will want to follow as he matriculates through high school. Big, strong arm in the outfield at 88 mph with accurate throws that flash carry en route to the bag. Moves very well with quick, light feet that create momentum towards his target. Quick, clean transfers through to release. Has the makings of an advanced defender on the grass. At the plate he shows consistent hard contact with a preference to the pull side. With present strength in the hands, Murphy keeps them close to the body and whips the barrel through the zone on a flatter path that results in more line drives than fly balls and ground balls through to a high two hand finish. Incorporates the lower half well with a slight leg-lift trigger. Also pitches where he shows a long arm swing with low effort and fluid actions and some present arm speed.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SHOWCASE STATE DATE LOCATION
NorCal Rising Stars: Delta Region CA 04/24 McBean Stadium
SoCal Rising Stars: Inland Empire CA 04/24 Corona High School
NorCal Rising Stars: Bay Area CA 05/08 Canada College
SoCal Rising Stars Games CA 06/04 O'Malley Field
Orange County State Games ID CA 06/11 Hart Park
Orange County Top Prospects ID CA 06/21 Hart Park
Inland Empire Top Prospects ID CA 07/06 Corona High School
LA Top Prospects ID CA 07/12 O'Malley Field
California State Games CA 07/30 Hart Park

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