Colorado Top 50 Countdown: No. 13 Rock Canyon Jaguars


John Cackowski and PBR Colorado Staff

 

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Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage. 

Like any preseason ranking for any sport, last year our list created a lot of fun conversations, debate, and opinions among players, coaches, and families. To see what we got right, and what we got wrong in 2017 Click Here

What makes our list unique is it combines all classifications (1A through 5A), and leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage.

Factors that are considered when creating the Top 50 List are the following:

- How many current players are returning that are in PBR Colorado rankings
- How many overall players committed or non-committed are returning
- How many starting pitchers are returning
- Success the previous season
- History of success in the program

* We expect the teams in the Top 50 Countdown will compete for at least a district playoff spot in 2018

Team No. 13: Rock Canyon Jaguars

2018 Preseason Rank: 13
2017 Preseason Rank: 17
2017 Record: 16-8
Conference: Continental League
CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach: Garrett Duman
2017 Playoff Run: Lost to Broomfield in Final 8 Round
2017 Final Rank: 8
Returning Offensive Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 5
Returning Innings on Mound: 89 
RBI's returning: 63

 

STAT RAT: 156 RBI and 13 homeruns.  This allowed the Jaguars to get up early on teams and rack up 16 wins.

X-FACTORS: The 2018 team is a new crop of players who will have enter the season with a new coach.

BOTTOM LINE: The Jags are off and running sitting at 3-0 in the 2018 season.  New Coach Garrett Duman has arms coming back, 89 innings worth of experience.  Offensively, playing in a tough Continental League does not allow you a night off, Rock Canyon will have to find ways to put up runs like last year in order to make a late run in May.

 

Players to Watch

Nick Merone 2B / SS / Rock Canyon, CO / 2018

5-foot-11, 175 mounds. Bats and throws right. Balanced stance at plate, body and hands load back together with some rhythm, leg kick stride. Good bat speed in zone with slightly uphill swing. Wants to dive out at ball. Produced an 87 mph exit velocity off the tee but played faster in live round. At SS shows quick feet and hands. Good actions. Gains ground on throws to 2B. Arm is quick out of glove from different angles depending on location in infield. Threw 82 mph across the diamond. Ran a 4.13 home to first. Solid prospect. 

Last year he added a .380 avg with 22 RBI.

 

 

 

Cayden Zimmerman SS / 3B / Rock Canyon, CO / 2018

6-foot, 170 pounds. Bats and throws right. At plate has a tall athletic stance, short stride. Lets the ball get deep and has very quick hands to the ball for gap to gap power. Very good extension through the ball. Exit velocity was 89 mph off the tee but played faster in live round. At SS had excellent range to both sides. Quick feet. Gathers himself well, good glove to hand transfer, quick release from 3/4 arm slot at 82 mph across the diamond. Runs well. Ran a 4.10 home to first time. Solid prospect. 

Zimmerman is coming off a 2017 season that saw him sidelined with an injury.  We saw him at the Preseason All-State a few weeks ago and he is healthy and ready to go.

 

 

Tyler Smith RHP / SS / Rock Canyon, CO / 2020

6-foot-0, 175-pound right hand pitcher. On the mound he stands tall and gets balanced.  Strong lower leg drive to the plate and stays in-line on his delivery.  Arm action is loose, over the top arm slot. Fastball is mostly straight, slightly runs to arm side, heavy fell, stays around the zone, sat 83-84 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, showed as his best secondary pitch, 68-69 mph. Changeup sinks with feel, 74-75 mph.

 

 

 

Wyatt Wendell 3B / Rock Canyon, CO / 2018

Wendell comes back on the mound for Rock Canyon coming off a 2017 season which saw him throw 23 innings and collect 21 K's.  He will assume a bigger role this year as the Jags look to fill innings left t by Givin.

 

 

 

Carson Brown RHP / OF / Rock Canyon, CO / 2020

5-foot-9, 160-pound right hand pitcher.  Righty on the mound and throws from an over-the-top arm angle, loose arm with quick arm speed. Toe lift to balance point with average effort leads to some rhythm and helps land in line. Straight fastball averages between 82-84 mph. Curve sat 66-67 mph with tight spin and sharp 11/5 break.  A great secondary pitch to his fastball.  Changeup was down in the zone with late sink and was 70-72 mph.