Colorado Top 50 Countdown: No. 8 Mountain View Mountain Lions

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. 8: Mountain View Mountain Lions

2018 Preseason Rank: 8
2017 Preseason Rank: 12
2017 Record: 15-6
Conference: Northern League
CHSAA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Brian Smela
2017 Playoff Run: Lost to Pueblo West in the District Round
2017 Final Rank: 23
Returning Offensive Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 4
Returning Innings on Mound: 50
RBI's returning: 56


STAT RAT: 2-1 runs scored vs runs given up.  This type of baseball allows for a lot of wins.

X-FACTORS: Returning numbers don’t jump out at you, but this is a program with deep experience and winning ways, how fast that comes together will tell us a lot about how far they will go.

BOTTOM LINE: Coach Smela has the Mountain Lions ready to go for the 2018 season.  With 6 seniors in the starting lineup, this team should have the experience to handle all situations that come at them.  Test #1, survive the Northern League, there are no days off with the back to back home and away format.  Mountain View will once again rely on fundamentally sound baseball, this team out paced their opponents in 2017 by a wide margin and we expect the same this year.

Players to Watch

Michael Felton C / OF / Mountain View , CO / 2018

5-foot-11, 180-pound right hand hitting catcher/outfielder.  At the plate he hits from a slightly open stance with with a leg kick. Hands load down and back and is on time. Swing is level through the zone. Improved exit velocity off a tee from 89 to 91 mph. Has gap to gap power.  Behind the plate he has quick feet and a quick release with a strong arm coming in at 77 mph. Pop-times were 1.9-2.00. He blocks well and has quiet hands when receiving. Athletic catcher who ran a 7.1 laser timed 60.



Nate Vondy RHP / SS / Mountain View , CO / 2019

6-foot-0, 165-pound RHP/SS who ran a 7.20 60.  At the plate he is open with hands held high in the zone.  He uses a high leg kick to get loaded on his back side and to come square.  Hips fire through the zone and he hits off a firm front side.  Hands are quick and he turns well on the inside pitch.  Exit velocity was 86 MPH.  At short stop he carries himself well and moves well left and right.  He anticipates the ball off the bat and gets an extra step in the games.  He has soft hands and a great glove to hand transfer.  He delivers from a high ¾ arm slot and was 87 MPH across the diamond.  On the mound he gets balanced and then drives hard to the plate.  He has a fast loose arm and locates well down in the zone.  His fastball was 85 MPH with late run in on the right hand hitter.  He added a hard 75 MPH curve with sharp 11/5 break that dives out of the zone.  He finished with a 73 MPH change with late sink.  He worked two very effective innings at the TPG.



TJ Mendoza RHP / Mountain View, CO / 2018

Mendoza comes back from a nice 2017 season to be one of the offensive anchors for the Mountain Lions.  He will look to improve on his 409 avg. that saw him collect 18 hits and 14 RBI.



Dakota Jimenez 1B / Mountain View, CO / 2018

Jimenez will also provide the spark for the Mountain Lion offense.  Last year he hit .348 with 24 hits and 16 RBI.  He also added 6 doubles to give Mountain View instant runners in scoring position.



Chad Baumann RHP / OF / Mountain View, CO / 2019

Baumann should expect his playing time and expectations to go way up this year.  As a sophomore he got his feet wet appearing in 19 games and collecting 10 hits and 6 RBI.  This year he will be called on to be a consistent contributor.