On the Hunt: Boras Classic Day 1



Prep Baseball Report’s Shooter Hunt and Nathan Rode are in Southern California to cover the 2017 Boras Classic. Rode will primarily focus on draft prospects while Hunt will mostly highlight underclassmen. Video highlights and comments from both are provided in The Rode Show.

By Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

Day 1 of the prestigious Boras Baseball Classic in Southern California was filled with pitching, defense, and timely hitting. California is well-known as one of, if not the, best state for baseball talent, and the teams and players that I saw at the incredible athletic compound that is home to JSerra Catholic, did not disappoint. The stories that I had been told of California high school baseball all rang true. The pitchers were poised and polished with advanced feel for how/when to change speeds as well as being adept at holding runners. The defense maneuvered itself from pitch to pitch, and infielders made difficult plays look routine. The offense executed at a high rate to secure precious runs. All in all, it was a fantastic day of baseball.

The biggest takeaway, for me, on this day was a duo of (future) 2017 high draft picks. When recent NHSI Champion, Orange Lutheran, squared off against Gahr High School, it pitted two of the top athletes in the 2017 class against each other. Both centerfielders, Garrett Mitchell (UCLA) and Je’Von Ward (USC) were show-stoppingly good. Mitchell already has the build of a future big leaguer with proportional strength throughout his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, and his powerful left-handed swing belted a triple just left of centerfield that one hopped the wall. Mitchell, who appeared to think that the ball had bounced over the fence, turned on the burners around second and slid safely into third. He would be stranded at third which would leave the door open for Ward to answer in the bottom half of the inning. Stepping to the plate with a runner on, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound ultra-athletic Ward showed off a smooth, quick stroke that impacted a fastball and drove it to, nearly, the exact spot as Mitchell’s. Ward would end up with a stand up double as he drove in a runner. Ward would add another hit later in the game after falling behind 0-2 before lacing a single. He also showed off a strong throwing arm as he ranged to his glove side to make a catch before spinning in the right field gap to make a long throw seem short to third base. While Orange Lutheran would go on to win, 8-2, each player was very impressive. Mitchell has the thicker frame of the two, and projects for more power, while Ward’s set-up is a bit smoother. You can’t go wrong with either of them, and it was a treat to watch two frontline outfielders perform at a high level against one another.

Some other notes from a packed day:

El Toro 1 Corona 0
+ In a pitching duel between two crafty right-handers, El Toro’s Jake Jackson (Nevada-Reno) prevailed. Jackson went seven strong innings allowing just six hits while striking out two. Jackson sat 86-88 with a fastball that he moved in and out with ease. He also featured a slider that he varied speeds with (72-77), but was at its best when thrown firm, with fastball hand speed. Jackson utilizes different arm angles for deception, and step across his body after aggressively driving off the rubber. HIs slider has a chance to continue developing into a wipeout pitch at the next level, and his competitive nature should aid him well at Reno. 2018 1B Erik Tolman (Cal Poly) paced the offense as he hammered three balls with two hits to show for it. The ball jumps off Tolman’s left-handed bat, and he shows some present pull side power.

+ For Corona, Michael Hobbs (St. Mary’s) was the tough luck loser. Hobbs was crafty with his fastball (84-86), and worked in and out while relying on a three pitch mix to throw off hitters. Methodical and controlled, Hobbs showed solid command of his breaking ball (73-76) and changeup (77-79). Stanford signee, SS Brendan Beck showed confidence in all aspects of the game as he made the routine plays in the field while posting two hits at the plate. Beck has great athleticism that he utilizes, well, at the plate along with advanced balance.

Orange Lutheran 8 Gahr 2
+ Two underclassmen stood out for me from Gahr: Cal State Northridge recruit, 2019 Tyrese Turner showed twitchy actions in the field (second base) and at the plate as a switch-hitter. He made a very difficult backhand play look easy, and has the athleticism and arm strength to shift over to shortstop in the future. Cal State Fullerton commit, 2019 INF JJ Cruz looks like he will be a force in SoCal the next two years. The left-handed hitter sets up balanced, and utilizes a medium-sized leg kick to load. He does not get cheated with his swing, and once his wiry 6-foot, 160-pound frame fills out, he should have a chance to hit for some power with an upward path. Everything about Cruz’s set-up, quick hands, and athleticism lead me to believe he is going to hit at a high level in the future.

+ 2017 Oregon State signee, Zach Busalacchi, blasted a homerun over the centerfield wall (or technically off the trees that hang over). Busalacchi is a 6-foot-3, 240-pound physical first baseman who already has, and will continue to develop power.

Vista Murrieta 4 Chatsworth 2
+ 2019 RHP Andrew Mosiello utilized his entire arsenal to keep the Chatsworth lineup off balance. Mosiello is a physical, 6-foot-2, 180-pounder with strong legs and wide shoulders. His fastball sat anywhere from 81-84, and he touched 85. Mosiello has advanced feel for disrupting hitter’s timing as he added and subtracted off of his fastball while showing full confidence in a 10/4, tight-spinning breaking ball (67-71) that he threw for a strike in any count. As he continue to mature physically, expect Mosiello’s velocity to climb, and for him to be a name that recruiters follow in the future.

+ 2018 SS/RHP Jack Moberg is committed to UCLA, and it was easy to see why. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is balanced at the plate in a crouch, and shows great patience when seeking his pitch. Moberg was 2-for-2 on the day, and really set the tone for the Vista Murrieta win. His barrel shows lag through the zone, and he will be a future gap-to-gap hitter who will have a chance to hit somewhere at the top of the order for UCLA. In the field, he was a general, and made all the tough plays look clean and easy. A big competitor, Moberg came into pitch in the seventh with runners on, and featured a fastball that sat 86-88 while flashing a slider at 70-71. Moberg gives off the vibe of being a natural leader and winner, and will be a fun player to watch progress.

+ Chatsworth’s 2017 RHP Thomas Palomera was a very interesting prospect. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander sat 86-88 from a high ¾ slot. He was smooth and efficient, and his velocity seemed effortless. He also showcased a near 12/6 breaking ball (71-73) that he threw for strikes and showed tight spin and multi-tier break. Palomera also turns over a nice changeup (73-74) with fading action. He threw each pitch for strikes, and looks like he will throw even harder in the future. Palomera has long limbs and wide shoulders, and should have a chance to pitch at the next level.

Mira Costa 3 JSerra 1
+ Mira Costa is filled with fun, young talent that played very well in a tough environment. 2019 2B Dylan Dennis smashed a home run while 2019 SS Chase Meidroth had excellent at bats all night. But it was the lights out pitching performance from 2019 RHP Christian Bodlovich that stole the show. Bodlovich worked up and down, in and out, and added and subtracted all while changing arm angles to keep JSerra off balance the entire night. The 6-foot, 190-pound Bodlovich ended his night after going six innings and striking out 11 while giving up just three hits and one earned run. I’m looking forward to seeing Mira Costa again this week as there was great energy coming from their dugout, and they are stacked with underclass talent.

+ JSerra’s 2019 OF/1B Blake Klassen is a slugger to be followed closely. A physically mature player, Klassen stands 6-foot-2, 195-pounds and has a balanced, powerful stroke. He laced a single and showed excellent plate discipline. 2019 INF Michael Curialle (UCLA) showed off a quick first step at third base with the ability to throw on the run from all angles. Curialle has a long and athletic frame (6-foot-2, 190-pounds), and will likely move to shortstop next year when projected first-round pick, Royce Lewis, graduates. Curialle also stroked a single in the seventh inning, and projects to add more power as he matures into his frame.

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