On the Hunt: Boras Classic Day 2

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 2 of the Boras Classic in sunny Southern California was, again, filled with tightly contested games, and top notch performances. It was also my first introduction to 2018 LSU-commit, SS Brice Turang. As I gazed at Santiago High School’s pregame infield routine, Turang immediately jumped out. He smoothly caught throws from the outfield and whipped the ball around with his strong, loose arm while exhibiting quick feet and natural actions. His energy was infectious, and it was as if he knew that all eyes were on him, and he was there to give everyone a show. Every ground ball that he fielded, perfectly entered his mitt, and his throws looked like they would go through the first baseman, and were placed on target each time. There was no arrogance to the way he bounced back and forth, but rather pure joy that he and his Santiago teammates were going to be playing in the primetime game under the lights on the opponent’s (Mater Dei) field. Turang, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound twitchy-athlete would go 1-for-4 in the game, but his presence was immeasurable. The team fed off his energy, and he was a natural leader on the diamond. At shortstop, Turang made difficult plays look easy including a slow roller that he charged hard, and rounded ever so slightly in order to make a throw on the run. Santiago would come back to beat an excellent Mater Dei club, 8-4. Overall, Turang’s talent is undeniable. He has athleticism and quickness, soft hands, and a quick bat that works stronger through the zone than his frame lets on.

Other action from Mater Dei on Wednesday:

Corona 4 Gahr 3 (8)

+ 2019 INF JJ Cruz (Cal State Fullerton) continued to show why he is such a highly regarded prospect. The lean and athletic infielder moves well at third base, and shows off a strong, accurate arm. At the plate, he mashed a home run over the right field fence to give Gahr a lead late in the game. Cruz’s barrel shows lag in the zone, and his quick hands allow him to get to all pitches. Already showing some pop, Cruz should continue to add to it as his frame fills out and gets stronger.

+ 2019 OF Andrew Householder also smashed a home run for Gahr. The athletic Householder is 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, and shows off a simple stance with a short, compact stroke.

+ 2019 INF Tyrese Turner (Cal State Northridge) may have looked even better from the left side than he was yesterday from the right as he peppered line drives with a short, quick stroke and strong hands. He continued to play a very good second base with soft hands and a quick release.

+ For Corona, Brendan Beck continues to impress. He shows natural instincts on the infield, and while he projects as a third baseman at the next level, he is more than adequate at shortstop right now. Beck is a physical athlete with gap to gap power from a balanced stance.

La Mirada 4 Bishop Amat 1

+ 2017 INF Jayson Gonzalez (Vanderbilt) has an impressive frame at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, and while he may move to third base at the next level, it will not be due to a lack of hands. Gonzalez showed off soft hands and advanced baseball instincts while at shortstop in the game for Bishop Amat, and he has a strong throwing arm that will help to make him a plus defender at the hot corner in college. At the plate, the big right-hander attacks the baseball, and it sounds differently coming off his bat than it does for others. Gonzalez is going to have a chance to continue developing power in coming years.

+ 2020 RHP Jared Jones (USC) was the prospect that popped the most for me on Day 2. Jones oozes athleticism, and his 6-foot, 180-pound frame looks like it is not done growing. Jones utilized a quick, whippy arm to run his fastball up to 90 mph, and it sat 87-89 for all of his 6-inning outing. When faced with tough situations, Jones was able to find another level, and showed poise in escaping trouble. He struck out 6 without giving up a run, and also featured a developing slider (75-81) that he varied speeds with, and has a chance to be a swing and miss pitch in the future.

+ La Mirada has a whole host of 2020 players who look like they will blossom into premier players in the next few years including Emilio Morales, Eugene Jeon, along with Jones. I am looking forward to seeing La Mirada play again, as the young players are a major part of the team, and show no fear on a big stage.

Orange Lutheran 6 El Toro 5

+ 2018 LHP/OF Erik Tolman utilized a solid 3-pitch mix combined with his advanced athleticism to give the vaunted Orange Lutheran line-up trouble. Working around 4 errors, Tolman yielded just 2 earned runs while striking out 5 over 5 innings. Tolman sat 83-85 with his fastball with a whippy, quick arm that made the ball appear to jump at the plate and look even harder than the radar gun reading. He also mixed in a firm, 73-75 slider that he threw with fastball hand speed, and commanded in and out of the zone with ease. Tolman’s changeup, also, appears to be a weapon as it sat 74-75 with late fading action. With three pitches that he throws for strikes, Tolman has a chance to develop into a very nice arm at Cal Poly as he continues to mature into his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame.

+ 2017 C Tyler Lasch (Cal State Fullerton) went off for three hits on the day with two doubles. The short and strong left-handed hitter has a solid crouched base and does not get cheated with his swing. He demonstrates complete confidence in his abilities, and hunts fastballs in the zone. He showed the ability to use all fields, and brings a great deal of energy to the game. Behind the plate he is an advanced receiver who works hard behind the plate, and manages the pitching staff well.

+ 2017 1B/RHP Zach Busalacchi came into the game trailing for Orange Lutheran, but was able to keep putting up zeros, and keep the squad in the game until the bats woke up late. Busalacchi pounded the zone, and mixed his pitches just enough to keep El Toro off balance. It was a confident performance from a player who was willing to do what he had to in order to help his team win

Santiago 8 Mater Dei 4

+ 2018 C Jacob Shanks (UC Riverside) was outstanding in the win for Santiago. The junior catcher tirelessly worked behind the plate, blocking balls and receiving pitches. The strong, 6-foot-1, 190-pounder also went 3-for-4 on the night including an opposite field home run that was a no-doubter. The home run, essentially, secured the win for the Sharks. Shanks has a compact swing, and the ball jumps off his bat to all fields.

+ Mater Dei is stacked with high end talent, but 2018 SS Emilio Rosas (Cal) really stood out. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is long and lean with a wiry frame, but he has a powerful arm, and a quick first step. Rosas plays loose, and his strong arm will allow him to stick at shortstop at the next level. At the plate, he starts balanced and utilizes a knee-knock leg kick to trigger his hands load down and back before coming through the zone on an upward plane. Rosas shows strength in his swing, and projects for more power as he continues to fill out. He went 2-for-3 on the night.

+ 2018 OF/2B Maxwell Foxcroft (Oregon) showed an advanced approach going 1-for-3 on the night. Foxcroft does not get cheated and shows great balance from a crouched stance. He utilizes a leg kick load with quick hands through the zone. His path is level to uphill, and his barrel shows lag in the zone. He is a confident player who moves well, and showcases solid athleticism.

+ 2018 RHP Cruz Barrios came into a difficult situation early, for Santiago, and not only settled the game, but controlled it before eventually closing out the win. Barrios has a quick arm that allowed him to sit 83-85 while working his fastball to both sides of the plate. There is some deception in his delivery that made it difficult for the Mater Dei hitters to pick up, and he kept them off balance with quality changeup that he commanded in the zone. Barrios is about 6-feet tall, and has a loose frame. He threw 6 innings, striking out 7 while giving up just 1 earned run.


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