On the Hunt: Boras Classic Day 4

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 4 of the Boras Classic in Orange County culminated in a 9-4 victory for Huntington Beach over Mira Costa. The star-studded Oiler lineup proved to be too much for Mira Costa in its fourth game in four days. All in all, the tournament was filled, top to bottom, with outstanding teams and players. It is incredible to see in person just how much talent there is in Southern California. The infield/outfield pregame sessions would have rivaled many collegiate programs across the country, and the baseball IQ of the player’s stands out as it was evident that each team prides itself in their attention to detail. Nearly every team featured a high-level shortstop who was committed to a major program, and more than looked the part in the field and at the plate. The ones who were not committed will not be so for long. Long have the myths been told throughout the country of the incredible fielding prowess of the Southern California prep shortstop. I can attest, after this week, that those myths are a reality. And it does not end with the premium shortstops, as the other infielders, catchers, and outfielders put on incredible displays of athleticism combined with strong arms and slick gloves. Combine that with pitchers who understand how to control the running game, change speeds, and command fastballs, and it makes it very difficult for a young hitter to succeed. However, the 16 teams continuously applied pressure on the defense at the plate. They bunted when called upon, put the ball in play when behind in the count, and moved runners. They, also, hit towering home runs and doubles that banged up against the wall. From a first time observer: California high school baseball is the real deal, and I am already looking forward to making my way back down to the Boras Classic next year.

Some highlighted players from the day:

Preston Miller, 3B, JSerra Catholic HS
+ Miller’s 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame looks like a fullback/linebacker, and he already shows present gap to gap power. Setting up in a balanced, upright stance, Miller remains compact before taking a short stride, and swinging right from his shoulder. He is so quiet pre-pitch that it appears that he will always be late. However, Miller’s quick, strong hands allow him to rip through the zone with ease, and to drive the ball. He continued a strong tournament performance going 2-for-3 with an RBI

Lucas Gordon, LHP/1B, Notre Dame HS
+ Gordon, a USC commit, is a 6-foot, 170-pound left-hander who appears to still be growing. While I did not get to see him pitch on the weekend, he did have some nice at-bats. Gordon starts in a slightly open stance, and has minor down and back hand movement before smoothly working through the zone on a level plane. At times he grew anxious at the plate which caused him to lunge at the ball, but that will, likely, be cleared up as he gets older and adds muscle to his frame.

Devan Ornelas, INF/OF, Notre Dame HS
+ Ornelas was able to show off his hitting skills today after putting on a nice display on defense during pregame earlier in the week. The young-looking 5-foot-11, 165-pound left-handed hitter has a smooth stroke with a strong bottom hand that helps him get through the zone on a level plane. Ornelas turned on a fastball against El Toro, and drove a line drive to right field for a double. As he continues to get stronger, Ornelas has a chance to be a top-tier player who contributes at a major program.

Max Rajcic, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS
+ Rajcic was one of the players that I had circled to see before the tournament, and while I did not get to see him until the final day, it was worth the wait. Coming in to close out a 7-6 game in the 6th, Rajcic, a UCLA commit, showed off a powerful arm with an electric curveball. Athletically repeating his delivery, Rajcic sat 85-88 with his fastball out of a ¾ to high slot. HIs arm whips through a short swing, and his fast hand speed allows the ball to jump out while, seemingly, picking up speed as it approaches the plate. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound freshman attacked each hitter with confidence, and put them away with a nasty, 11/5 curveball that sat 74-76 with tight spin and multi-plane break. At times, Rajcic manipulated the pitch by dropping his elbow and creating more of a slider-type. Both breaking ball forms were met with multiple swings and misses, and the breaking ball, in general, has a chance to be a plus pitch in the future. I was impressed by the way that Rajcic went about his business with quick pace, and the confidence of senior. His frame will, surely, develop even more in the near future, and his velocity will make a jump when that happens.

Alex Zerfass, INF, El Toro HS
+ Zerfass stands 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, and utilizes a simple approach that sees him throw his hands to the ball after a short stride. He shows great balance throughout, and had three hits and three runs batted in against Notre Dame.

Cody Rawson, C, Damien HS
+ 6-foot-1, 195-pound catcher showed advanced receiving skills for Damien against JSerra. He sets up with a wide base and loose hips while exhibiting soft hands. Rawson has a strong, accurate arm with carry. His footwork is solid although his transfer slows him up, somewhat, but that will likely be cleaned up in the near future to let his strong arm free up. He also blocks well. At the plate, Rawson sets up with his feet wide and his hands above his shoulder with his elbows wide. He utilizes a small stride, and throws his hands to the ball with some quickness through the zone. Rawson laced a line drive single to centerfield late in the game. Overall, Rawson should continue to develop, and with his noticeably soft hands behind the plate will have a chance to play at the next level.


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