A Look At Two SoCal Righthanders: Peter Tago And Adam Plutko

LOS ANGELES — It can be stated with absolute certainty that Peter Tago is a dude.

In scouting lingo, a dude is a definitive prospect—and based on his performance Wednesday in a Lions Tournament game at Boysen Park in Anaheim, Tago has ascended to the upper ranks of dude-eronomy.

In four innings of work in an 11-0 win over Thousand Oaks High, Tago, a righthanded pitcher from Dana Hills High, struck out eight and allowed one hit, no runs and two walks.

Prior to the game, the Dana Hills players trudged from their bus to the first base dugout. Tago coolly strolled by wearing a pair of designer wraparound shades. With earphones from his iPod secured squarely in place, Tago listened to tunes while calmly passing by the 60 scouts in attendance.

Tago provides an ideal template for a righthanded pitching prospect. Tall, loose, lanky and eminently projectable at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Tago’s bullwhip arm action is easy and almost poetically smooth.

In the first inning, Tago’s fastball ranged from 91 to 93 mph, and he added a 73-75 curve. He ran into control problems in the opening frame when his arm slot dropped, causing the fastball to sail.

An observant coach no doubt corrected that flaw between innings, and Tago breezed through the remainder of his stint. After surrendering a leadoff triple in the fourth inning, Tago stepped down firmly on his accelerator pedal and pumped his velocity back up to the 91-93 range, getting out of the frame unscathed.

A top three round candidate for the June draft, Tago may need to add a third pitch, probably a changeup. His curve has excellent shape but the spin on that pitch needs to be tighter.

Mechanically, Tago is exceptionally clean for a high schooler. However, on his backstroke his arm gets down and behind his right leg, and he will need to utilize his legs more in his delivery finish. All of those issues should be easily addressed when Tago begins his pro career—probably this summer.

Chaminade High of West Hills, Calif. won the Lions tournament title Wednesday evening with a 2-0 victory over North High of Riverside, Calif.

Adam Plutko of Glendora (Calif.) High came in at No. 64 on Baseball America's latest high school Top 100 prospect list.

In front of an audience of 50 scouts at Arcadia High, Plutko delivered an 87-91 fastball, a 70 curve, 78 change and 77-80 slider. Plutko’s secondary pitches are decent, but will need a substantial amount of refinement to become major league average. His fastball is straight, up in the zone too often and requires much more movement to be effective versus advanced hitters.

In Plutko’s defense, scouts are aware that he is a Jekyll and Hyde type pitcher. His velocity, command and stuff have been known to vary greatly from outing to outing, and his fastball has previously touched 93.

However, while Plutko is indeed a terrific talent, Tuesday’s game showed that he is not in a league with the top high school righthanders in the nation.

In the National Classic, El Dorado High of Yorba Linda, Calif. upset heavily favored Edison High of Huntington Beach, Calif. to reach tonight’s championship game at Cal State Fullerton. El Dorado will face Crespi High of Van Nuys, Calif.

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