LONG BEACH—Crash Davis in the movie “Bull Durham” implored Nuke Laloosh to throw some ground balls—”It’s more democratic.” Perhaps the pitchers on the Reds team in the Area Code Games have been watching.
Three Reds pitchers, who hail from Hawaii and the Four Corners region, threw on the first day of Area Codes, and all three had downhill plane, movement and sink on their pitches, and they generated a 18 groundouts against just three flyouts.
For comparison’s sake, that 6-to-1 ratio is four and a half times the major league average, which currently is 1.3.
Lefthander David Peterson from Denver’s Regis Jesuit High started with 88-90 mph fastball that touched 91 in his first inning. The projectable 6-foot-6, 215-pound Peterson has a large frame with broad shoulders and long arms and legs. From an arm slot a tick below three quarters, Peterson produces plus fastball movement. His fastball stands out for its plus sink, although he also has armside run. The Oregon commit hides the ball well and gets extension out front. In his three innings, Peterson got seven groundballs and one flyout.
His 76-79 mph changeup flashed above-average because of its tumble and corkscrew-like movement. Peterson has a mid-to-upper-70s curveball and struck out two.
Lefthander Kodi Medeiros from Waiakea High, Hilo, Hawaii, entered in the fourth to make his first appearance since Perfect Game National. Medeiros hit 94 mph in at the event and his fastball sat 90-92 and touched 93 Monday. Medeiros has a high arm path in the back and then releases the ball from a low arm slot that produces plus armside run on his fastball.
“I have always thrown from that slot,” Medeiros said. “It is a low three-quarter slot, just above sidearm. It was just natural to me. I get really good movement when I throw my two-seam fastball.”
In his two innings, Medeiros got five groundouts and allowed two hits that were groundballs that found holes in the infield. The opposition was unable to lift Medeiros’ heavy fastball out of the infield.
Medeiros issued two walks but was around the strike zone.
“Sometimes when I struggle, I miss crossing over with my landing or not staying on top of the ball,” Medeiros said. “The problem is usually just not being balanced when I finish.”
Many scouts complained about the small strike zone. Medeiros’ extreme movement would be tough on any home plate umpire.
Both of Medeiros’ offspeed pitches engendered uncomfortable swings. Medeiros’ 78-80 mph changeup flashed above-average with good fade. His upper-70s breaking ball flashed plus with abrupt movement, 3-to-7 lateral tilt and power.
“I noticed that most of the hitters were going to sit fastball and they are ready for the fastball,” Medeiros said. “So I tried throwing them off-balance with my slider and changeup. My slider was moving pretty good and is my go to pitch.”
He showed confidence in his command of the pitch by throwing it on the first pitch to multiple hitters in his second inning.
Medeiros has a compact, muscular build at 6-foot, 180-pounds with with broad, sloped shoulders, a wide chest and strong lower half.
“I have always been a little tall and skinny but just in the last year or so I have been lifting and trying to gain weight,” Medeiros said. “I do a lot of weight training and would like to be around 200 pounds by the time I leave high school.”
He is diligent to maintain his arm strength and flexibility in his flexible and whip-like arm.
“I long-toss five to six times a week and bands every day,” Medeiros. “I try to stay loose and strengthen the muscles that keep you in shape.”
Medeiros showed his athleticism and fielded his position well on two ground balls in his first inning. He also shows promise as a lefhanded hitter with power. He is currently uncommitted but is currently considering Pepperdine, Oregon, Arizona and UCLA.
Brock Burke was the next lefthander for the Reds. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Burke generates downhill plane from a high three-quarter angle and hides the ball well with a high glove extension. His fastball sat 86-87 early in his outing but then ticked up to 88-89. Burke mixed in a 68-72 mph breaking ball and 76-78 mph changeup. Burke, who attends Evergreen (Colo.), produced four groundouts in his two innings.
• The day began with rounds of batting practice at Blair Field, noted as a tough house for hitters. The California-based Brewers roster made the park look small though, with six of its players—Sean Bouchard, Alex Jackson, Kevin Padlo, Tommy Pincin, Nick Valaika and Marcus Wilson—hitting home runs in batting practice.
• Outfielder Clay Casey from Olive Branch (Miss.) High also showed impressive pull power with a long BP home run to left field. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Casey is committed to Mississippi.