Area Code Games Snapshot

Dave
Perkin has spent the past two months scouring Southern California for high
school talent, providing scouting reports and analysis to Prospects Plus
subscribers, as one of more than a dozen of the service’s content providers.
With the high school scouting scene taking center stage this week with the Area
Code Games in Long Beach, readers can see the event through the eyes of Dave,
who has spent the past seven years scouting the area for professional
teams.


LONG BEACH’”Naturally,
as the Area Code Games conclude, it is time to begin lining the players up.
Since Prospects Plus subscribers can view a consensus top 20 overall prospects
ranking, as well as a Best Tools list in the coming days, I decided to provide
a sneak peak at some of the top postion players who played for the four western
teams I focussed on this week: The Brewers Blue (mostly Southern California
players) and Gray (Northern California) teams, as well as teams sponsored by
the Reds (Rockies and Arizona) and Nationals (Pacific Northwest).

Players
are listed in reverse order, and are ranked predominately on how they performed
this week, with some consideration to their overall future
potential.

10. Kyle Higashioka, c, Edison HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Many
players were candidates for inclusion on this list, but I’m going with
Higashioka as number 10. He’s not the pro prospect that Kyle Skipworth is, but
he is a solidly built backstop with quality catch and throw skills. 
Higashioka’s bat shows quickness and loft power, despite a tendency to get
under the ball too frequently.

9. Kyle Skipworth, c, Patriot HS,
Riverside, Calif.

Skipworth was in Long Beach
for only a couple of days before moving down to San Diego and the Aflac
Classic. His short time here was uninspiring, especially at bat, but he was
brilliant in the preliminary events. For a backstop, Skipworth has the entire
package: an athletic and highly projectable frame, a strong arm and impressive
power with a near ideal lefthanded swing. He could be taken in the first round
next year, but he was not at his best at the Area Code Games.

8. Tyler Rahmatulla, ss, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif.

Rahmatulla
did not make consistent hard contact this week, and breaking balls especially
bedeviled him. Despite that, Rahmatulla has all the ingredients to be a big
time middle infielder: quickness, speed, excellent hands, and the ability to
make any type of defensive play.

7. Marcus Semien, 2b, St. Mary’s HS, El Cerrito, Calif.

Another
top-notch middle infield prospect, Semien has above-average speed (6.78 60-yard
dash) and his arm and glove fit nicely at second. As the week wore on, Semien
displayed the ability to hit the ball hard and drive it, throwing his hands and
getting the barrel of the bat out in front of the plate, instead of dragging it
behind like so many young hitters.

6. Andy Burns, ss/3b, Rocky Mountain
HS, Fort Collins, Colo.

Burns
has solid, but not overwhelming tools, and probably profiles best as an
offensive-minded second baseman with fine defensive ability. An Aflac
participant, Burns showed the ability to drive the ball, hitting a home run in
the first game of the week. He also has the skill to make both the routine and
highlight-reel play, and his speed is above-average at
6.82.

5.
Tyler Chatwood, of/rhp, East Valley HS, Redlands,
Calif.

As
a pitcher, Chatwood has flashed a fastball in the 90-93 mph range. As an
outfielder, his arm and speed are already well-above-average. Chatwood attacks
the ball at bat and hits it hard to all fields, but he may not project to have
the type of power pro scouts prefer in a corner outfielder.

4. Cutter Dykstra, ss/22b, Westlake HS,
Westlake Village, Calif.

The
son of former big leaguer Lenny, Dykstra was wildly inconsistent this week,
making a spectacular play in the field one moment then blowing a routine
grounder the next; hitting the ball hard in some at bats and then looking
helpless in others. None of that diminishes the fact that Dykstra is a top tier
middle infield prospect with outstanding tools, including 6.58-second speed.
Game experience should even out his inconsistency.

3. Aaron Hicks, of/rhp, Wilson HS, Long Beach

Hicks
combines an extremely projectable frame with electric tools. His arm, glove and
speed project to well-above-average, and his graceful, gliding style of play is
remarkable. Long a scout favorite, Hicks projects as a potential five-tool
superstar. The primary questions with Hicks have always concerned his bat. Is
he now hitting equal to his ability? No. Will he eventually hit to his ability?
Yes, provided he makes some needed mechanical adjustments. Hicks showed
progress in this area as the week wore on, getting the barrel out and driving
some balls hard.

2. Bobby Crocker, of, Aptos (Calif.) HS

Crocker
has an eye-opening athletic build and the baseball tools to match. At 6-foot-3,
200 pounds, his 6.70-second speed is superior to many players 30 to 40 pounds
lighter. Bobby shot down several baserunners this week with his strong arm, but
he does have a kind of windmill windup to his throws which adds time to his
release. Crocker takes a big swing and is undisciplined at the plate, but when
he connects squarely the crack of the bat is earsplitting. With his showing
this week, Bobby has rocketed up draft lists, profiling as a toolsy corner
outfielder with lots of upside.

1. Anthony Gose, of/lhp, Bellflower (Calif.)
HS

Gose’s lack of height and projectability may
drop him behind several others as a draft prospect, but based on performance at
the Area Code Games, as well as a gamer mentality, he landed atop this list of
position players from the four western teams I scouted this week. Gose was far
and away the best player I saw this week on the four western ballclubs. Anthony
has fine defensive ability in the outfield, and both his speed and arm grade
out to 65 to 70 on the 20 to 80 scouting scale. As a pitcher, Gose has a
blow-away low- to mid-90s fastball, which makes him an intriguing middle relief
or closer prospect. I might be in the minority among scouts, however, and
believe he should start out as an outfielder, due to his excellent athletic
ability. Coming into this week, every scout familiar with Gose had major
questions about his bat. As the week wore on, he began to answer those
questions by showing the ability to fire the bat head and hit the ball hard to
all fields. His smaller frame will probably ensure that Gose will be picked
lower in the draft than several other players who were on stage at Long Beach. But for me,
he stood head and shoulders above all other position
players.

The high school draft class of 2007, particularly
in Southern California, was remarkable. While
the 2008 class may not be quite as strong, it is an impressive group
nonetheless, featuring many players any organization would love to acquire.

High School | #2008

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