In years past, hitters have shown up and conquered Long Beach's Blair Field, home of the Area Code Games and known for its pitcher-friendly environs. However, the 2017 edition of the event continued to be a showcase for the strength of the 2018 high school class: pitching. One scout in attendance said pitching depth lent the event more balance than last year's Area Codes, even without an arm like 2017 No. 2 pick Hunter Greene.
Perhaps moreso than East Coast Pro, Area Codes allowed several under-the-radar prospects to make a name for themselves--and make this top 10 performers list.
1. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP
Kempner High, Sugar Land, Texas
Woods-Richardson pitched on the event's first day and made an immediate impression, striking out the side in his first inning on just 10 pitches. The Texas commit worked quickly, throwing a 90-92 mph fastball and mixing in a sharp 12-to-6 curve that was mostly 77-78 mph. His second inning wasn't as easy, and his breaking ball wasn't quite as sharp, but he made another appearance three days later and touched 95 mph with his fastball.
"I think more velocity's coming because you can see the arm quickness that he has," one scout said. "If you look at him close, you still see that he has a baby face, so it's going to come. With how athletic he is, and he's already a strong kid, I think he has tremendous upside."
In addition, Woods-Richardson showed plus raw power in batting practice, hitting several balls out of Blair Field and creating real two-way interest.
2. Nick Northcut, 3B
Mason (Ohio) High
One of the most consistent hitters of the event, Northcut hit the ball hard each time he stepped to the plate. He had two 92 mph exit velocities or higher in back-to-back games. He also made a slick diving play at third base and showed at least average arm strength.
3. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP
Magnolia (Texas) High
Kloffenstein showed an impressive three-pitch mix, including a low-90s fastball, located to both sides; a mid-80s changeup that looked similar to his fastball out of his hand; and a sharp 79-82 mph breaking ball that he consistently located down in the zone.
4. Max Marusak, OF
Amarillo (Texas) High
Relatively unknown on a national stage before this event, Marusak was perhaps ACG's most exciting player, showing legitimate 70-grade speed (on the 20-80 scale) and some pop to his pull side with a double that hit the bottom of the fence in left field.
5. Mike Siani, OF/LHP
Penn Charter School, Philadelphia
Siani, a Virginia commit, produced with several multi-hit games, including a three-hit game and two stolen bases on the first day.
6. Mike Vasil, RHP
Boston College High
During an event when most pitchers throw two or three innings at most, Vasil (a Virginia commit like Siani) threw five innings and allowed no earned runs while striking out five.
7. Tyler Ras, RHP
Middletown (N.J.) North High
Ras piqued the interest of scouts when he opened up at 94 mph and proceeded to sit 91-94 over three innings, touching 95. He showed feel for an upper-70s changeup that finished off two batters on swings and misses.
8. Nick Decker, OF
Seneca High, Tabernacle, N.J.
Decker reaffirmed his reputation as a talented hitter with quality at-bat after quality at-bat, hitting fastballs and offspeed pitches with conviction and showing a good understanding of the strike zone.
9. Osiris Johnson, INF/OF
Encinal High, Alemeda, Calif.
Twitchy, fast and athletic, Johnson showed he could hit good pitching with a 2-for-2 game with two walks and a single to left field that came off the bat at 101 mph. His outfield defense, in particular, needs work.
10. Ryan Holgate, OF
Davis (Calif.) High
The California commit showed good feel for the barrel and managed a hit off Arizona lefty Matthew Liberatore, sending an 83 mph changeup back up the middle on the first day. n