The last tryouts for the Area Code Baseball Games were held recently, with the Oakland A's and Milwaukee Brewers rounding out the final events. Now the focus is on the Area Code Baseball Games, which will be held from Aug. 5-10 in Long Beach, Calif.
Here's who made a big impression during the A's and Brewers tryouts.
The first and only tryout for the Oakland Athletics was held July 5 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. With more than 100 players from Northern California on hand, talent was at a premium.
Jonah Wesely out of Tracy (Calif.) was the top pitcher in attendance. Dealing from the left side, his fastball sat between 89-91 mph. With a solid 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, his projectability and long-term potential is high. Ranked No. 33 in the ESPN 60, Wesely could turn heads in Long Beach.
The most impressive and jaw-dropping session of batting practice came from 5-foot-8, 170-pound second baseman Willie Calhoun from Benicia (Benicia, Calif.). For someone his size, you do not expect to see balls leaving the yard every other swing, but that is what happened. He has a compact swing from the left side and the sound that came off the bat after contact was thunderous.
Other pitchers who impressed were St. Ignatius (San Francisco) LHP Matt Krook, who sat between 87-89 with his fastball and had solid off-speed offerings. Steven Farinaro of Head-Royce (Oakland, Calif.) had one of the better fastballs of the day, topping out at 90.
Class of 2014 RHP Matthew Trask of Davis (Calif.) was between 88-89 with his fastball and maxed at 90.
The Milwaukee Brewers final tryout was comprised of the best players from the first two regionals. Held at Dedeaux Field on the campus of the USC, this final crop of players included eight in the ESPN 60.
This talented group of athletes was lead by LHP Stephen Gonsalves of Cathedral Catholic (San Diego). Gonsavles starts his delivery with a throwback over-the-head delivery with a downhill plane and a 91-92 mph heater. His off-speed stuff was solid with a slider and a changeup.
Crawford has really come into his own at the shortstop position. Last year at the Area Code Games he played a handful of innings in center field, where he shined, but played sparingly at short. His transition to SS over the last 12 months appears to have been seamless for the athletically gifted player.
Rivera is one of the best shortstops in the nation and has the actions, solid footwork and a cannon arm to stay there long term. Off of the mound he can touch 93, but there is no need to take him away from a position that is scarce for talent like this. At the plate he has average power, but a good swing to all fields and when the ball is in play he is a smart base runner with solid speed.
Smith is a power-swinging outfielder who can also man first base. He has a sweet left-handed swing with raw power, good timing, and a strong arm and a knack for the game.
Some young guns at the tryout included Alexander Jackson from Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) and Jack Flaherty out of Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.). Although these 2014 grads may be younger than their competition, they sure don't look like it.
Checking in at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Jackson is built like a linebacker and has the strength to match. Flaherty is listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, and he emerged this season as a star at Harvard-Westlake after Lucas Giolito went down with injury.