One of my biggest takeaways from the Rockies draft this past week was the influx of talent coming from Southern California, especially with myself growing up there and playing against a few of the selections. The Rockies went all in on scouting the Southern California region and came away with 11 players from that area alone. Southern California has traditionally been a powerhouse of baseball talent so it could be a sign of good things to come for the farm system of the Rockies. In 2013 they only selected 1 player from Southern California and increased to 7 last year and now 11.
Tyler Nevin (38) 3B
Poway High School
As many of you know by now, Tyler is the son of former MLB great Phil Nevin who was also drafted in the first round as a third baseman. Many of the scouting projections for Tyler hinge on his body to continue to grow and develop. His father, Phil had a similar build coming out of high school but was able to grow and stay at third base and develop significant power. In 2013 Tyler sat out his Junior season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he came back for his senior year to hit .409. Tyler was considered one of the most advanced prep hitters in the draft, if he is able to continue growing and stay healthy then the Rockies may be able to return the favor to the Padres and let them watch a Nevin at third base do damage for a change.
Peter Lambert (44) RHP
San Dimas High School
Peter was the LA Times prep player of the year this past season as he posted a record of 13-0 and an ERA of 0.34 with 113 strikeouts in just 83 innings. Peter led his team to a 31-0 start in a tough Southern California division and saw their first loss come in the playoffs. Like Tyler, Peter is a UCLA commit for the fall but hopefully will sign now that he went early in the 2nd round. Lambert is a tall thin right handed pitcher who already boasts an above average fastball. He has a 4 pitch mix, consisting of a fastball, changeup, slider and curveball thus setting him up to be a starter down the road. Scouts were very high on his feel for pitching while still being a prep pitcher. Peter Lambert is a name you should get familiar with as future for this young righty is very bright.
David Hill (107) RHP
University of San Diego
David was the ace of the USD pitching staff this past year posting a 9-3 record with a 2.33 ERA. Coming out of high school David was rated the 188 prospect but fell in the draft due to a strong commitment to play at Long Beach State. He was there for a year and then to Orange Coast College then to finish at San Diego. At each stop he has logged many innings leading to some injury concerns for scouts. His stuff rivals any of the drafts top prospects and thanks to his success in college he should move relatively fast through the minors.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to play against David when he was in high school at El Modena. He was named the co pitcher of the year in the Century league posting a 1.37 ERA and boasted a fastball in the upper 80s back then with lots of command. He was the ace of his high school team and was a complete bulldog on the hill and refused to ever exit a game.
Brian Mundell (197) C/1B
Cal Poly SLO
I also played against Brian back during his high school days at Valencia high school in Southern California. He was the team captain his senior year and helped to lead Valencia to a league title. Brian was and still is a feared power hitter. This past season he primarily was the teams designated hitter due to a tommy john surgery, but all throughout high school he caught and projects as either a catcher or first baseman with a plus bat.
Colin Welmon (227) RHP
Loyala Marymount University
Decided to come back for his senior season after being drafted in the 34th round to the Pirates. He led LMU in innings at 94 while posting an ERA of 2.68.
Mylz Jones (377) SS
Cal State Bakersfield
Athletic shortstop with a career average during his three seasons at Bakersfield of .301 and 91 RBIs.
Chris Keck (527) 3B
Started every game this past season at third base for #1 UCLA. Tied for the team lead this past season with 7 home runs and led the team in SLG% at .483.
Bobby Stahel (597) OF
Very quick outfielder from Palos Verdes, CA who led the nation in stolen bases with 93 during his junior year of high school. Led USC in AVG. .376, SLG% .514, runs 59, and hits 92 this past season.
Stephen Wear (797) C
University of California- Santa Barbara
Defense first catcher with a very strong arm, initially recruited to UCSB as a pitcher.
To me it seems more than coincidence that the Rockies have made a strong push for prospects coming from Southern California as they are usually further along in their development due to their ability to play year round. Many of these prospects grew up playing against each other and now will have the opportunity to come through the minors together. Nevin and Lambert both committed to UCLA but hopefully now will have the opportunity to play together for years and years to come. Lets hope that these Southern California kids can adjust to all of the Colorado rain if/when they make it to the big leagues.