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May 18, 2010
Draft Preview: Ficociello, Hernandez, Lorenzen
Jake Hernandez, Los Osos High School
Hernandez is known much more for his glove than his bat, though the latter has been showing signs of improvement this season. The righty usually bats third in the lineup, and with a bit of an inside-out swing, he has a strong ability to take the ball the other way when he hits. Hernandez has excellent bat speed and has pop in his bat, but he can also be exposed on off-speed offerings.
“He’s got power,” says Los Osos head coach Dominick Copas. “He hits the ball to the right side well—to the right-center field side. He hits well for both power and average.”
Behind the dish is where Hernandez shines. He’s an excellent receiver with very quick pop times—he has been clocked consistently in the mid-1.8s to low-1.9s—and an arm that Copas would rate in the “70-80 range.” Hernandez’s mechanics are good, he blocks the ball well, and he has a nice in-game awareness that helps him to control the running game.
“He has good, quick hands,” says Copas. “He has soft hands for blocking the ball and receiving from pitchers.”
Like most catchers, Hernandez is not a great runner, and as he ages, he’s going to lose a few more steps on the basepaths. Last season, many scouts saw him as more of a backup catcher than an everyday player, but with the improvements that he has made to his hitting, he does have the potential to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues.
Dominic Ficociello, Fullerton Union High School
The Arkansas commit has quick wrists and is a natural righty swinger, but it’s hard to tell because his lefty swing looks natural. He takes the majority of his hacks from the left side as well, since the majority of Fullerton’s competition feature right-handed pitchers. When he bats lefty, he has a nice, powerful swing (his thin frame is misleading) and hits the gaps well. He can also hit for power while batting righty, but his coach believes that he is actually a better hitter from the left side.
“He’s more of a control guy right-handed than he is left-handed,” says Price.
Michael Lorenzen, Fullerton Union High School
“He’s one of the top outfielders in the nation,” says Price. “He throws 97 or something like that—94 or 97—in the outfield. They clocked him at the Perfect Game Showcase in Minnesota at 94 or 97. He was the fastest one ever, so he throws well.”
Lorenzen’s speed is also an asset to his game (a 6.54 60-yard dash), so he will likely be able to stay in center field at the next level. His bat has improved this season, and he has solid power projection. His swing has a bit of a lift at the end to help carry balls and he can get pull-happy down the left-field line, but he can keep his swing on an even plane. Lorenzen is aggressive at the plate and has the ability to hit to all fields, but when everything is working for him, his greatest strength is hitting to left-center field.
Some assorted notes and quotes from Fullerton and Los Osos:
Some clips of the guys in action:
I’m looking into attending additional high school and college games as the playoffs near, and I’m also interested in hopping over to some California League games. I have a few items on deck, but if there are any prospects you would like to know about in the Southern California area, games you feel I must see, want some footage or pictures of a particular player, or if you have any other suggestions for me on how to improve this feature, please feel free to throw them down in the comments or at my Twitter account.