Widgets Magazine

Live Baseball in January is Cool: Giolito, Fried, Rio Ruiz

Written By on 25th July, 2012

I have to say, this weekend was a pretty good one all around.  Yesterday I got to head down to Orange County for some high school winter ball action, and today I got to dust off the Pings for my first round of golf of 2012.  My golf game wasn’t all that sharp, and that could be said of some of the play I saw yesterday as well, but what can really be expected this early in 2012, some of us are a little rusty.

I know some of our readers lean towards the sabermetric side, so you can write these numbers down.  83, 60, 71, 91, 241, 133, and 5.  If you plug all of those numbers into Mapquest, you will find the route that I took to get down to J Serra High School.

Anyway, back to yesterday, my main interest was in getting a look at Harvard Westlake’s Lucas Giolito, and Max Fried.  I saw both of them in San Diego at the Perfect Game Showcase, and had also seen Fried at the Area Code Games, and again just a few weeks ago up in the valley against J Serra in Winter League Action.  I thought there was just a double header between J Serra and Harvard Westlake, but I got a little bonus Winter League action as Bishop Amat was added into the mix, so the first game was Westlake (Giolito) vs J Serra, the second game was Westlake (Fried) vs Amat, and the third was J Serra vs Amat.  There were some signs on the freeway that there may be some high winds in the area, but it was a perfect day for baseball.

If you have the time, Google search J Serra High School and check out their facilities, because they have one of the nicest high schools and athletic facilities that I have been to.  Apparently they have some big time boosters, just check out the pic of the seat that I set shop up at. . .

…and I heard Boras had some of his representation there at the game.

If you aren’t too well schooled in high school baseball prospects, Lucas Giolito is rated as one of the top right handed pitching prospects eligible for the 2012 amateur draft, and some have him at 1/1 in the draft right now.  Baseball America has him as the number 2 high school draft eligible prospect behind Byron Buxton, and Perfect Games has him rated as the top high schooler.  Fried is rated as the 7th overall high school prospect by BA, second highest rated lefty behind Matt  Smoral, and Perfect Games has Fried 12th overall, and also as the 2nd highest rated lefty behind Smoral.  Both Giolito and Fried are already committed to UCLA, as part one of the deepest crops of commitments in the nation.  Ruiz is committed to USC, and ranked 23rd by BA (second highest 3b), and Perfect Game has him ranked 18th overall among high school prospects.

I’m sure I’ll be doing a more in depth breakdown after the Showcase in Compton next month and get in season looks at the pitchers so I can focus more on charting.  Yesterday I just wanted to get some more video and ease my way into the season, but here’s a brief paragraph or so on these three guys, and some video. . .

Lucas Giolito-Giolito is a big kid (these are kids right?!).  Listed at 6’6”, 230 pounds, and has the frame to take on some more muscle.  He has electric arm speed that unleashed fastballs that had him sitting 93/94, and touching 95 yesterday on the team’s gun.  Another scout had a gun that was routinely 1-2 mph hotter than the team gun, but I was peaking at the team gun for velo, so that’s what I went with.  I heard he was pitching a few ticks higher than that earlier in the month, and touching 99.  His dad seemed to have an idea why there was a down tick in the velo yesterday, but I’ll let that remain in the family.  He wasn’t as sharp as I was expecting, from what I heard from earlier in the month, but he flashed a plus breaking ball, and a plus change.  He seemed to be concentrating on getting extended on the off speed stuff in the later innings.  He hit the wall in the fourth, and exited after 71 pitches.  Like I said, the FB was primarily 93/94, touching 95, the breaking ball was primarily 82-82, that he was able to bury down and away and get a lot of bad swings on.  The change had similar velocity, 80-83.

Fried had the most impressive outing on the day, going five innings and striking out 10.  He was much sharper than a few weeks ago when I saw him.  His dad said he was sick on that day, and his nose was so clogged that he had trouble breathing.  On that day Fried exited after 4, and I thought I might be the Westlake jinx as Gio exited game one after four innings.  In a sense, Fried reminds me of Griffin Murphy, who I saw pitch a few times at Redlands East Valley.  For high schoolers, these guys have a great sense of pitchability, can add and subtract on the fastball, use all of their pitches, and fill up all four quadrants.  Fried has more upside though, and has a completely different body that bodes well for future development.  Fried is listed at 6’4” and 170 pounds and is very lean and athletic.  He also plays the OF for Westlake when not pitching, and he hit a bomb to RF in the first game.  There wasn’t a lot of hard contact against Fried, as he was mixing in all three of his pitches, with the FB at 89-92, touching 93, CB 74-77, and CH at 81/82.


(The Fried video here is from 1/14/2012)

I saw Rio Ruiz at the Area Code Games, and again at the Perfect Game Showcase in San Diego, and yesterday he looked bigger.  I don’t know if it was because he was among so many bigger guys at the showcases or because I was much closer to him when he was in the pen and at third, but he looked smaller than the listed 6’2” 195 pounds.  He showed good reflexes and instincts in Amat’s first game as he was tested with a shot in the first inning.  He has a very strong arm, he came in to pitch two innings in the first game and was firing fastballs at 92/93.  Word on the street is that he prefers hitting over pitching, but that arms strength may be hard to keep off of the hill.  At the plate, he looked like he was facing a very good pitcher who was on his game (Fried).  I guess that should have been expected, it is January, Rio swings it from the left side, and was facing one of the toughest lefties around, so advantage Fried yesterday.  He did get a knock after Fried exited, and got a walk in his second game.


…This is exclusive video from the pen shot through a 1 inch crack in the gate, no scouts saw this…Feel Special!

All in all, a great day for baseball, and I got to see some great talent. . . a much better day than watching the snow fall, sorry Wiers! 













Steve Fiorindo
Steve Fiorindo
About Steve Fiorindo

Steve Fiorindo has been with Bullpen Banter for over a year now. He lives in Southern California and has been focusing on amateur and minor league prospects. He's been hitting the video hard this past year with a lot of his work being featured on MLB Networks draft coverage in 2012. Steve can be reached by email at SFiorindo@BullpenBanter.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @SocalSteve9


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