Aztecs 2015 Class of Newbies
The Aztecs will have to deal with a lot of change this year. The passing of Tony Gwynn being the most dramatic. The players and coaching staff were able to remain focused throughout this time of sorrow to win the MWC championship and move on to a regional. I not only tip my cap but bow to their achievement.
They lost a lot of quality talent to graduation as well as the MLB draft so there will be openings and I'm sure that was a selling point for these kids. Three draft choices come in and some quality talent besides that also will show up. It's too early to tell if this is a sign of rebuilding or reloading but they certainly look good. See for yourself.
Denz'l Chapman, OF, Serra HS, Gardena, CA
He was drafted in the 32nd round by the Athletics and remained unsigned. He hit .358 with 4 home runs his senior year and hit well in all four years in high school. He developed some strength his senior year and I've read reports that commented on his speed. That's a good skill for an outfielder.
Brody Westmoreland, SS, Thunder Ridge HS, Highlands, CO
Brody was drafted by the Rockies in the 35th round and remained unsigned. At 6'3" he's a bit big for a shortstop but, if he has the range, it won't matter. Besides, he hit .420 with 7 home runs his final season. Over his high school career he hit .433 with 20 home runs. This could be another Kris Bryant. Wouldn't THAT be fun to watch in the MWC? I don't need to say anything else. Oh, all right, I will. He was a pre-season AA for baseballnews.com and he led his team to the state championship. This kid could be something special.
Tommy Pincin, C, Upland HS, Upland, CA
Tommy was drafted in the 26th round by the Mets and remained unsigned. He hit .486 with 2 his senior year. Surprisingly, I found little else on him. Looks like a quality player to me.
Dalton Douty, RHP, Cypress CC, Huntington Beach, CA
Dalton was 1-5 and 4.86 in 33 IP in 2014. That doesn't warrant getting recruited. He comes in as a junior after one year at Cypress. He spent his freshman year at UC Santa Barbara so he's been around. He has a lot to prove.
Andrew Eppenbach, RHP, Bishop Amat HS, Claremont, CA
Andrew was 4-5 and 2.65 in 60 IP with 50 strikeouts in a season shortened by a car accident. Luckily, he walked away with only slight injuries (so I've read) but I'll give him a pass for the coming season.
Izzy Fuentes, SS/RHP, Chino Hills HS, Chino Hills, CA
A shortstop who also pitches means he must have an arm. He hit .412 his senior year and was also 6-2 and 2.20 in 41 IP with 48 strikeouts. Yeah, he has an arm. I read one report where he picked off three runners in one game. You'd think they'd learn. If he's being thought as a shortstop, I believe he'll get a shot.
Tyler Loptien, RHP, Thunder Ridge HS, Highlands, CO
More Colorado talent. Tyler was 1-3 and 1.40 in 20 IP with 30 strikeouts. Ignore the wins and losses; just check ERA and whiffs which are both pretty good. He was used strictly in relief and looked like a closer as he had 7 saves in his 13 appearances. He may continue that roll with the Aztecs.
Ryan Mota, RHP, Kaiser HS, Fontana, CA
Even though Ryan was recruited as a pitcher, he did a little of everything his senior year. I'll just deal with the pitching. He was 9-0 and 0.67 in 62 IP with 68 strikeouts his senior year. His WHIP was also below 1.00 so he dominated. He was named All-CIF which means you're considered pretty good in the LA area which is very competitive. His team went 25-2 so he knows how to win.
Alan Trejo, RHP/SS, Warren HS, Downey, CA
Another great signing by the Aztecs. Alan was 10-0 and 0.51 with 86 strikeouts his senior year. Hard to beat that. He also made All-State for Medium Schools by MaxPreps. He was his league's MVP and made other All-something or other lists. A good one. No need to go into it but he could hit too.
Matt Wezniak, LHP/1B, Carlsbad HS, Carlsbad, CA
Mat hit .378 with 5 home runs his senior year. The home runs caught my eye as he was recruited primarily as a pitcher. He had 14 career homeruns. As a pitcher he was 6-5 and 2.42 in 66 IP (most on the team) with 47 strikeouts. His hitting helped garner him second team All-San Diego Section.
Chase Calabuig, OF, Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, CA
Chase hit .296 and 1 his senior year which was a bit of a dip after an excellent junior year. That's about all I could find.
This isn't the biggest list of recruits but it certainly has some talent. Kids always want to play for a championship team and the Aztecs are that. Chapman, Moreland, and Pincin are all draft picks that decided on college baseball. Those are three excellent position players that will certainly get some long looks. Loptien, Mota, and Trejo also look good and all pitch. I'm going with Loptien as the kid to watch.