Prep Baseball Report

Rising Stars Game 2024: Quick Hits

Steven Hardesty
Central Coast/North LA Area Scout


New Episode LIVE now! At The Yard Podcast

Ventura, Calif. -

The Prep Baseball California staff put their collective eyes on the top performers from our various Rising Stars ID events this spring on Sunday May 12th at Mater Dei High School with our SoCal Rising Stars Game. A collecton of 30+ of the these top players were each impressive in their own rights, but today we take a look at some of the top performers from this event with this edition of Quick Hits.

Players were put through the traditional showcase workout that included a 60 yard sprint time, On Field Batting Practice, defensive workouts at their positions and concluded with pitchers facing live hitters in a 9 inning simulated scrimmage. Trackman was in use for all hitting and pitching sessions to gather data and help measure their present athletic proficiencies and future projectability. 

Rising Stars events are aimed at first introducing 7th/8th grade players to the showcase structure with an opportunity for our Prep Baseball California staff to interact with the next generation of High School baseball players in California and evaluate their present athletic ability, baseball tool sets and provide feedback on the development process for these players. Players who stand out at the SoCal Rising Stars Game have opened the door for an opportunity that can ultimately culminate into a trip to LakePoint, Georgia for the 2024 JR Future Games to compete against Prep Baseball teams from other states around the country in a tournament style event.  

For all the data and information on all of the players outside of the Quick Hits click here.

Here is a first look at some of the standouts from the SoCal Rising Stars Game.

Aiden Vargas 1B / LHP / Palos Verdes High, CA / 2028

Vargas put on an impressive all-around performance. The LH hitting 1B was consistently solid during batting practice including a max exit velocity up to 85.7 MPH which played in game very well as he collected 3 hits with each one being a hard barrel off the bat. His offensive performance alone would have put him on this list, but add in a stellar 5 batter look on the mound where he attacked hitter with a low 70's FB while mixing in a CB/CHG combo he showed consistent feel for the strike zone with all his pitches. Vargas was the star which shined brightest on a day filled with star performances.


Suarez put an empathic stamp on a strong day when the young backstop launched a loud HR to straight away LF which was a no doubter off the bat. As impressive as that one display of power was for Suarez his overall collection of tools stood out amongst a talented group. Suarez ran one of the top 60 times at 7.43 seconds, flashed 74 MPH C/OF arm velocity with a consistent 2.0-2.1 pop time with a max exit velocity at 88.8 MPH. Athletic with advanced tools and upside to his game Suarez is right in line with the title of the event a "Rising Star."

Anthony Daniel SS / 2B / HERITAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, CA / 2029

While the '28 class populates the majority of this list Daniel was an impressive '29 grad whose feel for playing the game at a high level allows his solid toolset to shine bright. A smooth fielder who displays athletic actions in his footwork/glovework with natural rhythm through the ball and feel to defend in game. His exit velocity peaks in the 75 MPH range presently, but he has a quick/direct RH swing that consistently found the barrel through the middle of the field in both batting practice and during the game in which he collected a pair of hits. In addition to his feel for defense/hitting Daniel put together a strong 5 batter look where he pitched of a 70-72 MPH FB which he commanded within the strike zone while adding in feel for a CHG/CB combo to attack the strike  zone. An impressive all-around 2-way performance for Daniel.

Kylen Gravely LHP / OF / Santa Margarita Catholic High School, CA / 2028

Gravely catches your eye quickly with a wiry athletic frame at 6' 160 lbs. with a natural bounce to his step that makes you notice him as he moves around. Once he steps in between the line his toolset as a baseball player cements the feel that he is one of the better players on a baseball field at his age. With an athletic LH swing that shows present bat speed and feel to drive the baseball through the middle of the diamond his exit velocity peaked at 86.2 MPH while showing a good approach within the game. He moves well in both the OF and at 1B where he displayed 83 MPH OF arm velocity with accuracy/carry to his throws. His position player work alone would have ranked him on this list, but his turn on the mound was quite impressive with a 79.5 MPH FB and a 65-67 MPH CB combo of pitches he got multiple swing/miss or uncomfortable swings from hitters.

Ethan Miller SS / 2B / Centennial , CA / 2028

Miller caught my eyes first during the batting practice portion not just how strong his round of BP was, but also his athleticism moving around fielding grounders at SS. He bounces around with quickness in his feet, athletic actions approach the ball and working through the ball, smooth glovework and feel to play downhlill with each of these traits showing up during the game play portion. Going back to his swing he collected consistent hard contact during batting practice including a max exit velocity up to 87.4 MPH while averaging 83.7 MPH with a max distance at 326' showing the sneaky pop in his bat. Miller took multiple quality at bats within the game play portion of the day.

Cooper Cantrell C / OF / Martin Luther King Jr. High, CA / 2028

Cantrell has an athletic build to his present frame with some wiry strength to it. He shows athleticism running one of the better 60's on the day at 7.38 seconds. His athletic ability appears in his actions defensively where he flashed 71 MPH C arm velocity and consistent 2.1 range pop times while receiving well during the game play portion. In addition to his solid ability behind the the plate Cantrell flashes versatility moving well in the OF with an accurate 72 MPH OF arm velocity. His swing consistently hits the ball with authority in the air during BP including a max exit velocity at 92.1 MPH and an impressive 63% line drive rate. A good athlete who shows the ability to play a premium defensive spot at C while adding in an impact offensive profile.

Milo Benattar 3B / RHP / Sierra Canyon, CA / 2028

Benattar showed well on both side of the game as an impressive 2-way player. Standing 5'11 170 lbs. with some present strength to his frame he put on a strong showing during batting practice including 87.8 MPH max exity velocity and a 100% Line Drive/Fly ball rate which plays to his impact potential as a hitter. On the mound he touched 79.3 MPH with his FB while sitting 77-79 MPH with spin rates peaking above 2000 RPMs on the pitch and 17.9" of IVB that paired well with his 67-69 MPH SLD that also peaks above 2000 RPMs of spin. 

Nathan Englander RHP / OF / SIERRA CANYON SCHOOL, CA / 2029

Englander was the 2nd '29 grad who put on a strong showing. A 2-way player who shows potential on both sides of the game his inning of work on the mound was quite impressive. With a loose arm action that shows whip through the delivery his FB peaked 79.3 MPH while flashing an impressive 2100+ RPM spin rate and 21.1" of IVB on the top end while averaging 17.5" of IVB. He pairs with with a softer 62-65 MPH CB that will show some downward power at times. At the plate during BP he showed off his impact potential as a RH hitter with a 67% line drive/fly ball rate and a exit velocity up to 87.9 MPH with an average at 81.3 MPH and pull side impact with a 324' max distance. One of the younger players at the event he put a loud stamp on his tool set with his showing at the SoCal Rising Stars Game.

Micah Mecucci OF / 3B / Mission Hills High, CA / 2028

Mecucci is an impressive athlete who stands 6' 175 lbs presently with wiry strength to his frame whle running a quality 7.5 60 time and displaying a loud tool set during BP and defensive work. His arm flashed carry with 76 MPH OF arm velocity during the workout portion of the day. Where he jumped out was during batting practice when he crushed a peak exit velocity at 93.6 MPH with 338' of carry to the pull side with multiple balls in the upper 80's/low 90's off his bat there is impressive potential for him as a power threat. He gets there with explosive hand speed for his age and use of his lower 1/2.

Russell Del Castillo RHP / 3B / Damien, CA / 2028

With multiple impressive physical frames for the '28/'29 class Del Castillo was in a class of his own standing 6'3 220 lbs with good body control/athletic ability for a young player his size. His toolset is as intriguing as his physical frame including the arm talent he shows on the mound with a FB that peaked at 84 MPH and was consistently in the low 80's. Del Castillo has control of the strike zone with his FB and adds 2278 RPMs of spin at its peak while flipping in a 66-69 MPH CB with some interesting feel to spin it averaging 2000+ RPMs of spin. His bat was loud during the batting practice portion of the day peaking at 90.7 MPH of exit velocity on a 338' blast that narrowly missed getting out of the park.

Grayson Thomas RHP / 2B / Mira Costa High, CA / 2028

Thomas was another 2-way talent who had a good all-around day, but really stood out for the work he did on the mound. His FB peaked at 79.9 and 18.2" of IVB with consistent feel to throw the pitch within the strike zone and generate swing/miss or soft contact. As good as the FB is for Thomas his offspeed mix is equally impressive including a 72-73 MPH CHG that he kills spin on with good arm speed and a tantalizing 65-67 MPH CB that generated a peak spin rate at 2288 RPMs of spin while averaging 2181 RPMs of spin. Thomas added a quality swing with a line drive plane that worked the middle of the field for a 81.9 MPH max exit velocity and 77.9 MPH average exit velocity and a 80% line drive/fly ball rate.