Pasadena, Calif. —— Below are a couple quick hits on three notable junior college baseball prospects that stood out during Tuesday afternoon’s fall junior college baseball game between Citrus College and Pasadena City College, played at Brookside Park/Jackie Robinson Field at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
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Sam Gomez, LHP
Reputation precedes Sam Gomez a bit, considering he’s the incoming freshman little brother of former Citrus College pitcher Sir Jordan Gomez, the ace for the Owls this past spring who finished 10-2 with a 3.64 ERA. Sam is comparatively a good bit more raw right now, but he’s armed with a funky delivery and deceptive arm action from the left side that produced some bad swings and weak contact over two innings of work on Tuesday in Pasadena. Working 82-85 with his fastball during the outing, the younger Gomez also shows off a 70-72 breaking ball with some feel, and a 72-74 changeup that wasn’t quite as consistent today.
The lefty pounds the zone with the fastball pretty well, though he’ll vastly improve his ability for consistently weak contact when he can show the same command and feel with his off-speed stuff. Sir Jordan’s past development path may be of some insight to Sam here, though; the elder Gomez pitched just 13 innings during his freshman season at Citrus College before blossoming into an ace as a sophomore this past spring. If the younger Gomez takes even a broadly similar path with the Owls over the next 18 months, he may be a high-priority follow for four-year programs during his sophomore fall, a calendar year from now. He’ll certainly be on our radar from here.
Pasadena City College
Austin Ruiz, RHP/INF
A kickback from Azusa Pacific University, Austin Ruiz did a little bit of everything on Tuesday. On the mound, he threw an inning early, working 83-86 with a 78-79 changeup. Defensive miscues plagued the frame, but Ruiz repeatedly overmatched hitters with a heavy, sinking fastball and a tumbling changeup, drawing repeatedly weak contact. He’s a big, strong kid with a thick and explosive lower half and solid overall athleticism, so considering how velocities are typically down at this point in the fall, it’d be something to imagine him working this spring in the mid- to upper-80s with that heavy fastball that sinks and bores like a bowling ball late to his arm-side.
At the plate, the Pasadena City College prospect hit a towering, no-doubt home run to left-center field in his first at-bat — off a running 84 fastball thrown by Sam Gomez. Ruiz is already built like a man with a strong, muscular frame, and he shows good bat speed with some feel for barrel manipulation, so he’ll be one to watch as a potential high-profile four-year prospect with real raw power. He already looks the part of a Division I guy, at least; we’ll know a lot more about his tools and consistency with a longer look this spring.
Marco Martinez, 3B
Originally ticketed to join USC’s freshman baseball class this fall down in south Los Angeles, Marco Martinez is instead out at Brookside Park playing with Pasadena City College right now, opting to forgo the Trojans late in the summer for this JuCo opportunity. After a phenomenal high school career, Martinez got good experience playing in the California Collegiate League this summer, so higher-level college competition isn’t foreign to him, and he ought to slide in naturally at third base and in the middle of the order for the Lancers come spring.
Of note on Tuesday, he hit a rocket opposite-field double into the right-center gap, showing off good bat speed, easy oppo pop, and the ability/maturity to stay within himself and go the other way with authority. Without question considering his high school pedigree and upside, he’ll draw a lot of high-level attention for Pasadena City College this spring and could be in for a big season if things go according to plan; not a bad guy to fall in the Lancers’ lap late in the summer.
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