Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso and his staff did a great job gobbling up the local talent for 2016 with five of the eight fall signees announced today from the 808.
The signings are:
Pono Anderson, RHP, Saint Louis
2014 stats: 5-3, 3.14 ERA, 58 innings pitched, 27 strikeouts, guided Saint Louis to the 2014 state title
Adam Bedrossian, INF, Alemany (Calif.) High School
2014 stats: .293 batting average, 8 doubles in 25 games
Kobi Candaroma, OF, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Ian Kahaloa, RHP, Campbell
2014 stats: 6-1, 1.04 ERA, 40 innings pitched, 54 strikeouts
Ethan Lopez, INF, La Mirada (Calif.) High School
2014 stats: .333, 19 RBI
Kekai Rios, C, Kamehameha
2014 stats: .314 batting average, .415 on-base percentage, 8 RBI, 6 runs
Dylan Thomas, RHP, Valencia (Calif.) High School
2014 stats: 6-1, 1.90 ERA
Pikai Winchester, INF, ‘Iolani
2014 stats: .418, HR, 4 2B’s
Obviously, the first name to jump off the list is Campbell’s Kahaloa, the top overall prospect in the state. Before you get too excited and baring any misfortune, Kahaloa will likely be a high pick in the 2015 MLB draft. He was sitting 91-93 during the summer with his fastball and has four pitches he can throw for strikes. He’s not regarded quite as highly as Waiakea alum Kodi Medeiros, who was taken No. 12 overall in the 2014 draft, was, but will still command a large signing bonus when he’s drafted.
One of the last commitments in this class was Anderson, who played a big role in leading Saint Louis to the 2014 state championship. While then-senior Jordan Yamamoto, who signed for over $300,000 as a 12th-round pick of the Brewers over the summer, grabbed most of the spotlight, Anderson had a huge tournament, playing a monster role in Saint Louis’ title run. He started the Crusaders’ opening game against Roosevelt and threw five shutout innings, allowing four hits with no walks and three strikeouts to earn the win. In the semifinals against Campbell, he came in for one shutout inning and struck out two to earn the save, outmatching Kahaloa, who took the loss after giving up two runs on two hits with three strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings. Anderson came back to start the championship game and tossed a five-inning, two-hit shutout to finish with two complete game wins and a save in a four-day stretch.
Anderson was sitting mostly in the low-to-mid 80s during the tournament but has since increased his velocity up to 88 MPH. Trapasso thinks that could continue into the 90s as he develops into his 6-foot-2 frame.
I also had a chance to see Candaroma play in the semifinals of the Division II state tournament against Waianae. Candaroma started on the mound and pitched a five-inning complete game allowing four hits and two runs with three walks and three strikeouts. He was 1-for-3 at the plate with a double and three RBIs and was extremely fast out of the box. With Kaeo Aliviado playing his last season this year as a senior, Candaroma is a guy that would fit the bill to step right in for Aliviado if needed, or be a speed guy off the bench. He’s been clocked at 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
I’ll have to make sure to get to a couple of ‘Iolani games this year, especially when the Raiders play Kamehameha, but the consensus among those around the league and who pay attention is that Winchester is the best bat in the state this year. He hit .418 as a junior with ‘Iolani and was one of the top standouts at a showcase in Chula Vista, Calif., back in June. Winchester was the big hitter for the Waipio Little League team that won it all in 2008.
Rios played shortstop for the Warriors this past season but I am told his best position is catcher, which is where UH recruited him.
As for the mainland recruits, Lopez had originally committed to USC before signing with UH and could start as early as his freshman season. Thomas currently throws in the mid-to-upper 80s but is tall at 6-foot-5 and will continue to develop while Bedrossian can play multiple positions.