By: Luke White
The past four months have been nothing short of eventful for Stix Baseball Scout 2023 SS Ethan Mendoza.
On March 6, in the midst of the high school season, the Southlake Carroll (TX) prospect verbally committed to Arizona State to continue his baseball career. To cap off the season, Mendoza and the Dragons won the Texas 6A state championship with a victory over San Antonio Reagan. Then, on July 2, the righty accepted an invite to the Area Code Games in San Diego.
The recent whirlwind of events can provide a glimpse of what’s to come for Mendoza in the future as he elevates himself as not just one of the top prep baseball players in the state, but nationwide. Entering his senior season in 2023, the playmaker will look to have his name on the radar of MLB scouts.
“I want to raise my stocks, and, by the end of this summer, I want to have my name on draft boards,” Mendoza said. “That’s the goal.”
— ?Five Tool Texas? (@FiveToolTexas) July 5, 2022
The future Sun Devil finished action at the AABC Don Mattingly World Series on Friday, July 8, with a .529/.609/1.059 slash line, four walks and zero strikeouts in 23 plate appearances, picking up right where he left off after a terrific high school junior season in which he was a key part of the Dragons’ championship run.
“It was magical,” Mendoza said. “Everything came together because we worked really, really hard for this. Obviously, it’s an expectation because we have a lot of state championships in the past few years. That’s just Coach [Larry] Vucan preaches to us: hard work.”
As one of the most successful baseball programs in Texas, Carroll boasts five state championships in team history, three of which have come in the past five years. According to Mendoza, this led to the team having a target on their backs during the season and gave them the distinction of being a team that everyone wanted to beat. However, this merely served as motivation for Carroll as they made a push for the title.
“No one liked us, honestly,” Mendoza said. “You really have to have that mindset in baseball, I think, where no one wants you to succeed. I think that really helped us out, because we knew we had targets on our backs since this was our year to win it.”
The Dragons also drew motivation from the school’s athletic success as they looked to uphold and continue its rich tradition.
“There’s going to be pressure anywhere you play, but especially at Carroll,” Mendoza said. “The expectation there is always to win since we win championships all over.”
Upon graduating from high school, Mendoza plans on heading to Arizona State, another historic school with plenty of baseball success. The Sun Devils have the fourth-most national championships by any school, with five, and the third-most College World Series victories with 61.
Baseball tradition aside though, a host of other factors stood out to Mendoza and led to him calling Tempe, Ariz. home.
“Whenever there’s spring training, a lot of the MLB scouts are over there in Arizona right by ASU, and it’s down the street for them to come watch,” Mendoza said. “The weather was a big key for me, since I really like the warm weather. [Coach] Willie [Bloomquist], he’s a great guy, he’s got so much MLB experience, and he knows how to get there.
“All of the coaches, they have really good experience at the highest level, so they know everything.”
As for the recruiting process, Mendoza was given the chance to prove himself to the Sun Devils’ coaching staff in order to receive an offer. For him, earning the opportunity from a top school was a dream come true.
“Honestly, it was kind of spontaneous,” Mendoza said. “My dad had a connection with a guy who played there, and he’s watched me throughout high school and he knew I had the capabilities to play there. So, he talked to Willie [Bloomquist] and we set up a visit. We flew down there and I did a workout, and a couple days later, he offered me.
“I took a couple days to think and talk, but it was definitely the right move for me since it was one of my top schools. I’ve wanted to go there for my entire life.”
As he and his future teammates work to bring the program back to national prominence, Mendoza has much to look forward to when he steps foot on campus, chief among them being playing in front of the Arizona State faithful.
“At ASU, there’s people from all over that come see you,” Mendoza said. “Playing for a tradition-rich school, you’ve got to uphold that, and we’re looking to go back to the College World Series. That’s the goal.”
Until then, Mendoza still has another year of high school baseball to go, and will get an opportunity to showcase his abilities at the Area Code Games in August, which feature scouts from all 30 Major League teams and some of the top college baseball coaches in the nation.
An invitation to the AC games was another longtime dream for Mendoza, whose hard work and determination led him to this point.
“That was crazy,” Mendoza said. “That’s been one of my goals since coming into high school, and me and my dad have talked about it forever. I’ve spent every day grinding for that, because of the experiences you get out of it and the exposure. It’s top notch.”
As he paves his path to playing collegiately and beyond, Mendoza will undoubtedly be one of the top names in Texas to watch for the summer and 2023 high school season.