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Scanning the Five Tool Network: New Mexico, Arizona and California Standouts

You know a place that’s phenomenal to visit all the time but especially this time of the year? New Mexico. And the Five Tool staff was on site to see some outstanding performances and really intriguing prospects from the land of enchantment. Plus, a few arms from Arizona really caught our attention and California always has some dudes any time of the year. Thoughts, notes and more observations from around the Five Tool network:

1) We saw Zach Kmatz (Sandia; New Mexico) throw 2.0 shutout innings on the big stage at Area Code. So, it wasn’t a surprise to see him on the mound this fall dominating in his home state with a fastball up to 95 MPH. Given his trajectory, lower half strength and delivery, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kmatz bump 97 MPH in the spring after another full offseason. An Oregon State commitment, Kmatz should be the most heavily-scouted player in all of New Mexico next spring. 

It makes us smile a little to see Kmatz throwing hard and several of the players we’re going to mention today we covered way back in January of 2023.

2) Kmatz was obviously the biggest name to take the mound in New Mexico this past weekend, but he certainly wasn’t the only standout. Albuquerque Academy (New Mexico) 2025 right-hander Matthew Delaney touched 90 MPH with his fastball and snapped off some impressive overhand hooks with some late bite at 70-72 MPH. An uncommitted prospect, Delaney also showed feel for a 66-68 MPH changeup, too. Hitters were overmatched – 3.0 IP, 0H, 6K - thanks in part to Delaney being able to move his fastball up the ladder some, which helped make his curveball even more nasty, and also because his delivery creates some deception. His stuff, delivery and physical outlook all checked the box of a future starter. 

Right-handed pitcher and 2026 prospect Dylan Blomker struck out five across 3.0 innings and touched 88 MPH with his fastball. At this same point last fall, Blomker was showing signs of becoming a major talent with a fastball up to 84 MPH. So, the natural velocity is progressing as expected. There’s a lot to like about the way Blomker’s shoulders rotate and how the delivery works for a young pitcher who has been so big (listed at 6-3, 180 pounds) at such a young age. As he continues to get stronger, particularly through his lower half, he’s poised to become a major dude in the state. 

Good luck to teams in Sandia’s district because in addition to Kmatz it also has 2025 right-hander Adriel Figueroa-Brito. A talented two-way prospect, Figueroa-Brito was up to 89 MPH with his fastball (he touched 90 MPH during the Mickey Mantle World Series in July) and his delivery and athleticism lead to signs of fastball command and execution to both sides of the plate. He’s equally talented as a right-handed hitting infielder with a promising swing. 

3) On the hitting side in New Mexico, La Ceuva right-handed hitter and uncommitted 2025 prospect Joel Gurule showed his bat speed, strength and ability to get the hands inside to impact the baseball when he smashed a no-doubt homer out to left field. In addition to being strong with barrel feel, Gurule creates some bat speed in part because of how quickly he can ignite his rotation with his back leg while also keeping good balance and posture. 

Consider me a fan of 2026 right-handed hitter Anthony Knoll’s long-term upside. A Rio Rancho (New Mexico) product, Knoll is already 6-3 and should continue to add strength to his profile, which will help his impressive swing play up even more. He swings a dangerous barrel that is often on a good path to do extra-base damage and find the barrel. 

Uncommitted 2024 right-handed hitter Hazen Wright showed his impressive strength when he hammered two homers to the pull side. He used a simple operation to wow teammates with line drives over the fence. 

4) In Arizona, a couple of right-handed pitchers grabbed the spotlight by overpowering hitters. South Mountain sophomore Stryder Salas (excellent baseball name) ran his fastball up to 94 MPH, which showed some explosive elements up in the zone that got on hitters quicker than they expected. At around 6-6, Salas creates an over-the-top look for hitters with his shoulder positioning, and his 76-78 MPH curveball was a sharp breaker with some two-plane break. 

Another tall righty from South Mountain, Matt Lighthall created a unique, tough look for hitters with his sidearm release from his tall frame. He also flashed a nasty changeup that he pronated to create spin/arm side life that even beat righties. Add in a fastball up to 91 MPH and a slider at 80-82 MPH, and Lighthall has the type of arsenal that can attack hitters east-west with some velocity, too. 

On the hitting side, South Mountain left-handed hitting outfielder Dominic Chacon is poised for another big season with the bat and carries himself with a ton of confidence and uses quick hands in the batter’s box. 

5) Following a standout performance in front of Five Tool at the Area Code Games, UCLA commitment and Warren (California) right-hander Angel Cervantes was back to dominating on the mound in the SoCal Fall Kickoff. Up to 93 MPH with some angle/natural run to the heater, Cervantes, a 6-2 righty, showed what has to be one of the best changeups in California. Thrown with fastball conviction and similar shape, Cervantes’ changeup hits the brakes late in the zone and can rack up whiffs against lefties and righties. He struck out six over 4.0 innings and allowed just one hit. 

Martin Luther King (California) right-hander Robert Mahoney established himself as a 2025 right-hander to follow with a lively fastball up to 89 MPH, a slider at 74-75 MPH and a changeup at 77-79 MPH. He overwhelmed opposing hitters with his fastball. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor