A big hit
With power to all fields, Vitters a natural at the plate
Posted: Wednesday April 25, 2007 1:10PM; Updated: Thursday April 26, 2007 12:58PM
While talking to a veteran scout who saw Darryl Strawberry and Gary Carter as young hitters, Cypress (Calif.) coach John Weber gained insight into how outsiders view his star third baseman, Josh Vitters.
"I've never seen a hitter hit like this guy," one scout told Weber.
Noting his hand-eye coordination and uncanny ability to make adjustments, Weber says, "He's the rare combination of being able to hit with mammoth power and also drive the ball in the gaps. I firmly believe that he can be a [major league] all-star every year and a major run producer."
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Vitters, who missed five games earlier this season due to pneumonia, is batting .409 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. As a junior he hit .352 with nine home runs and 32 RBIs as Cypress went 20-3.
"He gets the ball as well as anybody and has really soft hands," Weber says. "Probably 90 percent of his errors are when he has to move two or three steps to his left."
Last summer, Vitters starred against the nation's best. He was 3-for-4 (all doubles) in the 2006 Aflac All-American Game last August. One of those two-baggers came off a 93 mph fastball from Michael Main, one of the nation's premier pitchers. Another came off of Rick Porcello, the ace of the nation's No. 1-ranked team, Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.). Later that summer he was named top prospect at the Area Code Games
"I always wanted to hit the ball as hard as I could. I always had that power mentality," says Vitters, an Arizona State signee who hopes to be selected in June's amateur draft. "I'd definitely say I was more of a natural hitter. It came easy to me and I didn't take lessons. I just followed my brother, Christian [a shortstop now in the Oakland A's system]."
Though he's had many great games, Vitters says that a 1-for-2 performance is the one he will remember the most because it came during his sophomore year when the Centurions defeated Yucaipa, 7-1, to win the Southern Section Division II championship at Angel Stadium.
Weber believes that there was an even more memorable moment earlier this spring when Vitters faced a noted flamethrower in Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson junior Aaron Hicks in the Loara Tournament. "It was a great duel -- two phenoms," Weber says of the seven-pitch at bat that ended with Vitters lining a one-hop drive off Hicks's leg that knocked the pitcher out of the game. "He was blowing gas and Josh was just standing there. That at-bat encompasses who Josh Vitters is and solidifies how good of a hitter he is."
"It was probably a defining moment for scouts," Vitters says, "but for me it was just another at-bat."
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