Column: Late-developing Bryn Harper off to fast start this season

Former JV pitcher is 2-0 with 0.95 ERA

College baseball recruiting needs a makeover. Too many recruiters are offering eighth-graders and ninth-graders scholarships with hopes they develop, only to discover by senior year there are better players and little money for the late bloomers.

The latest example is Bryn Harper, a senior left-hander at Anaheim Esperanza. He spent all last season as a junior varsity pitcher. On Tuesday, he threw a two-hit shutout over a Capistrano Valley team with seven seniors committed to colleges.

Harper has passed many pitchers who were considered better in 2015, his freshman year. He dealt with some tendinitis issues, adjusted his mechanics and is finally getting a chance to pitch at the highest level. He’s 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA.

Whether he’s good enough to pitch in college I’ll leave to the experts. But it seems to me that proving you’re good as a senior is much more important than showing potential as a freshman. Harper has thrown consecutive shutouts for 11-2 Esperanza, which won the Anaheim Lions tournament Wednesday.


“His improvement has been tremendous,” Coach Kyle Muhlsteff said.

The University of San Francisco used to have a motto in recruiting: “Late is great.” That’s pretty prophetic.

-- If you’re a professional baseball scout, you might want to drop by Chatsworth Sierra Canyon next week. The word is a 6-foot-5 basketball player who hasn’t played baseball in several years will be loosening up his arm.

Cassius Stanley used to be a pitcher with promise in middle school. P.C. Shaw coached him on a club team. “Very live arm with huge hands and pitcher body. Long and lean and a plus athlete off the mound” was his scouting report.

After helping Sierra Canyon’s basketball team win the Open Division state championship last week, Stanley is supposed to come out to play catch. There’s no commitment he’s going to play this season, but it could be a step toward giving him even more options for the future.

“His dad called me about a month ago and we talked,” coach Rick Weber said. “I said why doesn’t he come out and play catch and see if he has any interest. A lot of time has gone by. No decision has been made by us or him about playing.”

-- Mark it down on your calendar — April 13. It’s the annual L.A. Loyola vs. Manhattan Beach Mira Costa volleyball match at 7 p.m. at Loyola Marymount. The chance to walk around Manhattan Beach on a Saturday morning and talk smack while wearing a Loyola or Mira Costa shirt is at stake.

-- April 6 marks the start of the Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High School. It’s the best track and field meet in the state. It’s the event where former Vista Murrieta standout Michael Norman first began to become a track sensation

-- Santa Ana Mater Dei and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy signed a contract to play football on Sept. 21 at Santa Ana Stadium. IMG has played Corona Centennial in close games the last two seasons. It should be a very good made-for-TV game. It also could be the last time any team from California faces IMG.

There’s a CIF rule proposal set to be voted on next week that would ban California teams from playing any school that doesn’t participate in their state association playoffs. IMG doesn’t compete in the Florida playoffs. It would take effect in 2019-20.

-- Cole Roederer of Newhall Hart and Will Chambers of Valencia West Ranch are having a home run competition. Roederer, a UCLA signee, has hit six home runs. Chambers, a UC Santa Barbara signee, has hit six.

-- The City Section player of the month would be either leadoff hitter Johnny Tincher, a junior catcher for Birmingham who’s batting .574 with 14 RBIs, or outfielder Charlie Rocca of Verdugo Hills. He’s batting .541 with five home runs

-- Jim Benkert was hired earlier this week to be the football coach at Simi Valley. He spent 26 years at Westlake, then three years at Oaks Christian. Simi Valley was 2-7 last season. Look for an immediate turnaround.

Twitter: @latsondheimer