Baseball: Looking ahead to 2012 in City Section
The uniforms haven't even been cleaned from this weekend's championship games, but it's time to look toward 2012. Summer action begins on Monday in the VIBL. Who will win the next City title?
Sorry, there's no easy answer on that one. You can't simply pick Chatsworth or El Camino Real next season, because their top pitchers will have graduated. In fact, 2011 was the year of the pitcher because so many All-City pitchers returned. There will be a lack of experienced top pitchers for 2012, which makes this summer so important to develop top pitchers from the junior varsity or incoming freshmen.
Since San Fernando Valley teams have won 38 of the last 39 championships, you have to start there. I'm making San Fernnado and Kennedy the preseason favorites. San Fernando won Saturday's Division I title with a starting lineup that had only three seniors.
If Coach Armando Gomez can develop Kevin Martinez and William Vazquez as pitchers, beware. Kennedy is expected to move catcher Chris Mallon to No. 1 pitcher, and returns its outstanding double-play combination in Andrew Pacleb and Nick Rodriguez. Plus, the Golden Cougars are supposed to get an impact freshman player.
Chatsworth and El Camino Real each return some promising hittters but there are no certain replacements in the pitching department.
Outside the Valley, Banning returns four pitchers, led by Eric Magdaleno, the Marine League co-MVP.
So there's the early analysis. Let the competition begin to develop an ace pitcher, because it's a requirement to get to Dodger Stadium.
-- Eric Sondheimer