Great arm, they said. But can he pitch? Wayne Nix had the type of season that provided any potential critic with a resounding answer.
The Monroe High senior led area pitchers in victories, earned-run average and strikeouts while issuing only 34 walks in 90 innings.
"It's kind of like a miracle happened," said Nix, a former right fielder who blossomed into The Times' Valley pitcher of the year. "Every time I went out on the mound it was like, 'I'm going to win this game.' "
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound right-hander finished with two no-hitters and three one-hit shutouts in his last five starts, prompting the Oakland Athletics to draft him in the fourth round.
Coaches have compared him to a young Bret Saberhagen.
"He's not as refined as guys like Derek Wallace and Saberhagen," Reseda High Coach Mike Stone said. "But he's just a baby and the scouts like the fact he hasn't pitched a lot."
That, and his 90 mile-per-hour fastball, an 11-2 record and an 0.39 earned-run average.