Fall Prospect Showcase: Infield Analysis


Jordon Banfield
Arizona Scouting Director

PBR’s inaugural event in Arizona took place on October 29 at the Kansas City Royals Complex in Surprise. This week we begin our positional analysis from the event, continuing with the infielders.

2021 Barrett Skaugrud (O’Connor) occupies the top spot on the list after showing off an advanced swing with loose wrists and a very projectable body. If his arm action continues to improve, we could be looking at a potentially elite prospect down the road.

Here’s a look at our top five infielders:

TOP Infield PROSPECTS

1. Barrett Skaugrud, IF, Sandra Day O’Connor, 2021
6-foot, 135-pound frame with tons of physical development still to come. Skaugrud’s performance this fall has established him as one of the top prospects in Arizona’s 2021 class. Hitting from a tall, loose setup with good rhythm, Skaugrud has an extremely advanced swing and feel to hit. The looseness in his wrists creates a very whippy swing and surprising pop (81 mph exit velo). Moves well and is a solid athlete when considering the lack of present strength; turning in a  7.36 60-yard dash. Defensively he shows efficient footwork and soft hands. His biggest area for improvement comes with his arm on the infield, as he often gets underneath and pushes the baseball from a low slot, which limits carry. With continued physical development and some refinement in his throwing mechanics, Skaugrud has a chance to become an elite-level prospect. 

 

 

2. Noah Burgarello, IF, Sandra Day O’Connor, 2019
5-foot-10 140-pound frame. Proportional strength. Loose, fluid setup and swing with strong wrists. Glides into contact creating good separation and consistent hard contact to middle of field. Feel to hit. Defensively does a good job of attacking the baseball from shortstop. Good feel, moves feet well to both sides, takes pressure off arm. Solid carry on throws from higher slot, much better than infield velo would indicate. 7.25 in the 60.

3. Nick Barendrick, IF, Saguaro, 2018
6-foot 160-pounds frame, high-waist. Used balanced setup and loose wrists to make hard contact in BP; 86 mph exit velocity.  Showed off advanced, simple rhythm in swing, turning in one of the most consistent rounds of the day. Solid athlete posting 7.0 60-yard dash. Defensively showed off soft hands, easily adjusting to some difficult hops and comfortably moving his feet. Future arm strength will dictate his defensive home at the next level, plenty athletic to handle multiple positions.

4. Bryce Ulm, IF, Gilbert, 2018
Boxy 6-foot-2, 238-pound frame. Showed very well at the event with some of the best raw power and surprising athleticism on defense for his size. Hits from tall, open setup, getting very good extension to a high one-hand finish. Looking to lift and pull. Impressive combination of bat speed and raw power; 89 mph exit velocity. Nimble mover at 3B shows soft hands show good carry on throws from ¾ slot with clean, whippy action. 7.51 60-yard dash. 

5. Wes Kath, IF, Desert Mountain, 2021
Young 5-foot-11 155-pound frame with high hips, big hands and feet. Plenty of room left for physical growth and development. Hits from narrow base with slight leg lift trigger that doesn’t gain much ground. Looking to pull in BP. Stays behind the baseball very well. Has a chance offensively with additional strength; 84 mph exit velocity. Defensively shows soft hands and is a fluid mover at shortstop. Closes himself off to throw with clean, whippy arm action; 75 mph infield velo. 7.60 60-yard dash.

BEST OF THE REST (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)

Blake Berrett, IF, Basha, 2020
5-foot-10 138-pound frame. Shows easy rhythm and quiet hands in swing; 82 mph exit velo. Leg lift trigger that at times turned in to toe tap. Defensively showed soft hands, fluid footwork and good arm strength with carry for young prospect, 79 mph infield velo. On the mound worked 76-78, touching 81 with fastball that showed cutting action at times. Used full windup delivery and showed good feel for pitching. 64-66 mph curveball had consistent rotation and downward break, also threw straight changeup at 69-71 in strike zone. 

Matthew Carter, IF, Willow Canyon, 2021
5-foot-1 100 pound frame. Very young body. Balanced setup with short stride and toe tap trigger. Shows excellent balance in swing. Exit velo will improve significantly as he adds strength. Defensively showed good footwork and soft hands. Made accurate throws from low ¾ slot. Displays advanced feel for game. 

Jonathan Cusson, IF, Sandra Day O’Connor, 2021
Lanky 5-foot-11 135-pound frame. Used balanced setup, short stride and simple load to make solid line drive contact in BP. Gets stuck on back side at times, will drive baseball with more authority as lower half improves in swing. Showed ability to move feet on defense with some stiffness in hands. Long arm action; 68 mph infield velo. 7.50 60-yard dash. 

Seth Funderburk, IF, Casteel, 2019
Strong 6-foot-3 218-pound frame with wide hips and thick lower half.  Looks to lift the baseball as he drifts into contact from tall setup. Will hit for even more power as he flattens out his path and gets better separation. 91 mph exit velo mostly a product of impressive natural strength. Big target at first base showed softness in hands and longer arm action. 7.66 60-yard dash. 

Jordan Garcia, IF, Agua Fria, 2021
5-foot-9 175 pound frame with sloped shoulders. Hits with fluid rhythm and loose wrists from balanced setup. Used both a slight leg kick and toe tap trigger at different points in his round. Has some feel for the barrel with slight uphill path; 88 mph exit velocity. Moves well for third baseman defensively with short choppy steps, some softness in hands and short, clean arm action. Turned in 76 mph infield velo and 7.59 60-yard dash. 

Garrett Gunter, IF, Basha, 2021
5-foot-9 150-pound frame. Hits from narrow, slightly open setup. Very short swing with contact oriented approach and two-hand finish produced 71 mph exit velocity. Defensively, fields the baseball deep and funnels to chest, uses short arm action; 70 mph infield velo. 7.78 60-yard dash.

Tanner Keeley, IF, Casteel, 2019
6-foot 240-pound frame. Hits from slightly open setup and loads hands very deep. Looking to turn on ball and make contact out in front with uphill path. Shows strength in swing evident by 91 mph exit velocity. Defensively did a nice job digging throws out of the dirt in workout. Also pitched, working 72-74, T76 with his mostly straight fastball. Threw curveball with 11-5 shape from 62-65 mph and a shorter slider at 68-70. 68 mph changeup was best pitch with good arm speed and sinking action at times.

Thome Nickelson, IF, Mountain View, 2019
Lean, athletic 6-foot, 155-pound frame with plenty room to add strength. Nickelson turned in some of the better testing numbers at the event, posting an 82 mph infield velo, 7.08 60-yard dash and 88 mph exit velo. Offensively, despite some crudeness, his combination of bat speed and flat path produced some hard line drive contact and makes him an intriguing prospect. On the infield he slings the ball from a low, almost sidearm slot that tends to give his throws across the diamond some sinking action. Tool set could also profile in the outfield.

Adam Parra, IF, Perry, 2020
6-foot-2, 210-pound frame with wide hips and a thick lower half. Interesting two-way prospect showed best on the mound where he worked 83-85, T86 with his heavy fastball, utilizing a full windup and short, clean arm action. Generates good downhill plane with strong front side and high ¾ slot. Showed consistent rotation on 69-71 mph curveball with 11/5 shape and advanced feel for 72-75 mph changeup with good arm speed and sinking action. Big frame and feel for three pitches make him an intriguing prospect on the mound. Offensively, his best tool is his bat, turning in an 87 mph exit velocity with a simple, balanced swing. Generates impressive raw power and was consistently on the barrel. Shows strong arm at 3B with 81 mph infield velocity with longer arm action and could also profile to 1B at the next level. 

Ryan Peterson, IF, Valley Christian, 2020
Young, 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame. Right-handed hitter starts from tall, open stance. 80 mph exit velo with uphill bat path. Big target at first base showed some softness in hands and very short arm action. The big lefty also pitched, using same short arm action from high ¾ slot and short stride. Worked 66-67 mph with fastball topping at 68. Also threw 55-57 mph breaking ball with lateral spin and 59-63 mph changeup.  

Garrison Pregulman, IF, Chapparral, 2018
5-foot-10, 165-pound frame. Hits from balanced, relaxed setup with toe tap trigger and very high two-handed finish. Turned in 77 mph exit velocity. Defensively shows clean actions, some softness in hands and a very quick transfer. Threw 72 mph across the diamond with a short arm action. Also pitched, working 77-78, T89 with his mostly straight fastball using a short clean arm action. 68-69 mph breaking ball showed inconsistent rotation and shape. Flashed a solid changeup that was his best pitch on this day.

Noah Rodriguez, IF, Basha, 2020
5-foot-11, 175-pound frame with developed lower half. Bat is best tool. Hits from wide setup and rocks back to load. Barrel stays in zone and generated some line drive contact. Defensively registered 71 mph infield velocity using short ¾ arm action. On the mound worked 72-75, T76 with his fastball using same short arm action that showed some whip. Compact delivery features low front side and short stride. Showed consistent rotation on 62-63 mph curveball with 11-5 shape and also threw a developing 68-70 mph changeup that tended to miss to the arm side.

Jake Schulz, IF, Prescott, 2019
Dixie State University commit. Athletic 6-foot, 170-pound frame with a high waist. Was coming off injury on this day and have seen him perform better in live game action. Athletic mover defensively does a good job moving his feet efficiently and putting himself in good position to make splays at short. Fields ball slightly deep at times. Shows ability to throw from multiple angles; 77 mph infield velocity. Hits from balanced, athletic setup with short stride. Loads hands very early, creating some stiffness and causing them to drift forward into contact. Registered 85 mph exit velocity and is capable of better with some swing adjustments that better sync up his body and hands. Solid athlete turned in 7.12 60-yard dash. 

Joseph Soto, IF, Hamilton, 2022
5-foot-9, 185-pound frame. The only 2022 prospect at the event shows a very advanced feel to hit. Will be one to watch offensively as he continues to develop.  Wide setup, rocks back to load before a short stride, creating very little separation. Hands really work and shows great balance in swing. Lots of barrels; 81 mph exit velocity. Looking to lift. Defensively shows softness in hands and closes himself off to throw. 71 mph infield velocity. Feet profile to corner infield at present time.

David Utagawa, IF, Corona del Sol, 2020
6-foot-3, 200-pound frame with broad shoulders and a developed lower half. Two-way player showed best on the mound with an ideal pitcher’s body. Compact, on-line delivery with short, clean arm stroke. Gets on top of the baseball quickly in back with short action and just above ¾ slot. Fastball sat 80-82 mph, touching 83 and was mostly straight. Breaking ball pops up out of hand at 65-67. Changeup flashed fading action from 67-71. Offensively, hits from relaxed setup with low hands and easy rhythm. Uses lower half well with aggressive backside, turning in 88 mph exit velo. Arms works well at 1B with 75 mph velocity and short action. Tends to field the ball deep with some stiffness in hands. 7.76 60-yard dash.