Prep Baseball Report

Preseason All-State Games: 2019 Top Overall Prospects

Jordon Banfield
Arizona Scouting Director

Our premier winter event, the Preseason All-State Games took place on Sunday, January 28th at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, home of the Arizona State Sun Devils. The event featured top prospects from the 2019-2021 classes with a roster assembled on an invite-only basis. Today, we conclude our top overall prospect lists with the juniors. Due to the size and quality of the event we ranked the position groups with all classes combined, then put out top prospect lists for 2019, 2020 and 2021 separately. Complete video, data, pictures and scouting reports have been posted to players' individual profiles. As always contact [email protected] or direct message @PBRArizona on Twitter with any questions and/or information. 

Uncommitted OF Gerardo Hernandez earns the top spot on the 2019 list after showing off clearly the best package of tools for a junior at the event. After Hernandez are a group of three advanced position players in Nathan Baez, Kody Huff and Preston Clifford, with Baez ending up in the second spot as he possesses the most thunder in his bat. Cutting this list at only ten prospects was nearly impossible, as we had to leave off a number of strong performers and DI prospects like Adam ParraJack Slominkski, Mason Skaugrud, Adam Parra, Thome Nickelson, Ty Mead, Anthony Mase, Dylan Cuenca, Ethan Brown, Alec Acevedo and others. That's not even to mention highly-rated prospects Peyton McGregor and Joey Cammarata who weren't able to throw at the event. Check out the full list below. 



Gerardo Hernandez OF / RHP / San Luis, AZ / 2019

Thin and wiry at 6-foot-1, 160-pounds with plenty of athleticism on a developing frame, Hernandez was fun to watch at PBR Arizona’s Preseason All-State event. The left-handed hitter smacked line drives from gap to gap throughout batting practice, and it carried over into the game where he continued to hit the ball hard each time up. A 6.81-runner with long, graceful strides, Hernandez has a wider stance at the plate, and rocks his weight and hands back into a crouch with a short stride. From there, his fast hands show strength while working the barrel flat through the zone with considerable lag. In the outfield, his natural movements looked the part, and he unleashed whippy, loose throws up to 92 mph that were not only accurate, but borderline pristine. While the arm strength did not entirely transfer over to the mound, he still worked 84-86 with his fastball with a clean delivery and arm action. He should be able to get some work in on the mound moving forward, but his future appears destined for the outfield and at the plate. Expect Hernandez to pop up on scouts’ radar this summer.


Nathan Baez SS / SS / Ironwood Ridge, AZ / 2019

6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. Developed upper body with impressive strength in forearms and wrists. Looks heavier than listed weight. Clearly one of the top two hitters at a loaded event. While he doesn't possess elite athleticism or arm strength, he can be a factor offensively at any school in the country and his instincts allow him to play above his tools defensively. Projects as an offensive 2B or possibly 3B at the next level and has a chance to be an immediate impact guy on offense with elite ability to be on time and drive the baseball. Took an impressive BP, with a big leg kick that he gets started early and a deep hand load. Left a big yard in BP and made loud contact during the game; 88 mph exit velocity. Arm is not a standout tool, but does a good job with his feet creating momentum through his target and made range plays in game. Turned in 81 mph infield velo and 7.13 60-yard dash in some of his first live action after missing the entire summer and part of the fall with injury. One of the top uncommitted prospects in the state.


Kody Huff C / SS / Horizon, AZ / 2019

Notre Dame commit. Huff was a model of consistency throughout the day at Arizona state. The Notre Dame recruit showed off a simple approach at the plate, and produced with some a very good at-bats in game. The 5-foot-10, 178-pound right-handed hitter features developing strength throughout and athletic frame, and sets up balanced at the plate in a slight crouch before a knee-knock leg kick triggers slight hands movement down and back. He has a direct path to the ball with quick hands, and is aggressive without being out of control. I was impressed with the way he worked pitchers, and he had a quiet confidence to his overall game. Behind the dish, he produced times that were mostly between 1.9-2.0. His arm was a bit longer, but there was obvious strength and carry to the throws along with quick feet and a smooth transfer. As he continues to fill out, Huff should get a boost to add more power, which should make him an interesting follow moving forward.


Preston Clifford SS / RHP / Sabino, AZ / 2019

New Mexico commit. Clifford had natural actions and instincts all over the diamond, right-handed hitter exhibits quick hands at the plate with strong wrists. Wiry strength on a 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame, Clifford’s hands possess some twitch, and allow him to work slightly uphill through the zone with strength while driving balls to the gaps. In the field, he made nice plays at shortstop in the game, and was more confident in his hands throughout the workout. Combined with solid footwork, and a strong (88 mph across the diamond), accurate arm, Clifford has a chance to stick at shortstop at the next level. A gamer-type, Clifford has a high motor that will be welcomed at New Mexico and beyond, and as he continues filling out, he could become an immediate impact player in the future.


Cal Lambert LHP / 1B / Sandra Day O'Connor, AZ / 2019

Lambert’s 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, loose arm, and clean delivery should make him one of the more sought after, uncommitted recruits in the 2019 class. Easily repeating an athletic delivery, Lambert drives strong off his back side while working down the mound before getting extension out front. His quick arm allowed his fastball to sit 84-86 for most of his outing and featured some arm side life. At times, he appeared to cut his fastball, but it worked for him as he was able to get in on right-handed hitters effectively. Releasing out of a high ¾ slot, Lambert was able to spin a tight 1/7 curveball at 72-74. Because it was so early in the preseason, the velocity may tick up a few counts higher in the spring. When spun at its best, the pitch appeared to have a high spin rate, and was sharp with two-tier break. Although he did not entirely command it on the day, the makings of an above average and possibly swing and miss pitch in the future were clearly present. The smooth southpaw immediately stands out with his polished mechanics, and I would expect multiple schools across the country to be following him closely throughout the spring as he could develop into a starter at the next level.


Jacob Henderson RHP / OF / Mesquite, AZ / 2019

Henderson’s ability to pound the zone with a sinking fastball from a tough, lower 3/4 slot, especially so early in the preseason, should make him a highly coveted recruit throughout the spring. He was up to 85 mph on the day, and that number should tick up more later on the spring, and showed the ability to work the ball to the bottom of the zone on both sides of the plate. Combine that with a sweeping slider at 72-73 that could become a swing and miss weapon soon, and Henderson will have a chance to get key outs at the next level. I was a fan of the athleticism that he showed throughout his delivery, and even more so of how quick he was to the plate with runners on. I also think that he will be able to drop down even lower in the future if needed. At 6-foot-1, 180-pounds with a short, whippy arm from that slot, I believe that Henderson may end up being a key piece to some school’s recruiting class in the future.


Eli Ankeney LHP / OF / Desert Vista, AZ / 2019

Ankeney showcased impressive arm strength at the Preseason All-State where he hopped on the mound and sat 85-88 with his fastball out of a high ¾ slot. The 6-foot, 195-pound left-hander has a durable frame with strength present in the lower-half. He works linear down the mound with a medium-sized arm swing before quick hand speed through the ball with a stiffer deceleration while finishing square to the plate. His fastball featured some arm side life to it. His slider worked 73.-74, and was more of an average offering, but I was intrigued more so by his changeup, which he showed feel for at 75-77 and produced some late-fading action. Ankeney looks like he may still have more velocity in the tank moving forward, so recruiters will want to pay close attention to him throughout the spring/summer to see how he competes in games. With many 2019 players already committed across the country, Ankeney looks to be the type of arm that could help bolster a recruiting class.


Brian Kalmer SS / 3B / Corona del Sol, AZ / 2019

Kalmer got after it throughout the Preseason All-State event, and looked like a player whose motor never stops. At 6-foot-2, 190-pounds he is proportionally strong and physical, but still looks like he will continue to fill out. He is aggressive on the infield with his first step when going after balls, and while he can get choppy at times, the intent carries him. Because he is still filling out, Kalmer may shift to a corner position in the future because of his size and speed (7.07 60-yard dash), and he has the arm strength (84 mph) to work at third base. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a late hands-tilt hitch combined with a quick leg-kick for his load. His barrel works flat through the zone when at its best, and showcases some lag before finishing high and loose. At times, his hands become stagnant during the load, but he exhibits enough strength to make up for it, and should be able to smoothen it out in the future. Given his physical frame and aggressive style of play, expect Kalmer to contribute to a program at some level in college. 


Jesus Lopez 3B / 2B / Nogales, AZ / 2019

Standing 6-foot-2, 185-pounds with developing strength, and the frame to pack on a significant amount of it, Lopez looks like he may have a chance to really hit at the next level. Though his 60-yard dash time (7.57) is a couple ticks slower than some schools may like, his ability to hit and play the game should remove most doubts. A right-handed hitter, Lopez sets up in a crouch with his feet spread wide and hands held just below the back shoulder. He rocks his weight back with a minor leg lift stride that pushes his hands slightly down and back. From there, he showed strength through the zone on a level path with a high, two-handed finish. The wide-shouldered infielder crushed some balls to the pull side, but also showed the ability to go gap to gap. The bat played up even more in the game, and he hunted fastballs early in counts while adjusting late, and even when he got out the ball was smashed. In the field, he is comfortable at third base and has the arm strength (86 mph) to stick there along with clean hands and footwork. Overall, Lopez’s ability to hit should give him a chance to compete in college, especially when he makes a jump physically.


Tyler Magin RHP / Desert Vista, AZ / 2019

While he did not show the 88-89 velocity that he was up to in the fall, Magin will certainly get there (and probably surpass) later in spring. Standing 6-foot-1, 170-pounds with wider shoulders, and long, wiry limbs, Magin features a solid three-pitch mix that he shows confidence in each. Working long down the mound, Magin’s whippier arm syncs up well and his fastball, which was more 82-85 in this very early season outing, jumps out of the hand some. What stood out to me was his advanced ability to change speeds and locate his changeup. He threw it very slow at times (65-69), but it stood out as a weapon when he turned it over at 74 mph. The pitch comes out of his hand like a fastball his high ¾ slot, and shows some late diving action in the zone. Because he is able to mix the speeds of the changeup, he should be able to produce weak contact as well as swings and misses in the future. Though his breaking ball (65-67) was not as strong as the changeup on this occasion, it was adequate, and his control for it in the strike zone will allow him to mix it in, and could develop more in the future.