Preseason All-State Games: Outfield Analysis


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 begin our positional analysis with the outfielders. Due to the size and quality of the event we will rank the position groups with all classes combined, then do a top prospect list 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. 

Ranking players across three different graduating classes is extremely difficult as they are in far different stages of physical development. This list is based mostly on long-term potential as it's the only fair way to compare a 2021 to a 2019 graduate. Additionally, players are only considered for this list based on how they project as outfielders, other positions/skills are not taken into consideration. 2019 Gerardo Hernandez takes home the top spot after testing well across the board, showing himself to be easily the top outfield defender in attendance and finding multiple barrels in live game action. 2020 Noah Nithman's combination of running and hitting ability earn him the second spot on the list, followed by physical 2019 Peyton McGregor who we didn't get to see at full strength. The complete top ten list is below.

TOP OUTFIELD PROSPECTS

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. 

 

 

Noah Nithman OF / OF / Sandra Day O'Connor, AZ / 2020

Nithman does two things very well, hit and run. An impressive athlete (6.89 60-yard dash) in a solid 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame with some present strength and more to come. There's very little question about his offensive ability with a powerful, fast-twitch swing that finds the barrel in game action. A natural mover in the outfield, if he can improve his arm action and strength, it would go a long way towards helping reach his ceiling as a prospect.

 

 

 

Peyton McGregor OF / Cactus Shadows , AZ / 2019

Extremely physical 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame with thickness in lower half. Did not throw from the outfield due to arm soreness but turned in solid 7.09 60-yard dash for body type and should be able to handle an outfield corner at the next level. Hits from slightly open setup with knee-knock load and creates a wide base with stride. Shows impressive raw power generated mostly with physical strength and shows flat bat bath. 88 mph exit velocity. Excited to see more from this physical 2019 prospect at full strength.

 

 

John Lauinger OF / SS / Pinnacle, AZ / 2021

Lean 5-foot-10, 140-pound frame. Fast-twitch athlete posted 7.10 60-yard dash and has previously turned in sub-7.0. Shows knack for finding the barrel in game action. Hits from wide setup with low hands and virtually no stride. Hands take short and flat path to and through the baseball producing line drive contact to all fields. 78 mph exit velo will improve with added strength/mass. Moves comfortably in the outfield and his 77 mph throws show solid on-line carry. Definite follow moving forward. 

 

 

Mike Gerardo OF / Nogales, AZ / 2019

Gerardo’s balanced approach at the plate and quick hands could help him develop into a nice recruit for a school at some level in college. A 7.15-runner, Gerardo takes athletic strides, and moves better than the time shows when grazing the outfield. Currently, 5-foot-10, 175-pounds, Gerardo has some lean strength throughout, but looks like he will continue to add a significant amount in the future. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a solid base, and works his weight and hands slightly back with a short stride. His hands allow the barrel to quickly work to the ball on a flat path before getting out of the zone fairly quickly, as well. From the outfield, Gerardo produced throws as high as 82 mph. He was accurate, and looked the part of a player that can be counted on to make the consistent, “right play.” 

 

 

 

Thome Nickelson SS / 3B / Mountain View, AZ / 2019

Shows surprising strength in current 6-foot, 155-poiund frame. Nickelson has previously listed himself as a primary SS, but after being asked to work out at 3B and in the OF it is clear those are his best positions at the next level. The fast twitch athlete posted a 6.84 60-yard dash and 91 mph exit velocity while showing plenty of arm strength to play anywhere on the diamond. Nickelson stood out in the game, making hard contact and a highlight reel diving catch in RF. 

 

 

Kenneth Jimenez C / OF / Nogales, AZ / 2020

5-foot-7, 175-pound frame with thick lower half and plenty of natural strength. stood out offensively, posting a 91mph exit velo with a big leg kick and some bat speed. There's far more pop in his bat than his stocky frame would initially suggest. Turned in 7.37 60-yard dash. The key for Jimenez moving forward will be finding his best position defensively. Would be very interested to see him behind the plate as his tools and body may fit well there. Shows some arm strength, posting 78 and 84 mph infield and outfield velocities respectively. Also pitching sitting 78-80, T81 with his fastball and mixed in 68-71 mph curveball with tight rotation and 11-5 shape. Could definitely see him getting outs at the highs school level but projects better as a position player. 

 

 

Ricky Maytorena OF / 2B / Nogales, AZ / 2019

5-foot-9, 145-pound frame. Hits from balanced setup with short stride and very short hand load. Showed contact-oriented approach in BP, spraying line drives to all fields. Proven high school performer. 75 mph exit velocity. Athletic mover on the field turned in 7.03 60-yard dash. Feet work well in the outfield. Throws with very short stride and stiff front leg. 77 mph outfield velocity. 

 

 

Derek Figueroa 2B / RHP / Mesquite, AZ / 2021

5-foot-10, 140-pound frame. Showed impressive arm strength and athleticism (7.11 60-yard dash) in PBR’s first look at the young freshman prospect. Currently more advanced on the mound where he shows an athletic delivery and impressive arm speed, sitting 78-81, T82 with his fastball from a high 3/4 arm slot.. Lower half does not always work in sync as he strides slightly open, but lands with a closed toe which creates some inconsistencies. With his level of athleticism this should be corrected with continued development. Also mixed in 69-73 mph curveball and 73-74 mph changeup. Breaking balls shows proper rotation and chance to develop depth with his hand speed. Also showed some fast-twitch ability as a position player, turning in an 83 mph outfield velo with athletic actions. Offensively he uses a big leg kick to load all his weight into his back side. Gets foot down late at times, creating a slightly steep path. Definite follow moving forward. 

 

 

Tate Childers OF / 3B / Mountain Ridge, AZ / 2019

Childers’ long, lean, and muscular, 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame looks the part of an athlete. He runs a 7.03 60-yard dash, and while not a big speed guy, he moves well. The frame stands out, and his arm showcases some carry from the outfield at 83 mph while smoothly looking the part, and being accurate to bases. At the dish, the right-handed hitter demonstrates some strength with a direct path to the ball. He has a handsy load with a late coil before slightly scooping through the zone. At his best, Childers works level through the zone with a high finish, and may develop more power in the future. Overall, given his size and athleticism, schools at some level will want to take a closer look at Childers throughout the spring/summer as he could potentially be a good fit for their program.