Preseason All-State Games: Infield 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 continue our positional analysis with the infielders. 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 infielders, other positions/skills are not taken into consideration. This infield list proved to be a nearly impossible task with such a strong group of prospects. Colten Keith was the clear #1 prospect at the event, with the best tools across the board, and there was some separation of the top six or so infielders, but after that there's a group of 15 or so players that could all be argued for, including guys like Joey Cammarata (who we just didn't see enough from with his inability to throw), Tyler Kearney, Thome Nickelson, Alec Acevedo, Cayden Collins, Aaron Limon, Anthony Mase, Spencer Horwath, Nolan Brooks and more not making the list, but projecting as certain college-level players and potentially very good ones.

 

TOP Infield PROSPECTS

 

 

Colten Keith SS / RHP / Verrado, AZ / 2020

The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder has an athletic frame with wiry strength throughout, and looks like he will pack on much more muscle in the future. He began the day by running an impressive, 6.71 60-yard dash to show off his speed, and later threw 89 mph across the infield and produced an exit velocity of 94 mph. However, it was his work in the game that stood out to me. At the plate, Keith features a large leg kick with his hands held high and work down and back throughout a load before working quickly uphill to the ball with advanced strength for his age. Especially at his young age, it can be difficult to time up a leg kick that big, but Keith is athletic enough to make it work. Even when falling behind in the count, he was able to get his foot down on time against some quality pitching. Because of this, I think he will be able to make the necessary adjustments, in the future, as he continues to face higher level arms. His strong arm will give him a chance to stick on the infield, likely at a corner spot where he will be sure-handed. With his speed, Keith may also have a chance to shift to an outfield spot. Either way, his bat should play, and there is likely even more power coming soon. Making himself an even more valuable recruit, Keith sat 86-88 with a fastball that rode through the zone. He exhibits a quicker, strong arm, and shows the ability to throw strikes. Though still very early in the season, Keith also featured a slurve-type breaking ball at 72-73 that had tight rotation and took more 10/4 shape. The pitch has a chance to be a swing and miss offering in the future as he continues to refine it. Additionally, he showcases a knuckleball (68-69) and changeup (79-81). Overall, the prospect of getting two players (pitcher/position) in one should make Keith a highly coveted recruit moving forward.  

 

 

Barrett Skaugrud SS / 2B / Sandra Day O'Connor, AZ / 2021

Just a freshman, Skaugrud’s long, wiry 6-foot, 135-pound frame will add a substantial amount of weight and muscle in the future. He looked taller in uniform as he possesses long limbs, and while his actions were athletic, they will be even better when he feels more comfortable with his long frame and new movement patterns. At the plate, the left-handed hitter’s approach stands out. His hands are fluid throughout the setup and work effortlessly down and back before driving through the zone on an uphill plane. Loose and relaxed, Skaugrud peppered the left centerfield gap with line drives, and projects to drive balls from gap to gap in the future. As his lower-half gets stronger, I suspect he will make an even bigger jump with the bat. In the field, the young shortstop has solid hands along with a short arm that allows him to get rid of the ball quickly and accurately from all angles. Again, because he is still so young and is still growing into a longer frame, Skaugrud will benefit from continued maturation as he will become more comfortable. Overall, the bat really looks like it will play in the future, and given time to progress/mature, expect Skaugrud to continue making quick progress.

 

 

 

Daniel Davila RHP / SS / Flowing Wells, AZ / 2020

Davila’s clean actions on the infield with smooth, confident hands should allow him to continue a consistent progression as his frame continues to mature. Standing 5-foot-10, 160-pounds with more to come, Davila showcased fluid actions at shortstop combined with a loose arm with the ability to throw from all angles. At the plate, the right-hander’s hands work fluently down and back with a knee-knock leg hang that allows him to build some momentum going forward. He has a flat path through the zone with a loose finish, and was relaxed at the plate throughout. Davila will be greatly aided by more strength in the future which should provide even more bat speed. On the mound, he worked 83-85 with a medium-sized arm swing, and quick hand speed out front. Delivering out of a ¾ slot, Davila pounds the zone with his fastball, and demonstrates advanced feel for an 11/5 curveball at 67-69 along with a changeup at 74-75. Because of his overall athleticism, Davila has a chance to make a big jump as he continues to grow, and coaches will want to be locked in to see how he progresses in the spring/summer.

 

 

 

Hunter Haas SS / 2B / Corona Del Sol, AZ / 2020

Haas, an Oregon St. recruit, had some of, if not the, best hands at the event, and his overall approach and aura was advanced beyond his years. Standing 6-foot, 170-pounds with some strength in the lower-half of what is an all-around athletic frame, Haas was confident in every play that he made on the day. The type of player you want a ball hit to at any time during the game, Haas also produced accurate throws. He demonstrates the ability to play any infield position, and should give coaches multiple options moving forward. At the plate, the right-handed hitter features a compact stroke with a direct path. Setting up in an athletic stance he has a shorter stride with minor hands movement before working fast through the zone. He produced a strong, 91 mph exit velocity off the tee and worked line drives in his batting practice round. However, I was most impressed by his approach at the plate during the game. He confidently faced some impressive pitching, and always appeared to be in control along with having a plan. His skills play up in game, and he appears to be a player that you like the more and more you watch him compete. 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Preston Clifford SS / RHP / Sabino, AZ / 2019

New Mexico commit. Clifford had natural actions and instincts all over the diamond. A New Mexico recruit, the 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.

 

 

 

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

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. 

 

 

 

Ty Mead SS / 2B / Cactus Shadows, AZ / 2019

Stocky 5-foot-11, 180 pound frame with some present strength. Quiet approach in the box; gets started early and creates good separation to make hard contact out front. Lower half shows some explosiveness in swing producing power to the pull side; 88 mph exit velocity. Moves comfortably on the infield; 3B profile. Throws with effort and carry from high ¾ slot with short arm action; 81 mph infield velo. 7.08 60 is solid for body type.

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

Jack Slominski SS / RHP / Saguaro, AZ / 2019

Long, narrow 6-foot-1, 160-pound frame. 7.33 60-yard dash; has body type that should continue to get faster as he gets stronger. Hits with low hands and short stride, on-plane swing, Made hard contact out front during his round of BP; 83 mph exit velocity. Easy mover on defense with loose, whippy arm that generates solid carry from all angles at 82 mph across the diamond. Interested to see him on the mound. Strong follow.

 

 

 

Mason Skaugrud 1B / 3B / Sandra Day O'Connor, AZ / 2019

Lean 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame with plenty of room to add needed strength/mass. Shows advanced swing with feel to find the barrel in live game action against quality arms. Hits from tall, slightly open setup, creating good separation and staying behind the baseball through contact. Shows solid pop for current level of physical strength; 84 mph exit velocity. Has a chance to be an above average defender at 1B with advanced footwork and softness in hands. Playable arm; 77 mph infield velo. Could be a prospect who gets faster as he gets stronger; 7.74 60-yard dash.

 

 

 

Beau Ankeney 1B / 3B / Desert Vista, AZ / 2021

6-foot-2, 215-pound frame with impressive natural strength. Leg kick trigger varies in size. Loads hands deep and elbow high. Tended to get started late and make contact deep in the zone. Plenty of bat speed to handle velo if he starts gathering earlier; 90 mph exit velocity. Playable defender at first base. Moves around the bag well; shows some stiffness in hands. Made accurate throws on the infield with 78 mph velocity.

 

 

 

Dylan Cuenca SS / 3B / Desert Vista, AZ / 2019

6-foot-1, 170-pound frame. Looks heavier and more physical than listed size; shows lots of present strength. Has some rigidity to his game, but turned in impressive 6.89 60-yard dash and mashed a ball off the wall in live game action. Has a busy hand load, taking his hands forward significantly before jerking them back into a deep loaded position. Cuenca the transfers all of his weight out over his front side, while hitting from a wide base. May have one of those swings that looks cleaner against live pitching than in BP as it appears there’s definite bat-to-ball ability to go along with the raw power; 88 mph exit velocity. Infield actions profile best to 3B as again there’s some rigidity but he made all the plays and shows workable hands and an accurate arm; 81 mph infield velo. 

 

 

 

Ben Staiger SS / RHP / Cienega, AZ / 2020

6-foot-1, 180-pound frame with present strength. Impressive sophomore prospect showed well in first PBR event. Hits from balanced, athletic setup with short stride and easy rhythm. Uses short hand load and fires lower half and hands at same time without great separation. Will likely show even more power with better sequencing. Made hard line drive contact to the middle of the field during his round of BP with very little effort/violence in swing; 90 mph exit velocity. Moves comfortably on defense, with a longer windup to get rid of the baseball; 81 mph infield velo with solid carry. Likely profiles best to 3B at the next level where his bat should play. Posted 7.34 60-yard dash. 

 

 

Will Maxey 3B / SS / Hamilton, AZ / 2020

Long 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame with some wiry strength and room to add plenty more. Possesses intriguing set of tools for young prospect that make him a very strong follow moving forward. 7.08 60-yard dash is very impressive for current body type. Hits from wide setup with very short stride. Gets started late at times. Flat swing plane; showed ability to square up the baseball and make line drive contact during his round of BP. 84 mph exit velocity. Takes lots of short, choppy steps and plays high at times on defense. Throws show solid carry at 83 mph across the diamond. 3B profile.