Preseason Trials: Infield Analysis


Jordon Banfield
Arizona Scouting Director

The Preseason Trials took place on Wednesday, December 27th at Corona del Sol HS in Tempe. The event featured prospects from the 2019-2021 classes and served as an identifier for future invite-only events such as the upcoming Preseason All-State Games and next summer’s Top Prospect Games and Future Games. This week we continue our positional analysis from the event with the infielders. Complete data, pictures, video and scouting reports from the event are posted to players' profiles. As always contact [email protected] or direct message @PBRArizona on Twitter with any questions and/or information.

2020 Colten Keith is our top-rated infielder from the event after going from completely off the radar to a high-D1 recruit in a matter of hours. Keith will be prominently featured in our updated 2020 rankings and a household name moving forward. 2020 Oregon State commit Hunter Haas and Thome Nickelson also performed well, despite being polar opposites with Haas showing plenty of polish and Nickelson more the raw toolsy prospect. All three will be playing in the upcoming Preseason All-State Games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, home of Arizona State.

Top Infield Prospects

 

Colten Keith 3B / RHP / Verrado, AZ / 2020

Keith was a virtual unknown to scouts and recruiters prior to this event. That all changed in a matter of hours. The physical 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect has sloping shoulders and proportional strength. Everything he did on the day was fast twitch and Keith established himself as one of the elite 2020 prospects in Arizona if not the country. A legitimate two-way player, Keith has high-end tools as a pitcher and third basemen. Offensively, the ball flies off his bat, using a very high leg-lick and high back elbow, generating elite bat speed from the left side. His 94 mph exit velocity is the highest we have recorded in AZ for a 2020 prospect. Defensively profiles as third baseman, feet work well, putting him in position to show off a present grade 50 arm with outstanding carry; 87 mph infield velo. Also turned in 6.99 60-yard dash. On the mound he uses a compact delivery with high leg lift and relatively short stride. Throws from high ¾ slot with short arm stroke, getting on top of the ball quickly in back before showing elite arm speed. Worked 86-87 mph with his heavy fastball, touching 88. Also showed a 70-73 mph slurve that flashed tight rotation and hard, late break, if somewhat inconsistent. Best secondary offering was sinking 79-81 mph changeup thrown with great arm speed. Also mixed in a 70-72 mph knuckleball for good measure. Keith will be featured prominently when we update our 2020 rankings in February. 

 

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

Haas is an early commit to Oregon State and has always been an advanced defender that lacked some physical strength. In our first look at him this winter the 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect has completely transformed his body showing much improved strength and a thicker lower half. The strength gains were evident as he posted a 89 mph exit velocity, good for third best at the event. Haas hits from a wide, solid base with a short stride, loading his hands deep to create separation and nearly barring his lead arm. Almost all contact was made well out in front with his head moving forward at times, but producing plenty of hard contact to the pull side. Defensively Haas continues to be a natural mover, getting excellent bat reads, working through his target to make accurate throws from a low ¾ slot; 78 mph infield velo. Also turned in 7.21 60-yard dash.  

 

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

Athletic 6-foot, 155-pound frame. Intriguing prospects shows combination of bat speed, arm strength and all-around fast twitch ability. May profile best in the outfield at the next level. 7.01 60-yard dash shows he’s the type of athlete that will offer positional versatility moving forward. Shows present bat speed and projects for at least gap power as he gets stronger. Bat path can get steep at times and back side doesn’t always get through the baseball. Tools to hit with improved mechanics. Feet and arm work well on the infield, shows whippy arm action and the ability to throw from multiple angles; 82 mph infield velocity. Hands may project best to 3B or the outfield. 

 

Best of the Rest (Alphabetical Order)

Julian Alemany, Brophy Prep, 2021

Jake Burkhardt, Corona del Sol HS, 2020

Dylan Fesperman, Pinnacle HS, 2019

Zachariahs Johnson, Saguaro HS, 2019

Jaxon Rose, Liberty HS, 2020

Todd Stawiecki, Corona del Sol HS, 2020

Bryan Webb, Corona del Sol HS, 2020

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