Prep Baseball Report

Underclass Invitational: Middle Infield Analysis

By Jeff Markle
Assistant State Director

The Prep Baseball Report’s Underclass Invitational Showcase class took place on Sunday January 25th at the Slammers South Baseball Facility in Englewood, Colorado.  50 prospects showed up and strutted their stuff in a pro-style workout. Over the next several days the PBR Scouting staff will roll out position-by-position rankings of the event, culminating with the Top Ten Overall Prospects from the showcase.

Click Here to view the article on top statistical performers from the event.

We also broke down the Top Tools of the event. Click Here to view the Top Tools based on various commonly used scouting criteria for analyzing prospects.

Many players at the Underclass Invitational are multi-positional. Prep Baseball Report broke down these players using projectability for playing positions over the next 2+ years.  

Lead by Austin Chouinard of Regis Jesuit, the athletic shortstop impressed with good feet, accurate arm, and 86 mph exit velocity.

Jacob Arellano of Mountain Range turned a few heads with his athleticism on balls left and right and 80 mph infield velocity from shortstop. He added an 83 mph fastball as the event moved into pitching in the afternoon.

Let’s take a look at the Top Middle Infield Prospects from this January’s Underclass Invitational. 

No. 8 Ranked Austin Chouinard, SS, Regis Jesuit, 2017
5-foot-11, 180-pound right handed projectable shortstop.  Both hands and feet are very developed for this 2017. Gets behind the ball very well and takes natural angels to balls both left and right.  He also threw well, gets the ball out of his glove quickly using a ¾ arm slot to make accurate throws with a top velocity of 72 mph.  At the plate he starts with a tall set-up and balanced stance. He has a simple stride, inline with the pitcher and simple, smooth hand load. Bat path long through the hitting zone with good pop and a quick lower half fires through the swing.  Demonstrated good power gap to gap. Registered the 4th highest exit velocity of the event at 86 mph. Ran a 4.38 home to first.  

No. 3 Ranked Jacob Arellano, SS/OF/RHP, Mountain Range, 2017
5-foot-8, 140-pound, right-handed hitting 3 position player.  During the infield drills he showed soft hands, quick footwork and quick exchanges. He showed a strong accurate arm and had an infield velocity of 80 mph from shortstop.  At the plate he starts with a balanced set-up and wide stance. He uses a simple stride and small load.  He has a short bat path, compact swing and bat speed, 80 mph on his exit velocity. He repeatedly drove the ball in the middle of the field. On the mound he topped out at 83 mph with a live fastball with late movement.  He has good command of 3 pitches and follows up his fastball with a 67mph curve and a 65-66 mph change-up. Ran a 4.5 home to first.  

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Jake Barr, SS/RHP, Mullen, 2018
5-foot-7, 155-pound, right-hand hitting shortstop/pitcher. During the infield workout he showed soft hands, good footwork. He throws with long, arm action topping out at 71 mph and finished his work with three strong throws on the money. There could be some third base in his future. At the plate he is balanced with a very simple approach, with a minimal hand load. A strong lower half drive through the ball produced an exit velocity was 83.  On the mound, Barr is a max effort pitcher, driving hard to the plate with his lower body. A long arm produced a max fastball of 75 mph. He will continue to develop control of two other pitches as he continues to grow. 64 mph curve and 65 mph change round out his pitches. Ran a 4.75 home to first. 

Jacob Bielat, MIF, Mullen 2018
5-foot-4, 130-pound right-hand hitting MIF. Good set up and feet allow him to get balls left and right, quick hands get the ball out early.  His throwing velocity was clocked at 68 mph.  At the plate he stands tall and then goes into a slight crouch on the load. He has a smooth load and line drive, gap-to-gap approach with bat speed, registered an 75 mph exit velocity. Time will help Jacob continue to develop as a player. Ran a 4.5 home to first.

Cole Blatchford, SS/3B/RHP, Mountain Vista, 2017
5-foot-9, 150-pound right-hand hitting middle infielder/pitcher. In the infield he has soft hands and quick feet with good overall presence.  He threw with short, quick arm action from a ¾ slot. He made accurate throws with a top velocity of 78 mph. At the plate, hits from a tall, balanced stance. Quick load makes him 60/40 in the lower half and hits off a firm front side.  He demonstrated a level swing, balance and extension with some bat speed as he drove the ball in the middle of the field. His exit velocity was clocked at 84 mph. On the mound, he has good sink and drive to the plate, his fastball topped out at 77 and was complemented by a 65 mph change. Blatchford also offered a 56 mph curve during the showcase. Ran a 4.51 home to first.

Max Hess, SS, Summit, 2018
5-foot-5, 130-pound right-hand hitting shortstop. From shortstop he showed average hands, quick footwork and clean exchanges showing a quick arm throwing from a ¾ arm slot. His top throwing velocity was clocked at 63 mph. At the plate he hits from a 60/40 stance.  Needs to develop more lower leg drive through the swing. A short load of the hands produces an swing that travels upward through the zone. His top exit velocity was 70 mph. He ran a 5.1 home to first and will benefit from time to help him develop.

Jimmy Holinger, SS, Regis Jesuit, 2017
5-foot-11, 148-pound athletic right-hand hitting shortstop. Good footwork keeps him in the right throwing position even on balls left and right.  A low ¾ arm slot allows him to get the ball in the throwing window before standing straight up. Arm strength will improve as he grows into his frame.  68 mph velocity across the field. At the plate, a balanced set up and small stride give way to a strong load and max swing  Bat travels on an upward plane and displays good power to the left side. 79 mph exit velocity at the invitational.  Ran a 4.56 home to first.

James Kester, SS/RHP, Heritage, No. 35 ranked 2017
5-foot-11, 165-pound right-handed hitting MIF/RHP.  Threw 75 mph across the diamond from shortstop from a loose, high arm slot, with accuracy.  Kester has a good fielding base with good feet that get his upper body in proper throwing position.  From SS Kester threw 71 mph across the diamond but also displayed some great range to his glove-hand side on balls hit up the middle making two real good plays to glove the ball. On the mound threw 78-79 mph from loose, high slot with a max fastball at 80 mph. Threw strikes with fastball and had a  68-69 mph change-up. Curve ball had good 12-6 action that sat at 63 mph. Mechanically, showed some rhythm to delivery, with level shoulders, toe pointed down at balance point, with squared level shoulders, and in-line towards home plate landing, and is working on falling off to first base since the last time we saw him.  Has opened up his stance at the plate and drives the ball to the left side better. Improved   exit velo of 85 mph, but we have seen him register an 87 before. Kester shows quick hands that can generate good pop off the bat. 

Tanner Lang, SS, Columbine, 2017
5-foot-9, 160-pound right-hand hitting shortstop with an athletic frame, showed soft hands and quick feet.  He threw from a ¾ slot with short, quick arm action with some effort to it. He made accurate throws with good carry and a top velocity of 65 mph. Hits from a balanced stance with a controlled stride inline with the pitcher.  He has a short, fluid load and level bat bath. He showed excellent balance and fluid rhythm as he flattened the ball out in the middle. Top exit velocity was 78 mph. Ran a 4.35 home to first.

Victor Lara, MIF, Columbine 2018
5-foot-6, 159-pound switch-hitting middle infielder.  Moves well for a 2018 getting behind the ball and putting himself in good throwing position, a short arm action from a ¾ slot.  His top velocity during infield workouts was  68 mph and he made several accurate throws. At the plate he demonstrated the ability to switch hit, 74 mph exit velocity from the left side was his best. A left-handed swing that is max effort with strong leg drive and long swing through the zone. Turns well on the ball inside and drives the ball to right.  From the right side, a balanced stance with a long swing through the zone with hands that push the ball to the right side. Ran a 4.78 home to first from the left side.

Michael Morris, SS/3B, Cherokee Trail, 2017
6-foot-0, 150-pound right-hand hitting shortstop/3B. Good positioning with his feet and glove put him in a good throwing position, he threw with quick, clean over the top arm action. He threw up to 71 mph with accuracy. Arm angle is there, velocity should pick up as he grows into his frame. At the plate a max effort swing starts from a balanced stance, a long stride has him hitting against a stiff front side. A long swing path with upward movement produces many balls in the air. A 87 exit velocity puts him third amongst all Underclass Invitational participants. Ran a 4.31 home to first.

Nicolas Rodriquez, MIF, Columbine, 2018
5-foot-5, 110-pound middle infield, showed quick feet, soft hands and good actions. Throws from a ¾ slot and was gets the ball out quick and accurate. He had a throwing velocity of 60 mph. At the plate, he starts with a 60/40 stance and has a small load of the hands.  Front foot gets down and out of the way and the lower half guides the bat through the zone. Good level bat plane allows for hits to all fields. Solid swing mechanics and time will help improve upon the 66 mph exit velocity. Ran a 5.19 home to first.

Jack Stone, MIF, Mullen, 2017
5-foot-7, 155-pound right-hand hitting middle infielder, with good feet and hands with accurate throws. He throws from a high ¾ slot with short, arm action. His infield throwing velocity was 61 mph from shortstop. At the plate he has a balanced set up with minimal stride, small hand load keeps the bat at the top of the hitting zone. Flat bat path keeps the barrel in the zone throughout the swing.  Lower leg drive will improve with strength. Exit velocity was 71 mph. Ran a 4.87 home to first.

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