Prep Baseball Report

2017 Top Prospect Games: Corner Infield Ananlysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Illinois/Wisconsin

Corner infielders are typically known for their bats, driving in runs and hitting the ball to the gaps is key for corner infielders at the next level. The Top Prospect Games had several high end bats that look to fit the mold of run producing corner infielders at the next level.

KC Simonich took the top corner infield spot with his smooth left handed swing. Simonich’s offensive prowess is much more advance than his defensive abilities but Simonich is already showing he can swing the bat at a high level, his hot bat was on display all summer leading Joliet Catholic to a summer state championship.

Top Corner Infield Prospects

1. KC Simonich, CIF/OF, Joliet Catholic, 2017
Long thin frame, highly projectable, slender build, 6-foot-3, 160-pound left handed hitting third baseman. Offensively hits from the left side, open stance, smooth loading action, short stride back to square, advanced setup, quiet and athletic, maintains strong balance through contact. Hits with excellent rhythm, advanced feel in the box, has a presence, loose hands, excellent path, advanced swing, high level projection at the plate. Advanced present bat speed, line drive, slight pull side approach, impacts with authority. Defensively plays with a longer arm action, some looseness, showed accuracy, 74 mph across the diamond. Simonich is a high follow in the class of 2017, his frame and bat have a huge ceiling that will be the attention of many over the next several years.

2. Harrison Hayes, 3B, Fenwick, 2017
Highly projectable frame, long and lanky, room to fill out, 6-foot-2, 175-pound third baseman. Right handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, excellent athletic setup. Path is short with extension, line drive gap to gap approach, gets through the baseball well, loose hands, creates whip and backspin. Projectable high level hitter, 83 mph exit velocity from the tee. On the infield projects at a corner infield spot, third base type, feet work, showed athleticism and body control. Arm action is athletic, short action, high ¾ slot with accuracy. 72 mph across the diamond, shows carry. Hayes projects well at the plate with a highly athletic and loose swing that maintains strong balance while flashing power.

3. Ben Dragani, LHP/1B, Catholic Memorial (WI), 2017
6-foot-3, 175-pound lanky, projectable left-handed hitting LHP/1B currently ranked No. 2 in Wisconsin’s 2017 class.  Impressed as the top two-way player in attendance at the 2017 Top Prospect Games.  Hits from a tall, narrows setup, with slight leg kick, and short, smooth, level bat path producing 79 mph exit velocity.  Showed good feet around the bag at first, and feel for turning the double play.  Ran 4.63 from home to first. Projects well on the mound throwing from short, loose, high ¾ arm slot with easy effort.  Utilizes tall and fall delivery with level shoulders, keeping lower half in-line with home.  Fastball sat 79-82 mph with run, and late finish through the zone.  72-74 mph slider showed sweeping action, backing up/spinning at times.  76 mph changeup showed plus action with arm side run on a swinging strike three.  Dragani is a high level prospect on the mound, but showed he could handle the bat as well.

4. Noah Konie, 1B/LHP, Huntley, 2017
Big build, 6-foot, 200-pound left handed hitting first baseman, present strength. Offensively hits from an open stance, smooth loading action, short stride, good balance through contact. Pull side power approach, shows the ability to go opposite field, impacts the ball well with repeatability. Well above average bat speed, 78 mph exit velocity from the tee. Showed similarly in game, several hard hit baseball, including a double. Defensively shows natural actions around the bag, longer arm action, high ¾ slot, 73 mph arm across the diamond. Softer hands, advanced defender at first base. On the mound fastball pitched at 75-77 mph, showed feel. Curveball had control of the zone, near fastball arm action. Showed a good mix of fastball curveball.

5. Patrick Sisk, 3B, Marquette University HS, WI, 2017
6-foot-2, 185-pound infielder with proportionally strong frame; wide shoulders, barrel chest, solid lower half. Right-handed hitter has aggressive offensive approach in box. Hits from slightly open setup, high hands, incorporates lower half well, above-average bat speed; uphill bat path with high finish. Recorded 81 mph exit velocity. Delivered two hits in game play and barreled several other balls up. Defensively, shows solid carry across infield at 76 mph from high three-quarter slot. Plays shortstop in high school though likely projects as corner infielder. Ran a 4.79 home to first.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Charlie Bourbon, INF, Stevenson, 2017
6-foot-1, 175-pound infielder, average build with some length and athleticism. Right handed hitter, slightly open stance, short heel lift stride. Gap to gap approach, some effort, spray type hitter. 78 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively projects at third base, arm works from high ¾ slot, 72 mph across the diamond. Feet work playing through the baseball. 4.89 runner down the line.

Tyler Esplin, 3B/RHP, Lake Forest Academy, 2017
6-foot, 175-pound left-handed hitting 3B/RHP who did not work on the mound at the 2017 Top Prospect Games due to his travel ball schedule.  Hits from a tall, narrow, open setup, with hands loading smoothly, a short stride, and short, slightly uphill bat path with power to his pull side producing 79 mph exit velocity.  Possesses good rhythm in swing.  Defensively, threw 66 mph across the infield, plays high after fielding, and arm did not look the same as in June at the Prospect Identification Showcase, but he had thrown a complete game on the mound on Sunday.  Ran 4.69-4.79 from home to first.   

Ryan Finnel, RHP/3B, Waunakee (WI), 2017
6-foot-1, 160-pound lanky right-handed hitting RHP/3B hits from a wide, slightly closed setup with a short stride and short level bat path producing 75 mph exit velocity.  Took an opposite field approach, staying inside the baseball hitting several line drives to right center during batting practice.  Defensively, moves slightly hunched after the baseball, throwing from a loose ¾ arm action with some accuracy at 69 mph across the infield.  Ran 4.72 from home to first.  Had two hits, including a double in first game.  On the mound threw 72-74 mph fastball from high ¾ arm slot with a wrap, slightly higher than in the infield.  Slowed arm on 60-62 mph curveball with 11/5 shape.  62-64 mph changeup showed some fade.

Sam Fradin, RHP/3B, Deerfield HS, IL, 2017
5-foot-11, 165-pound two-way player. On the mound, right-hander operates from high three-quarter slot, short, clean arm action; loose, athletic arm, minimal effort; stays tall on backside. Fastball ranged between 75-78 mph, touching 80 once.  Curveball ranged between 59-61 mph, 12/6 shape, showed ability to throw pitch for strikes. Also threw changeup at 68 mph. Positionally, plays third base, some carry across infield (75 mph). Offensively, hits from tall, narrow, open setup. Inconsistent swing mechanics, occasionally incorporates more pronounced leg kick; when synched up, showed some lift and backspin carry during BP. Ran a 4.76 home-to-first.

Nick Hernandez, C/3B, Home School, WI, 2017
Athletically built 5-foot-10, 170-pound multi-positional player. Offensively, has simple, mechanically sound approach; maintains excellent balance through contact, quiet mechanics, makes consistent hard contact. Repeats swing well, shows ability to hit to all fields; 83 mph exit velocity. In game action, ripped a run-scoring triple to right-center field; also smoked a line drive to centerfield. Behind the plate, recorded pop times between 2.25-2.29; 69 mph from the crouch. Has short arm action, footwork lacks direction. In games, showed ability to also play third base, making a solid backhand play.

Jacob Lindemann, RHP/1B, Burlington (WI), 2017
Long projectable build, 6-foot-3, 185-pound two-way player. Projects better on the mound, delivery is simple, tall and fall approach, works on line, little lower half involvement. Arm action is short and loose, quick arm, works downhill. Fastball has run, downhill plane, well above average action through the zone, pitched at 82-85 mph, showed feel of the zone. Curveball lacked shape, had back up tendencies, flashed a hard biter on a steeper plane, 68-72 mph. Offensively hits from the right side, balanced stance, short leg lift stride, stride opens, solid balance. Bat path is short, gets some extension, stays on top creates some back spin. 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.72 runner down the line. At first base, showed a strong arm across the diamond, 81 mph, short arm action and accurate.

Joe Ludwig, 3B/C, Middleton (WI), 2017
6-foot-1, 180-pound right-handed hitting 3B/C impressed with muscular build and strength with the bat.  Hits from a wide balanced setup with a short stride and level bat, line drive bat path producing 83 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, graded out better behind the plate than in the infield.  Pop times ranged between 2.11-2.27 at 72 mph from the crouch.  Projects at third base in infield, throwing 74 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot with accuracy.  Possesses soft hands fielding through the baseball.  Ran 4.47-4.58 from home to first.

Jacob Passow, 3B/RHP, Germantown, 2017
6-foot-2, 180-pound two-way player, larger frame, projectable body. Right handed hitter, has some power projection, balanced stance, shorter stride. Bat path is flat, spray hitter, showed the ability to work both gaps, easy swing, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm played at 74 mph across the diamond. Corner infield type defender, high ¾ arm with long draw. On the mound fastball ranged 70-73 mph. Curveball ranged 59-63 mph.

Jake Pomykalski, RHP/1B, Lincoln-Way East, 2017
Large frame and build, 6-foot-3, 195-pound two-way player. On the mound delivery works on line, lower half opens early. Operates from a high ¾ slot, shorter arm action. Fastball has sink, slight run, 76-78 mph showed occasional feel. Slider has sweeping action, ranged from 65-70 mph. Straight change sits between 68-71 mph, occasional deceleration. Showed the ability to throw all pitches for strikes, sinker slider type guy, produced many groundballs in game action. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, toe tap double stride, erratic timing. Flashed raw pop, longer path with strength, 84 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Max Rimac, LHP/1B, Niles Notre Dame HS, IL, 2017
6-foot-3, 170-poundtwo-way player; athletic, projectable frame with plenty of room for continued physical development. Left-handed pitcher with clean, easy arm action, high three-quarter slot, works across body, maintains good tempo and rhythm throughout athletic delivery. Fastball ranged between 74-77 mph with significant arm-side run. More velocity should come with few minor mechanical tweaks. Changeup ranged between 69-72, while curveball registered 60-61; recorded a strikeout with each secondary pitch. Also showed well offensively. Has athletic left-handed swing; hits from open setup and demonstrated good rhythm and timing in box. In game action, took several highly competitive at-bats, including one in which he fouled off five pitches before singling sharply up the middle to drive in two runs. Recorded 78 mph exit velocity and was clocked at 72 mph across the infield at first base. High follow prospect in the 2017 class.

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