Prep Baseball Report

2017 Top Prospect Games: Outfield Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Illinois/Wisconsin

The 2017 outfield prospects at the Top Prospect Games unveiled one of the more dynamic bats we’ve see at that age in a long time. Brad Czerniejewski (Lake Forest) is without a doubt the most explosive bat we have seen in Illinois’ 2017 class. Czerniejewski recorded 95 mph exit velocity off the tee, but that’s just the start of it, his attack of the baseball in live game action is impressive to say the least. Czerniejewski lets the ball get extremely deep on him with still having the ability to get the barrel to inside pitches with authority. Truly a high level hitter in the 2017 class.

Here’s a look at the rest of the top outfield prospects.

Top Outfield Prospects

1.Brad Czerniejewski, OF, Lake Forest, 2017
6-foot-1, 170-pound highly athletic, fast twitch, right-handed hitting outfielder impressed as the top prospect in attendance at the 2017 Top Prospect Games.  Possesses elite bat speed for any age with 95 mph exit velocity, hitting from a tall, open setup with a smooth load and short stride.   Bat path is short and slightly uphill, with relaxed hands and controlled violence in swing.  Hands are impressive, staying inside the baseball even on pitches buried inside.  Barreled several baseballs during live game play, doubling twice, singling twice, and also stealing several bases.  Extremely aggressive on the base paths, ran 4.43 on a groundout to short that was barreled.  Czerniejewski may prove to be the top hitter in the 2017 class when it is all said and done.  Defensively, impressed more in the outfield than in the infield with actions and athleticism.  Threw 85 mph from the outfield, and 81 mph from the infield.  Does everything at a fast pace and full go.  Played through the baseball with clean fluid actions in centerfield, showed same carry on throws at shortstop as well, shortening up arm action a bit.  Czerniejewski is a high level prospect to watch over the next several years.

2. Zach Campbell, OF/LHP, Burlington, 2017
5-foot-10, 152-pound left-handed two-way prospect, athletic build, projectable. Left-handed hitter, open stance, short stride, maintains strong balance. Efficient bat path, stays on top of the baseball, loose athletic hands, pull side approach in BP, 77 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed natural actions in the outfield, plays through the baseball well, clean exchange, with softer hands. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot, accurate arm plays well to bases, showed carry, 75 mph from the outfield. On the mound fastball sat 70-74 mph, flashed cutting action. Curveball has 11/5 shape, 65-67 mph. Showed good feel for multiple pitches.

3. Zachary Nogalski, OF, Marquette University (WI), 2017
Long lanky projectable build, tapered shoulders, 6-foot-1, 155-pound outfielder. Right handed hitter, closed stance, loads hands back, good balance through contact, short finish at times. Well above average bat speed, can gain more extension, 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively plays to anf through the baseball athletically, fluid long strided footwork. Arm plays with length, high ¾ slot, accurate arm, plays well to bases, some carry, 79 mph arm strength. Nogalski’s projectability makes him an intriguing prospect, frame is conducive for more strength and could project as a power hitting corner outfielder.

4. Gabe Schimpf, OF/LHP, Herrin HS, IL, 2017
5-foot-7, 140-pound two-way athlete. High-energy, high-motor player; arguably the best athlete at the 2017 Top Prospect Games. Moves fluidly, natural outfield instincts, gets good reads off the bat. Accurate arm, 78 mph, works downhill well. Offensively, hits from right side; has balanced, simple approach, quiet mechanics, repeats swing. Has athletic hands, level bat path, allows ball to travel deep, maintains excellent balance through contact, line-drive approach, good barrel control. In game play, made consistent hard contact and recorded several hits. On the mound, left-hander throws three pitches for strikes. Athletic delivery, high three-quarter slot, has good tempo and rhythm. Changeup shows advanced action, 63-65 mph, with arm-side sink; throws pitch aggressively and for strikes. Fastball topped at 77 mph, sitting in 75-76 range, with sink. Curveball ranged between 68-70 mph, more sweeping action. Throws all three pitches with similar arm action; attacks hitters with repertoire.

5. Jonathan Butler, OF/RHP, Minooka HS, IL, 2017
6-foot-1, 150-pound two-way player, projectable, athletic frame; left-handed hitter, right-handed pitcher. Was one of the top athletes at the 2017 Top Prospect Games; ran an event-best 4.33 home-to-first time from the left side. Offensively, has a balanced, square setup; currently a handsy type hitter, potential for more power potential down the road with more lower-half involvement. Has level, flat path, quiet mechanics, line-drive approach; registered 73 mph exit velocity. From the outfield, throws from over the top slot, made accurate throws at 76 mph. On the mound, works from high three-quarter slot, repeats athletic delivery well, arm works with ease. Fastball topped at 75 mph, sitting 72-73. Showed solid feel for changeup, at 68 mph, with some arm-side sink. Also throws 58-61 mph curveball.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Blake Begner, LHP/OF, Peoria Heights HS, IL, 2017
5-foot-8, 140-pound two-way player. Showed well on the mound at the 2017 Top Prospect Games, demonstrating ability to throw three pitches for strikes. Works from over-the-top slot, quick, clean arm action, hides the ball well. Fastball topped at 79 mph, sitting 76-78, with arm-side run. Athletic delivery, stays tall on backside well. Throws changeup with conviction at 67-68 mph, occasional sink. Also throws curveball in 62-66 range. Offensively, hits from a balanced, wider setup, athletic hands, line-drive approach; 79 mph exit velocity. Moves athletically in the outfield, shows natural outfield instincts, arm plays, recorded 76 mph with consistent accuracy.

Mason Coon, OF/LHP, St. Joseph-Ogden, 2017
6-foot-2, 165-pound lanky left-handed hitting OF/LHP hits from a wide, crouched setup  with a long stride and long, level bat path looking to pull with 74 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 76 mph from the outfield from a long, high ¾ arm slot with some accuracy.  On the mound, works from same arm slot with level shoulders and lower half staying on-line with home plate.  Shows some rhythm in tall and fall delivery, producing 71-75 mph fastballs with erratic location.  Throws slider with 2/8 shape hard at 66-68 mph and notched a strikeout wit it..  Straight change was thrown at 67 mph.

Jeremy Davis, OF, Geneva HS, IL, 2017
5-foot-10, 155-pound left-handed hitting outfielder, slight, wiry frame. Has solid overall approach at plate. Balanced setup, maintains balance through contact, level bat path, stays through the ball well and creates some barrel whip. Line-drive, middle approach. Made consistent hard contact in games, including several hits, and barreled a ball to centerfield. Runs well for age; at previous event recorded a 7.05 60. Right-handed thrower from outfield; works uphill, 72 mph.

Tai Haney, OF, Auburn, 2017
6-foot, 170-pound outfielder, average build, some athletic shape. Offensively hits from the right side, balanced stance, short quick leg lift trigger, high hands setup. Showed the ability to work the middle of the field in BP, 81 mph exit velocity from the tee. In the outfield, used a long arm action from a ¾ slot, arm played at 72 mph. Outfield actions resembled more infield play. 4.73 runner down the line.

Cooper Kelly, RHP/OF, Edgewood (WI), 2017
5-foot-9, 142-pound two-way player. On the mound delivery works with regular effort, longer arm action, high ¾ slot. Fastball ranged from 74-77, touched 79 mph. Curveball ranged 63-66 mph with steeper plane. Slider is harder at 68-72 mph, more lateral action. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, slightly closed stance, slightly dives, high finish. 78 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively plays from the outfielder with a longer arm action, feet work well, fluid with above average actions. 80 mph from the outfield, 4.54 runner.

Jackson Shepherd, SS/OF, Minooka, 2017
5-foot-9, 155-pound right-handed hitting shortstop hits from a balanced setup with a short stride, hands load back smoothly, but get away from body at times, producing long, level bat path with 76 mph exit velocity.  Showed a good approach hitting the ball the other way during live batting practice.  Ran 4.69-4.79 from home to first during games.  Defensively, throws from a long, loose, high ¾ arm slot with above average arm strength across the diamond at 78 mph.  Showed soft hands and fluid footwork fielding. 

Max Van Boxel, LHP/OF, Green Bay East (WI), 2017
6-foot-1, 190-pound left-handed hitting OF/LHP hits from a balanced setup, with a short stride, and short, uphill bat path, collapsing on backside at times producing 83 mph exit velocity.  Showed loose arm in the outfield throwing 78 mph from high ¾ slot with carry.  Ran 4.63 from home to first.  Impressed on the mound with 75-79 mph fastball with arm side run thrown for strikes.  Arm action is long and loose, high ¾, from a tall-and-fall delivery.  Upper half gets out ahead of lower half at times, toppling, but rhythm is smooth and repeats delivery with closed shoulders and slightly closed landing on front foot.  62-65 mph curveball backed up at times, while also showing 11/5 action when thrown for strikes.  66-70 mph changeup showed sink and was also thrown for strikes.

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