Preseason All-State: Middle Infield Analysis



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

Middle infielders are always in high demand and typically some of the best athletes on the field. This list is no different, and outside of our top two prospects, Zion Pettigrew (Mount Carmel, Iowa) and Justin Diaz (Lake View, Illinois State), everyone on this list is still uncommitted and has the ability to play the game at the next level.

Here's a look at our top middle infield prospects.

Top Middle Infield Prospects

1. Zion Pettigrew, SS, Mount Carmel, 2017
Iowa commit. Lanky athletic shortstop, projectable build, 6-foot, 165-pounds. Defensively showed advanced actions, confident defender, effortless defender. Premium shortstop prospect, soft hands, plays through the baseball. Arm action is short and loose, excellent carry, plus arm for his age, 90 mph across the diamond. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, smooth athletic loading action, excellent balance through contact. Explosive hands, loose bat speed, gap to gap approach, barrel aware with hard contact. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran a 7.10 60. Possible 2017 draft follow.

2. Justin Diaz, SS, Lake View, 2017
Illinois State commit. Lean athletic build, 6-foot-1, 170-pound shortstop, projectable frame. Advanced defender, hands are soft, quick exchange, occasionally gets too quick. Moves well, good body control, natural actions. Advanced arm, short and lose, good release, athletic arm action can play on the move, showed carry at 87 mph across the diamond. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, slightly open setup, short stride, average balance. Easy loose bat speed, flashed pull side pop, level path rhythmic hitter. 92 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.11 runner in the 60.

3. Lee Musgraves, SS, Von Steuben, 2017
5-foot-8, 150-pound middle infielder, athletic shape, slightly undersized, longer lean lower half. Defensively shows well above average actions, fluid footwork, moves well, plays though the baseball with body control. 7.19 runner in the 60. Showed arm strength, 83 mph across the diamond, short loose release, athletic arm slot, flashed carry. Right-handed hitter, open stance, short stride, excellent balance through contact. Loose hands sty inside the baseball, short path stays through the baseball, gets extension. Gap to gap approach, shows bat speed, 75 mph exit velocity from the tee.

4. Zach Frieling, SS, Chicago Christian, 2017
5-foot-10, 170-pound shortstop, lean loose athletic body. Defensively showed advanced actions, hands are soft, natural defender, looks confident at the position, smooth defender. Arm action is short and loose, efficient release with athletic arm, 82 mph across the diamond. 7.02 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, strong balance through contact. Worked the middle of the field, repeats swing well, level path, occasionally shouldered swing, line drive type hitter. 76 mph exit velocity from the tee.

5. Billy Mote, INF, Normal University, 2017
6-foot, 180-pound left-handed hitting infielder, lean loose frame. Offensively hits from an open stance, short stride back to even, smooth loading action, drops hands down and back, good balance. Ability to keep hands inside the baseball, loose hands, showed some barrel control and ability to backspin the baseball, flashed pull side pop. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.18 runner in the 60. Defensively showed a loose arm action, some accuracy, good arm strength, 85 mph across the diamond. Plays through the baseball, solid hands.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Ryan Altenberger, 2B, Morton, 2017
Lanky projectable frame, 5-foot-11, 150-pound middle infielder, thin build. Defensively showed a solid arm across the diamond, exchange is clean, high ¾ slot, 81 mph across the diamond. Arm action is athletic, good body control, used bare hand. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride with good balance. Loose hands, showed ability to spray the baseball, line drive type hitter. 79 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.46 runner in the 60.

Kade Burns, SS, Edwardsville, 2017
5-foot-9, 175-pound left-handed hitting middle infielder. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, slightly open, leg lift stride dives to hit, closes off. Path works slightly uphill, dive/pull approach, loose hands. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed average hands, showed ability to play through, occasionally sits on the baseball. Arm plays with carry, 85 mph across the diamond, high ¾ arm slot. Ran the 60 at 7.33, laser timed.

Dominic Connolly, 2B, Lemont, 2017
5-foot-9, 150-pound second baseman. Shows fluid actions defensively, softer hands, shows good body control. 7.55 runner in the 60. Arm action is short and loose, high ¾ slot, average arm strength. 80 mph across the diamond. Right-handed hitter, taller and slightly open setup, short stride, slight dive. Path works slightly uphill, gap to gap approach, best contact to opposite field. 80 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Evan Fairfield, SS, Dunlap, 2017
Lanky projectable frame, 5-foot-11, 150-pound middle infielder, slender build. Defensively showed good body control, hands showed some softness, tendency to field deep. Arm naturally plays out of ¾ slot, loose arm, average strength, 79 mph across the diamond. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, toe tap stride, average balance. Spray type hitter, used the whole field, showed some barrel control, hands have tendency to get away from body. 79 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.55 runner in the 60.

Kyle Fitzgerald, SS, Riverside-Brookfield, 2017
5-foot-11, 175-pound shortstop, sturdy athletic shape. 7.23 runner in the 60. Defensively shows softer hands, smooth actions, confident defender who plays easy. Arm action is short and quick, high ¾ slot, accurate arm, quick release, 77 mph across the diamond. Right-handed hitter, open setup, leg kick stride, average balance. Showed bat speed, gap to gap tendencies, smooth/easy approach. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Garrett Goetz, RHP/INF, Oswego East, 2017
6-foot-2, 190-pound two-way player, firm build, shows some strength, projects best on the mound. Tall and fall delivery, high leg lift, squared landing. Arm action is long, separates hands early, high ¾ slot, more arm strength than arm speed. Fastball is mostly straight, 85-86 mph. Pre-sets curveball, cups and turns over, 11/5 plane, showed ability to throw for strikes, 68-71 mph. Changeup showed some feel, 75-78 mph. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, heel lift trigger, average balance. Shows some bat strength, slight uphill path, 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.20 runner in the 60. Defensively skill set plays best at a corner, deliberate defender, average hands. Arm action is long, 81 mph across the diamond.

Noah Hibler, MIF, Lincoln-Way West, 2017
5-foot-9, 155-pound middle infielder. Defensively plays with ease, loose actions, athletic defender with soft hands, likely projects best at second base. Arm flashed carry, 79 mph across the diamond, short loose arm action, high ¾ slot, athletic arm can play from multiple slots. Right-handed hitter, open stance, short stride, good balance through contact. Works the middle of the field consistently, stays through the baseball, easy compact path, short to the baseball, barrel control hitter. 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.13 runner in the 60.

Hunter Keim, RHP/SS, Rock Island, 2017
6-foot-2, 160-pound two-way player, lean loose frame, looks to project best on the mound. Delivery shows some effort, slight head movement, glove pat separation, occasionally separates late. Arm action is loose with length, quick arm, over the top slot. Fastball sat 83-85 mph, slight run, mostly up. Curveball showed action and depth, 12/6 plane, 72-73 mph. Slider didn’t have as much action as curveball, short lateral bend, worked better from the stretch, 73-77 mph. Changeup has feel, slight sink, near fastball arm action, 76-79 mph. Defensively arm action is loose, similar to that on the mound, slight carry, 84 mph across the diamond. Fields tall at times, showed soft hands, fluid footwork. 7.88 runner. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, leg kick stride, spray type hitter, average bat speed. 80 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Yaki Lee, C/SS, Harlan, 2017
5-foot-10, 170-pound multi-positional player, shows best skill set behind the plate, athletic receiver. 7.13 runner in the 60. Defensively arm plays short and over the top, showed well above average arm strength, 79 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.12-2.25, solid actions behind the dish, athletic blocker. On the infield arm played at 78 mph across the diamond. Tends to sits back, fields deep, has the athletic ability to play through more aggressively. Left-handed hitter, open stance, short stride back to even, average balance. Spray type hitter, works off backs side, showed athletic hands and bat speed. 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Nick Mayerhofer, SS, Plainfield South, 2017
5-foot-8, 167-pound shortstop, wide/squared shoulders, athletic shape. Defensively showed soft hands, good actions, athletic defender, occasionally forced actions, good body control. Arm plays well, high ¾ slot, 84 mph across the diamond with carry, arm will play from the left side. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, short stride dives to hit. Lower half can get more involved, inside out type path, opposite field contact in BP, line drive type, stays on top of the baseball. 83 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.17 runner in the 60.

Chase Patterson, SS, Libertyville, 2017
5-foot-10, 170-pound middle infielder. Defensively shows arm strength across the diamond, long arm action, with long release, 90 mph across the diamond, accuracy can improve. Pays fast through the baseball with some effort, 7.12 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, short leg lift stride. Shows bat speed, inside out path, late trigger. 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Braden Willoughby, MIF/RHP, Maroa-Forsyth, 2017
6-foot, 178-pound middle infielder, solid build, shows some strength. Defensively arm action is long, accurate across the diamond, 83 mph arm strength across the diamond. 7.52 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, long stride, average balance. Level path, occasionally dives over it. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. On the mound, delivery showed regular effort, longer arm action, high ¾ slot. Fastball is straight, 79-80 mph, touched 81 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, gradual action, near fastball arm action, 67-70 mph. Changeup has occasional cut 66-68 mph, near fastball arm speed.

Related Content

----IL/WI 6.16.16 Top Prospect SLIDE - 6.16.16Itopprospectslide_FINAL.jpg