Prep Baseball Report

Puma Classic 2022: Quick Hits- Position Players

David Seifert & Tad Slowik

On Sept. 9 and 10 the PBR JUCO staff facilitated its annual Puma Classic at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. This year’s event featured 30 junior college programs, 14 of which held a place on PBR JUCO’s 2022 season rankings. Given the increasingly talent-laden landscape that’s inundating the JUCO environment year in and year out, this fall’s Puma Classic was the most well-attended event to date – from players and programs, to recruiting coordinators and MLB scouts.

There was something for everybody. MLB scouts were able to identify JUCO players to add to their spring follow lists, and collegiate coaches were hunting the kinds of players that can reinforce their rosters this time next year. Even onlookers had something to watch for, as these exhibition games still featured the special kind of energy and excitement that only JUCO ball can provide.

Throughout this week, we’ll break down the 2022 Puma Classic in full detail. Today, we’re going to spend some time highlighting the event’s most prominent takeaways, beginning with the position players. We'll highlight the event's pitchers on Tuesday.



+ Sam Antonacci, SS, Heartland: Five-tool talent answered the bell to his only question mark with a 433-foot long ball measured at an EV of 103 mph over the right-center field fence, as well as a hard double through the left-center gap. Uses all fields with power. Arm strength has improved since last fall; now solid-average. A top-five round 2023 MLB Draft follow. 

+ Bobby Atkinson, OF/1B, Heartland
: A 5-foot-10, 200-pound left-handed hitter who collected First Team All-American honors last season and was ultimately named the Region 24 Player of the Year as a freshman at Heartland; slashed 459/.567/.917 with 43 extra-base hits, including 18 home runs. Continued to look like one of the top hitters in the Midwest at the Puma Classic; tallied a barreled triple into his opposite gap and lined a base hit to center field that was measured at 103 mph EV.

+ Trenton Burkhalter, C, Kirkwood
: At the plate, the right-handed hitter barreled three balls on the day. Behind the dish, he received well and threw a runner out with average arm strength and a 1.95 pop time.

+ Grant Davis, INF, Dyersburg State: Showed some struggles against the breaking ball, but turned around the fastball with several triple-digit EVs, including singles of 100 and 102 mph.

+ Nick Giamurusti, OF, John A Logan: The fastest player in the Puma Classic runs a 6.20 60-yard dash. Has speed to burn which plays big on both sides of the ball.

+ Kaleb Herbert, SS, Kaskaskia: Plus defender and plus runner who had good swings all weekend, including a bases loaded triple.

+ Tyler Herron, C, Parkland: Created some scouting buzz with a plus arm and on-the-money throws from behind the dish; brings good energy. At the plate, he produced three base hits, one for extras. Also runs well.

+ Ben Higdon, OF, John A. Logan: Hammered a 365-foot opposite field home run with an EV of 101 mph. Showed his strength at the plate and his all fields approach. He can also play defense, running down a ball in the gap that looked like a sure double. Higdon has all-around tools for the next level.

+ Tre Hondras, OF, John A. Logan
: Live body athlete with speed to get good jumps on balls and the instincts to run them down. Throws are accurate with carry. Solid approach at the plate with the ability to square up pitches and drive the ball to all fields. Has pull-side power. Good all around player with next level abilities.

+ Billy Howard, INF, McHenry County
: Loud right-handed bat slotted right in the middle of the Scots’ order. Returns as a top performer from a quality club last year. Physical frame with bat strength and bat speed, found the barrel to the opposite field twice against John A. Logan.

+ Hunter Lay, UTL, Lansing
: Strong, physical middle-of-the-order type bat for the Stars. Was their top returning offensive threat on a team that won 44 games last year, slashed .385/.470/.620 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs. Screamed a no-doubt home run into the left-center gap on Friday and backspun a double down the right field line as well. 

+ Rilan Quinones, 3B, Dyersburg State
: Strong, physical athlete with first step quickness and good hands. Plus arm is accurate with plenty of carry. Solid approach at plate able to barrel balls up with plus raw power. Smoked a HR measured at 108 mph EV, the highest exit speed recorded at the event. With more at bats will get better with big upside offensively.

+ Pierre Seals, OF, Dyersburg State: Athletic with tools; Seals also showed his physical strength and raw power with a 400-foot home run that exited the barrel at 105 mph. His contact rate against spin must be improved, or at the very least must be able to battle the breakers to get to the next fastball. This will be crucial to any future success at the next level. 

+ Reed Stallman, 1B, Des Moines Area
: The top returning hitter for DMACC showed a balanced approach with line drive swing and good bat control. Combines power and hit ability.

+ Mikaii Stoner,
OF, Olney Central: High level athlete that floats around the outfield and posted plus run times out of the box. Left-handed bat with strong plate coverage and feel for the zone with low swing-and-miss.


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