Prep Baseball Report

Top Pospect Games: Middle Infield Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Illinois and Wisconsin

The Class of 2016 Top Prospect Games on July 23-24 featured many of the top rising sophomores from Illinois and Wisconsin at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s pristine Les Miller Field. Over the course of the two-day, invitation-only event, many players emerged as high-interest prospects.

True middle infielders are hard to find, but the Class of 2016 Top Prospect Games had an abundance of them. Without question, the crop of middle infielders stole the show at the event. Tyler Fitzgerald (Rochester HS, IL), Justin Lavey (Tremper HS, WI), Gavin Lux (Indian Trail HS, WI) and Luke Shadid (Peoria Notre Dame HS, IL) are all high-level middle prospects.

Fitzgerald earned Top Prospect honors at the event thanks to his natural athleticism and upside. Lavey is a physically developed athlete who possesses advanced tools across the board. He was clocked at 82 mph across the infield and registered an event-best 93 mph exit velocity off a tee. The left-handed hitting Lux has the best defensive actions of the bunch and plenty of arm to boot (82 mph). Shadid is a high-level athlete who consistently made plays in the field while barreling up the baseball.

Mike Madej (Providence Catholic HS, IL) continued to get better and better throughout the two days. He’s a switch-hitter with rhythm from both sides of the plate and has soft, reliable hands in the field. Then there’s Jacob Snider (Champaign Central HS, IL), who does everything well on the field. His baseball IQ is well beyond his years, and the left-handed hitter is a top-level base-runner.

Complete analysis of the middle infielders at the Class of 2016 Top Prospect Games:

Tom Duddleston, MIF, De La Salle (IL), 2016
5-foot-11, 150-pound middle-infielder who fielded his position at a high level. Displayed soft hands and athleticism playing through the ball with quick, fluid footwork making quick and clean exchanges. His throws across the infield were 71 mph. At the plate, Duddleston sets up in a balanced stance using a short stride –registered a 79 mph exit velocity off the tee. His home-to-first was 4.51.

Tyler Fitzgerald, SS, Rochester (IL), 2016
Dynamic athleticism, 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, athletic frame that plays well on the field. Fitzgerald is one of the top athletes in the Class of 2016, he plays the game with a sense of ease incomparable to his peers. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride. Lower half works with good balance throughout. Hard contact guy, finds the barrel with regularity, occasional pull tendencies. Defensively shows excellent range, 4.25 runner down the line. Featured soft hands going both to his glove side and on his back hand, excellent exchange, quick and concise, plays through the baseball athletically with body control and an athletic arm action. Arm played at 78 mph across the diamond. Fitzgerald is clearly one of the more dynamic athletes in the Class of 2016 across the region. Fitzgerald went 3-for-8 with a number of hard hit balls as well as making a spectacular diving play to get a pair of outs.

Joe Gahm, INF/RHP, Germantown (WI), 2016
Lanky frame, slender build, 5-foot-11, 160-pound two way player. Defensively showed soft hands with above average infield actions. Arm plays at 76 mph across the diamond, loose arm action, showed carry and accuracy. At the plate hits from a balanced setup, short stride, slight leg kick. Excellent hands at the plate, shows explosiveness, bat speed present, 83 mph exit velocity from the tee, showed whip through the zone, occasional pull tendency. On the mound works from a tall and fall approach, regular effort. Arm action is long, shows looseness, occasional stab in backswing, high ¾ arm slot, showed quickness. Fastball touched 80 mph, showed run, occasional sink, showed control, sat 77-79 mph. Curveball worked on 11/5 plane, slurve tendencies, showed control at 69-73 mph. Change up thrown with fastball similar arm speed, flashed sink, 73 mph flashing excellent deception. Gahm is one of the more athletic and versatile prospects in Wisconsin’s Class of 2016.

Jackson Hager, MIF, Wheaton North (IL), 2016
6-foot-1, 165-pound two-way player. Line-drive hitter hits from a balanced setup utilizing a leg-kick trigger maintaining balance throughout the swing. Registered a 75 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively his arm plays at 68 mph across the infield. On the mound, Hager throws from a high ¾ arm slot. His fastball has occasional run and sink at 71-72 mph. Curveball sits 62 mph with gradual 11/5 break.

Kelly Lane, MIF, Morgan Park (IL), 2016
5-foot-10, 145-pound lanky middle-infielder. Offensively hits from a balanced setup using a toe-tap trigger. Has athletic pre-pitch rhythm and registered a 72 mph exit velocity off the tee maintaining some balance throughout. Displayed soft hands defensively with a clean exchange, throwing 68 mph across the infield with short arm action.

Justin Lavey, MIF, Tremper (WI), 2016
Strong build, 6-foot, 175-pound middle infielder, shows a high level of athleticism. Defensively shows advanced defensive actions, hands are soft, quick and clean exchange, fields athletically and plays through the baseball well, strong fielding actions going to his backhand. Fluid footwork, showed well above average range, 4.26 runner down the line. Offensively hits from a balanced setup, smooth load, short stride, tendency to open early in game action. Advanced extension through the baseball, short path, explosive bat speed, 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Line drive, gap to gap hitter, high level hitter, excellent balance throughout. Lavey owns one of the smoothest swings in his class, getting excellent extension through the baseball while staying extremely quiet makes him one of the top hitters in his class.

Gavin Lux, MIF, Indian Trail (WI), 2016
Lux is a lanky 5-foot-11, 155-pound left handed hitting middle infielder. Lux is one of the top middle infielders in the state. Defensively he shows some of the quickest hands in the region. Soft hands, advanced exchange showing quickness. Feet work quickly taking well above average routes to the baseball. Arm plays at 82 mph across the diamond, showed accuracy, displayed carry using an occasional long arm action, arm is athletic, shows the ability to release the baseball from multiple angles. High level defender. Offensively hits from the left side, balanced stance, athletic setup, smooth load with short stride, slight leg kick trigger. Flashed advanced pull side pop for size. Quick hands at the plate, excellent barrel whip through the zone, excellent balance throughout. Lux is one of the top prospects in the Class of 2016.

Mike Madej, MIF, Providence Catholic (IL), 2016
Solid build, 5-foot-11, 165-pound switch hitting middle infielder, shows strength. Offensively showed the ability to hit at a high level from both sides of the plate. Hits from an open stance, smooth load, short stride with toe tap. Advanced hand eye, excellent barrel awareness in game, advanced approach against live pitching. Solid contact with fluid rhythm throughout. Defensively showed playmaking abilities, soft hands, above average range. Fields the baseball athletically with efficient exchange, knack for getting to the baseball. Madej is a high-level prospect to follow in the 2016 class, showed advanced switch hitting abilities rarely seen at his age. Madej recorded two hits while proving to be a tough out for pitchers, working counts well and having a presence in the box.

Trey Riley, SS, Edwardsville (IL), 2016
Left-handed hitting 5-foot-8, 135-pound two-way player who showed good presence on the mound. Riley has athletic rhythm in his delivery and arm works at a high ¾ slot. His fastball sat 77-80 mph with consistent run. Curveball has short 11/5 action at 67-68 mph and has control of both pitches. Riley displayed clean, athletic actions defensively, throwing 75 mph across the infield with short arm action. His hands work well at the plate, setting up in a tall, slightly open stance. Creates athletic pre-pitch rhythm leading to a smooth, easy swing with balance. Riley could fill out and develop into a high-level prospect.

Luke Shadid, SS, Peoria Notre Dame (IL), 2016
5-foot-9, 170-pound middle infielder, smaller frame with solid build, looks to have plenty of growth ahead. Defensively proved to be one of the better middle infielders at the event. Showed body control while moving to his left, right and coming to get the baseball. Arm works well at 80 mph across the diamond, showed a longer arm action from a high ¾ slot with accuracy and carry, has the ability to release the baseball on the move with an athletic arm action. At the plate featured an athletic setup, short stride. Lower half worked well, solid bat speed and hands. 81 mph exit velocity from the tee. Line drive type hitter showed above average hands at the plate, high rate of repeatability and contact. Shadid went 3-for-9 at the event with a double in game play.

Joshua Shaw, INF/OF, Morgan Park (IL), 2016
Lanky frame, 6-foot-1, 175-pound multi positional player, projectable frame. Shaw is one of the more productive athletes in the class. Shaw showed a knack for making the big plays with a competitive mentality. Defensively showed well on the infield, advanced infield actions with fluid footwork, above average range, long strided athlete. Arm plays well with a short over the top slot, showed accuracy and carry across the diamond at 76 mph. Hits from a tall setup, smooth load and short stride, athletic pre pitch routine. Well above average bat speed, short path with extension, line drive type hitter, creates barrel whip. Shaw is a gamer and shows a flair for the dramatic. In game play Shaw went 5-for-8 with a triple and an RBI while making several highlight plays in the field. Watch out for Joshua Shaw in the Class of 2016.

Jacob Snider, MIF, Champaign Central (IL), 2016
Snider is a significantly improved player from the previous PBR event. He’s hard-nosed and showed a high baseball IQ at the Top Prospect Games, taking the extra bases and recording six stolen bases. He always seems to be in the right spot, and can turn the double play well. Left-handed hitting 5-foot-7, 160-pound middle-infielder showed advanced defensive actions fielding the position with soft hands and athleticism. Snider creates athletic pre-pitch rhythm and sprays the ball at the plate with bat speed and balance throughout. He makes contact consistently, rarely striking out, and utilizes his hands well in his swing. Snider legged out a 4.41 home-to-first.

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