Prep Baseball Report

Top Prospect Showcase: Middle Infield Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Illinois/Wisconsin

Middle infielders are always one of the more highly recruited positions in college baseball and at the Top Prospect Showcase there were several athletic middle guys that can play at the next level. 

Matt Burch (Warren, 2016) took the top spot running his best 60 time we've seen while showing a strong arm across the diamond and a highly offensive bat from the left side. Burch plays the game at a higher speed than his peers as well and should project well at the next level.

Jordan Hovey (Edwardsville, 2015) has one of the top left handed bats in the group. He shows pop and bat control to all fields with the ability to stick at shortstop at the next level.

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

Top Middle Infield Prospects

1. Matt Burch, SS, Warren, 2016
5-foot-9, 155-pound left handed hitting shortstop, shows physicality for size. Offensively hits from a balanced setup, short stride, maintains excellent balance throughout. Bat path stays flat through the baseball, stays on top, aggressive hands, creates excellent bat speed and whip, shows the ability to impact the baseball well. 83 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showcased a big arm across the diamond (85 mph), arm action is short, high ¾ slot, with accuracy and carry, arm projects well from the left side. Hands play well, soft actions, showed range, exchange is clean, hands transfer well, could eliminate extra footwork to get rid of it quicker. 6.99 runner. Projects as one of the top prospects in the state as well as the Midwest.

2. Jordan Hovey, SS/RHP, Edwardsville, 2015
6-foot, 175-pound SS/RHP currently ranked No. 54 in Illinois’ class of 2015 impressed with bat and defensive skills at shortstop.  Hits from a left-handed, balanced setup with a short stride, hitting off his backside with a gap-to-gap approach, producing 84 mph exit velocity.  Defensively plays through the baseball with soft hands and average carry across the infield with accuracy up to 82 mph.  Lacks elite side-to-side quickness, but surprised in running a 6.95 60, so does not lack for athleticism.  On the mound, utilizes a slow, deliberate delivery firing fastballs from 81-84 with a long high ¾ arm action.  74-77 mph slider backed up at times, and also showed sweeping action.  74 mph changeup was best secondary offering, with late action and arm side run thrown at fastball arm speed. 

3. Dion Earls, MIF, Simeon, 2015
Smaller frame 5-foot-7, 154-pound switch hitting middle infielder, quick twitch athletic build. Showed advanced foot speed, 6.74 runner, quick lateral footwork. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride and maintains balance from both sides of the plate. Contact hitter, path stays on top of the baseball, spray hitter from both sides, showed the ability to repeat an athletic swing from both sides of the plate. Defensively showed well above average actions, highly athletic, played well on the move, plays through the baseball, quick footwork and exchange. Arm plays well from the left side, showed carry, short high ¾ slot, athletic arm action, can throw on the run, 85 mph across the diamond.

4. Dylan Grady, MIF, Champaign Central, 2015
6-foot, 185-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder impressed during on field batting practice back spinning line drives from a wide balanced setup with a short stride and short level bat path producing exit velocity up to 87 mph.  Defensively, showed quality middle infield actions playing through the baseball with soft hands.  Threw 85 across the diamond from long, loose high ¾ arm action, winding up at times.  Ran a 7.12 60.

5. Trevor Cho, SS, Homestead (WI), 2015
Athletic build, shows strength, 5-foot-10, 170-pound left handed hitting middle infielder. High level offensive threat. Hits from a balanced setup, short stride, smooth quiet loading action with hands, lower half works well, showed strong balance throughout contact. Excellent bat speed, high level barrel awareness, strong impact of the baseball, quiet, balanced approach that sprays line drives to all fields. Defensively showed above average hands, feet work well, moves well to both sides, showed the ability to play through the baseball with body control. Uses a short arm action, high ¾ slot, some accuracy, 77 mph arm across the diamond. 7.10 runner in the 60. Cho projects as a highly offensive left handed bat at the next level.

6. Jack Wassel, OF/SS, Geneva, 2016
Long lanky frame, highly projectable left handed hitting athlete, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. Offensively hits from a balanced setup, short stride, smooth loading action with slight bat wrap load, lower half works, strong balance throughout. Advanced bat speed, athletic hands, creates whip through the zone, 95 mph exit velocity from the tee. Athletic hitter, hits with rhythm and looseness. Defensively showed a high level of athleticism to play multiple positions on the field, took it in the outfield and at shortstop. Arm plays with a short loose action, over the top slot, 86 mph from the outfield, 79 mph across the diamond, arm showed athleticism to play on the move on the infield. Showed the ability to play in stride and through the baseball in the outfield, showed body control on the infield. Likely to project at third base or a corner outfield spot.

7. Joe Kenney, SS, Mahomet-Seymour HS, 2015
Solidly built 5-foot-10, 180-pound infielder, developed lower half with proportional strength. Was one of the top infielders at the PBR Top Prospect Showcase. Offensively, hits from a balanced setup, maintains balance throughout swing, leg kick trigger, excellent rhythm and timing; level, flat path, gap-to-gap approach. Clearly knows what he is doing in the box. Bat speed present with little effort; recorded 91 mph exit velocity. Defensively, showed premium arm strength across infield (88 mph), some effort in throw, longer arm swing; currently plays shortstop though may be better suited at third base. Fields the ball in rhythm, soft hands, clean exchange and plays through ball well. Ran a 7.36 60.

8. McCauley Cox, MIF, Janesville Craig (WI), 2015
Lanky frame, slender build, 6-foot-1, 165-pound left handed hitting middle infielder. Offensively hits from a tall, slightly open stance, smooth loading action, short stride, maintained strong balance. Repeats swing well, excellent path, stays on top of the baseball, flat through contact. Line drive, gap to gap approach, showed a contact approach with barrel control. Defensively arm played at 79 mph across the diamond, short over the top action, played with accuracy. Hands played, showed body control and an athletic arm action. 7.34 runner in the 60.

9. General McArthur, SS/OF, Crete-Monee, 2015
6-foot-1, 150-pound shortstop/outfielder impressed with one of the top outfield arms at the Top Prospect Showcase throwing 90 mph from a loose over the top arm action with accuracy.  Showed soft hands and fluid actions both in the outfield and the infield.  From the outfield, took a considerable amount of time to get rid of the baseball after fielding it, gearing up for his crow hop.  Threw 80 mph across the infield from a shorter ¾ whippy arm action with good feel in the middle of the diamond.  Hits from an open setup, with elbows coming together as part of a pre-pitch routine before loading.  Showed a fluid rhythm and a short level bat path producing line drives from gap-to-gap with 84 mph exit velocity.  Recoils after contact snapping bat back to starting position.  Ran a 6.99 60.

10. Cody Grosse, SS, Joliet West, 2015
5-foot-8, 145-pound left-handed hitting shortstop currently ranked No. 91 in Illinois’ 2015 class impressed with athletic middle infield actions and contact orientated approach at the plate.  Offensively, hits from a wide, crouched setup, with hands loading back smoothly, and a short heel lift stride.  Short level bat path with opposite field tendencies produced 72 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, moves extremely well from side to side, with soft hands and quick clean exchanges making up for an average shortstop arm, although he did throw 80 mph across the diamond, but struggled some with accuracy.  Grosse may be better suited for second base in college, but has the ability to cover a ton of ground at short.  Ran a 7.0 60.

11. Vincent Hubli, MIF, Kenosha Bradford (WI), 2015
Strong build, average frame, 5-foot-10, 180-pound infielder. Offensively showed advanced hitting skills, hits from an open stance, short stride, good balance through contact, quiet approach. Showed excellent hand eye, impacted the baseball well with wood, showed excellent barrel control. Bat speed is present, short path, line drive hitter. Defensively showed reliable hands, plays through the baseball, mechanically sound. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot, showed some accuracy with average arm strength. 7.21 runner in the 60. Hubli projects as a possible offensive second baseman at the next level, his bat should be the first tool to play at the next level.

12. Will Troia, SS, Boylan Catholic, 2015
5-foot-10, 160-pound left handed hitting shortstop. Offensively hits from an open stance, tall setup, bat wrap load, short stride, good balance. Above average bat speed, loose hands, smooth swing, slightly uphill path. Defensively showed athletic actions, softer hands, plays through the baseball. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot, showed accuracy and some carry, 78 mph across the diamond. 7.38 runner in the 60.

13. Brady Fairfield, SS, Metamora, 2015
5-foot-10, 165-pound middle infielder. 6.95 runner. Offensively hits from a tall setup, narrow stance, longer stride, smooth loading action. Lower half works and shows good balance through contact. Middle to opposite field approach, above average bat speed, 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a shorter, loose arm action across the diamond, high ¾ slot (79 mph).

14. Alec Martinez, SS, Sandburg, 2015
6-foot, 180-pound right-handed hitting shortstop hit from a narrow open setup with a short, leg kick stride.  Showed average bat speed with a level path producing line drives from gap-to-gap and 80 mph exit velocity.  Threw 76 mph across the diamond from short, showcasing average hands and a good feel for his backhand.  Struggles moving side to side with footwork, ran 7.42 in the 60.

15. Matthew Kozlak, MIF, Jacobs, 2015
5-foot-11, 175-pound middle infielder, build carries some strength. Offensively hits from an open stance, slightly crouched and narrow, uses short stride and minimal loading action. Handled the bat well, showed bat speed and loose hands. Line drive gap to gap hitter, flashed occasional opposite field pop. 85 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a short arm action, over the top slot, accurate arm, 80 mph across the diamond. Showed body control, ability to play through the baseball. 7.23 runner in the 60.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Tyler Engel, SS, VIT, 2015
Highly athletic 5-foot-10, 160-pound middle infielder, shows strength. Athleticism is his strong suit, 6.87 runner, showed quick twitch actions. Offensively hits from a closed stance, short stride, slightly dives, solid balance. 76 mph exit velocity. Defensively showed athleticism on the infield, arm action shows some length, ¾ slot with some accuracy, 72 mph arm strength across the diamond.

Hunter Fiorito, 2B/MIF, Aurora Central Catholic, 2015
5-foot-11, 185-pound right-handed hitting 2B/MIF currently ranked No. 193 in Illinois’ class of 2015 hit from a wide balanced setup, with hands moving backwards separating as body lunges forward at times.  Gets good separation and torque creating level swing and exit velocity up to 88 mph.  Defensively, showecased soft hands and athletic actions playing through the baseball throwing 79 mph across the diamond from a short, high ¾ arm action with some accuracy.  Ran 7.22 in the 60.

Timothy Fox, SS/RHP, New Trier, 2015
6-foot-3, 180-pound lanky, two-way player, currently ranked No. 183 in Illinois’ class of 2015.  Hits from a wide, balanced setup dropping hands down to load, with uphill bat path and 81 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 80 mph across the infield from long, ¾ arm action with accuracy.  Exhibited average hands and stayed back on the baseball.  Ran a 7.62 60.  On the mound, threw 81-83 mph from long, loose, high ¾ arm action with arm side run on fastball.  Throws across his body, but exhibits good rhythm throughout delivery.  69-73 mph curveball showed late, sharp, 11/5 break and looked better than his 71-73 mph slider.  73-77 mph changeup was erratic showing some cut, but he looks to choke it at times.  Fox impressed more on the mound because of his smooth delivery and projectable frame.

Benjamin Kociper, MIF, Sandburg, 2015
5-foot-10, 165-pound middle infielder, solid build. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, lower half works. Spray hitter, level path through contact, 75 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed average glovework, gets it out quick, showed some body control. 77 mph arm across the diamond, projects as a second base type.

Patrick Kuczwara, C/MIF, Johnsburg, 2015
6-foot, 175-pound C/MIF hit from an open setup with a short balanced stride and hands moving backwards to load.  Slightly uphill bat path produced 81 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, showcased soft hands at short with a short, high ¾ arm action throwing 68 mph across the infield.  Behind the plate threw 64 mph from the crouch, with pop times ranging between 2.36 and 2.44.  Ran 7.4 in the 60.

Matthew Phipps, RHP/SS, Harrisburg, 2015
Strong bodied, 6-foot-1, 185-pound two-way player. On the mound delivery is compact, short arm action, over the top slot. Fastball showed run at 82-84 mph. Curveball showed some depth, 68-71 mph. Slider showed later, flatter action, 75-77 mph. Changeup sat 71-72 mph. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, no stride approach. Made hard contact, showed the ability to impact the baseball. Strong swing, 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively used a short over the top arm slot on the infield, 82 mph across the diamond.

Jaron Robinson, SS, Mendota, 2015
6-foot, 165-pound right-handed hitting shortstop impressed with skinny projectable frame and arm strength across the diamond.  Hits from a tall open setup with a toe-tap load creating lift/leaning back before point of contact producing exit velocity up to 83 mph.  Defensively, threw 85 mph across the diamond from a long, high ¾ arm action showcasing average hands, fluid footwork, and clean exchanges.  Ran 7.24 in the 60.

Jimmy Roche, OF/MIF, Sandburg, 2015
5-foot-11, 175-pound multi-positional player, athletic build. Showed athleticism in multiple facets of the game. Ran a 6.85 60. Defensively uses a short arm action through 85 mph from the outfield, 82 mph across the infield. Hands are athletic and can play at multiple positions, appears better suited in the outfield at the next level. Offensively hits from an open and tall setup, short stride. Line drive type hitter, occasionally gets uphill, 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Quinn Snarskis, RHP/MIF, Fenwick, 2015
6-foot-1, 175-pound RHP/MIF impressed on the mound with quality feel for three pitches and sinker/slider combination.  Works from a long, loose, ¾ arm action, leaning over at waist changing posture to drop arm angle.  82-86 mph fastball shows considerable arm side run, while 72-74 mph slider comes from the same slot with sweeping action.  Throws both for strikes in any count.  72-74 mph changeup shows sink, but telegraphs by dropping arm slot and pushing it at times.  At the plate hits from an open setup with a leg kick, stomping with front foot, bringing weight forward producing 82 mph exit velocity.  Showed soft hands in the middle infield and good feel with accurate ¾ arm.  Ran 7.49 in the 60.

Tanner Umentum, RHP/SS, Denmark, 2015
6-foot, 160-pound two way player, thin build, frame has some length. Projects better on the mound. Delivery works with some rhythm, regular effort, stays on line. Arm action is loose, above average arm speed, showed quickness, high ¾ slot. Showed control of his fastball, sat 84-86 touched 87 mph. Featured both curveball and slider, little differential in velocity, slider showed flatter action and tended to get on the side, both sat 68-71 mph with curveball touching 72 mph, curveball had stepper action and showed the ability to spin it. Changeup was thrown with near fastball arm speed, occasional sink, consistently down, 73-75 mph. Defensively showed the ability to play through the baseball on the infield, above average arm strength, showed carry, touched 86 mph across the diamond. Ran a 7.58 60. Offensively hits from an open stance, slight leg lift, occasionally dives. Swing showed some athleticism and repeatability, mostly opposite field contact. 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Nick Verta, MIF, St. Laurence, 2015
5-foot-10, 175-pound middle infielder. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, balanced setup, short stride, lower half works. Line drive approach, 81 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a short arm action from a high ¾ slot, showed accuracy across the diamond (80 mph). Plays through the baseball, showed body control and clean exchanges.

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