Prep Baseball Report

Underclass Invitational: Corner Infield Analysis

By Steve Nielsen and Sean Duncan

The Underclass Invitational on Jan. 20 unveiled an impressive crop of corner infielders, including several that solidified themselves as a top prospects in their respective class.

Most notably, Class of 2016 product Bradley Harrison (O’Fallon HS) stood out as one of the top corner infielders at the event. The 6-foot-3 freshman stood out above many of his counterparts with his smooth repeatable swing. We also saw Matt Hopkins (Alton HS, 2015) impress with his electric bat speed. Luke Mangieri (Dunlap HS, 2015) also stood out with his projectable frame and excellent athleticism. The top corner infielder in the 2015, however, is left-handed hitting Willy Bourbon, who is a top 10 prospect in the state.

A look at the corner infielders:

Top Class of 2015 Corner Infielders

1. Willy Bourbon, Stevenson HS, 3B, Class of 2015
Strong athletic build, 6-foot, 185-pound left-handed hitting third baseman. Projects to be high-level prospect in Midwest, potentially in nation. Hit tool has potential to be a plus, with power potential in future. Hits from left side, uses open stance, short stride, hands drop at load, active lower half. Shows solid balance throughout, bat speed present, 80 mph exit velocity, flashes occasional power. Strong lower half with developed calves contribute to barrel whip through zone. Defensively shows excellent athleticism, hands work well, arm shows carry across (78 mph), athletic arm action, releases athletically, feet work well, 7.25 runner.

2. Luke Mangieri, Dunlap HS, 3B/SS, Class of 2015
Extremely projectable left-handed hitting third baseman with lanky 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. Long limbs with plenty of room to fill out. Moves well for size, running a 7.16 60. Hits from a balanced, open setup, using a short stride and easy mechanics. Demonstrated swing looseness, athleticism and balance throughout swing with barrel whip through the zone. Defensively, projects more as 3B. Moves well laterally. Showed soft hands and athletic feet. Clocked at 70 mph across the infield. If Mangieri continues to fill into his frame, he has the potential to be a coveted prospect in Illinois’ 2015 class.

3.  Matt Hopkins, Alton HS, 3B, Class of 2015
6-foot-2, 190-pound left-handed hitting corner infielder with power. Showed potential to be elite bat in Class of 2015. Demonstrated advanced bat speed with big pull side power potential. Ball jumps off his bat with loft and carry. Hits from closed setup and utilizes aggressive lower half well. Registered 89 mph exit speed off tee. Has aggressive overall approach. Physical presence at third base, though may project more at first base. Clocked at 77 mph across infield; ran an 8.24 60.

4. Cory Wright, St. Charles North HS, 1B/LHP, Class of 2015
Athletic body type, 6-foot-1, 170-pound left handed two-way player. Excellent defensive actions around the bag, soft hands, footwork is quick and fluid, good awareness around bag. Athletic arm action, athletic release, excellent body control. Hits from left side, slightly open stance, short stride, smooth load, finds the barrel regularly, shows bat speed, excellent rhythm, short bat path. On the mound delivery is slightly up tempo, regular effort, direction is in line, athletic finish. On the mound, arm works quickly, high ¾ arm slot, loose and lively arm. Fastball shows late run, occasional sink, 80-82 mph. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, some sharp action, flashed plus depth at 69 mph. Changeup shows feel, thrown with command, shows arm side run, fastball arm speed, 71-73 mph.

5. John Riordan, St. Laurence HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2015
Strong frame, athletic build, 5-foot-11, 175-pound two-way player. Defensively shows strong arm, hands work well defensively, good first step. Hits from slightly open stance, no stride, no load, solid balance throughout, stays flat through zone. On the mound, delivery shows rhythm and direction, good tempo. Arm works cleanly, high ¾ arm slot. Fastball shows some late run, 79-80 mph. Curveball has 12/6 shape, shows bite and depth, near fastball arm speed, 65-67 mph. Changeup thrown with command, down in the zone, 74-76 mph, shows arm side action and sink.

Top Class of 2016 Corner Infielders

1. Bradley Harrison, O’Fallon HS, 1B/LHP, Class of 2016
A top-level Class of 2016 prospect, Harrison shows potential to be a legitimate two-way player in the future. Projectable, athletic 6-foot-3, 174-pound frame with plenty of room to fill out. As a freshman at the Illinois Underclass Invite, Harrison graded out well across the board. Offensively, shows an advanced approach for age. His swing is loose, athletic, quiet and repeatable. Showed bat speed through the hitting zone and excellent extension after contact while staying balanced throughout. As he grows into his frame, Harrison should acquire more power. At first base, he’s athletic around the bag with soft hands. Harrison continued to impress on the mound. His arm works with fluidity and ease, using a long backside arm action from a high-3/4 slot. He has an athletic, repeatable delivery, maintaining excellent rhythm and tempo throughout. Commands the strike zone with three pitches. His fastball topped at 76 mph, but it is plain to see there will be more coming in the future. His curveball, in the 62-64 range, shows potential of being a plus pitch in the future. He throws it with confidence, showing some two-plane action. He also showed feel for a 66-68 mph changeup, which he threw with near fastball arm action for strikes.

2. Joe Dittmar, Richmond-Burton HS, 3B, Class of 2016
Athletic frame, potential for strong build, 6-foot, 160-pounds. Defensively showed solid actions, loose arm action, arm shows carry, 79 mph across infield, good body control. Hits from balanced setup, smooth load, short stride, lower half works, excellent balance throughout, quiet approach, repeatable swing. Has potential to be top-level prospect.

3. Christian Bullock, Morgan Park HS, LHP/1B, Class of 2016
Lanky build, 5-foot-9, 155-pound two-way player. Left handed first baseman, advanced footwork, soft hands, plays athletically, quick exchange. Left handed hitter, open stance, dives at stride, finds the barrel consistently, line drive gap to gap style hitter. Projectable on the mound, deception in delivery, rotational delivery. Arm works cleanly and loosely, long ¾ arm slot. Fastball sits 73-76 mph, shows slight run, control. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, early action, flashed occasional sweeping action. Changeup shows run, consistently down out of the zone, 67-68 mph.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Austin Blazevic, Plainfield Central HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2015
Solidly built 6-foot-1, 178-pound two-way prospect. Left-handed hitting corner infielder showed balanced line-drive approach. Mechanically sound with swing looseness. Has inconsistent swing path, at times coiling front side. Ball jumps off bat when square. Showed solid arm strength at third base (80 mph); footwork needs refinement. Ran a 7.85 60. On mound, has short backside arm action from high ¾ slot. Throws fastball for strikes, in the 79-80 mph range. Curveball is best pitch. Throws it with conviction, in the 70-71 range, with some sharp 11/5 break. Also showed feel and command for changeup (72-73 mph), with some sink.

Jackson Dvorak, Providence Catholic HS, 3B/C, Class of 2016
5-foot-11, 180-pound catcher/third baseman. Offensively hits from balanced setup, no load, no stride, line drive hitter, lacks lower half, not on time. Defensively shows max effort arm across infield, lacks accuracy, hands play well. Behind the plate shows receiving skills, pop times  2.25-2.42.

Grant Farmer, Illinois Lutheran HS, RHP/3B, Class of 2015
Lanky frame, 6-foot-1, 175-pound two way-player. Delivery shows some rhythm, tall and fall approach, long arm action, high back swing, high ¾ arm action, moderate arm speed. Fastball shows run and sink to arm side, shows control, sits 76-78 mph. Changeup has deception, thrown with command, excellent arm side action, 69-71 mph, above average feel for the pitch. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, gradual break, 64-66 mph. Offensively uses short stride, minimal load, some collapse in back side, level bat path, bat speed present, 86 mph exit velocity.

Jake Gilhaus, Normal Community HS, 1B/RHP, Class of 2016
Class of 2016 graduate with 6-foot, 210-pound frame. On mound, fastball topped at 80 mph with some effort. Coils front side, over-the-top arm slot, with drop and drive delivery. Curveball flashed 12/6 break in the 60-63 range. Changeup ranged between 64-66 mph. Offensively, showed some pull-side power potential from right side. Defensively, feel around the bag and solid glovework. Ran an 8.84 60.

Michael Lorenzi, Mount Carmel HS, LHP/1B, Class of 2015
Wide 6-foot, 225-pound two-way player who projects more on the mound. Fastball sat at 80-81 mph thrown from high 3/4 slot for strikes. Uses short arm action and drop and drive delivery. Changeup is solid pitch, throws it for strikes at 68-69 mph with sink down in the zone. Curveball inconsistent, but flashed a few with 12/6 break in 65-67 range. Has strong lower half and, if works on athleticism in delivery, has potential to add velocity in future.

Mitchell Matuszewski, Lincoln-Way East HS, 1B/RHP, Class of 2015
Projectable 6-foot-5, 192-pound two-way player. Projects more as a position player. Moves well for size; ran a 7.2 60. Offensively, showed pull power potential from right side. Utilizes lower half well with extension after contact. Ball jumped off bat with some carry and loft. Registered 89 mph exit speed off tee. Big target at first base. Footwork/glovework need refinement. On mound, fastball topped at 79 mph, sitting 77-78, with some effort. Threw 68-70 mph changeup for strikes with slight arm-side run.

Michael Pena, Warren HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2016
Average build, 5-foot-9, 160-pound infielder. Athletic hands defensively, soft feel, moves well laterally, lacked carry across the diamond (70 mph).  Ran 8.19 60. Offensively uses slightly open stance, short stride, lacks active lower half, flat path through the zone, line drive hitter, sprays all fields.

Jack Rettig, Mahomet-Seymour HS, LHP/1B, Class of 2015
Lanky, athletic frame, 6-foot-1, 170-pound two-way player, good projection. Delivery shows easy effort, rhythm is smooth, long loose arm action, high ¾ arm slot, moderate arm speed, excellent overall feel. Fastball has command, 76-78 mph, slight run. Breaking ball shows slurve action, gradual break, thrown for strikes, 66-68 mph. Changeup shows command, 70-71 mph, arm side action, thrown with similar arm speed to fastball. Offensively hits from the right side, quiet approach, balance setup, no stride, good bat speed, short level path, line drive approach, shows rhythm.

Luke Styka, Andrean HS (IN), RHP/3B, Class of 2015
Strong wide shouldered frame, 5-foot-11, 175-pound two way player. Offensively hits from balanced setup, arm bar load, short stride, lower half works well, some stiffness, flashes pop. Defensively arm works long and over the top, stands up through release, footwork lacks athleticism. On the mound, works from over the top slot, moderate arm speed, delivery shows some rhythm, level shoulders, square landing, athletic finish. Fastball sits 74-77 mph, straight, consistently up. Curveball shows some 12/6 action, consistently down. Changeup at 64-65 mph, straight, decelerated arm action.

Jake Suca, Joliet West HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2015
Lanky, athletic frame, 6-foot-1, 170-pound two-way player. Hits from balanced setup, uses leg kick trigger, solid balance throughout, stays through the ball well, flat path, gets extension. On the mound shows solid mechanics, good balance, tall and fall approach, ¾ arm action, arm works long and loosely. Fastball shows above average run to arm side, command of fastball, sit 76-77 mph. Breaking ball lacks identity, 64-65 mph, addition of slider would play well. Changeup shows sink, thrown for strikes, 63-64 mph.

Sam Zoibi, Lake Zurich HS, RHP/3B, Class of 2015
6-foot-1, 165-pound two way player. On the mound works from high ¾ arm slot, long arm action, arm shows stiffness, delivery exhibits effort, some rhythm. Fastball has run and sink to arm side, slight heavy feel, sits 74-76 mph. Curveball works 11/5 plane, 64-65 mph. Changeup has fading action, 67-68 mph.

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Quarry Fieldhouse SLIDE 2-18-13