Underclass Showcase 10.27.13: Middle Infield Analysis



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Illinois/Wisconsin

The middle infielders were an impressive group of young athletes with a ton of upside. We went with our top five from this group, led by Matt Bottcher (Romeoville, 2016). Bottcher has advanced actions and is an aggressive athlete who plays the game at a quicker pace than most. Zion Pettigrew (Mount Carmel, 2017) also made an impact with his soft hands up the middle, his projectable frame suggest there is a lot more to come out of the Caravan shortstop.

Here’s a look at the middle infielders from the Underclass Showcase

Top Middle Infielders

1. Matt Bottcher, SS, Romeoville, 2016
Athletic, 5-foot-7, 130-pound left handed hitting middle infielder. Bottcher proved to be one of the top prospects in attendance. Defensively showed advanced actions, soft hands, plays through the ball well. Displayed true shortstop potential, 7.35 runner. Arm played loosely, high ¾ slot, with carry, 81 mph across the diamond, lacked accuracy. Offensively hits from the left side, slightly open stance, athletic loading action, short stride. Back side hitter, uphill bat path. Excellent barrel awareness, high rate of solid contact, 76 mph exit velocity.  High follow prospect in Illinois’ 2016 class.

2. Zion Pettigrew, SS, Mount Carmel, 2017
Lanky frame, slender build, 5-foot-9, 140-pound middle infielder, highly projectable. Showed highly advanced defensively actions for his age, high follow defender. Excellent hands, soft feel, quick fluid footwork, hands work quickly and cleanly. Arm action is loose, plays with accuracy and carry, high ¾ slot, 77 mph across the diamond. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, solid balance throughout. Handsy swing, inside out tendencies, line drive middle of the field approach. 76 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.65 runner. Pettigrew is one of the top middle infielders in Illinois’ 2017 class.

3. Jake Garella, SS/RHP, Edwardsville, 2016
6-foot-1, 170-pound two-way player who projects well as a pitcher. On the mound he has a tall and fall delivery with regular effort, rhythm, and clean lines. Arm works from a high ¾ slot, wraps, quick acceleration projects more velocity in the future. Fastball was straight, sitting 77-80 mph, touching 81 mph. Showed feel for the curveball, 11/5 shape, sharp action, quality depth, 66-68 mph. Changeup was straight, 75-78 mph. At the plate he has a balanced stance, no load, short stride, quality balance through contact. Swing is short, level, sprays to all fields, solid extension, fluid rhythm. Exit velocity was above average at 81 mph off a tee. Defensively arm works long, from high ¾ slot, 79 mph across the diamond. Ran a 7.62 60.

4. Yaki Lee, C/MIF/RHP, Harlan, 2017
Solid build, 5-foot-6, 140-pound left handed hitting two-way player. Showed overall athleticism and good projectability at multiple positions. Behind the plate displayed quick actions, efficient transfer, short over the top arm action, 68 mph out of the crouch. Posted pop times at 2.20-2.36. On the infield showcased soft hands and advanced infield actions for his age. Above average body control with the ability to play on the move. Arm played at 72 mph across the diamond. On the mound worked from a high ¾ slot. Fastball had occasional sink, 72-77 mph. Off-speed pitches are still a work in progress, lacked separation in action.

5. Dantrell Lucas, MIF, Morgan Park, 2016
5-foot-8, 150-pound infielder. Showed some of the best foot speed at the event, running a 7.19 60. On the infield showed clean, athletic actions. Arm works from a high ¾ slot, short action, solid carry and accuracy, 68 mph. Offensively, hits with open stance, short stride, maintains solid balance through the swing. Has an explosive, line drive swing, above average bat speed, drives it to all fields. Exit velocity was 79 mph off a tee.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Ron Applewhite, MIF, Rich East, 2017
Slender build, 5-foot-6, 113-pound middle infielder, projectable athlete. Offensively hits from an open stance, short stride approach. Athletic swing, bottom hand dominate, loose and easy, occasional short finish, 67 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively has a loose arm action across the diamond (67 mph). Quick footwork, athletic runner, 7.37 in the 60, will improve with strength.

Talon File, MIF, Williamsville, 2017
5-foot-9, 145-pound infielder. At the plate hits from an open stance, smooth loading action, short stride approach, maintains quality balance in the swing. Swing is uphill, showed some strength, solid bat speed for his age. Exit velocity was 79 mph off a tee. Defensively throws with a long, stiff arm action, ¾ slot, solid carry, 70 mph across the diamond. Ran a 7.8 60.

Daniel Gutierrez, MIF, Marian Catholic, 2017
5-foot-6, 125-pound infielder with athletic body. At the plate hits with wide, crouched stance, and toe tap stride. Uses lower half well and maintains balance through contact. Line drive swing, gap-to-gap approach, solid bat speed with pop to all fields. Exit velocity was 68 mph off a tee. Defensively plays with fluid feet, good hands, clean exchanges. Throws from ¾ slot, long, loose arm action at 68 mph. Ran a 7.82 60.

Jeremiah Hoskins, MIF/RHP, Harlan, 2017
5-foot-5, 115-pound two-way player. On the infield he showed quality hands, throws from an over the top slot at 61 mph. Ran an 8.08 60. At the plate hits from an open stance, short stride approach, solid balance through contact. Swing is short and hits off front foot, singles guy. Exit velocity was 62 mph off a tee. On the mound has a tall and fall delivery, good direction, choppy rhythm. Throws from high ¾ slot, short, stiff arm action. Fastball was straight at 60-63 mph. Curveball was 54-56 mph.

Hunter Keim, RHP/SS, Rock Island, 2017
Slender build, 5-foot-10, 135-pound two-way player. On the mound delivery shows regular effort, high ¾ arm slot, works slightly across his body. Fastball has occasional sink, 74-76 mph. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, near fastball arm action, showed control and feel, 61-66 mph. Changeup missed mostly down, 68-71 mph. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, longer leg lift stride, solid balance. Rhythmic hitter, one piece swing, level flat path, line drive guy, loose swing, 81 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a long arm action across the infield, ¾ slot, 65 mph across the diamond.

Harold McClarin, MIF/RHP, Evergreen, 2016
5-foot-8, 145-pound two-way player. Offensively hits from a balanced athletic setup, leg kick trigger. Showed quick hands, occasional whip, line drive gap to gap hitter. 69 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively on the infield uses a ¾ arm action, 72 mph across the diamond, deep fielding action. Ran an 8.10 60. On the mound works from a high ¾ arm slot. Fastball sat 68-72 mph, mostly straight. Curveball showed 11/5 shape, gradual action at 60-61 mph. Straight changeup sat 65-68 mph, near fastball arm speed.

Jacob Rintz, SS/RHP, Schaumburg, 2016
Slender physical make up, 5-foot-10, 140-pound two-way player. Defensively showed above average actions at shortstop, hands have a soft feel, showed the ability to play through the baseball. Loose arm action, high ¾ slot, 71 mph across the diamond. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, slight leg kick trigger. Line drive approach, mostly flat, 76 mph exit velocity from the tee. On the mound works out of a ¾ slot, longer arm action, occasional back side collapse. Fastball is mostly straight 71-72 mph topped out at 75 mph. Curveball has slurve action, near fastball arm speed, 61-63 mph for strikes. Straight change up, 64-66 mph.

Noa Taylor, MIF, Brother Rice, 2017
5-foot-9, 150-pound middle infielder. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, lower half works, solid balance through contact. Bat path shows whip, aggressive swinger, some effort. Above average bat speed, 76 mph from the tee. Defensively uses a loose arm action with length from a high ¾ arm slot, some accuracy, 68 mph across the diamond. 8.80 runner in the 60.

Tavion Towers, MIF/RHP, Harlan, 2017
5-foot-8, 135-pound two way player. Defensively showed above average actions for his age. Has soft hands, clean exchanges. Arm action is long, athletic, from a high ¾ slot, occasional carry at 69 mph. Ran a 7.9 60. Offensively hits from balanced stance with zero stride. Has opposite field swing and approach, solid bat speed. Exit velocity was 76 mph off a tee. On the mound uses drop and drive delivery with rhythm and clean lines. Arm works long and loose, from high ¾ slot. Fastball was 66-68 mph flashing sink. Curveball has 12/6 shape, rolling break, 53-54 mph. Changeup was 57-61 mph, flashing sink, similar arm speed to the fastball.

Tommy Washington, C/MIF/RHP, Harlan, 2017
Athletic, 5-foot-8, 145-pound two-way player. Defensively showed well both behind the plate and in the infield. Out of the crouch displayed a quick transfer, short over the top arm action. Arm played at 68 mph, posted pop times at 2.25-2.33. On the infield displayed softness in his hands, advanced body control for his age. Arm works athletic and can play on the move, 71 mph across the diamond. On the mound fastball was straight at 72-75 mph. Curveball sat at 63-64 mph, rolling action. Changeup sat 65-69 mph.

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