Underclass Trials: Middle Infield Analysis

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Prep Baseball Report Underclass Trials held on Tuesday, June 12th at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium featured several top 2016 and 2017 middle infield prospects.  Four Chicago Catholic League players highlighted the top five, lead by Fenwick's projectable SS Harrison Hayes.  Hayes may outgrow the position based on his already impressive pro-style body.  Brother Rice's Josh Nowak, who also took home top honors behind the plate, impressed with smooth fielding actions in the middle infield as well.  Mount Carmel's William McKenna showed solid skills behind the plate, and smooth fielding actions at short stop.

Here's a look at the top infield prospects at the Underclass Trials.

Top Middle Infield Prospects

1.Harrison Hayes, Fenwick, SS, 2017
6-foot-2, 175-pound SS impressed with big, projectable frame.  Broad shoulders and room to add significant weight.  Fielded the ball out front fluidly, but stayed back mostly, future may be at an infield corner due to lack of side-to-side agility.  Arm showed carry across the diamond from short, loose, high 3/4 angle.  Ran a 7.51 60-yard dash.  Offensively, hit from a tall, open stance with a short stride and level, line-drive swing plane producing 74 mph exit velocity.

2. Josh Nowak, Brother Rice, C/MIF, 2016
5-foot-7, 160-pound switch-hitting catcher.  Left-handed swing produced more loft and power, while right-handed swing showed a contact orientated approached with a balanced level swing.  Exit velocity was 82 mph from the left side, and 81 mph from the right.  Hard-nosed approach showed solid hands in infield and behind the plate with an average, accurate arm from a high ¾ arm slot.  Pop times ranged from 2.06 to 2.17, and ran 7.51 seconds in the 60, 4.67 sec to first base.

3. William McKenna, Mount Carmel, C/MIF, 2016
5-foot-9, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher with an advanced bat.  McKenna hits from a tall balanced setup, with a smooth load and above average bat speed.  Showed a fluid, line-drive stroke from gap-to-gap.  Defensively showed a strong, loose, accurate arm with solid carry across the diamond at 72 mph.  Fields position athletically, coming through the baseball.  From the crouch rattled off pop times between 2.11-2.18 with accuracy.  Ran a 7.43 60-yard dash.  McKenna is a 2016 to keep your eyes on both behind the plate and in the infield.

4. Teodoro Marquez, De La Salle, MIF, 2017
5-foot-7, 145-pound MIF.  Hits from a balanced setup with a short stride and smooth load.  Possesses average bat speed and fluid rhythm producing line drives and 77 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, the athletic middle infielder impressed with a loose high ¾ arm action, throwing 73 mph across the infield.  Ran a 7.73 60-yard dash and 5.19 seconds to first.

5. Adam Alexander, Carlyle, MIF, 2016
5-foot-11, 165-pound left-handed hitting middle infielder hits from a tall setup with short level bat path producing line drives and a 73 mph exit velocity.  Impressed running one of the Underclass Trial’s best 60 times at 6.89.  Threw 70 mph across the infield and showed average hands.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Chris Brocolino, Shaumburg, MIF, 2016
5-foot-4, 125-pound middle infielder.  Hits from a balanced setup with a smooth load and short stride.  Produced several line-drives from a short level bat path, but currently lacks power/strength.  Ran a 7.95 60-yard dash, and 5.5 from home-to-first.  In defensive drills showed a loose, accurate ¾ arm action, throwing 62 mph across the diamond.

Matt Collins, Carmel Catholic, SS/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 160-pound lean two-way player impressed more on the mound with downhill plan from an over-the-top arm action.  Repeats delivery with slow tempo and short stride staying on top of the baseball pounding fastball in lower half of the strike zone.  Fastball sat 78-79 mph with some sink.  Curveball showed some 12/6 action, but lacked power varying between 63-69 mph.  Changeup was thrown consistently down in the zone, not for strikes, at 69-71 mph.  Offensively, Collins hits from an athletic open stance with a long stride, and level gap-to-gap line-drive swing producing 78 mph exit velocity.  Defensively showed average hands, and good carry on throws across the diamond at 74 mph.

Jake Grobelny, Wauconda, MIF, 2016
6-foot, 170-pound MIF threw 73 mph across the infield from low ¾ arm action with some accuracy and average hands fielding baseball out front.  Showed athletic feet and hands worked out front.  Ran a 7.49 60-yard dash.  Hits from a tall balanced setup with an uphill plane producing 84 mph exit velocity.    

Boomer Johnson, O’Fallon, MIF, 2016
5-foot-9, 165-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder with a balanced open stance with a smooth load and short stride.  Impressed in cage drills producing exit velocity up to 79 mph with a leg-kick stride, fluid rhythm and some power, especially to his pull side.  Threw from a short, high ¾ arm action with soft average hands and quick clean exchanges despite slow heavy feet.  Ran a 8.10 60-yard dash.

Hunter Keim, Rock Island, SS/RHP, 2017
5-foot-11, 145-pound lanky SS/RHP showed a long loose arm in the field and on the mound producing 76-77 mph fastballs with some slight run, but inconsistent in the strike zone.  Threw slightly across his body, limiting his ability to repeat his delivery.  Also flashed a 66-68 mph curveball and a 72-74 mph changeup.  Hit from a square setup with uphill bat path producing line drives with some extension/power to his pull side.

Brett Lemmons, Morgan Township (Ind.), MIF/OF, 2017
5-foot-10, 150-pound switch-hitting MIF/OF impressed with arm strength from the outfield throwing 85 mph from a crow hop with a long high ¾ arm action with some accuracy and advanced carry.  Showed better fielding actions from the outfield than in the infield.  Hit from a balanced closed stance with average bat speed, showing better from the left side.  Solid athlete ran a 6.95-60 yard dash, the top time for a 2017 at the Underclass Trials, and we were intrigued by arm strength enough to want to see him on the mound one day in the future.      

Shawn Ligocki, St. Charles East, MIF/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound athletic RHP/SS impressed with strike throwing ability on the mound.  Threw fastball 75-78 mph with slight run to arm side, curveball from 68-70, and slider at 70 mph with tighter spin than curveball.  69-71 mph straight changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed.  Ran a 7.46 60-yard dash, and 4.83 seconds from home to first.  Hits from a wide crouched setup with a level line drive swing that produced line drives to all fields and 77 mph exit velocity.  Threw 76 mph across the infield.

Marcus Luevano, Joliet Catholic, MIF, 2016
5-foot-5, 172-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder hit from a tall, open stance with a long bat path producing 73 mph exit velocity.  Threw 68 mph accurately across the infield from long, loose, high ¾ arm action.  Ran 7.82 60 yard dash.  Luevano may have a future on the mound with loose arm action. 

Alex Lilly, Mattoon, MIF, 2016                                                                                            
5-foot-8, 170-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder with a strong, thick lower half.  Impressed in batting practice with balanced approach, hitting from a short stride with above average bat speed (81 mph exit velocity).  Showed a level swing with the ability to drive the baseball to the opposite field.  Defensively, showed average arm strength from a stiff low ¾ slot.  Ran a 7.47 60-yard dash and 4.87 seconds from home to first.

Ben Moran, Buffalo Grove, MIF, 2016
5-foot-7, 165-pound middle infielder ran a 7.54 60-yard dash.  Threw sidearm from the infield with some accuracy at 68-mph across the diamond.  Hit from a tall open stance with an uphill bat path, mostly to the pull side.

Loen Nelson, Jacobs, SS/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound lanky and projectable SS/RHP impressed with 76-mph arm strength across the diamond in infield drills.  On the mound fastball sat 69-71 mph touching 73, and command was hindered out of the windup due to extreme turn with back to home plate.  Threw more strikes out of the stretch when he simplified mechanics.  Curveball ranged 60-61 mph and slowed arm on 62-63 mph straight change.  Hit from an open athletic setup with slight leg kick/step over producing a level line drive stroke to the opposite field.  Also ran a 7.60 second 60-yard dash, and 4.89 seconds to first.

Nick Plankenhorn, St. Bede Academy, MIF, 2017
5-foot-10, 145-pound MIF hits from an open athletic stance with above average bat speed with loose whippy hands producing several line drives in batting practice with exit velocity up to 80 mph.  In infield drills threw 70 mph across the diamond from floppy low ¾ arm action with some accuracy.  Ran 5.12 seconds from home to first and a 7.56 60-yard dash.

Austin Poch, Joliet West, SS/2B, 2017
5-foot-2, 120-pound middle infielder with advanced defensive actions.  Poch possesses soft quick hands, fielding through the baseball, throwing from a short high ¾ arm angle.  He possesses average arm strength across the diamond for his age.  Hits from a balanced setup, with a short stride.  Swing showed line-drive plane from gap-to-gap, but currently lacks power.  Ran a 7.87 60, and 4.83 home to first.  Poch has good baseball actions and will benefit from getting stronger.

Matthew Rehfeldt, Peotone, MIF, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound lanky MIF hit from a balanced setup with a long stride and longer uphill bat path producing 62 mph exit velocity.  Threw 69-mph across the infield from a long high ¾ arm action.  Also ran a 7.73 second 60-yard dash and 5.33 seconds from home to first.

Jacob Rintz, Schaumburg, MIF, 2016
5-foot-10, 160-pound lanky MIF impressed with short loose ¾ arm action and a clean fluid exchange fielding.  Threw 72 mph across the diamond and ran a 7.51 60-yard dash.  Hit from an open, tall setup with a level bat path with some extension that produced 76 mph exit velocity.

Brad Van Asdlen, Minooka, RHP/SS, 2016
6-foot-1, 170-pound athletic and lanky RHP/SS that impressed more on the mound than in the field.  Threw fastball from a stiff ¾ long arm action with occasional run and good downward angle from tall and fall delivery.  Showed some rhythm in delivery, staying level with shoulders throughout, and online towards home plate with stride direction.  59-63 mph curve showed 11/5 shape and threw for strikes better from the stretch.  65-67 mph split showed plus action and sink.  Offensively hit from a balanced setup with a long swing plane producing 73 mph exit velocity.

JJ Zywiciel, Plainfield East, MIF/RHP, 2017
6-foot, 140-pound lanky MIF/RHP threw fastball 74-75-mph off the mound.  Slowed arm action on 57-59 mph curveball and on 59-61 mph changeup.  Hits from a square stance with jittery hands with a double load prep pitch producing exit velocity up to 65 mph.  Threw 66 mph across the infield and ran a 7.75 60-yard dash.

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