Topeka Prospect ID: Middle Infield Analysis



By Sean McCann
Prep Baseball Report

Today we take a look at the middle infielders that participated in the Topeka Prospect Identification Showcase on November 2, 2014 at Bettis Family Sports Complex. This was an open event for uncommitted high school baseball players - all grades.

The middle infield group was highlighted by strong performances by two class of 2016 prospects in Alex Ronnebaum (Topeka Seaman HS, KS) and Joe Kinder (Liberty HS, MO). Ronnebaum showed a left-handed swing with leverage and athletic actions defensively. Kinder is trending up, showing improvement in all areas since we last saw him in June. Both prospects project well - sporting tall, thin, athletic frames with plenty of room to fill out.

Two of the top uncommitted class of 2015 middle infielders in Kansas also put in strong performances in Topeka: Drake Bliss (Maize South HS) and Matthew Baca (Goddard HS). Bliss is a fast-twitch athlete that ran the best 60-yard dash time at the event (6.58) and Baca demonstrated athletic infield actions and flattened the ball out in the left center gap in batting practice. Both Bliss and Baca have made noticeable improvement over the last several months.

Class of 2016 2B/RHP Cole Schumacher showed solid across the board skills, including one of the more impressive rounds of batting practice of the day.

Below are the scouting reports on the middle infielders that participated in the event. We include position players in one of the post-event features at their best position while two-way players will also appear in the pitching analysis article.

To see a complete list of stats from this event click here.

Click on the player's headline link to be directed to their profile with video from their performance.

Top middle infield prospects

1. Alex Ronnebaum, SS/2B, Topeka Seaman HS, KS (2016)
Ronnebaum is an athletic, projectable 6-foot-4, 165-pound left-hand hitting infielder that was the starting second baseman for Topeka Seaman’s 5A state tournament team last spring. At the plate he showed a tall set-up, slightly open stance, leg kick, long stride, smooth hand load, loose hands, delivers barrel out front with leverage, extension through the baseball, worked mostly middle of the field, exit velocity 87 mph – one of the top marks in camp. During infield defensive workouts he showed athletic actions, quick hands and feet, easy high-three quarters throwing motion, threw up to 78 mph across the diamond, all accurate throws. Ran a 7.10 60-yard dash. Last spring Ronnebaum was an interesting follow, but lacked size and strength - he’s beginning to develop physically and with it has elevated his performance on the field.

2. Joe Kinder, SS/3B, Liberty HS, MO (2016)         
Kinder is a 6-foot-3, 168-pound right-hand hitting infielder. Balanced set-up at the plate, short path, bat speed, very aggressive swing, 83 mph exit velocity. Line drive, gap-to-gap approach – one of the best rounds of batting practice of the day. Ran a 6.95 60-yard dash. Quick, athletic actions in the infield, loose low three-quarters arm action, 80 mph throwing velocity. Projectable, athletic class of 2016 infield prospect.

3. Drake Bliss, SS/2B, Maize South HS, KS (2015)
Bliss is a 5-foot-10, 170-pound right-hand hitting middle infielder. At the plate showed a balanced set-up, slightly open stance, minimal hand load, short stride, short bat path, bat speed. Simple swing, middle-oppo line drives, 84 mph exit velocity. Ran a camp-best 6.58 60-yard dash. Athletic footwork in the infield, quick hands, clean exchanges, quick three-quarters arm action, some effort, throws had carry, 81 mph throwing velocity. Fast-twitch athlete.

4. Matthew Baca, SS, Goddard HS, KS (2015)
Baca is a 5-foot-10, 160-pound infielder. Open stance at the plate, quiet stride, short bat path,  maintains balance. Simple, easy swing. Worked middle to pull side with some juice in batting practice, 82 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.12 60-yard dash. Athletic actions in the infield, soft hands, clean exchanges, easy high three-quarters arm action, 78 mph throwing velocity, all accurate throws. Solid middle infield prospect in the 2015 class that is just now starting to fill out his thin, athletic frame.

5. Cole Schumacher, 2B/RHP, Hays HS, KS (2016)
Schumacher is an athletic 5-foot-10, 170-pound right-hand hitting infielder and right-handed pitcher. Tall set-up at the plate, open stance, early stride, minimal hand load, short bat path. Simple swing with balance, rhythm and flow, exit velocity 81 mph. One of the best rounds of batting practice on the day – line drives in the gaps. Ran a 7.25 60-yard dash. In the infield hands and feet work, easy three-quarters throwing motion, 75 mph throwing velocity. On the mound has an athletic delivery with rhythm. Turns at balance, hides ball. Short three-quarters arm action. Fastball at 76-78 mph. Breaking ball with 12/6 to 11/5 shape, at times short, 66-69 mph. Change-up with sink when down in zone, 69-70 mph. Solid prospect that carries himself with confidence and does a lot things on the baseball field well.

Best of the rest (alphabetical order)

Jackson Abdon, SS/2B, Bolivar HS, MO (2016)
Abdon is a 6-foot, 155-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder. At the plate showed an open stance, drops hands in load, level bat path, slight pull approach, 76 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.46 60-yard dash. In the infield showed soft hands, clean exchanges, loose high three-quarters arm action, 75 mph throwing velocity.

Trace Adams, 2B/RHP, Chaparral HS, KS (2015)
Adams is a 5-foot-11, 155-pound right-hand hitting middle infielder and right-handed pitcher. During batting practice showed an open stance, wide base, minimal hand load, drops hands, upper half dominant, worked right side of the field, 68 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.32 60-yard dash. Average hands and feet in the infield, high three quarters arm action, 66 mph throwing velocity. On the mound showed an up-tempo, delivery, raises hands with knee lift, tall balance point, strides open, high-three quarters arm action. Fastball 67-69 mph. Breaking ball with 12/6 shape, 59-62 mph. Change up 64-65 mph. Also showed a 60-61 slider.

Tanner Morris, SS/RHP, Pleasant Ridge HS, KS (2017)
Morris is a 5-foot-9, 170-pound right-hand hitting shortstop and right-handed pitcher. Athletic set-up at the plate. Early load and stride. Worked middle-oppo in batting practice, maintains balance, exit velocity 75 mph. Ran a 7.75 60-yard dash. Average hands and feet in the infield, high three-quarters arm action, 66 mph throwing velocity, mostly accurate throws. On the mound showed a very simple, easy delivery with rhythm. Repeats. Three-quarters arm slot, some looseness. Fastball with occasional arm side run, 73-74 mph, topped out at 75. Breaking ball with 12/6 to 11/5 shape, gradual action, 67-68 mph. Command of straight change-up with near fastball arm speed 70-71 mph.

Kyle Peterson, 2B/3B, Shawnee Mission Northwest HS, KS (2016)
Peterson is an athletic-framed 6-foot, 157-pound right-hand hitting infielder. Showed an athletic set-up at the plate, open stance, strides inline, level path, 75 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.53 60-yard dash. Athletic footwork in the infield, soft hands, loose three-quarters arm action, 73 throwing velocity.

Xavier Richardson, SS/2B, Sumner Academy, KS (2016)
Richardson is a 5-foot-9, 160-pound right-hand hitting middle infielder. At the plate has an athletic set-up, wide stance, simple stride, smooth hand load, short swing, 78 mph exit velocity. In the infield, fielded everything cleanly, three-quarters throwing motion, 68 mph throwing velocity. Ran a 7.13 60-yard dash.

Skyler Zirkle, 2B, Shawnee Heights HS, KS (2017)
At the plate has a balanced set-up, strides in place, minimal hand load, slight crouch to hit, inside-out, 75 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.98 60-yard dash. In the infield showed average hands and feet, fielded the ball cleanly, three-quarters arm slot, some looseness, 71 mph throwing velocity, mostly accurate throws.

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