Underclass Preview: Top Outfielders

By Mike Penn
Michigan Scouting Director 

Here is a look at four outfielders caught our eye at the Underclass Preview: Jake Vander Wal (Grand Rapids Catholic Central HS, 2015), Jaeden Thompson (Otsego, 2014), Chase Colding (Southfield-Lathrup HS, 2015), and Kyle Ziegler (South Lyon HS, 2015. 

Vander Wal was our clear cut favorite in the outfield from beginning.  Vander Wal came out of the gates quickly and posted a showcase best 6.75 in the 60.  He runs effortlessly with an easy stride. In the outfield Vander Wal shows aggressive instincts and quick twitch abilities.  His arm is strong (83mph) and accurate.  At the plate he shows an advanced approach and good balance.  

Thompson is a strong bodied athlete that is compact and well put together at 5-foot-7, 175-pounds.  He packs a powerful punch in most everything he does.  He ran well at 6.94. He was 80+ mph from the outfield. He was short and quick to the ball from the plate.  The one knock on Thompson is his height but he certainly makes up for it in a variety of ways. Thompson will join the 2014 rankings and should be one to watch this coming season.

Colding is an outstanding athlete all together.  He ran effortlessly (7.10) and has a great athletic build at 6-foot-1, 175-pounds.  Walking in the door, Colding definitely passes the "eye test" as a ball player. Colding has a quiet and smooth approach a the plate.  He barrels up a lost of baseball and is short and compact.  We liked that everything seemed smooth and simple and that there wasn't a ton of movement. Colding needs to improve his defense, most specifically his arm.  He seemed a bit tentative in the outfield but that should change with maturity and time.

Ziegler shows some considerable promise.  Only a 2016 graduate Ziegler ran a 7.12 60 and showed quick twitch movements in the field. He worked out in three positions on the day: SS, OF, RHP.  Ziegler from the outfield has a long loose arm quick arm action. He showed good arm strength for a player of his age and being only 5-foot-8.  At the plate he too had a quiet and simple approach.  He starts from a wide and balanced stance and has a smooth load.  From there his swing can get a little long if he bars out his front arm but overall he did a good job staying level with his bat path.  He did try to use the whole field.


Others to watch for:

Noah Wittkopp (Grand Haven HS, 2015) had the highest positional velocity at 84 mph and ran a 7.27.

Xavier Jefferson (Southfield-Lathrup HS, 2016) has good actions and motor.  He may be a young one to watch down the road.