2018 Top Prospect Games: Middle Infielder Analysis


Brandon Hall, Matt Payne, & Lee Miller
North Carolina Director of Scouting & PBR NC Scouts

On Monday August 6th, at Campbell’s Jim Perry Stadium PBR held one of the must-see events of the year in North Carolina.  In its second year, the Top Prospect Games have become a marked event for college coaches and pro scouts. This year’s event saw 66 players perform in front of over 25 evaluators from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.


Divided into four teams, position players were able to go through a complete pro-style workout, followed by an 8 inning controlled scrimmage.  Pitchers threw two controlled innings. This format allowed coaches and scouts to see players take BP, run a 60, workout at their defensive position, and still evaluate them in game situations.


Over the coming week, we will take a deep dive into the players that took part in the PBR Top Prospect Games.  Today we will take a look at the middle infielders in attendance. One player came in committed while two committed shortly after the Top Prospect Games. The full evaluations include a look at each player's statistics from the day as well as a link to their profile and PBR video.


CLICK HERE for the complete roster from the 2018 PBR Top Prospect Games


CLICK HERE for the complete statistical look at the 2018 PBR Top Prospect Games

 

PBR Top Prospect Games: By The Numbers
+ 66 of the Top Players in NC attended the 2018 Top Prospect Games
+ PBR received over 120 request for invite to the event, working with the state’s high school coaches, area scouts, and PBR’s staff to limit it to players that received a recommendation
+ 27 players ran a sub-7.25 sixty… 16 sub-7.10… 9 sub-7.00
+ The top infield velocity was 88 mph across the diamond… 12 players were 80 mph or better
+ The top outfield velocity was 89 mph… 13 players were 80 mph or better
+ All 10 catchers posted a workout pop time under 2.10
+ 21 hitters had an exit velocity of 90 mph or better with the high getting to 99 mph
+ 20 arms threw with 1 above 90mph… 9 above 85 mph… 16 above 81 mph.

 

Top Prospect Games: Middle Infielders

 

 

Tanner Craft SS / 2B / Watagua, NC / 2020

 

Small frame with room to build at 5-foot-8, 125 lbs. Quickness exists, running a 7.24 sixty with a good burst off the line.  Right handed hitter is balanced and athletic in his setup. Slightly open working back to even. Flat bat, working off the shoulder.  Quick, smooth load with a short stride. Quick bat and level bat path that produces consistent line drive contact. Compact lower half, with balance.  Works gap-to-gap with an exit velocity peaking at 78 mph. Defensively, works with soft hands that project well up the middle. Good bend in the hips and active feet.  Picks through exchanging above the belt. Average arm swing to a high-¾ slot that can adjust based on the play. Accurate arm across the diamond with average carry at 80 mph out of the hand.  . Should continue to develop as he adds strength to the frame.

 

 

Jackson Finger SS / 2B / North Gaston, NC / 2020


Athletic build with body control, standing 5-foot-11, 155 lbs. Ran a 7.27 sixty and should continue to improve time with maturity and strength.  Offensively, simple, compact, repeatable swing from the right side that has pop in the gaps. Balanced setup, crouched, using a leg kick to load the weight back.  Slightly open, striding to open. Vertical bat remains quiet through launch. Looseness and quickness are present. Commands a level swing plane that brings consistent barrel contact.  Exit velocity off the bat of 84 mph. Quick active feet work to get around balls on the infield. Good bend. Catches balls of left, inside hip, funneling to the midsection with rhythm in the feet.  Short arm action works to a high-¾ slot producing carry at 81 mph across the diamond. Has the ability to adjust the arm angle as needed on plays with movement. Athleticism and arm should allow him to compete to stay in the middle of the field moving forward. 

 

 

Jackson Bowman SS / 2B / Wesleyan Christian , NC / 2020


Strength and athleticism in a 5-foot-9, 162 pound frame.  Right handed hitter demonstrates high barrel awareness with a level swing path with extension through the zone. Loads back well from a balanced setup, using the lower half to generate average to slightly above average bat speed.  Exit velocity of 82 mph off the barrel. Good approach at the plate, translates in game action, spraying the ball and using all fields. Needs to continue to develop pitch recognition Short arm action in the field with clean exchange and fluid feet. Direct path to the ball defensively.  Works to field the ball in the middle of his body, funneling to the midsection. Fights for rhythm in his feet through the exchange. Long arm action and over-the-top slot with a positional velocity of 78 mph out of the hand. Average carry. Baseball IQ will allows him to play multiple positions as needed.  Ran a 7.31 laser timed sixty.

 

 

Malik Dixon 2B / SS / North Lenoir , NC / 2019


5 feet 6, 145-pound build with strength in his frame. Quick twitch athlete ran a 7.10 laser timed 60 with a good burst off the line.  Hits from the left side using a balanced setup. Short stride with his load.  Some arm bar getting his hands back to attack the ball. Fluid swing with his barrel working short to the ball with above average bat speed. Looks to stay in the middle of the field and does slap the ball the other way at times. Exit velocity recorded at 87 mph. On defense he shows above average hands with fluid feet, athletically playing though the ball.  Funnels to the center of his body after catch leading to a short arm action, throwing from a high-¾ slot. Accurate arm that peaked at 74 mph across the diamond. Showed well in game, showing strength with a short swing driving the ball to the opposite field. Recorded home to first times ranging 4.15 - 4.37 in games.

 

 

Brett Young 2B / SS / Richmond, NC / 2019

 

5 feet 9, 155-pound average build. Some quickness exists, running a 7.25 sixty yard dash.  Offensively he works from the right side using a crouched, athletic setup. Has some barrel wrap as he dives in to the plate during his load.  Looks to stay gap to gap with a line drive approach.  Barrel works uphill at times but does show feel for his barrel. Strength can continue to improve.  Quickness over strength with an exit velocity recorded at 86 mph. Good actions on the infield with above average hands and fluid feet.  Funnels to the midsection after catch with quick exchanges leading to a short arm action, throwing from a high-¾ slot. Accurate arm with carry to his throws topping at 74 mph. Looks to drive the ball in game, working to be aggressive to fastballs in positive counts.  Swing lengthened at times. Recorded a 7.25 in the 60-yard dash.

 

 

Joey Berini SS / 2B / Orange, NC / 2020

 

5-foot-10, 165-pound, athletic build. Left handed hitter works from an open, balanced setup. Smooth load with a short stride and gets his barrel through the ball. Fluid swing with above average bat speed. Looks to stay gap to gap with a line drive approach.  Good barrel awareness and keeps the barrel in the zone.  Exit velocity recorded at 84 mph. Impressed on the diamond with soft hands and fluid feet, athletically playing through the ball.  Clean exchanges with a short arm action, with the ability to throw from different slots. Accurate arm with carry to his throws peaking at 81 mph across the diamond. Good approach in game, with feel for his barrel and showing the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field.  Advanced approach offensively.  Defensively he projects to stay in the middle of the field with plenty of arm to stay on the left side as well.  Plays with pace and confidence.  Presence draws other players to follow his lead. Plays faster than the 60 time recorded at 7.09 on the laser timer.   

 

 

AJ Jones SS / 2B / Southern Nash, NC / 2020


Athletic body with some strength at 6-foot, 160 pounds.  Good defender that plays with a high baseball IQ. Comfortable all over the field.  Actions and arm may allow him to stay on the left side or in the middle of the field.  Good touchdown in setup leads to solid first step and good angles. Works to catch off the inside left hip, funneling to the midsection.  Quick, athletic transfer to a medium arm swing and high-¾ release. Average carry at 81 mph across the diamond. Accurate from multiple arm angles.  Left handed hitter has good balance in the box. High hands loaded back in the setup. Flat barrel position. Short stride. Shoulders are set slightly uphill.  Average bat speed with some barrel awareness. Some pull tendency in the swing. Works with a strong lower half allowing an exit velocity to peak at 83 mph off the barrel.  Laser timed 60 of 7.52.

 

 

Gavin Mortenson SS / 2B / Northwest Guilford, NC / 2020

 

Lanky body with athletic tendencies at 6-foot-1, 165 pounds.  Still maturing with room to add strength. Ran a 7.36 sixty and should see this time improve with added strength to the frame.  Advanced defender with good rhythm in the feet and hands. First step puts him in position to work the ball off his inside left hip.  Athletic and quick transition from the belt to a quick arm and high-¾ release. Has the ability to be accurate from multiple slots. Great carry across the diamond at 81 mph out of the hand.  Fluid swing at the plate with a gap-to-gap approach from the right side. Tall and balanced, uses a slight leg kick to load the body back. Bat head loads from a flat position to a slight lag.  Working to produce some lift in the swing, creating backspin off the barrel with a good lower half. Can hit to all fields, will benefit from added strength. Exit velocity of 79 mph off the barrel.

 

 

Greyson LaSpaluto SS / RHP / Apex Friendship, NC / 2019

 

Gardner-Webb commit.  5 feet 10, 155-pound athletic build. Quickness exists, running a 6.92 sixty.  Hits from the right side using a balanced setup.  Smooth load with a small leg kick, getting his lower half through the ball.  Fluid swing, with good rhythm and above average bat speed. Feel for his barrel working mostly middle to pull side with a line drive approach during batting practice.  Wants extension out front with his exit velocity peaking at 85 mph. Athletically plays through balls on the infield with fluid feet and average hands.  Clean exchanges with a longer arm action, throwing form a high-¾ slot.  Accurate arm that topped at 84 mph across the diamond with carry.  Athletic player with a good offensive approach in game that will continue to get better as his body fills out. 

On the mound, fastball reached 87, sitting 83-86 from a high-3/4 slot.  Occasional arm side run to the arm side.  Quick hand and clean, long arm swing.  Some rhythm, working level and in line.  Lands on-line and square at foot strike.  Breaking ball as hard depth at 70-71 with downer 12/6 tilt.  Late action created discomfort for hitters.  Straight change-up at 75.  All three pitches in the zone.

 

 

Chandler Riley SS / 2B / Cox Mill, NC / 2020

 

Charlotte commit, making his declaration shortly after the Top Prospect Games.  6 feet, 160-pound build.  Hits form the left side using an athletic, open setup.  Smooth load using a small leg kick.  Fluid swing, getting his lower half through the ball.  Impressed in batting practice, with loose hands and above average bat speed, driving balls to all fields. Exit velocity recorded at 87 mph. Athletically plays through balls on the infield, with fluid feet and soft hands. Funnels to the center of his body after catch, with quick, clean exchanges and short arm action, with the ability to throw from different slots. Accurate arm that topped at 80 mph across the diamond. Looks to get his swing off in game with an aggressive approach.  Shows the ability to barrel the ball with power potential. Recorded a 7.3 in the 60-yard dash.

 

 

Will Austin 2B / RHP / Eastern Alamance, NC / 2020

 

Slight frame with athleticism at 5-foot-6, 155 pounds.  Right handed hitter. Open setup with the weight loaded on the back side.  Waggle in the bat through launch with the bat head getting to a vertical position.  Small stride. Average bat speed with some barrel awareness. Line drive approach with a slight pull tendency as he works for extension.  Fights for rhythm at times as waggle through load creates some different positions for bat head. Exit velocity at 81 mph off the barrel. Defensively, works to play through balls.  Active feet. Average hands. Quick, clean transfer at the mid-section. Short arm action to a high-¾ release and quick hand producing average carry at 77 mph across the diamond. Ran a 7.85 sixty on the laser timer.

 

 

Marcus Sanchez SS / OF / Terry Sanford , NC / 2019


Committed to Lenoir Community College shortly after the Top Prospect Games.  Athletic build with room to grow at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. Tall, open stance with a smooth load, triggered by a leg kick shifting his weight to the back side.  Some strength in the lower half. Consistent line drive producer, looks to drive in both gaps. Works for extension with better than average bat speed and some feel for the barrel.  Exit velocity of 88 mph. At times late with an aggressive stride can be late. Good defender, can play multiple positions. On the infield, clean and quick hands with fluid footwork.  Consistent catch with trust in his hands. Rhythm with the feet and release. Long arm action and high-¾ release. Fights some stiffness in release creating some accuracy issues at times.  Positional velocity of 77 mph from shortstop. From the outfield uses a long arm swing and over-the-top release with average carry at 79 mph out of the hand. Average accuracy. Ran a 7.21 sixty on the laser timer.  Plays with pace in games. Good baserunning instincts. Home to first time clocked at 4.38.

 

 

Will Hood 2B / OF / Pro 5 Baseball Academy, NC / 2019


Average 6-foot-1, 195 pound frame.  Strength and quickness exist, running a 6.95 laser timed 60 and producing an exit velocity of 94 mph off the barrel.  Barrel feel and pop to all fields from a slightly open stance on the right side. Tall setup using a weight shift back to load.  Flat bat. Average stride back to even, generating power from the lower half. Good rhythm and approach. Loose through contact with better than average bat speed.  Arm plays from all over the field with carry and some accuracy. On the infield, the footwork is fluid with rhythm. Good pre-pitch touch-down and first step. Direct path to the ball with active feet.  Easy catch. Clean exchange, playing through the ball well. Long arm swing to a high-¾ slot at 83 mph across the diamond. On the move, works through some stiffness in his arm action. In the outfield, plays through balls with ease.  Athletic exchange to a long arm swing and over-the-top release. Positional velocity of 85 mph out of the hand.

 

 

Cameron Verrier SS / 2B / Cleveland, NC / 2020

 

5 feet 9, 145-pound athletic build. Lefthand hitter with an open, athletic setup. Smooth load and stays fluid throughout his swing. Quick hands with feel for his barrel working level through the zone and getting extension out front.  Mature approach during batting practice, looking to line balls gap to gap. Exit velocity recorded at 84 mph. Athletically plays through balls on the infield with quick, fluid feet and above average hands. Funnels to the center of his body after catch, with a short arm action and the ability to throw from different slots. Accurate arm across the diamond that topped at 75 mph. Showed well in game, with solid defense and good feel for playing shortstop. Competes every pitch and showed the ability to get the barrel to the ball and drive it. Recorded a 7.29 in the 60-yard dash.