Prep Baseball Report

Winter Combine: Position Player Analysis From Jan. 3

Dan Cevette

Director, New York

New York's first ever winter position player Combine was a major success as we continue to bring PBR to the Empire State with high-level events gaining players maximum exposure. Position players from WNY in this one-of-a-kind winter event focused on not only baseball skills, but athletic performance tests during the Combine. We saw a position player with a 30-inch vertical, one with nearly a 23-foot medicine ball chest throw, and plenty other tests that take a deeper look at each players athletic skill-set. Here's an in-depth look at the position player analysis from Jan. 2.

Austin O'Shei, C, Hamburg HS, NY (2016)
O'Shei stands 5-foot-10, 154-pounds with a solid frame who also plays up the middle.  He shows a ton of upside at both positions.  Though slightly undersized right now, his arm plays like a next level catcher.  He had a 26” vertical leap and jumped over 8’ on the broad jump.  Behind the plate he’s still mechanically a little green with his receiving skills but his transfer, release, and arm strength is second to none in the state right now.  Being a dual position player we can tell he hasn’t gotten enough work behind the plate to really see his full potential.  As an infielder you can see he’s fundamentally sound with good footwork getting around the baseball and limiting the extra movement to show quick release.  He fields everything out in front and doesn’t let the ball spend much time in the glove.  At the plate he shows quick hands and good use of his lower body.  He generates good power with a frame that has not yet filled out.  He does get a little longer than we’d like to see with his bat path occasionally.  With added strength in the weight room and still early in his junior year, this 2016 is definitely one to keep an eye on this spring and summer.

Nate Grimm, C, Webster Thomas HS, NY (2016)
Grimm stands 6-foot-2, 175-pounds with great size behind the dish. He shows a strong glove and solid receiving and blocking ability behind the plate.  He needs some work on his transfer and release mechanics as he stands up a little tall on his release which causes him to lose some power.  He’s a strong kid though so with some added arm strength and work on his release could really see some improvements.  At the plate Grimm showed his strongest asset right now.  He’s a LHH with good pop in his bat.  He stays short to the inside of the ball and consistently barreled the ball up.  He’s got a slight uphill path to the ball.  A LHH backstop with power potential is always an added bonus at the next level.

Alexander Evans, C, Stillwater HS, NY (2015)
Evans stands 6-foot-0, 175-pounds and has a strong lower body and broad shoulders. He's certainly got the build to be a solid backstop. He shows a strong glove but must quiet down his movement when receiving. Blocking actions worked well and shows signs of a plus arm. He opens his front side shoulder a little too soon, pulls himself toward 3b line on his throw downs causing him to lose power on his throws. If he cleans that up he'll see a big improvement on pop times and accuracy. At the plate Evans showed raw mechanics to go along with raw power. With an 83mph exit speed we can certainly see some good power potential in this hitter. If he quiets down the excess movement in his mechanics he's going to see not only added power but more consistency at the plate. A slight drop in his hands causes inconsistent bat path and results. These few mechanical adjustments behind the plate and in the box should do wonders for this strong body backstop.

Jake Zurat, C, Williamsville North HS, NY (2017)
Zurat stands 5-foot-9, 150-pounds and is well put together with some raw tools.  Shows athletic footwork and average arm strength at this time.  With some work on his blocking/receiving skills could turn out to be a solid college backstop.  Also a standout Hockey goalie, Zurat shows a competitive attitude that coaches like to see in their Catcher.  At the plate Jake starts with a balanced stance with little movement.  He has a short path to the ball.  For the strength that he has in his lower body he has not learned yet how to use it all.  With his raw athletic ability and strength, he shows a lot of potential to hit for power by the time his junior year rolls around.

Troy Hattala, C, Orchard Park HS, NY (2017)
Hattala stands 5-foot-9, 175-pounds with a sturdy build. He shows a lot of upside both behind the dish and at the plate.  As a young sophomore he’s got the build of a well put together senior in high school.  We can see he relies on a naturally strong arm right now and needs to learn to finish through his throws a little more with his body.  With good blocking/receiving mechanics though he’s going to be a next level catching prospect by his junior year. At the plate he showed power potential that hasn’t been harnessed yet.  With a very strong lower body, he relies on his upper body to do most of the work.  He starts with a balanced lower half and quiet hands, stays nice and short to the ball but could finish through it a little longer.  Has a good idea at the plate and consistently barrels the ball up.  If this kid puts in the necessary work he’s going to turn a lot of heads in only his sophomore summer this year.

Jake Rugaber, OF, Fairport HS, NY (2016)
Rugaber stands 5-foot-10, 175-pounds with an athletic build. On fly balls he stayed behind the ball and caught it nicely out in front with a good transfer of body weight towards his target.  On the ground he stayed through the ball well and finished towards his target.  Though arm looks a little stiff, we can see he understands the fundamental footwork and transfers of good outfield play. At the plate Rugaber showed good pop with an 80 mph exit speed.  He uses a leg kick to get his body going and continues with a full body swing using it all.  With his strong athletic build, and natural bat speed he may benefit from a little less movement in his swing and more trust in his natural power.  Overall shows good potential to be a college OF especially due to his power potential at the plate.

Garrett Baugher, OF, St. Joseph's Collegiate Inst. NY (2016)
Baugher stands 5-foot-10, 160-pounds with a solid build. He shows good fundamentals on both fly ball and ground ball mechanics fielding the ball out in front and off his left foot coming through. He also shows a quick release and a live arm from the outfield.  We can see his quickness on his pro agility time of a 4.59. At the plate he shows great hands and a direct path to the ball.  He tends to come slightly uphill which causes him to get more top spin then we’d like at times but if he learns to use his lower half and stay down through the zone longer he should see added power.  This 2 sport athlete is also in the heart of a wrestling season in which he is a standout throughout the state.  We hope to see his frame fill back out and add some power as the wrestling season winds down and he hits the diamond.  Certainly a versatile athlete with some good upside to watch through the summer.

Nicholas Buyers, OF, St. Joseph Collegiate Inst. NY (2016)
Buyers stands 6-foot-1, 185-pounds with great size. In the outfield Buyers looks like a sound fundamental defensive player with proper form staying behind the ball and receiving ground balls in front of his left foot.  His throws are a little stiff at this time and could be improved simply by learning to finish through his throws with more momentum falling towards his targets.  With a strong lower half broad shoulders, Buyers is built like a true corner outfielder at the next level. At the plate he swings from the left side and loads with a leg kick.  He shows a lot of strength and potential but has a few mechanical issues that need to be addressed before he realizes his strength at the plate.  He tested at a 78 mph exit speed.  His leg kick seems to throw his timing off a bit right now keeping him on his backside and not allowing him to transfer any weight and never maximize his lower half.  With the natural strength and frame Buyers has, if and when he learns to really drive his lower half he's going to see added bat speed an in turn some real power.  His frame, natural strength, and swinging from the left side make him worth keeping an eye on as he develops the mechanical side of his swing.

Matt Staszak, RHP, Orchard Park HS, NY (2017)
From the outfield Matt sets up nicely behind his fly balls and shows a quick release with a live arm.  On his ground balls he stays down and through nicely and follows his throw.  He's got a strong body and strong arm which he showed off well at this event. At the plate Matt showed some inconsistencies with his timing which in turn affected his contact.  He's got a strong frame and ability to hit for power but lacks consistency in his mechanics at this time.  With a 24" Vertical and an 8'2" Broad Jump, Staszak certainly showed a strong lower half that could really help his power as he fine tunes his timing and mechanics.  This dual player, who spends a lot of time on the mound as an RHP, shows a lot of athletic upside, being only a 2017.

Jake Woodrich, OF, Orchard Park HS, NY (2016)
From the outfield he shows sound mechanics and one of the quickest releases we saw at the "Winter Combine".  He's very efficient in getting rid of the ball both on his fly balls and ground balls.  Though his arm strength is average right now, his quick release and consistent arm action make him a next level outfielder.  He is a prototypical CF at the next level as he showed an explosive lower half during the combine with a 26" vertical, an 8'51/2" Broad Jump.  He also tested in the top 5 in both the Pro agility shuttle where he had the 2nd best of the day at a 4.44 as well as a 1.81 10 yard dash. At the plate swings swings from the left side and starts with a wide base and simple load.  He has an opposite field first approach right now staying inside the ball nicely.  Though he lacks some gap power right now, he shows good bat speed.  Adding 15-20lbs to his frame, along with his already good bat speed should give him some increased power at the plate.  This 2016 OF also attended some PBR events during his sophomore summer and showed a very dynamic and unique style.  He utilizes the bunt very well and shows great bat control.  He's a low strikeout, high contact guy that gets down the line under a 4.0 consistently.  He projects as a CF and leadoff hitter at the next level.  He'll be one college coaches will want to keep an eye on as he fills out and plays through his junior summer

Mitchell Rosati, RHP, Canisius HS, NY (2017)
He showed a lot of athletic upside at our "Winter Combine" jumping a 28' vertical leap, an 8'3" Broad Jump, and running a 1.78 in the 10 yard dash.  Day 1 showed promise on the mound, and day 2 he showed good actions as an outfielder.  He stays behind the ball nicely and comes through his throws using his whole body. At the plate Rosati showed a consistent bat path and the ability to stay inside the baseball.  He uses his lower half well and stays quick to the ball.  Though he already shows signs of power, with added weight to an athletic frame, and good bat speed, this 2017 should see big gains in his gap power through the next 2 years.  He will be attending the PBR Invite Only event at Oswego February 15th.  Definitely a player for college coaches to keep tabs on in the 2017 class in the Buffalo area.

Vincent Chiarenza, OF, Canisius HS, NY (2016)
Chiarenza stands 6-foot-2, 185-pounds with a great physical build. He was a stood out throughout the position players "Winter Combine" in orchard park January 3rd.  Not only did he have the highest Vertical Leap at 30" of the day he also Broad Jumped 8 feet, tied for the fastest Pro agility at 4.41 seconds, and was tied for the 2nd fastest 10 yard dash at 1.75 seconds.  He also showed great upper body explosiveness finishing top overall with a 22'10" on the 10lb medicine ball pass.  From the outfield Chiarenza sets up behind the ball and comes through his throws with fundamentally sound mechanics.  The ball jumps out of his hand and shows good carry after release. At the plate he starts with a strong wide base and uses a very limited stride/load pattern.  This kept him compact and direct to the ball which resulted in consistent contact.  He still needs to show more consistent use of his lower half in order to really show next level power but right now he projects as a prototype outfielder at the next level with +quickness and +power potential at the plate.  He will be attending the PBR Invite Only event at Oswego February 15th.

Irvin Cespedes, SS, Lajara Baseball Academic (DR)
Cespedes stands 5-foot-10, 150-pounds with an athletic slender build. He stood out amongst the infielders at the "Winter Combine".  In the infield he showed great actions and smooth hands.  Everything was fielded out in front and funneled back toward the core prior to release.  His eyes tracked the ball nicely to the glove while his feet got around the ball putting him in perfect position to release and follow his throw.   He's certainly got next level infield actions to go along with a quick glove and +arm. At the plate Cespedes started and remained very balanced throughout showing quick hands and consistent contact.  Though his frame needs to add some weight in order to gain power, he barreled up almost every ball he saw.  He is definitely worth a look to any colleges looking for a natural middle infielder with a consistent bat.  His athletic ability was shown through his combine testing where he jumped a 25" vertical, broad jumped 8'5" and ran the fastest 10 yard dash of the day at a 1.69.

Griff DeMayo, 3B, Hamburg HS, NY (2016)
DeMayo stands 6-foot-0, 165-pounds with a slender build. This Junior 3b showed great actions as a corner infielder.  He stayed down on the ball nicely and tracked it all the way to the glove while moving through the ball.  His glove never got beneath him and he funneled the ball back towards his body on all balls at him.  In order to stay as a 3b at a high collegiate level he's going to need to improve on his arm strength across the diamond. He showed well athletically throughout the tests with a 27" vertical and over an 8' Broad Jump.  He also showed quickness for a corner guy running a 1.84 10 yard dash. At the plate he sets up with a strong wide base.  He's got quiet feet and explosive hips through the zone.  He uses his lower half better than most and certainly does not get cheated on his cuts.  For as aggressive as he swings he's able to stay controlled and balanced throughout.  Demayo has an athletic frame that could still hold another 20-pounds with ease.  As he fills out through this winter/spring he should see some real power gains by summer and into his senior year.  Though he lists as a 3b now, he seems to show the athletic ability to move to 1b or a corner outfield spot at the next level.

Brendan Sheehan, 1B, Grand Island HS, NY (2016)
Sheehan stands 6-foot-2, 180-pounds with good size at the corner. He turned some heads at the Winter Combine not only with his projectable frame but also with surprising combine numbers for a big body corner guy.  He was top 3 in vertical leaps with a 27" Jump as well as the top overall broad jump at 8'11".  He also showed quickness in the 10 yard dash at a 1.81.  Defensively he currently projects as a college 1b or possibly a corner outfielder due to his athletic ability.  However, poor throwing mechanics limit what is a naturally strong arm.  In the infield he gets around the ball well and stays through his throws.  If he can work on getting his arm back and using a longer/looser arm action he should see immediate improvements in his throwing. At the plate is where he really shined on the day.  He started with a strong base and remained balanced throughout his load.  His hands are quick and direct to the ball.  He showed positive next level pop in his bat with a 85 mph exit speed off the tee.  He does tend to come uphill on his finish a little which creates some inconsistencies and more top spin than we'd like sometimes. He has the frame and bat of a high level collegiate corner guy.  He'll see even more power at the plate when he learns to use his lower half and stay down longer through the zone to create more backspin.  This 2016 has already put himself on the map with his projectability.  Definitely one to watch throughout this spring.

Chris Gresham, 1B, St. Mary's of Lancaster, NY (2016)
Gresham stands 6-foot-2, 237-pounds and plays the corner. He showed good upper body explosiveness with a 21'8" medicine ball pass at the "Winter Combine". Defensively he showed sound fundamentals.  Though his footwork and quickness need work still, he shows to be able to handle himself fine at the corner.  He fields everything out in front and stays low to the ground. Arm strength right now is only average but projecting right now as a college first baseman his bat is what will be relied upon. At the plate Gresham starts balanced and a quiet.  He loads simple and stays short to the ball.  Where a lot of big body swingers tend to get long to the ball, Chris does not.  He's able to maintain a direct path to contact and great bat control with +power.  He does come out of the zone a little early at times but aside from that this 6-foot-3 Junior definitely projects as a strong next level bat.

Kole Brink, MIF, Frewsburg HS, NY (2016)
Brink stands 5-foot-5, 130-pounds with a smaller frame. Defensively Brink gets around the ball well and stays out in front with his glove.  He stands up a little too tall upon his throw which in turns holds his momentum back from really finishing.  He certainly shows the actions of a sound second baseman.  He jumped 25" on his vertical leap and ran a 1.88 in the 10 yard dash. At the plate he showed positive balance and potential as a contact, hit for average style batter.  Being smaller in stature he would definitely benefit from using his lower half a little more in his swing.  He tends to get stuck on his backside foot and not allow transfer of energy through the zone.  With those subtle mechanical tweaks Brink could definitely be a sound 2b.

Troy Banks, SS, Orchard Park HS, NY (2017)

Banks stands 5-foot-7, 160-pounds and well put together. At middle infield he showed great actions defensively and stood near the top of the list of infielders at the "Winter Combine".  He stays down through the ball and always follows his throw.  He shows +release and +arm strength for a sophomore. At the plate Banks starts with an open stance and gets back to even at landing.  This causes a little front side uphill action on his swing at contact but it certainly didn't hold back his power.  He #1 overall on the day for exit speed at 8 7mph.  He uses his whole body on every swing and does not get cheated.  Though he may need to limit some of the excess movement and front-side shift in his swing, he showed next level pop in his bat.  With his smooth glove and power potential at the plate, this sophomore put himself on the map January 3rd at the "Winter Combine" in Orchard Park.  Keep an eye on this two sport standout at Orchard Park High School.

Nathan Kruger, 3B, East Aurora HS, NY (2016)

Kruger stands 5-foot-9, 164-pounds with an athletic build. Though he lists as a 3B, Kruger showed signs of strong enough athletic ability and arm strength to be a versatile player.  He tested well in the vertical leap at 26", showed quickness, and one of the highest exit speeds at the combine at 83 mph.  Defensively he stays very simple and eliminates all excess movements when fielding.  He shows a great release and +arm strength. At the plate Kruger starts with an open stance.  He shows great bat speed and a direct path to the ball.  Despite being a little front side heavy he's still able to generate good power.   Adding a little rhythm and slight weight transfer would go a long way with adding more power to an already explosive bat.

Dawson Broad, RHP, Orchard Park HS, NY (2016)
Broad stands 5-foot-11, 152-pounds with a lean build. Overall he was one of the top performers across the board at the "Winter Combine".  Day 2 of the combine he shined as one of the most athletic players in attendance.  He Jumped 26" on the vertical leap, tied for 1st in the Broad Jump at 8'11", tied for 1st on the pro agility shuttle at 4.41 and was tied for 2nd with a 1.75 10 yard dash.  He also showed pop off the bat with an 84 mph exit speed off the tee.  Defensively Broad shows great actions as a middle infielder always fielding out in front and staying low and athletic while working around and through the ball. At the plate Broad started with a strong wide base and maintained balance throughout his swing.  His path to the ball is a little long and he doesn't use his lower half as much as he could yet.  Despite the minor mechanical flaws in the swing, Broad still is able to barrel the ball with consistent contact and power.  Right now he relies on raw athletic ability to get the job done.  With some mechanical fixes he's shown his ceiling is not only high on the mound but also as a middle guy and hitter.  This 2016 is also the quarterback of his high school football team.  He shows versatile athletic ability and proves to be an exciting player on the diamond.  He should be in attendance for the PBR Invite Only event at Oswego February 15th for coaches to get another look at him.