Prep Baseball Report

January 18 Preseason Preview: Middle Infielder Analysis

By Chris Fuller
PBR Tennessee

The first of our two Preseason Preview events took place at Showtime Spots Academy in Franklin on January 18, and there were several solid performances turned in. Complete stats and top statistical performers were previously posted shortly after the event. CLICK HERE to view that information.

The following is a look at the group of middle infielders who attended the event. This is position analysis only. Those middle infielders who also pitched at the event will have their pitching performance featured in a separate article.

Middle Infielders

Dalton Ney, SS, Franklin Road Academy, 2016
5-foot-11, 165-pound right-handed hitter hits from a balanced and slightly open stance, a fairly long stride and fluid load get him into a great position to fire his hips on every swing, swing path can get steep from time to time, displayed a line drive approach that could easily evolve into some power, given the strength and bat speed he showed both in BP and with his 90 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, displayed soft hands and moved athletically around his position at SS, smooth footwork and a consistently clean exchange led to some very accurate throws at 84 mph from his high-3/4 arm angle.  Strong kid with enough athleticism to play anywhere on the field, given his 7.13 60-yard dash time, will be a great late pickup in the 2016 class for someone.

Parker Stinnett, 2B/RHP, Powell HS, 2018
6-foot-2, 170-pound left-handed hitter hits from a balanced stance with a short stride that comes from a minor leg kick igniting a rhythmic hand load just below shoulder-height that produces a level and slightly upward bat path that stays in the zone a long time, set the stage by hitting first and producing one of the best rounds of BP we would see all day, 80 mph exit velocity off the tee was an improvement from a previous PBR appearance and will only continue to rise with time.  Stinnett can improve on his 7.44 60-yard dash time, but impressed at SS with his fluid footwork and soft hands, his ability to play through the ball and produce a quick exchange led to a lot of very accurate throws at a 75 mph clip across the infield.  Definitely a 2018 prospect to follow in his development.

Justin St. Armour, SS, Riverdale HS, 2018
5-foot-10, 160-pound right-handed hitter hits from an athletic and slightly open stance, uses a modest leg kick and smooth load with a slight arm bar to initiate his swing, could get more use of lower half, but maintains good balance throughout swing, generates better bat speed and pop with his line drive approach than his 77 mph exit velocity off the tee would suggest, had one of the best rounds of BP at the showcase.  Shows athleticism, didn’t run quite as well as his previous event with a 7.21 60-yard dash (6.97 at previous event) but speed is still present along with his fluid footwork and good hands at the SS position, used a clean exchange and short arm action to produce a very accurate infield arm at 78 mph from a high-3/4 arm slot.  A 2018 prospect to keep a close eye on.

Kyle Brennan, SS/RHP, Centennial HS, 2017
5-foot-11, 160-pound right-handed hitter hits from a balanced stance and utilizes a small leg kick to initiate the small and smooth load with his hands, line-drive hitter consistently shows a level bat path and good rhythm that could help to develop some gap-to-gap power in the future, 80 mph exit velocity off the tee and 7.72 60-yard dash should improve with time as his athleticism matures.  Defensively, showed above average hands and fluid footwork from his position, clean exchange led to a somewhat long arm-action for a MIF from a high-3/4 arm slot and an 81 mph position velocity, a player that could become a valuable two-way prospect in the 2017 class.

Jack White, SS, Father Ryan HS, 2017
5-foot-11, 150-pound left-handed hitter hits from a balanced stance with a very short stride and toe tap that lead to a small load, line-drive hitter finished his round very strongly with his last five swings resulting in hard line drives up the middle. Approach, swing, and 74 mph exit velocity off the tee suggest high average, low power type of hitter.  Defensively, showed some fluid footwork and above average hands to conduct a quick exchange and release of the ball, plays through the ball well and gets decent carry out of his 76 mph velocity across the infield for a low-3/4 arm slot.  White also ran a 7.41 60-yard dash.

Ponder Thurmond, SS, Franklin Road Academy, 2017
6-foot-2, 155-pound right-handed hitter hits from an athletic and upright stance while utilizing a big leg kick and stride to engage his lower half early in the swing, showed good gap-to-gap power and the ability to get extended through the ball, became unbalanced at times, ran a 7.22 60-yard dash and produced a healthy 85 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Thurmond showed average hands, a slower exchange, and a long arm action in the infield with an over-the-top release at 78 mph.  Athleticism is there and with some defensive polish and a little time in the weight room, could play at a very high level.

Ethan Johnson, 2B, Ravenwood HS, 2017
6-foot, 180-pound right-handed hitter hits from an athletic and slightly open stance with somewhat of a small leg kick that conducts a short and strong stroke that produces good pop, gap-to-gap approach with much more power potential than his 75 mph exit velocity off the tee would suggest, timing was late on a few occasions but shows very good upside offensively.  Defensively, showed steady hands and efficient arm action to get the ball across the infield at 78 mph from a high-3/4 arm slot, overall footwork was sufficient.  Johnson ran a 7.35 60-yard dash and is a solid prospect with the potential to play 3B at the next level as well as his current 2B position.

Jack Shuttleworth, SS/C, Pope John Paul II, 2017
5-foot-8, 165-pound right-handed hitter was not able to stay for the offensive portion of the event.  Defensively, Shuttleworth was one of the most impressive players we saw all day, quick and fluid feet in connection with his very smooth and sure hands produced a quick exchange and a lot of accuracy across the infield, played through the ball well, a short arm action and quick release from a ¾ arm slot created an infield position velocity of 76 mph. Showed versatility with his quick feet, exchange, and release from behind the plate, as well, although only able to muster a 71 mph position velocity from back there, produced pop times of 2.00-2.10. Ran a 7.13 60-yard dash. Would love to see Shuttleworth at the plate in the near future as many other areas of his game show promise.

Bryce Ellen, 2B, Christ Presbyterian Academy, 2018
5-foot-6, 140-pound right-handed hitter hits from a balanced and athletic stance with a confident bat waggle, slight wrap in his load isn’t a bad thing, as it helps to gain the separation he needs while uncoiling from his leg kick, uses a line drive approach to produce a consistently flat bat path through the zone, could see improvement in balance as he tends to lean forward from time to time. Defensively, not a flashy defender but is clearly sure-handed through his approach and confidence in the field, above average hands keep him insured as he sometimes sits back on the ball instead of working through it and continuing momentum toward first base, his clean exchange and quick release from a high-3/4 arm slot are very useful.  As Ellen gets older, stronger, and more physically developed, there is no doubt we will see improvements in his 74 mph exit velocity off the tee, 76 mph position velocity from the infield, and his 7.47 60-yard dash time.

Skylar Stalcup, SS/RHP, Powell HS, 2018
6-foot, 160-pound right-handed hitter hits from an upright stance and uses a fluid weight shift, load, and slight leg kick to get moving and displayed a fairly level bat path through the zone, could get a lot more use out of his lower half which would help him tremendously to add a little pop to his 72 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, could improve hands and footwork by being a little more confident in working through the ball, has a slower exchange and long arm action that result in an accurate 75 mph velocity across the infield from a high-3/4 arm action, ran an 8.22 60-yard dash.

Chance Beck, SS/RHP, East Robertson HS, 2017
6-foot-1, 180-pound right-handed hitter hits from a mostly upright stance and utilizes a fair amount of bat movement to initiate the swing, short stride and hand settling help to establish a load position, room for improvement in the actual swing, as Beck could use more torque from his lower half, very handsy type swing, produced an exit velocity of 75 mph off the tee.  Defensively, could see improvement in his fluidity and ability to work through the ball with a rhythm, did show a solid position velocity of 76 mph from across the infield, along with some accuracy through his long arm action. Beck ran a 7.50 60-yard dash.