Prep Baseball Report

All-State Games: Corner Infield Analysis

Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

On Saturday, October 28, some of the top talent in Texas met in Tomball to compete in the PBR Texas All-State Games. The event featured players from all four high school classes, including 2018 & 2019 grads, along with a select few 2020 & 2021 grads. Here is the corner infield analysis from that event.

Corner Infielders

Chandler Freeman 3B / RHP / Liberty Hill, TX / 2019

Dallas Baptist recruit. Freeman has an athletic, strong frame at 6-foot-1, 182-pounds. The right-handed hitter had a great all-around day, he put on a power display in batting practice (93 mph exit) showing easy rhythm, and strong pull side pop. He starts from a tall, open stance with his hands up above his back shoulder. Early smooth load back, triggers his hands down, cocking the bat head over his head, then strides out, landing soft. Short path to ball, generates easy gap power with more to come. Uphill plane with a loose finish creates lift and carry, ball jumps off his bat. On the infield, he has more than enough arm strength to stay at third base in college, throwing 91 mph across the diamond. Plays through the ball with smooth footwork and soft hands. For good measure he hopped on the mound and pitched at 87-90 mph with late life on his fastball and a plus slider at 75-77 mph.


Austin Plante OF / 1B / Lake Travis, TX / 2019

TCU recruit. Plante passes the eye test with his strong, broad shouldered, high-waisted, 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame. The junior is a solid athlete with all-around feel for both the outfield and first base. A left-handed hitter, Plante showed off his strength during batting practice by driving balls deep into centerfield with thump and carry (90 mph).  Ball jumps off his bat, easy bat speed, simple swing with strength, projectable hitter at the next level with more power likely to come. Plante plays through the ball with smooth rhythm and timing, quick exchange and easy gather. Arm works well from a short, high-¾ arm stroke, accurate throws with carry in the outfield at 89 mph. Good footwork around the bag at first base during the game. With his size, athleticism and strong left-handed bat, Plante is a great addition to the TCU lineup.

Cole Johnson 3B / 2B / Southlake Carroll, TX / 2018

Over the past year, we have seen a lot of Johnson as he was a big part of a strong lineup that helped Southlake Carroll make a deep run in the 2017 UIL playoffs. Earlier this fall, Johnson made a commitment to Weatherford JC. He has a 6-foot-1, 190-pound, lean-muscular frame that still has room to add strength, making it easy to dream that Johnson will be a highly touted recruit in a couple of years coming out of the junior college ranks. The right-handed hitter starts from a tall, open stance, then loads back relaxed with an athletic leg kick as he triggers his hands back. Lands balanced with an athletic lower half, loose-quick hands, short path to contact, explosive lower half transfer. Good extension through contact with a loose finish on a slightly uphill path, creates good launch angles with gap power (88 mph) and more to come. During batting practice, he launched several towering home runs to the pull side. At third base, Johnson has smooth footwork and a quick exchange. Starts the double play to second quickly, makes the play on the run, shows good feel for angles, and can throw from a lower slot when needed. Ran a 6.93 60-yard dash.

Hambleton Oliver RHP / 1B / Calallen, TX / 2019

Oliver is one of the top uncommitted players in the ‘19 class with a strong, sturdy frame at 6-foot-2, 195-pounds. A two-way player and projectable left-handed hitter, Oliver has relaxed rhythm and a loose hack at the plate. He starts from a tall, open stance with relaxed hands, then loads back as he triggers his hands down and back with easy rhythm. Short stride forward with a relaxed leg kick, lands balanced. Natural lift as he drops the head on plane early, strong hands at contact, uphill path with a loose finish and power to the pull side (92 mph off the tee). Oliver was on the barrel all day, squaring up three balls with a line drive to short, a double backside down the left field line and a sharp single to left. On the infield, he has an accurate at 86 mph across the diamond from a ¾ slot. Soft hands out front on routine plays, shows the ability to throw from a lower slot when making the play on the run. A two-way player and right-handed pitcher, Oliver was dominant in his one inning stint. He works from high-¾ slot with a quick arm stroke, and some effort in a drop and drive delivery. His fastball sat 85-86 mph, and he can spin an 11/5 curveball for a strike anytime he wants. Also throws a sharp slider with late, lateral darting action at 77 mph. With Oliver’s ability on the mound, and his left-handed power at the plate, Oliver is going to be a valuable addition to a recruiting class.  

Bryce Balusek 1B / OF / Calallen, TX / 2019

Balusek is strong left-handed hitter that has a bright future in college baseball with a projectable, broad shouldered, 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame. The Texas A&M Corpus Christi recruit has a tall, balanced, relaxed stance with quiet rhythm. Short, relaxed stride allows him to walk away from his hands into a good launch position. Fires his hips and transfers his weight with balance, generating good power (89 mph). Hands work well through the zone on a short, direct path with good barrel awareness and bat-lag as he whips the barrel loosely through contact. With his simple swing, barrel awareness and projectable power, I can see Balusek fitting into the middle of the order early in his college career. Above average defender at first base with soft hands out in front and quick transfer as he starts the double play at second base. Good footwork around the bag, can throw from different slots with an elbow dominant arm stroke.  

Anderson Acinger 1B / 3B / Plano Senior, TX / 2019

At 6-foot, 195-pounds, Acinger has a strong, broad chested frame. The junior swung the bat extremely well all fall, and continues to solidify himself as one of the top right-handed hitters in the metroplex. With gap power and an exit velocity of 90 mph off the tee, Acinger not only has the ability to show up on time with velocity, but he can recognize and hit spin. He starts from a slightly crouched stance with his weight shifted back and a lot of flex in his lower half. Waggles the barrel as he triggers his hands while striding out into an athletic launch position. Aggressive approach with fast hands as he attacks the baseball. Explosive lower half weight transfer, short path, high end strength at contact, ball jumps off his bat. A primary first baseman, Acinger has a ton of feel for the position with soft hands, quick feet, and smooth footwork around the bag. With his current glove skills and fundamental, Acinger has the ability to transition to third base, which we saw this fall in the Metro Scout League. Arm works well with a quick transition and short, clean arm stroke to throw 76 mph. Ran 7.48 60-yard dash.


Jordan Viars 1B / LHP / Reedy, TX / 2021

College recruiters will want to remember this young left-handed power hitter. Viars has a strong, long-limbed, projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds. He starts from a tall stance with his hands setup high above his head. Big load back as he triggers back into a front arm bar, big leg kick, then strides out, landing balanced. Outstanding strength with raw bat speed through the zone (91 mph) on a slightly uphill path. Drove the ball well during batting practice, does a nice job of getting to the inside pitch, dropping the barrel and creating lift to the pull side. At first base, Viars threw 77 mph across the infield, and he ran a 7.45 60-yard dash.


Evan Sparks SS / 3B / Cedar Park, TX / 2019

Sparks has a projectable, high-waisted frame at 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, with plenty of room to add more strength in the next two years. The right-handed hitter has an aggressive hack with life in his hands and projectable power. Starts from a balanced setup, then pushes back with a leg kick, hands trigger back then down, lands with good energy in his lower half. Explosive weight transfer as he gains ground with his back leg. Good shoulder tilt, short, direct path on an uphill plane with a loose-high finish and an exit velocity of 85 mph with more to come in the future. On the infield, Sparks has fluid footwork and fields the ball out front with soft hands. Smooth exchange into a loose arm stroke, accurate throws across the diamond at 79 mph. Ran a 7.23 60-yard dash. With his offensive ability at the plate and fundamentals on the infield, Sparks will be a player that college coaches will want to keep on their radar this coming spring and summer.

Dylan Strater C / 3B / Liberty, TX / 2018

Still uncommitted, Strater is going to be a valuable addition to a recruiting class with his ability to play two premium positions. He is a versatile, gritty player at 5-foot-8, 170-pounds. The right-handed hitter showed good power during batting practice with easy leverage and lift, launching balls deep to the outfield, including a homerun. Strater has a stacked, relaxed setup with quiet rhythm, short stride as his hands load back, lands balanced. Hands get slotted early getting the barrel on plane with a fluid path, loose finish, and an exit velocity of 85 mph off the tee. On the infield, Strater has fundamental footwork, plays low with soft hands out front, and can make the play on the run. Strong arm across the diamond at 86 mph with accurate throws. Solid defensive skills behind the plate and real presence. He has a quick arm stroke from back to front with a clean release and good rhythm in his feet. Threw 74 mph from the crouch, with pop times ranging from 2.05-2.19. Blocked and received well during the game, has good hip mobility and soft hands.  

Cal Martin 1B / 3B / Reagan, TX / 2019

Martin has a long-limbed projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, with plenty of room to add strength in the next two years. The right-handed hitter creates a ton of lift and drove the ball well to the pull side during batting practice. He starts from a tall open stance with his hands set back and away from his body. Early, smooth load back as he triggers his hands down and back, then strides out, landing square and balanced. Gets the barrel on plane early, then works on an uphill path through contact with a high finish. Strong lower half rotation with balance as he transfers his weight. Exit velocity of 85 mph off the tee, but with his frame and long levers, Martin still has a ton of offensive projection left. During the game turned on an inside fastball and hammered it for a single to left field. At first base, Martin makes the routine play look easy as he is able to play low with soft hands out front. Has a good overall feel for the position with rhythm in his feet as he comes off the bag at first base. Clean exchange starting the pivot at second base with a and accurate arm with a velocity to 73 mph across the diamond. Plays the ball to his backhand very well. Ran a 7.53 60-yard dash.


Jared Barta RHP / 1B / Cuero, TX / 2019

Barta has a strong, projectable, broad chested frame at 6-foot-4, 225-pounds. A two-way player and right-handed hitter, Barta generates a ton of leverage and power with loose hands and bat speed (91 mph). Athletic setup with relaxed rhythm, pushes back with a smooth load and reverse leg lift as he triggers his hands back. Lands aggressive into his front side with an athletic launch position. Quick hands through the zone on a flat path. Good extension with strength at contact. Shows good power during batting practice creating lift to the pull side gap. At first base, Barta has a clean, high-¾ arm swing and threw 86 mph across the diamond with accuracy.

Kaden Fikac 3B / RHP / Victoria West, TX / 2019

Fikac is a projectable, strong left-handed corner bat, standing 6-foot-3, 220-pounds. In the box, Fikac shows relaxed rhythm and generates good power to the pull side. Starts from a neutral, stacked stance, then loads back smooth as he triggers his hands down and back as he points the barrel back toward the pitcher. Strides out, lands balanced, short path with a strong top hand through the zone. Current gap power with more to come in the future. In the game, Fikac took aggressive hacks and was able to put some good swings on the baseball. Defensively, the junior has solid fundamentals with good glove action and soft hands. Clean exchange in the midline of his body into a loose arm stroke across the diamond at 82 mph. Ran a 7.49 60-yard dash. 

Jack Hattrup LHP / 1B / Plano West, TX / 2019

Hattrup has starting making a name for himself as an up and coming left-handed pitcher in the Metroplex. A two-way player and left-handed hitter, Hattrup stands 6-foot-4, 182-pounds, with a long-limbed projectable frame. This fall, he has shown a knack for hitting the ball on the barrel and handling off-speed stuff. Starting from a balanced, neutral stance, Hattrup has a simple load back, then uses a toe tap as he triggers his hands back, landing into a short stride. Flat path through the zone. Line drive power with an exit velocity of 83 mph off the tee. At first base, Hattrup presents a nice target with his large frame and shows good feel around the bag with the ability to pick balls in the dirt. Has an accurate arm across the infield and starting the double play. Threw 82 mph across the diamond and ran a 7.47 60-yard dash.

Dylan Hugley 3B / 1B / Rowlett, TX / 2018

Hugley has a strong frame at 6-foot, 210 pound frame. The left-handed hitter starts from a narrow, open stance with good forward tilt in his shoulders. Uses a smooth, reverse leg lift to load back as he triggers his hands. Lands balanced, quick hips, smooth transfer, quick bat with an aggressive hack and an exit velocity of 86 mph off the tee. On the barrel with a middle of the field approach during batting practice. On the infield, Hugley has soft hands and threw 81 mph across the diamond.

John (JT) Tackett 1B / LHP / Cypress Christian School, TX / 2020

Tackett has a strong frame for a sophomore at 6-foot, 160-pounds. A left-handed hitter, Tackett starts from a tall, open stance, then turns inward as he triggers his hands back and down into a slight front arm bar. Lands square, rotating his lower half as he slots the barrel early, then works on an uphill path to contact. Loose rhythm in his hands early, then a high finish create an exit velocity of 80 mph with some carry to the pull side. At first base, Tackett throws across the infield at 73 mph from a long, loose arm stroke. Ran a 7.56 60-yard dash. 



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