Prep Baseball Report

All-State Games: Middle 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 middle infield analysis from that event.

Couper Cornblum SS / 3B / Midway, TX / 2019

Cornblum is a high level defender at shortstop with ultra-quick footwork, smooth actions and a strong, accurate arm across the infield (88 mph). He shows plus range as he moves with long strides, and an easy gate, gets to full speed quickly, has soft hands, excellent body control and can play on the run. The Wichita State recruit already has an athletic, lean, fast-twitch frame at 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, and has plenty of room to add more strength as he matures. Cornblum has separated himself as one of the top shortstops in the junior class, but his bat is also a tool that should allow him to transition quickly into the lineup for the Shockers. The right-handed hitter has a stacked, relaxed set-up at the dish with loose-quick hands and strength at contact (88 mph exit velo). Took a solid round of batting practice, shows excellent feel for the barrel with hard line drives through the middle of the field, and flashes pull side pop as he transfers through contact with a loose finish. Ran a 6.75 60-yard dash.

Austin Roccaforte SS / 2B / Tomball Memorial, TX / 2019

Roccaforte has a quick-twitch frame at 5-foot-7, 135-pounds. The Wichita State recruit plays fast and has life in his body as he gets to full speed quickly. After running a 6.74 60-yard dash, the right-handed hitter showed good power for his size during batting practice while posting an exit velocity of 86 mph off the tee. He starts from an open stance, then loads with an athletic leg kick to generate leverage as his hands trigger back, landing with good separation. Loose hands with strong contact on the barrel, outstanding sense of timing and barrel awareness. Easy weight transfer, short path, strong top hand, loose finish. At shortstop, Roccaforte has fast-smooth footwork with soft hands, quick exchange and clean throwing motion. Shows high level range and can throw on the run. With his all-around tools and moxy, Roccaforte will have a chance to be an impact player for the Shockers.  

Braley Hollins SS / 2B / Plano Senior, TX / 2019

Hollins has a lean-strong, athletic frame at 6-foot, 160-pounds with broad shoulders. The Oklahoma State recruit has a quick, clean exchange, smooth actions and makes the play on the run look easy. Accurate arm across the diamond at 84 mph with a short, quick arm stroke. The right-handed hitter has a wide base and maintains good balance throughout his swing. Simple load to get started as he triggers his hands back and up, short stride, maintains upper body posture throughout. Rotational lower half, strong hands at contact, middle of the field approach with line drive power and an exit velocity of 82 mph (off the tee). Tons of line drives to the gaps during batting practice. During the game, Hollins went 1-for-2 with a scorched single to centerfield. Ran a 6.88 60-yard dash.

Cade Merka SS / RHP / Argyle, TX / 2020

Merka is an athletic infielder with a quick twitch, lean-muscular, high-waisted frame at 6-foot, 160-pounds. He has smooth actions, quick footwork, and good rhythm through the ball. A solid, 7.11-runner, Merka’s first step when fielding ground balls is quicker than that, and he takes efficient routes while displaying adequate hands, and an accurate, 83 mph arm across the infield. With his ability to play on the run, Merka projects to stay on the left side of the infield at the next level. The right-handed hitter starts from an open, tall stance and loads back with smooth rhythm. Short stride, good separation with his hands back and good energy in his lower half as he transfers his weight through contact. Strong hands at contact with a gap approach, loose finish with an exit velocity of 89 mph. With his athletic frame and quick-twitch actions in the middle of the field, look for Merka to catch the attention of college recruiters as he continues to develop and add strength.

Michael Cervantes SS / 3B / Clear Springs, TX / 2019

5-foot-11, 172-pound, sturdy, strong frame. Cervantes would be a great addition to a recruiting class with his ability to defend on the infield and handle the bat with gap power. He has quick footwork, smooth actions, soft hands and showcased advanced glove action with a quick exchange during the infield workout. He threw 82 mph across the diamond and gets rid of the ball quickly from multiple arm slots. Offensively, Cervantes has balanced setup with smooth rhythm, hands stay relaxed as he loads with a simple leg kick, lands into an athletic launch position. Quick bat and clean path through the zone with barrel on plane and a loose, high finish. Exit velocity of 86 mph with more to come, flashes pull side power when he turns it loose. 

Cole Posey SS / 2B / Georgetown, TX / 2019

Posey has continued to improve since we last saw him in August at the PBR Future Games. The junior, still uncommitted, added strength and speed to his 5-foot-10, 170-pound, athletic frame, and cut his 60-yard dash time down to 6.94-seconds. Trending upward, Posey is a fundamentally sound, athletic infielder with a high motor. He has smooth, quick footwork, creates good angles and plays with momentum through the ball. Presents soft hands out in front with solid glove action, quick transfer into a short arm stroke with carry and accuracy across the diamond as he stays in line and follows his throws. Arm works well out front with a velocity of 82 mph to first base. Offensively, the right-handed hitter has open setup, then uses early, easy rhythm to load with a short stride as his hands slide back, lands balanced. Short path to contact, quick-strong hands. Hard contact through the middle during batting practice, uses the whole field, flashed some power to the pull side and posted an exit velocity of 85 mph. Laced a line drive to left field during the game.

Kade Sanchez SS / 2B / Caldwell, TX / 2019

5-foot-4, 130-pound frame. Sanchez continues to impress with his fundamental, fast-twitch actions at shortstop and feel for the game in the middle of the field. High motor, gritty, "gamer" type player. Holds runners at second base, vocal communicator, good feel for starting and finishing the pivot at shortstop. Quick feet, smooth actions, quick mid-line exchange, aggressive footwork as he plays through the ball. Accurate arm with true carry across the infield at 86 mph. Plays catch at a high level, can make the play on the run, ball sticks in his glove. A right-handed hitter, Sanchez has a balanced setup with his weight slightly shifted to his front leg. Smooth load back as he triggers his hands, short stride, good lower half weight transfer. Quick hands through the zone with good extension through contact. Line drive approach during batting practice, repeatable swing with sharp liners through the middle and an exit velocity of 83 mph. During the game he was 1-for-2 with a sharp single through the left side and a pop up to shortstop that he just missed on the barrel with a full hack. 

Michael Bernhardt SS / 2B / LD Bell, TX / 2018

Still uncommitted, Bernhardt will be a nice addition to a recruiting class. He has a lean-athletic frame at 5-foot-8, 155-pounds, with plenty of room to add strength in the coming years. Solid defender that can really handle the ball on the infield. Quick first step, smooth footwork, soft hands and quick exchange. Gets rid of the ball quickly, accurate arm, can throw from different slots with a clean release and a max velocity of 80 mph across the diamond. Made a spectacular play in the game, ranging up the middle and diving to snag a hard ground ball, popped up and made a strong throw to first base. A right-handed hitter, Bernhardt has a balanced, simple setup with smooth rhythm and a clean, flat path to the ball with a line drive approach and an exit velocity of 85 mph off the tee. During the game, he had a quality at-bat where he hammered a ground ball to second base with two-strikes.

Nate White SS / 2B / Arlington, TX / 2019

White is an athletic shortstop with projectable tools. He has a nice mix of speed (6.79 60-yard dash) to go with smooth footwork on the infield and loose hands at the plate. The right-handed hitter stands 5-foot-11, 175-pounds with a lean-muscular frame. He starts from a wide stance, triggers his hands back with a smooth load, short stride, lands balanced. Slight front arm bar, clean path through the zone, good feel for the barrel, quick hips, balanced transfer, flashes power to the pull side. Defensively, White has smooth footwork and rhythm through the ball. Soft hands out front as he funnels the ball to the midline of his body. Clean exchange, accurate arm works well out front on release from a low-¾ slot. White also plays football in the fall for Arlington High. 

River Orsak SS / 2B / Barbers Hill, TX / 2019

At 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, Orsak has a strong, quick-twitch frame. He started the day by running a 6.77 60-yard dash. During batting practice, the right-handed hitter showed loose hands and easy rhythm as he hammered balls to the gaps with an exit velocity of 91 mph. Smooth load back as he triggers his hands, short stride, maintains balance as he transfers his weight down into his front side. Hands work really well, short path, can elevate the ball with relative ease as he accelerates the barrel through contact with a loose-high finish. On the infield, his speed translates well as covers a lot of ground, and has a quick transition to throw accurately at 82 mph across the infield.

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.  

Cole Payne RHP / SS / Cuero, TX / 2018

Payne has a strong, athletic frame at 6-foot, 175-pounds, and will be a nice addition to a recruiting class with his ability to hit, pitch and play multiple positions. The right-handed hitter starts from a wide base with tilted shoulders and his hands sitting up in a relaxed position with bat cocked toward the pitcher. Smooth load back as he triggers his hands down and back, then strides forward, landing athletic. Aggressive hack with strong lower half transfer, short path into the zone, smooth swing with lots of lag in the barrel. Even though his exit velocity was only 84 mph at this event, the ball jumps off his bat as he whips the barrel through the zone with a loose finish, and more power to come. Positionally, Payne does a little bit of everything. On the infield, he has smooth footwork and soft hands that combined with his offensive ability, should allow him to fit in nicely at the next level. He has an accurate arm with a clean arm stroke and a top velocity of 86 mph across the diamond.

Elliot Ranson SS / RHP / Cypress Christian, TX / 2018

Western Texas JC recruit. Ranson has a lean-strong frame at 6-foot, 165-pounds. The right-handed hitter has a smooth stroke with a short path and quick hands. Repeats his swing with relaxed rhythm and timing. Hard contact with line drive approach during batting practice, excellent feel for the barrel with an exit velocity of 84 mph. At shortstop, Ranson has smooth actions, quick feet, soft hands, and an accurate arm at 79 mph across the infield. Showed a nose for the baseball during the game, making two nice plays; one was a run through play at full speed with a quick exchange, the other he ran down a pop up in the triangle down the line. Will be a player to follow closely at the junior college level as he adds strength and gets valuable reps.

Fabian Bernal SS / OF / John Paul Stevens, TX / 2019

Bernal is left-handed hitter that college coaches are going to want to follow closely this year. Although not done developing physically, he stands 5-foot-9, 135-pounds, with a lean, athletic frame and twitchy tools. He started the day by posting a 6.95 60-yard dash. Offensively, Bernal’s swing just works, he has a great feel for the barrel and makes hard contact. Starting from a slightly open stance, he pushes back to load with a smooth leg kick as he picks his hands up. Strides forward, lands balanced, easy weight transfer, short path into the zone, good extension through contact with a loose, high finish as he sits down into his legs. Although his exit velocity is only 82 mph, he has quick hands and shows good power to the pull side gap during batting practice. Took good swings during game, including a loose hack on a deep fly ball to centerfield. In the outfield, he plays through the ball with quick feet and a clean exchange. Loose, quick arm swing works well from back to front with a max velocity of 80 mph. On the infield, Bernal has quick footwork that should serve him well as he is not developing physically. Soft hands play well out front. Funnels the ball back to his midline before making accurate throws from a loose arm swing that works well from back to front with a max velocity of 73 mph.

Zachary Lee C / 2B / El Campo, TX / 2018

Uncommitted. At 5-foot-8, 185-pounds, Lee is a gritty player that has the ability to play multiple positions and hit at the next level. The right-handed hitter has an advanced approach and generates good leverage with his rhythm and leg kick. Barrel stays in the zone a long time, great feel for the barrel and hard contact with an exit velocity of 89 mph. Showed gap power during batting practice, flashing pull side pop with a compact stroke that produces lift to the pull side. On multiple occasions this fall, Lee has swung the bat very well, showing the ability to barrel up velocity on time and adjust to off-speed pitches. With his ability to hit and play multiple positions, Lee will be a nice addition to a recruiting class.

Cooper Timmons SS / RHP / Clear Falls, TX / 2019

Timmons stands 6-foot, 160-pounds, with a lanky, long-limbed frame, and plenty of room to add strength in the coming years. The right-handed hitter starts from an open, stacked stance with good flex in his lower half and relaxed hands. Smooth load as he triggers his hands back, then uses a reverse leg lift before striding forward. Slots the barrel early, then works on a flat path to contact with a front arm bar. Rotational lower half, creates hard contact to the pull side with an exit velocity of 81 mph, and more power to come. On the infield, Timmons has a quick exchange with rhythm through the ball and a quick release. Hands work well after the catch, transitioning quickly to his midline. Made two nice plays on the run, showing athleticism and an accurate arm. Loose arm swing at 76 mph across the diamond. Look for Timmons to continue to make jumps as he adds strength and fills out his projectable frame.  

Gavin LaBruyere SS / RHP / Montgomery, TX / 2018

Still uncommitted, LaBruyere has plenty of projection still left in his 6-foot-3, 170-pound, lean frame. A two-way player and right-handed hitter, he starts from a tall open stance, then turns inward as he loads back, picking his hands up, then striding out, landing square. Gap approach during batting practice with line drive power and an exit velocity of 82 mph off the tee. Barrel stays in the zone a long time, flat path, strong hands with good barrel awareness. On the infield, LaBruyere moves with fluid footwork and shows good glove action making the one handed play into an accurate arm stroke at 82 mph across the diamond. Long stride runner, 6.84 60-yard dash. LaBruyere did some of his best work of the day on the mound, where the right-hander filled up the zone with both his fastball at 84-87 mph, and a 72 mph curveball with depth. 

Brady Braun SS / OF / Klein Cain, TX / 2020

Braun has a still-developing, quick-twitch frame at 5-foot-6, 120-pounds. A 6.88 runner, he accelerates on the bases and gets to full speed quickly. Has really good feel for the game, high motor and plays hard. Braun uses the whole field and has quick hands at the plate. The right-handed hitter has a simple, projectable swing, starting from a balanced, athletic setup. Smooth load back, loose easy trigger, short stride, quick hands, compact path. Maintains posture as he transfers his lower half, good extension through contact. Good barrel awareness, line drive power with an exit velocity of 77. On the infield, Braun has fluid footwork through the ball with quick feet after the catch. Soft hands and clean exchange into a long, high-¾ arm stroke. Arm works well from back to front, accurate thrower across the diamond.  




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