Prep Baseball Report

Houston Area Open: Infield Analysis

Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

Twitter: @PBR_Texas
IG: pbr_texas

The Houston Area Open took place on July 18 at Premier Baseball in Tomball, Texas. The event was open to the classes of 2018-2021, and featured players from around the south Texas area. 

Infield Analysis

Jake Dunagan, SS, Cypress Fair, 2020
5-foot-10, 150-pound, lean, athletic, still developing frame. The left-handed hitter has a simple swing with quiet, subtle rhythm, clean path through to contact and a line drive approach during batting practice. At shortstop, Dunagan has plus actions for his class, with soft hands that play in front with good glove action. Quick, fluid footwork with good feel for the position. Quick exchange into an easy, loose ¾ arm stroke with accuracy. Dunagan is a name to remember in the ‘20 class and should draw attention from college coaches as he continues to develop.

Josh Phillips, 3B, Bridgeland HS, 2021
Phillips is only a rising freshman but has an imposing 6-foot-2, 205-pound, strong frame. The left-handed hitter has pop in his bat with natural lift as he registered an exit velo of 86 mph. He starts from an athletic, slightly open stance with positive downward tilt in his shoulders. Smooth load with rhythm as he triggers his hands back with a leg-kick. Barrel gets on plane early as he drops the head in the zone with a strong top hand punch and high finish through contact. Solid power from the middle-to-pull side. Attacks the inside of the ball with good barrel awareness. Very projectable left-handed bat. On the infield, Phillips has average hands and feet for his class. Arm works well from a long, high-¾ slot at 79 mph across the diamond.

Caden McMullen, OF/3B, Klein Oak HS, 2018
McMullen stand out immediately because of his 6-foot-3, 195-pound, long-limbed, high-waisted, projectable frame, but the rising senior is super athletic for his size. He ran a 6.93-second 60-yard dash and registered an exit velo off the tee at 91 mph with wood and drove the ball through the middle of the field during batting practice. His arm strength was outstanding from the outfield at 88 mph with a clean, short, high-¾ arm stroke, and he plays through the ball athletically. McMullen also worked out on the infield, he moves with fluid actions, plays low and can throw on the run. McMullen shows all the makings of a player whose best baseball is ahead of him and could end up being a great pickup for a recruiting class. Also worth noting is that McMullen is a high-academic student.

Bryce Balusek, LHH/1B, Calallen, 2019
Balusek is a hitter that college coaches will want to follow closely. He has a strong, advanced frame at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds. The left-handed hitter has a tall, balanced, relaxed stance with quiet rhythm. Short, relaxed stride helps his walk away from his hands into a good launch position. Fires his hips and transfers his weight with ease, generating good power. Short, direct hand-path with good barrel awareness and bat-lag as he whips the barrel loosely through contact. Above average defender at first base with soft hands out in front, average feet and quick transfer into a quick arm stroke from a high-¾ slot across the diamond.

Reed Chumley, SS, Langham Creek, 2019
5-foot-11, 150-pound, athletic, still developing frame. The right-handed hitter has an athletic, stacked setup. Smooth load back with good rhythm and a low leg kick into a short stride. Inside-out hand path with a flat swing to contact. Solid approach during batting practice with hard, line-drive contact through the middle of the field (85 mph exit velo off the tee). At shortstop, Chumley has a quick, clean, mid-line exchange with average hands out in front. Quick footwork after the catch into his  ¾ arm stroke. Does a nice job creating momentum to first base as he plays through the ball. Good feel for different arm slots and quick exchanges ranging up the middle and to his back-hand side.

Joseph Garza-Delapena, SS/RHP, Churchill, 2018
6-foot, 165-pound frame. The right-handed hitter starts from a slightly open, tall stance. Smooth load back into a short, relaxed stride. Inside-out, short path, good approach during batting practice with line-drives up the middle-to-opposite gap. Lower half transfers well into a firm front side, exit velocity of 81 mph off the tee. At shortstop, Garza-Delapena has solid fundamentals with quick feet, soft hands, good first step and tempo as he plays through the ball. Clean exchange into his throwing motion at 83 mph across the diamond.

Gage Coats, 3B, Cypress Fair HS, 2018
5-foot-10, 188-pound, thick frame with strong lower half. The right-handed hitter has a neutral, slightly open, stacked set-up with his toes pointed inward. Smooth load back with a short leg kick engages his hands into a strong launch position. Good leverage with strength at contact as he transfers his weight through contact. Gets the barrel on plane as he slots the barrel, getting good extension through contact with a high finish. On the infield, Coats has soft hands with average footwork and a clean exchange. His arm works well from a long, high-¾ slot to throw 79 mph across the diamond with accuracy.

Tanner Davis, OF/SS, Angleton HS, 2019
Davis has lean, athletic frame at 5-foot-11, 160-pounds with good aggression, both at the plate and in the field. The right-handed hitter has a tall stance with his hands set so that the barrel points toward the pitcher. Simple rhythm with a short, linear load and stride to land in an athletic launch position. Rotates his hips as he transfers his weight, barrel gets on plane early and stays in the zone, creating lift with strength at contact and a high, loose finish. On the infield, Davis has a quick first step and solid footwork, average hands, mid-line exchange and a loose, elbow dominant arm stroke.

Jackson Sutter, SS, Cypress Woods HS, 2018
5-foot-8, 160-pounds. The right-handed hitter starts from an open, athletic stance. Easy, early rhythm into a big leg kick as he controls his stride well, landing with athleticism and balance. Short path to a strong point of contact, Sutter has good barrel awareness, solid approach, excellent weight transfer, and a loose-easy finish of the barrel. On the infield, Sutter shows the ability to catch and throw on the run with a quick exchange and the ability to throw from different arm slots. He has a quick exchange, average hands and footwork.  

Jonathan Dalferes, 3B, Cypress Woods HS, 2018
The right-handed hitter starts from an open, stacked set-up. He loads back easy with a short, quick leg-kick, lands soft on front foot with balance. Hands slot nicely into a repeatable, short path with the barrel staying in the zone a long time. Barrel whips through contact with a loose finish and an exit velocity of 81 mph. Strong contact during batting practice with a physical presence in the box, drove the baseball with carry into the gaps. On the infield, Dalferes throws from a high slot with a short, quick, accurate arm stroke at 80 mph across the diamond. The rising senior has average feet and hands with a quick exchange.

Bryce Palumbo, SS, Strake Jesuit HS, 2020
Palumbo has a lean, quick-twitch frame at 5-foot-8, 138-pounds, with plenty of room to fill out as he continues to mature. Overall good feel for the game and plays hard. What he may currently lack in strength, he more than makes up for with fundamentals and awareness. The right-handed hitter has a neutral stance with his hands in a good position over his back shoulder with a positive bat wrap. Quick rhythm and load into a short stride. Inside-out path with good bat-lag and life in his hands. Barrel stays in the zone a long time with good barrel-whip through his finish. Opposite field, contact approach with more bat speed to come in the future. At shortstop, Palumbo has quick feet and a fundamental fielding position with soft hands and good glove action. Creates good momentum to follow his throws, plays through the ball well as he gathers into a quick, high-¾ arm stroke at 77 mph across the infield with accurate throws and average carry.

Gavin Baird, SS, Angelton HS, 2019
5-foot-8, 168-pound, sturdy frame. A left-handed hitter that shows promise at the plate, Baird starts from a narrow stance and gets started with a short stride. Lower hand position creates natural lift, quick hands with fast bat speed through the zone and power to the pull side. Excellent extension through contact, barrel stay in the zone a long time and a high, loose finish. On the infield, Baird has active footwork as he attacks ground balls with rhythm and timing. Long, clean exchange as he gathers his feet to play through the ball. Does a nice job of staying on line with his throws with a long, high-¾ arm stroke at 81 mph across the diamond.

Humberto Vela, 1B/RHP, Pasadena Memorial HS, 2018
Vela stands 6-foot-4, 180-pounds with a long-limbed, lanky frame. The right-handed hitter starts from a balanced, slightly crouched setup. Gets started with a simple load and a short stride as he triggers his hands back. Hips slide forward as he transfers his weight, short path with strength at contact and an exit velocity of 88 mph off the tee. Ball jumps off his bat as he gets good extension through contact. At first base, he has deliberate footwork with average hands, plays through the ball after the catch with athleticism.

Will Brown, SS, Homeschool, 2018
5-foot-8, 132-pound, wiry frame. The right-handed hitter has an open stance, smooth load back into a short stride. Mostly flat path with average bat speed, occasional high finish on pitches at the top of the zone. Pull side line-drive approach during batting practice with topspin ground balls mixed with fly balls to the right-center gap. At shortstop, Brown has soft, quick hands and a quick, clean exchange to the mid-line of his body. Throws from a short, ¾ arm stroke across the infield at 79 mph.

Jarred Sherman, RHP/1B, Sealy HS, 2018
5-foot-11, 245-pound frame. The right-handed hitter starts from a tall, neutral stance, simple load with a short stride to get started. Weight shifts forward at footstrike, level path with an exit velocity of 81 mph. At first base, Sherman throws with some accuracy and carry from a long, high-¾ arm stroke at 74 mph to second base. On the mound, he works from a high-¾ slot with a long arm stroke. Fastball is straight at 71-73 mph, topping out once at 74 mph. His curveball has 11-5 shape with gradual break at 62-63 mph. His changeup was 60-66 mph.

Drew Blankenship, 2B/RHP, Anderson HS, 2018
Blankenship is a two-way player, standing 5-foot-9, 160-pounds, with a medium frame. Offensively, the right-handed hitter starts from a neutral, balanced stance. Loads back smooth as he slightly tilts his shoulders, short stride, flat hand-path with a loose finish of the barrel. On Defense, Blankenship has average hands, deliberate footwork and a longer exchange.


texas news