Prep Baseball Report

Underclass Games: Middle Infield Analysis

Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

PLANO, TX - Players from the 2020 and 2021 classes met at Prestonwood Christian Academy on Saturday, October 21 in Prep Baseball Report Texas’ Fall Underclass Games. The event was loaded with talented sophomores and freshman from around the state. Here is the middle infield analysis from that event.

Middle Infielders


+ Cade Merka, SS/RHP, Argyle HS, 2020  
Merka is an athletic two-way player with a quick twitch, lean-muscular, high-waisted frame at 6-foot, 160-pounds. Merka did his best work of the day at shortstop where he showed 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. A competitor by nature, Merka also shows the ability to hop on the mound where he has run his fastball up to 84 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.

+ Jalon Mack, SS, Dallas Jesuit HS, 2020
Mack is a physical, 5-foot-11, 170-pounded switch-hitting infielder who is going to have a chance to hit for power from both sides of the plate. Featuring an easy set-up from both sides, Mack starts with his weight on his back leg in a slight crouch with his hands held by the ear. He loads back with a reverse toe tap that allows his hands to work, loosely, down and back before whipping them through the zone on a level plane with a high, loose finish. His quick hands and strong wrists are able to work freely because of his balanced lower-half, and as he continues to mature, he should develop more strength to aid his already 90-plus exit velocities from both sides. In the field, Mack showcases smooth hands that allow him to field balls confidently with solid footwork that will allow him to play any infield position in the future. Overall, Mack’s ability to control the bat from both sides of the plate should make him a player that coaches are going to want to get out and see in the future. (Shooter Hunt, PBR National Crosschecker)

+ Jack Quinn, RHP/SS, Midlothian HS, 2020    
Quinn has a lean-muscular, quick-twitch frame at 5-foot-11, 155-pounds. A two-way player and right-handed hitter, Quinn starts from a slightly open stance with relaxed rhythm in his hands. Loads back early as he triggers his hands down and back, strides out landing square. Linear transfer of weight through contact with a short hand path to contact, line drive approach with gap power and an exit velocity of 88 mph. On the infield, Quinn has quick footwork, smooth actions, soft hands out front with a clean mid-line transfer as he works through the baseball. He throws from a loose, high-¾ arm swing and shows outstanding arm strength (90 mph) that should allow him to stay on the left side of the infield as he continues to develop. Makes the play on the run with relative ease and athleticism, and ran a 7.37 60-yard dash.

+ Caden Dolan, RHP/SS, Reedy HS, 2020
Dolan is an athletic two-way player at 6-foot, 155-pounds. A two-way player and right-handed hitter, Dolan starts from a balanced, stacked stance with his his weight evenly distributed. Simple load into a short stride, hands work well through the zone with an inside-out path, line drive approach, loose finish and an exit velocity of 84 mph. Made hard contact in two at bats during the game, lined out to second base and smoked a single to left field. At shortstop, Dolan shows great feel for the position with fluid actions, smooth footwork, and soft hands with good glove action. Plays through the ball with athleticism, quick exchange and throws accurately across the diamond at 84 mph. With Dolan’s athleticism, loose arm on the mound, and quick actions at short, college recruiters will want to see him sooner than later.

+ Kameron Weil, 2B/OF, Arlington Lamar HS, 2020
Weil is a fast-twitch left-handed hitter that can play multiple positions at 5-foot-9, 150-pounds. Began the day by running an event best 6.74 60-yard dash, which carried over to the game where he ran home to first times of 4.19, and 4.12 from the left side of the plate. He starts from a tall, open stance, using an early, relaxed load to trigger his hands back over his shoulder as he strides forward, landing soft. Quick-twitch hands with strength at contact, flat, compact path through the zone, good extension out front with a strong top hand and loose-high finish. Tons of line drives during batting practice, flashing gap power to the pull side with an exit velocity of 86 mph. Made hard contact during the game with two hard ground balls to shortstop. Gets to full speed quickly out of the box and is an aggressive base runner. On the infield, he can change direction quickly, moving with long strides, athleticism and shows solid range. Soft hands out front, funnels ball into midline, threw 85 mph across the diamond.

+ Chase Spencer, SS, Plano West, 2021
Spencer has a wiry, athletic, still developing, high-waisted at frame 5-foot-11, 135-pounds. Just a freshman, he shows all the makings of a young shortstop with a bright future. The right-handed hitter starts from a slightly open stance while his hands sit in a relaxed setup with rhythm, then trigger back past his back shoulder. Simple load into a short stride, lands balanced with good separation and a slight front arm bar. Short, flat path to contact as he transfers high weight efficiently. Has good feel for the barrel, uses the whole field with a line drive approach as the barrel stays in the zone a long time. Posted an exit velocity of 82 mph off the tee and singled sharply to right field during the game. On the infield, Spencer has smooth footwork and advanced actions for his class. He takes efficient routes and has good feel for picking the right hops. His hands works well out front with smooth glove actions. Quick transfer to the mid-line as he continues to gain ground to throw with a loose arm swing and accuracy, that should make it easy for him to add to his current velocity across the infield (82 mph). Ran a 7.35 60-yard dash.

+ Jaeger Self, SS/OF, Aubrey HS, 2020
Self is a projectable right handed hitter that stands 5-foot-10, 160-pounds, with a high-waisted frame and strong lower half. He starts from an open stance, then picks his hands up as he loads back smooth, using a reverse leg lift that he holds in the air, then strides forward as his hands trigger down and back. Lands balanced and ready to hit with good separation before he transfers his weight. Strong hands through the zone with lag in the barrel on a slightly uphill path, creates leverage and bat speed out front with lift and carry to the pull side. Current gap-type power (83 mph off the tee) with more to come in the future. At shortstop, Self has quickish footwork and plays through the ball with rhythm, with clean exchange to the midline. Shows the ability to play on the run and has a feel for throwing from different arm slots. During the catchers workout, Self showed nice hands and good glove action on picks at second base. Ran 7.85 60-yard dash.  

+ Kyler Heyne, RHP/2B, Reedy HS, 2020  
Heyne has an athletic, high-waisted, long-limbed, projectable frame at 6-foot-1, 175-pounds. A two-way player and right-handed hitter, Heyne has life in his hack, starting from a slightly open stance with good flex in his lower half and rhythm in his hands. Uses a smooth load as he triggers his hands back with a reverse leg lift. Short stride, lands balanced, rotates his lower half as he transfers his weight through contact. Short, flat path to contact, line drive approach with a loose finish produced an exit velocity of 82 mph. In the outfield, he plays with a bounce in his step as he comes through the ball with an athletic transfer and smooth crow hop, making accurate throws to the plate at 83 mph. On the infield, Heyne made accurate throws at 85 mph across the diamond and shows soft hands.

+ Tyler Talbert, SS/RHP, Flower Mound HS, 2020
Talbert stands 6-foot, 160-pounds with a long-limbed, lean-strong, high-waisted frame. The right-handed hitter starts from a slightly wide base with his hands in a relaxed position around his letters. Relaxed, smooth load as he pushes back, keeping his front foot low as his hands trigger back and up. Strides forward as he transfers his weight with rhythm, back foots gains the same amount of ground as his stride foot. Loose hands with an uphill path, strong top hand, line drive power with a middle of the field approach. Although his exit velocity was only 76 mph (off the tee), he showed some carry in the gaps during batting practice. Talbert has a strong arm across the diamond (86 mph) with a quick ¾ arm stroke. He has quickish footwork, soft hands out front, clean transfer, and works with good glove action to his back hand side. During the game, he made a quality play on a run through ball at third base to get the runner at first. Ran a 7.43 60-yard dash.

+ Austin Beck, 2B/SS, Allen HS, 2021
Beck has a projectable, loose-athletic, long-limbed frame at 5-foot-7, 118-pounds. The right-handed hitter starts from a tall stance as he smoothly shifts his weight back to load. Good energy in his lower half as he strides forward, landing balanced with hands back and good separation. Hands work well through the zone with a clean path flashing bat lag and a loose finish with barrel awareness. Line drive approach with more power and bat speed to come in the future. Roped balls up the middle to opposite gap during batting practice (78 mph exit velocity off the tee). During the game, he doubled down the left field line, ran a 4.75 on the turn, and stole two bags. On the infield, Beck shows quick footwork and rhythm through the baseball while playing low with soft hands out front. Clean exchange as he transfers into a loose arm swing from a ¾ slot at 74 mph across the diamond. Ran 7.19 60-yard dash.

+ Jack Walton, SS/2B, Prestonwood Christian Academy, 2020
5-foot-10, 144-pounds. The left-handed hitter starts from a wide base as he waggles the bat above his back shoulder, then triggers his hands back and down as he loads quickly, landing into a short stride. Slots the barrel early into the zone, working on an uphill plane with bat lag as he whips the barrel through the zone, creating lift and leverage at contact with a loose finish. Does a nice job of staying in his legs as he rotates his lower half to transfer his weight. Current line drive power (80 mph off the tee) with more to come in the future, with feel for the barrel. At shortstop, Walton has quickish footwork to the baseball and made accurate throws at 79 mph across the diamond. Before playing in the second game, Walton took an errant throw off his right hand, leaving seam marks. The sophomore shook it off, iced it down for about 10 minutes, then played well during the second game of the day, making a nice play on a chopper in the six hole, and roping a double backside down the left field line.

+ William Miller, 2B/SS, Flower Mound HS, 2020 
Miller has a lean-muscular frame at 5-foot-10, 160-pounds. The right-handed hitter starts from an athletic, open stance, then turns his shoulders inward as he loads back with smooth rhythm and triggers his hands back. Lands soft into a short stride, then creates leverage as he transfers his weight into a firm front side. Short path with a slightly uphill plane, hands work well through the zone, makes hard contact with little effort and a strong top hand. Current gap approach with gap power and more to come in the future, flashed some pull side pop and an exit velocity of 79 mph off the tee. During the game, he grounded out to second, then barreled up a curveball to third base and ran 4.39 down the line. At shortstop, Miller has quickish footwork as he plays through the ball with soft hands out front and a clean exchange. Gets rid of the ball quickly to his back-hand side and shows feel for playing on the run. Throws from a high slot with a short arm stroke at 78 mph across the infield. Ran a 7.3-second 60-yard dash.

+ Easton Robbins, 2B/RHP, Prosper HS, 2020
Robbins has a long-limbed, wiry frame at 6-foot-2, 170-pounds. He starts from a wide balanced stance with high hands and the barrel pointing over his head toward the pitcher. Robbins gets his foot down early with a short stride, then fires his hands back through the zone with a line drive approach and 78 mph exit velocity (off the tee). During the game, he crushed a deep fly ball to left field on the barrel. On the infield, Robbins has quickish footwork and his hands work well out front and has a clean exchange as he funnels the ball to his midline. Long strides moving to his right and left allow for good range, and he shows the ability to throw from varied slots at 79 mph.

+ Jalen Jones, 2B/OF, Katy HS, 2020
Jones has a still developing, quick-twitch frame at 5-foot-5, 110-pounds. The left-handed hitter starts from a balanced stance with his hands set in a relaxed position in line with his back shoulder. Simple load into a short stride, lands balanced. Good energy in his lower half a he rotates his hips to contact. Quickish hands, flat path, contact approach, loose finish with developing bat speed (66 mph off the tee). On the infield, Jones has quick footwork and changes direction well, showing good body control when he ranges to his left, getting into a fundamental fielding position with soft hands. Clean exchange to the midline, and has an accurate arm across the infield at 66 mph.


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