Prep Baseball Report

2023 Top 10 Prospects + More (Spring Edition)

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

Opening Day is around the corner, try outs have been scheduled starting Feb 27th, and rosters are soon to be set. The Utah High School Activities Association has announced that opening day of the 2022 season will commence on Monday March 6th. Jeff Scholzen (Utah Scouting Director) begins the 2023 season coverage with our annual preseason team previews, where we will take notes from coaches, and highlight returning players, newcomers, and some sleepers. Over the next couple weeks and leading up to opening day, we will be highlighting some of the top programs in the state in our team previews. 

PBR Utah will also be publishing its state “Power 25” rankings that will be updated every Monday once the season begins. Throughout the season, PBR Utah will be pumping out coverage, highlighting individual players, games, rankings, scouting reports and naming players/pitchers of the week, every Tuesday as well. PBR Utah looks forward to getting out there this spring to see some great baseball. 

This is the class of players, that I have seen the most and for the longest period of time, as I have had a horse in the race, and because of that horse, have seen this group of players, since they were 9-10 years old. 

This class made up the first #TeamUtah roster in July 2021 for the state's first venture into the prestigious PBR Future Games. That group will be hard pressed to be passed talent wise, as the state was untapped from a recruiting standpoint outside the state, and so all the top players were what the event was all about...that being, the top uncommitted college recruited event in the country for rising sophomores and juniors. 

I look forward to scouting and reporting on this special group this spring, as the season kicks off, two weeks from now, at all the Southern Utah (Washington County) high schools for over half the state, in the 1st three weeks of the opening weekends of the season. 

2023 Top 10 Prospects + 5 more to know (Pre-Spring Edition)

Ryder Robinson SS / American Fork, UT / 2023


 Committed: Texas Christian U

Super 60 Report

Robinson arrived in Chicago ready to prove a point, and show why he should be included among the best HS players in the country. As a rising junior at the PBR Future Games, Robinson was coming off a .440 1st Team All-State season as a sophomore, and checking in at 6-2 165, Robinson was a high contact bat over power at that point in his development, but after turning in another 1st Team All-State campaign as a junior, hitting a the top of a loaded American Fork lineup, Ryder followed up with a .436 average to go along with 6 Hr’s, and his second 50+ run scored season. Now a still lanky 6-2 190, Robinson has the frame and structure to reach 6-2 205 and is now showing big power potential, along with the high contact rates. At the Super 60, Robinson showed off a smooth and easy mirrored hitting stroke from both sides of the plate, with big sweet spot contact. With Blast Motion capturing his hand speed at 25.4 and the max bat speed at 78.4 and an EV of 99 from Trackman. Now remember this event was a pro style event using wood, and if this was a standard showcase style event in a home state, aluminum bats would be used and the EV could have been measured in the 100-102 range. Robinson also showed off educated feet and hands at SS with twitchy actions, along with range and agility. The big improvement to his game, was his increase in arm strength, as Robinson was 79-80 mph in 2021-2022, and was clocked at 85 mph at the Super 60, giving promise that the arm will continue to trend towards 90 mph at maturity, giving him a chance to remain in the dirt, on the left side of the INF at the next levels of play. To say that Robinson was a name that scouts may or may not have known, but do now, would be an understatement. 


Brayden Marx RHP / Pleasant Grove, UT / 2023


 Committed: U Hawaii

SUPER 60 Report

Marx has been a fixture at PBR invite only events before starting his sophomore year. The state’s #1 ranked player in the 2023 class, has been a staunch supporter of PBR Utah and dazzling at every event he’s attended, Marx has been a 2-time Preseason All-State attendee, along with being selected to the prestigious Future Games in Atlanta,GA at our state of the art LakePoint facility, as well as the West Coast Games in Las Vegas, NV. Marx has also attended the Top Prospect Games at his home school of Pleasant Grove. All these events were springboards to Brayden’s recruitment opportunities. In what was potentially his final act as a “PBR Kid”, Marx was exceptional under the bright lights of the Super 60, as his calm and focused demeanor were on display. Marx is also a Reds Area Code Game alum and is used to pitching in front of high profile decision makers. Marx has long been known for his CB/SL Trackman spin rates as he has reached a high of 2990 rpm’s at last summer's Top Prospect Games with his CB and took to a SL last spring and its spin has come to equal his CB. The FB that was 83-85 in March of 2021, when he was 5-11 160, has grown steadily with each passing year of HS, as he is a solidly built 6-0 185 and looks the part of a frontline next level arm. The FB now carries 90-94 with a T95, last June at the Area Code tryouts. 

Marx as mentioned was lights out with the secondary pitches, but the FB was 90-93.5 and was firm! But the CB/SL combo was filthy. To give proper perspective of where the MLB avg spin rates are for the world’s best arms are, the avg MLB spin for a FB is 2300 rpm’s and Marx FB spin was 2408. The avg spin for a CB/SL is 2350-2450. Marx CB 75-77 was 2960 as the SL 78-80 was 2854, both well above average on the MLB scale. Marx CB/SL was the 2nd and 3rd best of the event, causing PBR Sr VP of Scouting and former 1st Rd pick Shooter Hunt to tab Marx as a “King of Spin!”


Crew McChesney OF / Lone Peak, UT / 2023


 Committed: Brigham Young U

Super 60 Report

A name that MLB scouts had not heard of, or were not familiar with, except on social media, McChesney raised his profile, by turning in the 5th best 10 yard split, 3rd best 30 yard split and an event best 6.56/60. As you can see, McChesney is not a fast starter, but a very good closing speed type runner that can close the gaps in CF and run balls down with ease. As a two sport star on the football field, as a WR, once Crew got going, he could blow past defenders and get deep and was one of the best on the gridiron in yards per catch. It’s only baseball from this point forward and the BYU commit, also checked in with 90 mph throws from the OF and turned in two really solid rounds of BP. Scouts bent my ear at the Super 60, wanting to know more about the Lone PEak star, and what my thoughts of him were. It’s always fun to see someone of Crew’s ability get the recognition he deserves, while there are more “famous” players, not too many have 4-5 tool potential if all things click. This is a kid at 5-11 180, who has pull side “juice” and is fleet footed, which profiles a fly catcher in CF, with a potential power and speed package. Crew is on people’s radar now and one of my former employers at the big league level, is squarely on him!


Cameron Nielson SS / Cottonwood, UT / 2023

 Committed: Utah

2022 Utah 5A Region 7 Player of the Year


The U Utah commit, and PBR Future Games alum, has a strong hitting profile and emerging pitch arsenal on the mound. The projected ace of the staff this spring at Cottonwood, Nielsen should make a loud statement on both sides of the ball this spring. With an EV range over the past 6 months of 96-99 mph, Nielsen can get long in his swing, but possesses hand and bat speed to handle velocity. An efficient and consistent defender at SS, Nielsen posted an event best, 87 mph arm across the INF, and look for his arm to creep into the low 90’s over the next two seasons. On the mound, Cam has touched 89 mph with the FB at the PBR West Coast Games last August, which was a 5-8 mph range increase from this time a year ago. In the low to mid 80’s at the Preseason All-State, is a valid range for coming out of the snow and cold weather of northern Utah, as he works his arm into mid season form in the coming weeks as the HS season unfolds. At 170 lbs, Nielson has the frame to add another 20 lbs over the next few years, and as he reaches his man strength, look for Nielson to make his biggest mark from the pitching rubber, as his FB should creep into the low 90’s FB in the near future.


Grant Scholzen SS / Hurricane, UT / 2023


 Committed: U of the Pacific

2022 2nd Tm All-Region 10 / 4A HM All-State


Positional Profile: SS/2B

Body: 5-9, 165-pounds. Small frame with proportioned V-Shaped structure. Pound for pound strong with defined musculature relative strength.

Hits: LHH. Even prop square stance w/his toes slightly turned in and balances on the inside part of his feet, which keeps him centered. Holds his hands above his back shoulder in a flat setup. Starts his bat in a timed manner with a slight rock back and a lift of the front foot. Soft at foot strike and then lays his bat open, similar to Jeter, and then takes his hands inside the baseball w/a tight flat compact stroke. Barrel gets into the hitting zone early and stays in the zone long. Gets quality extension out front w/an overall fluid swing path thru and into his finish.

Power: 94 max exit velocity, averaged 86.2 MPH. 348' max distance.
Arm: RH. INF (75-79 mph)

Defense: Plays with fluid educated feet with "dance" and bounce to the lower 1/2. Works out front and from the ground up. Bends at the waist/knees, in getting low to the ground with his back as flat as a table top. Plays low and out front. Plays through the ball and is adept at leaving his feet to make the horizontal play, in any direction. Upper body strength, allows him to pop to his feet in completing plays.

Run: 7.16 runner in the 60. 7.1/60, yet looks and plays quicker in game action. Tight turns with proper angles and strikes the bag with his right foot, which tightens his turns and puts him on a quicker path to the next bag.

Vizual Edge: 80.83 Edge Score



Petey Soto Jr. SS / Crimson Cliffs , UT / 2023


 Committed: Utah Tech U

2 Time All-Region 10/2021 4A HM, 2022 1st Tm All-State 

2022 4A Utah State Champions!


The Utah Tech commit is one of, if not the smoothest defender in the state, regardless of class. I have seen this young man play since he was 10 years old. Gifted with "Dancy", educated feet with plus movement patterns to allow for his glove to be in the right place at the right time. Also can play CF, and shows off an avg arm at 92 from the OF and 86 from the INF. Soto doesn’t sell out for metrics, but just plays catch and throws K’s in all directions. Throws from multiple arm slots and does it EZ. From the plate, Soto has a quick twitch well synced up hitting stroke with good use of his lower ½ and looks the part of a young Francisco Lindor. A fringe to avg runner at 7.06 in the 60, yet his lateral quickness and instincts at SS, belies a player that moves within a circle of range, rather than a straight line runner. With an additional 15-20 lbs at maturity, this kid has a very high ceiling. 


Cole Kershaw 1B / Jordan, UT / 2023


 Committed: Utah

2021-2022 Time 1st All-State (6A / 5A)

2021 6A Triple Crown Leader

Last but not least, the loudest bat in the ‘23 class belongs to Kershaw. Alum of the Power Showcase HR Derby, the U Utah commit has ++ raw power and displays it almost immediately walking into the box in a BP setting. But he does it in games as well. The 2021 6A triple crown statistical leader as a sophomore, Kershaw has lift in a very powerful stroke to hit with a max EV of 102.6. He also shows big hand and bat speed metrics at 28.2 and 82, which are elite data points. Nicknamed the “Baby Bull” by yours truly, it’s caught on across the state, and he also reminds me of former big league hitter, Rusty Staub. For a big kid he can really whistle the bat and drive high and deep shots to the pull side. Look for Kershaw to contend for player of the year honors before his HS career cones to a close in 2023. 


Malik Harris RHP / Juan Diego Catholic , UT / 2023


 Committed: Memphis U

2022 Region 15 Player of the Year

2022 3A Utah State Champions!

The physically imposing corner bat, and future power arm, had a really good showing as he stung balls in the BP portion of the workout, with a powerful, quick and slightly uphill path to elevate and lift the ball. Has present avg raw power and is in line, with his man strength to come, to develop into plus raw. Showing a max EV of 100, with a 75% rate of sweet spot contact. During game action, Harris got a FB middle-middle and crushed it, high and deep to LCF and out of the park. On the mound, Harris has been working on  staying back and separating out of the glove earlier and over the rubber. This helped him stay back as he kept his front side closed and drove the slope and plane of the mound. Lands sound and the arm is a HTQ whippy arc, with a loose wrist to finish pitches. The FB was 86-89 with late finish and hop. The CB 73-74 had an avg MLB spin of 2451, and as his velo climbs, so will the spin. The SL 77 takes on quick lateral action, though can blend at times with the CB and create a hybrid look. A definite two type talent at the next level with a commitment coming in the next two weeks. Stay tuned…


Steele Murdock RHP / Herriman , UT / 2023



Murdock has burst on the scene with some impressive showings of late. Since his junior '22 season, where he was ineffective on the mound, he has completely turned the corner and is a different kid. This summer, Murdock attended the PBR Top Prospect Games where his FB showed 84-86 T87 and sat 85-86. The SL was 75-78 and took on some hybrid SLV type action w/depth. Since that day on July 12th, Murdock has been 87-91 T92 sitting 87-90 and the CB is 74-75, but the best secondary pitch has been a very effective biting SL 78-79. Murdock recently went up against a local JUCO and pitched very well, missing bats and racking up K's. The delivery is flexible and loose w/added tweaks and overall physical maturity, he could reach the mid 90's in 12-18 months. He shows proper glove side direction and is using his front side much better, which pulls his backside through more effectively. The arm path is HTQ to OH with his shoulders tilted to clear the path for the arm. The arm accelerates through the slot and shows a loose wrist out front to finish pitches. Is getting close to committing, as he has a few schools showing real interest and we should here some good news real soon. 

Side note as a hitter, Murdock put up a 99.3 EV in BP, during the Top Prospect Games and was the highest clocked OF arm at 92 mph!. 

Cole DeCastro SS / Desert Hills , UT / 2023


 Committed: College of Southern Idaho

 2021 2nd Tm All-Region/4A HM All-State

2022 1st Tm All-Region / 4A 1st Tm All-State


DeCastro is as sound defensively as they come at SS in the entire state. A true SS, that doesn’t show flash, but picks everything left to right and comes in on the run well. Reminds me of Pirates SS, Kevin Newman. Steady Eddie with the glove. You hit it to him and you’re out. With the bat, DeCastro works counts and sprays LD’s in all directions with a high contact approach. A 6.9-7.0/60 is plenary for the next level, but what he lacks in pure speed, he makes up for with a high baseball IQ and + instincts for the position. A 2nd Team All-Region and HM All-State player as a sophomore, look for even further steps as he climbs to his ceiling. 



The Future Games alum, is one of the best defensive SS in the state and shows educated feet and a plus feel to receive the ball out front and make plays from all angles. Is as steady as they come and was an All-Region performer last spring. The bat, which is a contact type bat, is now driving the ball with something behind it and it’s evident with his hand speed and bat speeds of 25.8 and 73.6! The EV was 91.2 and the swing has more finish and length out front, which attests to his added strength over the last 3-4 months of hard work! Look for a good spring from DeCastro!


Prospects 11-15

Tyler Ball RHP / Skyridge, UT / 2023


 Committed: Brigham Young U

2022 6A 2nd Team All-State

2022 Reds Area Code Team

2021 UC Reds Area Code Team


The top pitcher in the ‘23 class, Tyler committed to Stanford after his freshman year and was highly recruited by other schools as well. An Underclass Area Code alum, Ball has been on my radar since he was 14 years old, as I’ve seen him play with my son at a younger age. Ball has intriguing potential and is built like a MLB pitcher, with a lean, yet strong muscular build. Possessing a clean, yet shorter HTQ arm stroke, Ball shows good use of his lower ½, and has genetic arm strength, which he possessed at a young age. Now with two seasons of HS baseball remaining, not only is he a D1 commit, but shows the type of arm and arsenal of pitches to be a pro prospect out of HS. With a Stanford offer in hand, the Cardinal very rarely loses a HS commit to the draft, thus it will have to be a very high draft selection, for Ball to forgo a Stanford education, in addition to being a top Cardinal pitching recruit. Ball features a FB in the 88-90 mph, that reached the low 90’s in the fall. Ball also has a tight late breaking CB in the 74-78 range and has late tilt and biting depth. The CH 79-80 has late tumble and 13.8 inches of depth and turn over type life. Look for Tyler to have a big junior year, as he features the type of arm to put him in the conversation of region and state pitcher of the year, whether it's this spring or next. One thing is for sure Tyler will be a name to keep an eye on for Utah baseball fans, as he has big time potential. 

Update: Last October, Ball de-committed from Stanford, after making the decision to serve 2 year church mission after finishing HS, and subsequently thereafter in November signed with Brigham Young U. Ball will return from his mission and enter BYU in the fall of 2025, playing his freshman year in the spring of 2026. 

Ryker Schow OF / Pleasant Grove, UT / 2023


 Committed: Brigham Young U

2022 6A 2nd Team All-State


BYU commit and All-Tournament team selection at last summer's PBR Future Games, Schow put himself on the map and shortly thereafter, committed to BYU, after receiving his offer prior to the Future Games. A strong game player, that’s metrics also translate to game play. A 6.97/60, which recorded a high of 6.84 at the Future games, but also plays well in game, as he takes aggressive tight turns around 1B, and looks for extra bases out of the box. An EV max of 95.6 should jump to 100 as he gains the 20 lbs his frame suggests handling. A product of the powerhouse Pleasant Grove program, Schow has a high baseball IQ and shows it in his actions and instincts on the field. Not a toolsy player, but what he is, is what recruiters like, and that's a baseball player that performs and stirs the drink for team success.  


An All-Future Team recognition in LakePoint was well deserved, as he was the catalyst for Team Utah with an high contact 1 and 2 hitter in front of him, Schow would see runners on and double down on the focus and no moment got too big for him. After a 4-4 performance with 3 RBI in Game one, Schow notched 5 hits with 2 2B’s and made all the plays in RF, but it was a play with runners in scoring position playing CF, that he ranges into RCF and left his feet on a slide and made a very nice catch that prevented runs from scoring. Ryker drew interest from a couple of PAC 12 schools and a Big West school at the Future Games, along with a couple of in state offers in tow, Schow will have plenty of options to sort through, heading into his junior season  


Austin Laycock RHP / American Fork, UT / 2023


 Committed: Brigham Young U

The BYU commit, is one of 3 aces on the national powerhouse Cavemen program. Laycock is one of 6 D1 commits on a loaded roster that went 30-1 a year ago, enroute to the 6A state title. Laycock, a secondary arm a year ago, will be out in front this year, along with Kaden Carpenter and Dax Newman to form a trio that will be tough for opponents to handle. Austin has a strong, sturdy athletic build and has grown an inch and put on 15 lbs since we last saw him this last July. Austin features a high flexible kick to a tucked delivery and maintains balance and creates deception from a short, ball to ear type arm slot, that makes it tough for hitters to pick up his pitches. He shows a FB/Lateral SLV and CH, with the FB 87-89 and ripping his fingers through the ball, he creates 2419 spin and the pitch has natural cutting action and darts off the barrel of hitters. The SL 71-73 has CB velo and SL action, which from his lower arm slot, looks like a frisbee and can be a tough pitch for both RHH/LHH’s to handle. The CH 78 has kill spin and is evident of the spin rate of 1418, which is one of the lower spins in the state. It fades really well, but needs to maintain his arm speed and create added turnover sync. A K thrower, repeating his delivery with his natural deception, should create a ton of mis-matches in Laycock’s corner this coming spring. 


Maddax Peck RHP / Bingham, UT / 2023


 Committed: Brigham Young U

2022 6A 2nd Team All-State


An athletic two way stud, that could develop either way in CF or on the mound, as he shows a fluid on line bat with hand speed and bat speeds of 20 and 67, though shows big EV’s of 93 and ran a 6.93/60 at the All-State Games. It was a catch in CF during the game that drew raves, as he leaped and crashed into the wall in dead center for a spectacular play. On the mound and with some time off, he reached 86, but has been up to 88 during the summer. The delivery is clean and the HTQ arm stroke is pure. As scouts say, “smooth and easy, gets better faster”. Look for big things to come for the newest entry into the upcoming Top 10 rankings!

Update: Throughout the 2022 season, Peck established himself as the ace of the Miners pitchers, on his way to an All-State campaign and subsequently signing with BYU. Peck's FB reached 89-90 and sat comfortably at 85-88 with a 3/4 tilt late breaking CB that buries late and hitters swing over with the ability to miss bats. An above avg athlete and 2 sport athlete, Maddax still has room for growth, size and strength wise to increase the FB velocity 3-4 mph on a slighter and leaner athletic frame. 

Billy Bird 1B / Timpanogos, UT / 2023


 Committed: Utah

2022 5A 2nd Team All-State

2021 5A 1st Team All-State


A Future Games participant with good size and present and projectable strength. A two way type that is being recruited as such. It starts with big pull side juice from the 1B position and he has some natural lift and ext to drive the ball to all parts of the field. He will have all fields power when all is said and done. Right now it plays straight away to the pull side and he has a very good sophomore season with the bat. The arm is the intriguing part as he has a little Mark Mulder feel to him. The delivery is a raise the leg and tuck the front shoulder with a late shoulder turn out front. The arm swing is low TQ and with some length and whip. He gets to a full finish out front and does have some spin out at times, but is correctable. The FB was 83-86 at LakePoint, but have seen 88 in the spring. The FB has some late natural sink and the CB sweeps. The CH is the weapon as he can kill spin and shows FB arm speed to create deception. The CH dives and has some turnover effect in the bottom part of the zone. One of the better two way guys out there. 





Scholzen was brought on as the Utah Scouting Director for Prep Baseball Report after serving 9 years as the Four Corners Scouting Supervisor with the Milwaukee Brewers (2011-2020). Prior to his run with the Brewers, Scholzen worked for the Los Angeles Angels for 11 years (1999-2010), serving in a similar capacity as the Four Corners Scouting Supervisor. In all, Scholzen served as a full-time scout for 20 years. Scholzen also received a 2002 World Series ring for his contributions as a scout. 

With the Angels, Scholzen created an Angels Scout Team, in which he coached the likes of current and former major league players: Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird, Tyler Wagner, Aaron Blair, Joey Rickard, Donn Roach, Johnny Field, Taylor Cole and Paul Sewald to name a few. During his run with the the Angels, Scholzen served as the hitting coach for the Angels rookie ball affiliate with the Pioneer League Orem Owlz, helping guide the Owlz to the 2005 and 2007 Pioneer League titles.

Prior to becoming a professional scout, Scholzen served as the head coach at Southern Utah University between 1993-1997. At the time, Scholzen was the youngest Division I head coach when he was first hired at 24 years old. The Southern Utah baseball program was dropped after the 2012 season. While coaching at Southern Utah, Scholzen served as the hitting coach for the Alaska Goldpanners in 1995, as they won the Alaska League Championship. 

A native of Utah, Scholzen played at Hurricane HS and was twice named 1st team All-State and an AAU HM All-American, before moving on to Utah Valley CC and Eastern Oregon University, earning All-Conference honors on three separate occasions. Scholzen played in the Angels’ organization from 1991-1992.