Prep Baseball Report

2023 Utah Top 10 Prospects (Nov Update)

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

In what has been the most talked about recruiting class since their sophomore year. The 2023 class by and large was the class that had the coming out party at the 2021 Future Games and the West Coast Games as the younger class at that event. This class started to receive big attention from the D1 recruiting world the minute the shackles were taken off, for recruiters to hit the road June 8th, 2021. At the culmination of the Future Games, the offers started to roll in for this class.

It feels like yesterday prospects in the 2023 class were taking their first steps on to high school campuses across the state, and it still feels a little odd that they are now seniors! Over the summer, we were able to hold open events and scout days for select travel ball teams that were strategically placed to try and cover every area of the state: From Hurricane HS to Mountain Ridge HS to Dixie HS as well as Pleasant Grove HS for the invite only Top Prospect Games, where every college program up and down the I-15 corridor was in attendance. The Top Prospect Games featured 82 of the state's top prospects. Our busy summer also as mentioned featured the Future Games, from July 27-31, at the Lakepoint Sports Complex in Emerson, GA and finished off with the West Coast Games in Las Vegas, NV. Needless to say, we've seen a lot of baseball over the past few months!

The list is headlined by the state's most dynamic arm! Pleasant Grove ace and 1st ™ All-Stater along with an Area Code showing, Brayden Marx is at #1. Marx, who received a can’t turn down offer, committed to the U of Hawaii, a week after the 6A state tourney was finished. Marx is the holder of a FB that sits 89-93 and touched 95 at the Area Code tryout in mid-June. Also his biggest weapon is the state's best CB 76-79 and a SL up to 83. The CB is one of the better ones and arguably the best in the four corners as it has tight hard breaking depth to land it for K’s and bury below the zone for consistent swing and misses. The CB spin has topped out at 2990 and that rate of rpm’s is in the well above to elite range at the MLB level. Both players will be tracked by scouts come next spring.

In a close call for #1 and #2 is the state's best hitter in American Fork switch hitting MIF’er Ryder Robinson, who committed to national power TCU last November. Yes Ryder has a prolific lineup behind him, out of the lead off spot, but still, only Robinson and ‘22 Gatorade POY, Luke Anderson from Snow Canyon (BYU) are the only two players in the past two seasons to score 100+ runs over that span. For good measure, Robinson is very hard to K out and after not showing HR power as a sophomore, although with big on base skills, Robinson popped 6 HRs this past spring and the power is still gonna grow even more!

At #3 is an elite runner and defender in Lone Peak speedy CF’er Crew McChesney, who committed the first of July with local regional contender BYU. McChesney is also one of the better WR’s on the gridiron as well and holds a few D1 football scholarships, but his elite speed and emerging pull power to complement a power/speed package, will have him devoting his time on the baseball field solely at the collegiate level! Crew announced himself fully to D1 recruiters, when he ran a laser timed 6.24/60 at last March’s Preseason All-State event at Desert Hills HS and got off to an electric start to the season in St. George, finishing the season hitting over .400 and had recruiters leaving their teams to come see he and Marx in Utah county throughout this past spring.

Players 3-10, all could be ranked higher or lower in the top 10, as they all bring about tool packages that make for tough placements. I decided to place 3 MIF’ers in a grouping at 4-7 followed by the state’s premier raw power threat at #7 and two physical RHP’s that are gaining steam and have touched 91 and 92 respectively this summer and are trending up at #'s 8 and 9

At #10 is one of the best defensive SS's in any class in CSI commit, Cole DeCastro from Desert Hills, who I feel many D1's over looked this kid, as he makes all the plays and keeps pitchers pitch counts down and is a high contact hitter, hitting in the high velocity region of Southern Utah. Over the past 2 years Region 10 has seen 8 arms that are a minimum of 86 mph and as high as 97, with 5 of them in the low to mid 90's and those 5 are now at the D1 level. For good measure, DeCastro hit .360+ as a sophomore and .488 as a junior. So the track record is there to step right into the Twin Falls based lineup of CSI and continue to to hit.  

This group is gonna be fun to watch next spring as we cover their senior campaigns. All these players just finished their last hurrah at the travel ball level this summer and fall and many will either be playing for the Utah Marshalls next summer or being sent out to play in designated summer collegiate leagues around the country by their future college coaches, that are designed to speed up the learning curve for these talented players, to compete for playing time at their campuses next fall!

With all that in mind, we update our 2023 Top 10 Prospects and have provided a link for the rest of the rankings beyond the 10 touched on in this piece. There are still a handful of exciting commits that could have been in the Top 10 in their own right.

Expanded 2023 TOP 50 Rankings Here!

~ Top 10 Rankings ~

Brayden Marx RHP / Pleasant Grove, UT / 2023

Commitment: U Hawaii

2022 6A 1st Tm All-State
2022 Reds Area Code Team

Marx recently committed to the U Hawaii on 5/29/22, but on this day in front of a big crowd, in a cross town marquee matchup for the 6A Region 4 title, Marx was on his “A” game as he K out 9 hitters over 6.1 IP and left in the 7th with his team up 4-1, before the bullpen gave up the lead. With 3 D1 recruiters in the ballpark and a half dozen scouts, to see American Fork ‘22 MLB draft hopeful, it was Marx who stole the show and put himself on the map with the scouts. The one college that was in attendance got what he was hoping for, as Hawaii left the park with a campus visit offered and a subsequent offer was made on the trip that was too good to pass up! Marx was in complete control over his 110 pitches, before having to leave the game due to the state pitch count max. The FB 88-92 was sneaky and played up as he was working the CB/SL combo in front and backwards counts. The CB 74-76 had ridiculous spin of 2750-2900! The SL 79-81 (2500-2618) baffled hitters and missed bats frequently. He didn’t throw one CH, though it’s a potential weapon, giving Marx a 4 pitch starters mix. I expect Marx to have a coming out party this summer with MLB scouts and solidify himself as the #1 arm in the state.


Ryder Robinson SS / American Fork, UT / 2023


    Commitment: Texas Christian U

2 Time 1st Tm All-Region 4 / 2 Time 6A 1st Tm All-State

2021 6A Utah State Champions!

2022 6A Region 4 Player of the Year


Robinson the #2 ranked player in the ‘23 class and a TCU commit, didn’t do anything to be knocked off that perch, as he sprayed hard LD’s to all fields from both sides of the plate during his BP round. With 3 MLB scouts in attendance, Robinson was immediately noticed and it won’t take long for other scouts to do the same. A PBR Future Games alum and a 2021 1st Team All-Region and 1st Team All-State honoree, Robinson has a silky smooth stroke to hit from both sides of the plate and makes it look EZ. A bloodline player, as his uncle was a four year starting 3B at BYU and his Father was an All-American MIF at CSI and played in the Cardinals chain for three years. Ryder’s older brother Crew was a 1st Team JUCO All-American at CSI a year ago and currently plays at UC-San Diego. Robinson is also the leadoff hitter for national powerhouse American Fork and led the state in runs scored with 52 a year ago. Look for Robinson to contend for state player of the year honors before he culminates his HS career. 


Crew McChesney OF / Lone Peak, UT / 2023

      Commitment: Brigham Young U


The best athlete in the class. A two sport star, as McChesney is also one of the better WRs on the gridiron, as he blows by defenders in getting deep in hauling in highlight type plays. On the baseball field, Crew tore his UCL on a freak injury with weeks to go in the ‘21 season, which caused him to miss all summer/fall. Now healthy and only 8 months post op, McChesney posted arm velo from the OF at the Preseason All-State of 90 mph. Look for even greater velo to the low to mid 90’s as he is removed further from surgery and gains his man strength in 3-4 years. But what sets McChesney apart is premium speed as he posted a blazing 6.24/60, which on the MLB scale of 20-80 is an “80”, making him the best runner in the state, as well as one of the handful of fastest 60’s in the entire country. A quick compact stroke from the plate that generates elite hand speed of 25.7 and bat speed of 80. Now that McChesney is back on the map, look for a big year at the plate and on the bases, as he possesses Power 5 school type talent and should impact any program on both sides of the ball. 


Cameron Nielson SS / Cottonwood, UT / 2023

    Commitment: 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


      Commitment: 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. 316' 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: 7.30 runner in the 60. 7.3/60, 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



                            Commitment: 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 86 from the OF and 77 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

   Commitment: Utah

2021 6A 1st Tm All-State / 6A Triple Crown Winner (Avg, HR, RBI)
2022 5A 2nd Tm All-State

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

UNCOMMITTED: Stay Tuned....

2022 Region 15 Player of the Year / 3A 1st Tm All-State

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…

Austin Laycock RHP / American Fork, UT / 2023

    Commitment: Brigham Young U


Laycock is one of 6 D1 commits on a loaded roster that went 30-1 a year ago, enroot 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 87-92 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. 


Cole DeCastro SS / Desert Hills , UT / 2023

 Commitment: 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!

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