Team Preview: Bingham HS


Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

Team Preview: Bingham HS

Players in Utah have been eager to compete for their high school programs and it feels as if we are getting close. The UHSAA has announced that the first day of official team practice/tryouts, will be Monday March 1st, with opening day of the '21 season scheduled for March 8th. Programs have been allowed to practice since the 1st part of January, with open field workouts, however there will be a two week moratorium of practices and coach involvement, between the dates of Feb 15-28. PBR Utah will start to begin its 2021 season coverage starting with our team by team previews, as we highlight some of the top programs statewide 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 will be pumping out coverage, highlighting individual players, games, rankings, scouting reports and nominating a player of the week. PBR looks forward to getting out there this spring to see some great baseball. 

Of Note: As we countdown to opening day with the team previews, we still have one big event to kick off the HS season, with the PBR Utah Preseason All-State. This event will be the kick off to the season, as it's an INVITE only event of the top players in the 2021-2024 classes. 

The Bingham “Miners”, aptly named after Bingham Canyon, also known as Kennecott copper mine, which is located near Salt Lake City, UT, and is one of the world’s largest man-made open pit copper mine excavations. Not only is this copper mine visible from anywhere in the Salt Lake valley, but its baseball program is just as much visible to the state of Utah, the region and is always in contention for a top 50 national ranking, year in and year out. 

The Miners have appeared in numerous west coast invitational tournaments over the years, and are a regular at the San Diego Lions Tournament and have played in the USA Baseball NHSI Tournament, consisting of 16 of the top HS programs in the country. The tournament is annually hosted in Cary, NC at the USA Baseball Complex, and is attended by dozens and dozens of MLB scouts, as the field of teams, is not only selected because of their winning ways, but the amount of D1/college and potential pro talent these elite programs produce. 

In addition to the Miners winning ways, they are a college producing haven for the state and routinely pump out D1 talent and also produced 2012 18th Rd draft pick, RHP-Brady Lail, who originally had signed with the U of Arizona, before opting to sign with the New York Yankees for a then sizable $250,000 bonus. Lail made his MLB debut on August 12, 2019 for the Yankees. Lail recently appeared in 7 MLB games for his current club, the Seattle Mariners in the truncated 2020 season. 

Head Coach: Joe Sato (29th Year)

Too many to count - One of the most decorated HS coaches in the country!

2014 Was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Association HALL OF FAME. 

UHSAA Classification: 6A (Region 3)

State Tournament Appearances in the past 10 years: 2010-2019 (10)

Number of Final 4 State Tournament Appearances in last 10 years: 7

Number of State Title appearances in last 10 years: 4

Number of State Titles in last 10 Years3

# of Returning Position Players: 4

# of Returning Pitchers: 1

 

Team Strengths:

Coach Sato mentioned that his club “pitched well in the fall and the hope is that continues, although the ACL injury to 2021 Shay Timmer, RHP has set our club back.” The hope is that Timmer will be back for the start of the season, and in talking to Shay, he indicated that he will be ready on day one. Defensively, Sato said “we should be strong up the middle with whoever ends up catching, and in the middle we should be solid.” 2021 Dax Swenson, SS anchors the middle and is a U Utah signee and the son of former Bingham and Utah star, Sam Swenson who also played for the Angels org. (I signed Sam in 2001 and he was immediately a unanimous selection to the postseason Pioneer League All-Star team).

Team Weaknesses:

Sato also indicated that “we do have some injuries to key people that we were counting on, and hopefully they come back healthy. If they don’t come back as we are hoping, it would cut into the quality depth we would have had.”

ExpectationsHope to be competitive at both the region and state levels 

 

Top Returning Players: 

2021 Justis Reiser, LHP 6-2 180 R/L (signed w/ BYU)

2021 Dax Swenson, SS, 5-11 180 R/R (signed w/ Utah)

2022 Maxton Peck, C/1B, 6-0 205 R/R 

2021 Jackson Wheeler, OF, 6-0 170 R/R

2021 Shay Timmer, RHP, 6-9 270 (Top Uncommitted pitcher in state - FB 86-89)

2022 Preston Jacobson, RHP/3B, 6-1 198 R/R

2022 Jonny Hatch, RHP/3B, 6-3 170 R/R  

 

Top Players lost from 2020: 

Joey Dixon, RHP (Stanford)

Owen Mortensen, C/RHP (U Utah)

Max Berni, INF (Colorado Mesa U)

Jonah Marshall, RHP (Dixie State U)

Kyle Keyes, RHP (Oregon State)

Who is your X Factor: 2021 Jake Mortensen, 2B, who if healthy and has the type of year we are expecting, provides top of the lineup chaos along with his leadership and enthusiasm, will get our team going. 

Summary of Your Team: We are capable of being very good in almost all areas of the game and could field a very competitive ball club, with a chance to be in the mix for a region title and be in contention to play on the last day of the season.