Milwaukee Preseason I.D.: Middle Infield Analysis



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Wisconsin/Illinois

There was no shock that Virginia Tech commit Gavin Lux (Indian Trail, 2016) would see his name at the top of the middle infielder analysis, but after Lux there was a plethora of middle infielders that showed good athleticism and actions to stick in the middle. Others showed big bats that will play well but might have to move off of a middle infield spot. Either way here are our top high school prospects that took it at middle infield.

Scouting reports by Steve Nielsen and Matt Huck

Top Middle Infielders

1. Gavin Lux, SS, Indian Trail, 2016
Virginia Tech commit. 6-foot-2, 170-pound left-handed hitting middle infielder, extremely projectable frame, long and lean, shows deceptive current strength. One of the top middle infield prospects in the country. Defensively has quick actions, quick footwork and hands, helps him to get rid of the baseball quickly, hands are soft. 6.98 runner, laser timed. Premium middle infield defender. Arm plays well on the move, arm can play from multiple angles, plus arm strength across the diamond (89 mph) with carry, short over the top slot, quick release. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, tall setup, smooth load, short stride, lower half works well, excellent balance through contact. Easy athletic setup, excellent pitch recognition, see it well. Bat speed is explosive, loose hands, short path, sneaky pop to his pull side, gap to gap type hitter, disciplined. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Lux’s stock has risen dramatically in recent months and should see himself amongst some of the top draft considerations in 2016.

2. Mitchell Buban, SS, Tremper, 2017
Lean athletic build, frame has some length, good projection, 6-foot-1, 165-pound middle infielder. Athletic defender, showed soft hands, natural actions, clean exchange, works efficiently and consistent, good body control. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot, accurate arm, 84 mph arm across the diamond, athletic arm when on the move. Very reliable defender, could comp to Owen Miller defensively. Offensively hits from a tall slightly open stance, short stride, smooth loading action, good balance through contact, athletic setup. Good bat path, attacks the ball, flat through it and gets extension. Barrel aware, line drive gap to gap guy, good bat speed, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.43 runner in the 60. High follow middle infielder in the 2017 class.

3. Alex Rodriguez, MIF, Cudahy, 2017
5-foot-6, 140-pound middle infielder, strong compact build, good athlete. 6.98 runner in the 60, laser timed, smooth athletic runner. Offensively hits from the right side, open stance, short stride, lower half works, excellent balance, hitters setup. Advanced hit tool, repeats swing well, produced hard contact, flashed occasional gap to gap pop, barrel aware. Bat speed is quick, loose athletic hands, advanced for age, pull side approach, showed the ability to pull the ball with authority, 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively played with a short loose, arm action, arm plays well on the infield, over the top slot, showed carry, accurate arm at 82 mph across the infield. Natural defender, hands are soft, athletic feet, plays through the baseball well, fields out in front. Rodriguez looks to be one of the top middle infielders in the 2017 class.

4. Dawson Demant, MIF, Union Grove, 2018
5-foot-10, 155-pound middle infielder, medium frame, athletic build, good strength for age. Defensively looked very athletic on the infield, solid actions, played through the baseball, clean exchange, feet work softly and fluidly, soft hands. Has a bounce to his step on the infield, good body control, can play well on the move. Arm action is short and loose, high ¾ slot, accurate across the diamond showed occasional carry at 78 mph, arm worked athletically when on the move. Right-handed hitter, tall open stance, stride has some length to get back to even, solid balance. Path is short to the baseball, occasionally lunges and feels for it, timing can improve. Has bat speed and loose hands, 86 mph exit velocity from the tee, potential gap hitter as well. High follow 2018 prospect.

5. Joe Gahm, RHP/MIF, Germantown, 2016
Athletically built, long lean, projects well, 6-foot-1, 180-pound two-way player. Good upside on the mound, athletic delivery, some effort, stay on line. Arm action is quick, highly athletic, loose arm, arm speed projects for added velocity, high ¾ slot. Fastball has good late finish in the zone, slight arm side run, showed control, 86-88 mph. Curveball has the makings of a plus out pitch, 11/5 action, sharp hard break, 73-76 mph, good depth, showed control, aggressive arm action. Changeup has slight arm side action, thrown with fastball arm speed, 77-80 mph. Offensively, hits from a slightly open stance, smooth loading action, short stride, good balance. Loose athletic hands, showed bat speed, 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed athletic actions, fluid footwork, hands are soft and athletic. Arm played at 82 mph across the diamond, carried, high ¾ slot and accurate. Gahm projects well on the mound and his advanced arm speed is starting to translate on the mound, high ceiling.

6. Zach Clayton, SS/RHP, Oconomowoc, 2017
Strong build, very athletic, large frame, 6-foot-3, 205-pound two-way player, good raw athlete. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, leg kick trigger, strong lower half generates pop, good balance. Makes hard contact, big bat speed, level path gets extension. Pull side power type approach, also showed the ability to go the other way. Athletic hitter, 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a short arm action, high ¾ slot, some carry, showed advanced arm strength for his age, 84 mph across the diamond. Showed athleticism in the field, could outgrow a middle infield spot, big strong physical athlete could project more at a corner infield/outfield positon. Comps similarly to Illinois commit Doran Turchin. On the mound works from a high ¾ slot, with regular effort, arm strength present. Fastball has arm side run, pitched at 84-85 mph, touched 86 mph. Curveball has sweeping action, 11/5 tilt, 71-73 mph. Changeup had sink, occasionally decelerated arm action, 71-74 mph. High follow 2017 prospect.

7. Jake Hall, MIF, Lake Country Lutheran, 2016
5-foot-9, 160-pound middle infielder, small frame with strength. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, slight reverse leg lift stride, good rhythm. Compact swing, short to the baseball, made hard contact, good bat speed, showed occasional extension. Sneaky strong hitter for size, occasional pop. Line drive spray approach, gap to gap guy, 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. Showed softer hands on the infield, footwork is short, quick, choppy, showed body control. 7.28 runner in the 60. Arm played at 79 mph across the diamond, short over the top slot.

8. Nicholas Urban-Michalak, MIF, Racine Park, 2017
Projectable frame, lean strength, athletic build, 6-foot, 165-pound middle infielder, showed advanced raw tools. Excellent runner, 6.86 laser timed 60. Plus arm strength for his age, 87 mph across the infield, short high ¾ arm action, carried well. Raw infield actions, light feet. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride. Path is level, bat speed present, 81 mph exit velocity from the tee, gets barrel through the zone well, raw approach. High follow athlete, showed raw tools that should project well once he refines his game more.

9. Griffin Klein, MIF, Indian Trail, 2017
5-foot-8, 135-pound middle infielder, thin build, some projection. Offensively hits from the right side, tall setup, slight arm bar load, leg lift stride. Contact type hitter, spray singles hitter, stays on top of the baseball, short path. Bat speed present, 74 mph exit velocity from the tee, lacks current strength. Ran a 7.8 in the 60. Defensively showed advanced actions on the middle of the infield, hands are soft, fluid footwork, clean transfer, plays through the baseball. Has a presence on the field, bounce to his step, carries himself well. Arm played at 73 mph across the diamond, loose high ¾ arm slot, showed accuracy and athletic arm action when on the move, good body control.

10. Tanner Strommen, MIF, Burlington, 2016
6-foot, 175-pound, right-handed hitting middle infielder. In the field has a short arm action from an over the top arm slot, and average arm strength. Soft hands, good body control, athletic actions, threw 79 mph across the infield. At the plate has a balanced setup, short stride, and excellent balance. Line drive hitter, good approach, average bat speed, level swing path, with fluid rhythm. 80 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.27.

10. Chase Patterson, MIF, Libertyville (IL), 2017
Thin build, 5-foot-10, 150-pound middle infielder. Defensively arm played at 84 mph across the diamond, quick arm, some windup action, lacked accuracy. Solid infield actions, hands played. Ran the 60 at 7.26. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, small loading action. Compact swing, line drive approach, flat level path, can add stronger top hand. 79 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Peter Ahn, SS, Marquette University, 2017
6-foot, 150-pound, left-handed hitting, shortstop. Lanky, athletic build. In the field has a long arm action from a high ¾ arm slot. Average hands, with fluid footwork, deep knee bend when fielding. Threw 75 mph across the infield. At the plate balanced setup with a tall open stance. Simple load with a short stride with good balance. Spray hitter, level swing path, 74 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.21

Lukas Campbell, OF/MIF, Horlick, 2017
5-foot-2, 120-pound multi-positional player, small frame with solid build. Offensively hits from an open stance, short stride, maintains good balance. Compact swing, inside out path, spray line drive hitter, gap to gap guy. 75 mph exit velocity from the tee. In the outfield showed solid actions, played with a crowhop through the baseball, natural actions. On the infield arm action played long, looks to project more in the outfield. Arm action is over the top and online, accurate arm that played through his target. 82 mph arm from the outfield, 75 mph across the infield. 7.52 runner in the 60.

Sam Carlson, MIF, Janesville Craig, 2016
6-foot, 155-pound, right-handed hitting, middle infielder. Defensively has a long arm action from a high ¾ arm slot. Threw 69 mph across the infield with a slower exchange. At the plate hits from a tall, open stance, with a drop load, and average balance. Line drive hitter, uphill path, with some drag. 81 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.45.

Noah Chopp, MIF, Grafton, 2017
5-foot-7, 155-pound, right handed hitting, middle infielder. Chopp Defensively showed a short arm action, from an over the top slot, threw 67 mph across the infield. In the field showed soft hands and ok actions. At the plate showed a balanced setup, short stride, and average balance. Offensively showed a level swing, with drag, and some present strength. Ran the 60 at 8.94.

Ben Ellifson, SS, Oak Creek, 2018
5-foot-8, 140-pound, right-handed hitting shortstop Took drills in the infield and showed a short arm action, from an over the top arm slot, with some accuracy. Showed some slowness in the feet with average hands. Threw 70 mph across the infield. At the plate hit from an open stance, with a short stride, and average balance. Showed average bat speed with some stiffness, 75 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.54. Will improve with maturity.

Dylan Fluegel, MIF/RHP, Oak Creek, 2017
5-foot-8, 165-pound two-way player. Offensively hits from the right side, wide setup, no stride approach, minimal lower half. Path is level, has length, 83 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively played with a long arm action across the diamond, over the top slot, 74 mph. Fields it deep, 7.53 runner in the 60. On the mound works from a high ¾ slot, regular effort, lands closed, finishes slightly to first base side. Fastball is mostly straight, four seam, 76-77 mph. Curveball has 12/6 shape, 63-65 mph. Changeup is firm at 70-72 mph. Also showed a knuckleball at 62-63 mph.

Ryan Hoerter, RHP/MIF, Indian Trail, 2017
Thin build, lanky frame, 6-foot-3, 165-pound two-way player, projectable raw athleticism. Tall and fall delivery, regular effort, stays online, solid mound presence. Arm action is quick and loose, high ¾ slot. Fastball has slight run, controlled the zone, 80-81 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, good control, 67-70 mph. Changeup sinks, good arm speed, controlled it well, solid feel, 72-73 mph. Showed good feel for three pitches, pitchability present, quick arm and more velocity will come. Defensively showed natural athleticism, moves fluidly, softer hands. Arm played at 80 mph across the diamond. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, toe tap leg lift stride. Loose hands, athletic, line drive type approach. 76 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.54 runner in the 60.

Tyler Jeske, MIF, Cedarburg, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound, right-handed hitting, middle infielder. In the field, showed a long arm action, from a high ¾ arm slot, with some accuracy. Slower footwork and exchange. Threw 73 mph across the infield. At the plate balanced setup, with a short stride and average balance through contact. Pull hitter with average bat speed and a long, uphill swing path. Ran the 60 at 7.34

Jarrod Kaczanowski, MIF, Oak Creek, 2017
5-foot-9, 145-pound middle infielder, switch hitter. Right-handed hits from a slightly closed stance, short stride, spray approach. Left-handed hits from a more open stance, short stride. 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively played with a short over the top arm action, 70 mph arm strength across the diamond. Ran the 60 at 7.61.

Michael Panos, MIF, Brookfield Central, 2017
5-foot-6, 140-pound, right handed hitting, middle infielder. Panos profiles at 2B, with a short arm action from an over the top arm slot, while throwing 71 mph across the infield. Fields the ball deep with some stiffness in the hands.  At the plate sets up with a wide base, uses a heel lift stride, shows a linear lower half, with average balance. Show a long level swing with some drag. 75 mph exit velocity from the tee.  Ran the 60 at 8.12. Will improve with maturity.

Rudy Rodriguez, SS/RHP, Greenfield, 2017
5-foot-11, 195-pound, right-handed hitting SS/RHP. In the field has a long arm action from an over the top arm slot. Slow footwork with a slow exchange. Threw 72 mph across the infield. At the plate hits from an open stance, steps in the bucket. Pull hitter with stiff rhythm. 78 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 8.32. On the mound works from a high ¾ arm angle, stiff arm action with regular effort. Rushes delivery and falls off towards first base. Fastball sat 70-72 topping out at 73 mph. Slider with 11/5 shape that sat 61-64 mph. Changeup sat 69-72 mph.

Hunter Rolain, SS, Appleton North, 2016
5-foot-6, 145-pound, right handed hitting, shortstop. Defensively showed a long arm action, from a high ¾ arm angle, flashed some accuracy, and average arm strength. Threw 72 mph across the infield with a long exchange. At the plate showed a balanced setup, arm bat load, with a short stride, and average balance. Showed some bat speed, with a long level swing, while looking to pull the ball. 79 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran the 60 at 7.06.

Aaron Trattner, MIF, Nicolet, 2016
5-foot-10, 160-pound, right-handed hitting, middle-infielder. Strong lower half with wide shoulders. In the field showed a short arm action from a high ¾ arm slot, with carry. Average hands, good body control, threw 79 mph across the infield. At the plate hits from a balanced, open stance, with a short stride, and average balance. Gap hitter, with average bat speed, and a fair approach. 77 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.60. 

Zach Virgin, SS, Beloit Turner, 2015
5-foot-10, 165-pound, right-handed hitting shortstop. In the field has a short arm action from an over the top arm slot. Some accuracy with carry on throws. Soft hands with a quick, clean exchange. Threw 75 mph across the infield. At the plate hits from a balanced upright setup. Knee bend on load, short stride, with good balance. Opposite field hitter with average bat speed, and an uphill swing path. 77 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.74.

Jayson Walczak-Zelem, MIF, Oak Creek, 2017
5-foot-6, 140-pound, right handed hitting, middle infielder. Walczak-Zelem profiles at 2B with a short arm action, from an over the top slot, with some accuracy and average arm strength. threw 71 mph across the infield. Offensively showed a balanced setup, smooth load, short stride, with average balance. Opposite field hitter with average bat speed, 73 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran the 60 at 7.78. Will improve with maturity.

Xavier Watson, MIF, South Milwaukee, 2019
5-foot-8, 145-pound middle infielder, young body, still maturing. Younger brother of 2016 Illinois commit Cyrillo Watson. Highly projectable and advanced for his age. Defensively showed soft hands, quick fluid footwork, plays through the baseball. Footwork sets up to field well, ran the 60 at 7.64. Arm action is short, over the top slot, arm played at 73 mph across the diamond. Apparent to see he trains with much older prospects, actions mimick that of Gavin Lux. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, smooth loading action and short stride, confident in the box. Repeatable swing and stays on top of the baseball. Bat speed is present for age, 77 mph exit velocity from the tee. High follow 2019 prospect.

Jake Weisgerber, MIF, Xavier, 2016
5-foot-11, 180-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder, medium build. Offensively hits from a taller setup, toe tap stride, slightly open stance. Repeated swing well, showed barrel awareness, consistent contact with the barrel, took a good round. Pull side tendencies, good bat speed, 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran the 60 at 7.76. Defensively arm played long from an over the top slot, 69 mph across the infield.

Michael Wojcik, MIF/RHP, Richmond Burton, 2017
5-foot-10, 170-pound, right-handed hitting, MIF/RHP. In the field has a long arm action, from an over the top arm slot, with some accuracy and average arm strength. Fielded the ball deep, threw 78 mph across the infield. Offensively sets up from a balanced stance with a short stride. Showed above average bat speed, with a short, level swing, fluid rhythm, with present strength in the lower half. 88 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.40. On the mound worked from a high ¾ arm angle with a tall and fall delivery. Fastball sat 75-77 mph. Threw a curveball for strikes with 11-5 shape that sat 65-68 mph. Straight changeup that sat 70-74 mph.

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