Milwaukee Preseason ID: Middle Infield Analysis



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Wisconsin/Illinois

Continuing our coverage of the Milwaukee Preseason ID today we take a look at the middle infield group. Regardless of class our positional analysis will rank the top high school prospects at each position from this event. Later we will break down the event according to class and see how players stacked up against their respective class.

The middle infielders were loaded with talent making it extremely difficult to cut the list off. Gavin Lux (Indian Trail, 2016), Owen Miller (Ozaukee, 2015) and Justin Lavey (Tremper, 2016) were the clear favorites at the top and difficult to separate the three. Lux’s improved arm strength and size took the top spot while continuing to shows more pop from the left side.

We only ranked current high school prospects so a couple of young guns to watch were Xavier Watson (2019) and Dawson Demant (2018) who both impressed and held their own for their age.

Top Middle Infielders

1. Gavin Lux, SS, Indian Trail, 2016
Virginia Tech commit, one of the top ranked players in the PBR coverage area. 6-foot, 160-pound shortstop, highly projectable frame, long and slender build, loose actions, athletic make up. Offensively hits from the left side, quiet setup, short stride with slight leg lift. Quick twitch athletic swing, excellent balance throughout. Advanced path to the baseball, short to it with extension, line drive hitter with the ability to work both gaps, shows sneaky pull side power. 85 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively plays extremely quick, soft hands, plays easy, advanced actions. Exchange is quick, with loose athletic arm action, will be able to turn the double play at a high level. Shows excellent body control on the move. Showed 86 mph arm strength across the diamond. Lux is a high level prospect with one of the highest ceilings in the PBR coverage area and he continues to play the game easier as he matures.

2. Owen Miller, INF, Ozaukee, 2015
Illinois State commit. 6-foot, 175-pound versatile infielder, athletic build. Excellent offensive setup, smooth loading action, short stride. Excellent barrel awareness, high contact hitter, short path, line drive middle of the field approach. Hands work well, advanced approach, well above average bat speed, 92 mph exit velocity. Defensively has natural infield actions, excellent athleticism and body control. Hands are soft and plays through the baseball. Arm action is loose, high ¾ arm slot, highly accurate arm, arm plays well from the left side of the infield, 83 mph arm strength across the diamond. Excellent feet, 4.01 runner home to first. Miller is one of the top infielders in the state.

3. Justin Lavey, SS/3B, Tremper, 2016
Louisville commit. 6-foot, 180-pound infielder, developed build, advanced strength for age. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, maintains excellent balance through contact. Bat path is short to the baseball, stays inside the ball, excellent contact point, gets extension. Advanced bat speed, gap to gap approach with some present power and more to come. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively has advanced actions, soft hands, with fluid, fundamentally sound footwork. Runs a 4.15 down the line. Arm action is athletic with plenty of strength to play the left side (83 mph), has carry and accuracy. Lavey is clearly one of the top prospects in the state as well as the region, and is currently ranked No. 1 in his class.

4. McCauley Cox, INF, Janesville Craig, 2015
Rangy athlete, long limbed, slender build, 6-foot-1, 160-pound, left handed hitting infielder. Defensively shows range, efficient footwork, quick and fluid. 4.19 runner home to first from the left side. Improved actions, plays through the baseball. Arm action is loose, high ¾ arm slot, accurate arm, carry across the diamond (79 mph). Offensively hits from the left side, slightly open stance, short stride. Contact type hitter, loose hands, simple approach, easy swing with well above average hand eye. Line drive approach with bat speed, 90 mph exit velocity. Cox is a highly projectable left handed hitting infielder.

5. Grant Frazer, RHP/SS, Oconto, 2016
6-foot, 165-pound athletic two-way prospect, athletic frame. On the mound, works from a high ¾ arm slot, quick arm action, short and loose arm action. Fastball has slight run, showed command, 81-83 mph, touched 84 mph. Slider showed confidence, 70-72 mph, sweeping action, throws with conviction. Curveball has 11/5 shape, 65-69 mph, slurve action. Changeup has action, flashed parachuting action, occasionally slows arm down, 62-64 mph. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, minimal loading action, short stride. Has loose hands at the plate, generates whip while maintaining balance. Short path, line drive, gap to gap type hitter, above average bat speed. 84 mph exit velocity. Defensively arm played at 80 mph across the diamond, short loose arm action, produces carry. Athletic feet, plays through the baseball, shuffles through release. 4.46 runner down the line. Frazer is a high follow in Wisconsin’s 2016 class.

6. Nick McLees, MIF, Marquette University, 2014
Strong build, 5-foot-9, 180-pound middle infielder. Defensively showed a strong arm across the infield, 83 mph, improved 3 mph from January. Arm action is short and loose, typical infield arm action, athletic and shows he can release on the move. Hands are soft, footwork is fluid, athletic and plays through the baseball. Offensively hits with an excellent setup, maintains proper balance. Short bat path, line drive hitter, 85 mph exit velocity. McLees also showed well above average foot speed getting down the line at 4.27. Currently McLees is one of the best available middle infielders in the state.

7. Trevor Cho, INF, Homestead, 2015
Physical left handed hitting infielder, 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, carries strength well. Excellent athlete, 4.05 runner down the line from the left side. Offensively hits from the left side, balanced setup, short stride, lower hand position, solid lower half. Athletic hands, loose swing, creates whip, well above average bat speed, level path, gets extension. Defensively uses a long arm action, 78 mph across the infield, high ¾ slot. Excellent foot speed and athleticism projects as a left handed hitting centerfielder.

8. James Wright, RHP/MIF, Milwaukee Lutheran, 2016
5-foot-10, 160-pound two-way player. Defensively showcased advanced defensive actions. Showed body control, plays through the baseball, feet are fundamentally sound, hands show softness. Arm action is athletic, plays well on the move, loose arm action, high ¾ arm slot, accurate across the diamond, 80 mph. Offensively hits out of a balanced setup, short stride, minimal loading action. 71 mph exit velocity. 4.58 home to first runner. On the mound arm action is clean, delivery is athletic. Fastball has run, occasional sinking action, showed control of the zone, 75-77 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, thrown with arm speed, 62-65 mph, occasional back up action. Changeup has sink, near fastball arm speed, 68-73 mph, showed feel.

9. Jake Hall, INF, Lake Country Lutheran, 2016
5-foot-8, 160-pound infielder, frame carries some strength, solid build. Hall has shown vast improvements since his last event in October. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, maintains good balance. Hands work well, short level path, line drive gap to gap hitter. Posted 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed improved arm strength, went from 69 mph to 80 mph across the diamond. Arm action is shorter, high ¾ slot, efficient exchange. Hall also ran a 4.08 down the line from the right side, advanced foot speed.

10. Nikola Vasic, MIF, New Berlin Eisenhower, 2015
5-foot-7, 135-pound middle infielder. 4.20 runner home to first. Defensively shows above average actions, shows softer hands, funnels the baseball, clean exchange, feet work well. Arm plays at 76 mph across the diamond, loose arm action, shows accuracy and some carry. Offensively hits from the right side, slightly open stance, short stride, maintains balance. Some bat speed, slighty uphill path, occasionally collapses lower half, 70 mph exit velocity from the tee.

11. Kabe Stucker, MIF, Waukesha, 2016
5-foot-9, 145-pound middle infielder, frame has some length. Offensively hits from a wide stance, heel lift trigger, well above average balance. Line drive type hitter, generates some bat speed, short path level finish. 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a longer arm action across the diamond, clean exchange, above average arm strength, 79 mph across the diamond. Hands show softness with well above average actions defensively, plays through the baseball well.

12. Joe Gahm, RHP/INF, Germantown, 2016
Lanky, athletic frame, 6-foot, 170-pound two-way player, higher projection on the mound. Athletic delivery, tall and fall approach, regular effort. Arm action is clean, high ¾ slot, long loose arm action, quick arm action. Fastball flashed occasional run, 80-81 mph, touched 83 mph, had finish through the zone. Breaking ball has 11/5 shape, left up in the zone, 67-68 mph. Changeup has feel, 72-74 mph, mostly straight. Defensively has a loose arm action, high ¾ arm slot, 79 mph across the diamond. Athletic defender, plays through the baseball. Offensively uses a short stride, athletic hands, 75 mph exit velocity from the tee.

13. Evan Spry, RHP/MIF, Janesville Craig, 2017
5-foot-11, 150-pound two way player, slender build. Projects well on the mound, tall and fall delivery, repeats well, minimal effort, shows the ability to command multiple pitches. Works from a ¾ slot, long loose arm action. Fastball has well above average run, some sink, showed above average command, consistently sat 76-77 mph. Curveball has 11/5 action, 61-64 mph, showed feel and control, will improve with added arm strength. Changeup has sink, showed feel for the zone, 70-71 mph. Well above average projection on the mound. Defensively showed similar arm action to that on the mound, 77 mph across the diamond, showed the ability to control his body on the move. Offensively hits from an even stance, smooth loading action, occasional bat wrap, short stride. Simple approach to hitting, rhythmic swing.

14. Patrick Sisk, MIF, Marquette, 2017
Strong build, 6-foot-1, 180-pound middle infielder. Offensively hits from a tall open setup, short double stride, maintains balance. Produced line drive contact, strong hitter, power potential, slight uphill path, gets extension. Advance bat speed for his age, 85 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively has long arm action with accuracy, 78 mph across the diamond, long release. Advanced arm strength for age. 4.90 runner home to first.

15. Christian McKelvey, RHP/SS, Germantown, 2017
5-foot-7, 135-pound switch hitting middle infielder and pitcher. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride. Hands work at the plate from both sides, showed similar qualities from both sides. Line drive type hitter, fluid rhythm . Registered 75 mph exit velocity from the right side, 73 mph from the left side. Defensively plays with a longer arm action on the infield, high ¾ slot. Footwork is quick, 4.40 runner home to first. On the mound arm works out of a high ¾ slot, long arm action. Fastball has slight run, 74-76 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, 62-63 mph. Changeup is mostly straight, near fastball arm speed, 66-69 mph.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Dawson Demant, MIF, Union Grove, 2018
5-foot-9, 145-pound middle infielder. 2018 prospect showed advanced skill set for his age. Defensively has soft hands, a quick clean exchange and plays through the baseball well, advanced overall infield actions. Arm action is loose and athletic, high ¾ slot, shows accuracy and carry, 75 mph across the diamond. Footwork on back hand needs refinement. 4.31 runner down the line. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, bat speed present. 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. Bat path is level, slightly uphill, occasionally drops hands. Advanced offensive approach for his age.

Zak Felkner, MIF, Arrowhead, 2015
5-foot-10, 150-pound middle infielder. Defensively he showed solid hands. Arm works long from a ¾ slot at 77 mph with accuracy. At the plate hits from a wide, balanced stance with a toe tap load and launch sequence. Ran a 4.65 home to first. Swing has stiff rhythm with a long, uphill bat path. Exit velocity off the tee was 67 mph.

Peter Go, RHP/SS, Heritage Christian, 2017
6-foot, 185-pound two way player. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, minimal use of lower half. Two piece swing dominated by his upper half, path stays on top of the baseball, 75 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a long arm action across the diamond, over the top slot, 68 mph arm strength across the diamond. On the mound his fastball is mostly straight four seam, 67-70 mph. Curveball has minimal action, 60-65 mph. Changeup sat 61-66 mph.

Zach Kornburger, SS, Menomonee Falls, 2016
5-foot-10, 150-pound middle infielder who hits from the left side. At the plate he hits from a wide stance, smooth loading action with a minimal stride. Uses his lower half well and maintains balance through contact. Bat path is short and flat with solid bat speed. Exit velocity off the tee was 66 mph. Defensively, showed fluid footwork and soft hands. Arm works from over the top at 73 mph with accuracy. Ran a 4.38 home to first.

Austin Nowicki, SS/RHP, Stoughton, 2016
6-foot, 155-pound lanky two-way player. At the plate he hits from a balanced stance with a slight crouch, smooth load action and short stride to contact. Swing has a long, uphill path. Exit velocity off the tee was 85 mph. Defensively, his arm works stiff, from a high ¾ angle at 69 mph across the infield. Ran a 4.44 home to first time. On the mound he throws with the same arm action as on the infield. His fastball was straight, 68-70 mph. Curveball was 58-60 mph with side spinning action. Changeup was 62-64 mph.

Angel Ramirez, MIF/OF, Greendale, 2015
5-foot-9, 160-pound multi-positional player. From the outfield his arm works long, from a high ¾ slot at 77 mph with some carry. On the infield he has the same arm action, firm hands, and throws it 74 mph across the diamond. Ran a 4.35 home to first. At the plate he hits from an open stance with a backward loading action and a toe tap stride. Swing has stiff rhythm and quick bat speed. Exit velocity off the tee was 80 mph.

Ty Ramirez, RHP/SS, Greendale, 2015
Standard frame, lean build with strength, 6-foot-2, 190-pound two-way player. Projects better on the mound. Delivery is smooth with direction, athletic finish, minimal effort. Arm works easily from a high ¾ slot. Fastball is mostly straight, four seam action, occasional life through the zone, showed control, 83-85 mph, touched 86 mph. Curveball is mostly 11/5 shape, flashed action with sharp bite, thrown near fastball arm speed, 70-72 mph. Has feel for changeup, near fastball arm speed, erratic action, flashed cut and sink action, 75-78 mph. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, short stride with balance. Pull side approach, 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a long arm action across the diamond, ¾ arm slot with some accuracy, lengthy transfer, 80 mph across the diamond. 4.28 runner home to first.

Boyd Sansone, SS, Menomonee Falls, 2016
5-foot-9, 165-pound middle infielder. At the plate he hits from a balanced stance with a leg kick trigger and short stride. Maintains solid balance through contact. Bat path is level with above average bat speed. Exit velocity off the tee was 84 mph. Defensively he showed quality hands and fields the ball athletically. Arm works long, from a ¾ slot at 73 mph with accuracy and some carry. Ran a 4.35 home to first.

Kurtis Sippy, RHP/SS, Oak Creek, 2016
Lean build with strength, 6-foot-1, 170-pound two-way player. On the mound works from a ¾ arm slot, some effort, drop and drive style delivery. Fastball sat 80-81 mph, occasional arm side action, showed the ability to find the zone. Curveball sat 64-66 mph, flatter action. Forkball thrown with arm speed, 66-69 mph, downward action. Offensively hits from a wider stance, uses short stride, lower half works. Bat path is level, some length, low finish, 76 mph exit velocity. On the infield uses a long arm action, similar to that on the mound, 77 mph across the diamond. Ran a 4.44 down the line.

Connor Stoming, SS, Germantown, 2017
6-foot-1, 170-pound infielder, long slender build. Defensively showed arm strength across the diamond for his age (74 mph), high ¾ arm slot, quick arm action. Ran a 4.58 home to first. Offensively hits from the right side, balanced stance, short stride, swings on a level path. Added strength will help.

Chris Van Handel, SS/RHP, Menasha, 2016
5-foot-9, 170-pound two-way player. At the plate hits from an open stance with a short diving stride. Showed a pull side approach with a long, uphill bat path and solid bat speed. Exit velocity was 73 mph off a tee. On the infield showed firm hands. Arm works with medium length from a ¾ slot at 69 mph with accuracy. Ran a 4.64 home to first time. On the mound his delivery showed some rhythm with some effort to it. Arm works from a high ¾ slot. Fastball was straight, flashing some cutting action, at 69-71 mph, flashing 72 mph. Throws an 11/5 curveball with solid shape at 58-60 mph. Also throws a slider at 53 mph. Changeup 63-65 mph with sinking action, for strikes.

Jayson Walczak-Zelem, MIF, Oak Creek, 2017
5-foot-4, 120-pound middle infielder. Defensively showcased quick hands, above average actions,  efficient transfer of the baseball. Arm plays at 68 mph across the diamond. Offensively this from an open stance, uses short stride, lower half works, solid balance. Bat path works uphill, 65 mph exit velocity. 4.81 runner home to first.

Xavier Watson, MIF, South Milwaukee, 2019
5-foot-3, 120-pound middle infielder, advanced for age. Offensively hits from a balanced setup, smooth loading action, short stride, advanced setup for age. Excellent balance and rhythm, line drive hitter with short level bat path. 68 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively has advanced infield actions for his age, soft hands, plays through the baseball well. Active feet, moves well through the baseball. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot, 66 mph across the diamond.

Ryan Zimmer, MIF, Richmond Burton, 2017
5-foot-3, 120-pound middle infielder. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, smooth load and short stride, excellent balance throughout. Very mechanically sound swing. Stays on top of the baseball, line drive type hitter, singles guy. Defensively plays with soft hands and above average actions on the infield. Athletic arm action, shows body control, arm plays at 72 mph across the diamond. Zimmer also ran a 4.81 down the line.

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