High School Top 100 Scouting Reports: Corner Infielders
See also: Catchers
See also: Middle
Infielders Scouting Reports
See also: Outfielders
|2010 TOP CORNER INFIELDERS
|1. Zack Cox, Arkansas
2. Nick Castellanos, Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla.
3. Chad Lewis, 3b, Marina HS, Huntington Beach, Calif.
4. Kris Bryant, 3b, Bonanza HS, Las Vegas
5. Tony Thompson, 3b, Kansas
6. Hunter Morris, 1b, Auburn
7. Mickey Wiswall, 1b/3b, Boston College
8. Andy Wilkins, 1b, Arkansas
9. Victor Sanchez, 3b, San Diego
10. Michael Olt, 3b, Connecticut
11. Christian Yelich, 1b/of, Westlake HS, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
12. Cody Hawn, 1b, Tennessee
13. Joey Terdoslavich, 1b, Long Beach State
14. Eric Jaffe, 1b/rhp, Bishop O'Dowd HS, Oakland
15. Rob Segedin, 3b/rhp, Tulane
It's not the best year for teams hoping to get a power bat—especially from a corner infield position.
Last year, 11 players were selected at a corner infield position within the draft's first three round and two later picks were given $500,000 or more. This year, our college Top 100 lists 10 players as corner infielders and our high school list has six, but only two of those players—third basemen Zack Cox from Arkansas and Miami-area high schooler Nick Castellanos—project as top-50 picks, though it's still early and others could rise up by June and play their way into that range.
There's also the caveat that many players currently playing shortstop—especially those still in high school—will have to move to a different position at the next level. Here are scouting reports for this year's top high school corner infielders.
Nick Castellanos (Photo by Mike Janes)
Castellanos broke out on a national stage last summer during the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field. He won the game's home run derby with four home runs and then went four-for-four during the game with four doubles. He has a very tall, square and projectable build with more power to come as he continues to fill out. Castellanos has impressive swing mechanics with top-notch bat speed and explosive wrists. Castellanos started the season on a 17-for-25 tear with four home runs but he is still growing into his long levers and can be pitched inside.
"He's a pretty consistent performer—on defense and on offense," an American League area scout said. "He got hot late here with some power. He goes about his business well—when he comes to the park, it's all business."
He has good hands, but some evaluators believe if he wants to remain at third base and not move across the diamond, he'll need to improve his footwork. He has the arm for third base, but will also have to shorten up his long release.
"I think he has the defensive ability to stay at third base and I think he has the power to stay there, as well," the scout said. "He probably runs a little bit below average, but has enough to score from second on a base hit. He's not going to be a base stealer, but he has enough to be a productive runner on the bases. He's a good, smart baserunner and has the ability to go first to third on a weak-armed right fielder or score from second on a base hit, for sure."
Lewis put himself on the map this summer with a strong showing on the showcase circuit. He has a strong, athletic frame with a little room left to project. At the plate, Lewis has a flyball approach with pull power and he has the strength to drive the ball out of the yard. Though he generally keeps his hands back and stays inside the ball, he needs to work on going the other way and using better timing with his swing.
In the field, he has excellent hands and smooth actions at the hot corner. He's a well-below average runner, but has quick reactions and should be able to stay at third base, where his arm is strong enough and shows good accuracy.
Bryant entered the summer with lofty expectations. When he's on, he's a treat to watch. He's very tall and stands upright in the batters box. When things are going well for him, he has a compact backswing, a short and soft toe-tap stride and ideal balance. He started out well, looking great at PG National's home run derby last June. While most contestants pulled balls out of the yard for home runs, Bryant put on a show with towering moonshots to centerfield. But, that was with a metal bat.
Bryant looked a lot more human over the summer with wood in his hands and against high-quality pitching. Because of his height, Bryant has long levers, which can cause his swing to get long and out of whack and he didn't play well the rest of the summer. Still, the tools are evident and Bryant could easily vault back up this list.
"You can go around the country and not find a guy who can hit 'em as far as he can with a wood bat at four o' clock," an American League area scout said. "I've seen him hit 500 foot home runs with wood in batting practice multiple times. Over 500 feet, easily and it's easy power. I haven't really seen it in games too much. As far as raw power's concerned, there's not a guy that can hit 'em like him anywhere in the country. To me, he looks like a young Troy Glaus. If that's what he ends up being, I'd say that's a pretty good player."
Defensively, he projects more as a first baseman, so he'll really have to hit. The tools are certainly there for him to be an impact hitter at the next level and his father, Michael, was a ninth-round pick as an outfielder in 1980. But, Bryant still has some things to iron out before draft day and he'll have extra attention on him this spring with Bryce Harper playing less than 20 miles down the road.
Yelich is a slender first baseman from Thousand Oaks, Calif. He has a lanky frame with room to add strength and has played all around the diamond. He played shortstop last year as a junior, when he hit .489 with five home runs and 23 stolen bases. During the summer, he plays outfield, first base and third base for one of Southern California's premier travel teams, the ABD Bulldogs.
As a pro, he projects as a corner outfielder or first baseman. He has soft hands, but his throwing motion has an awkward hook to it and he has below-average arm strength. Offensively, Yelich has a pretty swing from the left side of the plate.
Mechanically, he has a compact backswing and a long, sweeping and fully-extended follow through. His hips can drift, but he keeps his hands back and whips the bat through the zone with good speed and a clean and fluid stroke. Yelich is an above-average runner, running the 60-yard dash in 6.75 seconds.
Jaffe has a burly, 6-foot-3, 220-pound build and the size and strength helps him succeed in both phases of his game—on the mound and in the batter's box.
As a hitter, Jaffe shows tremendous raw power, ranking as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. He's a streaky performer that is still learning to hit with wood. Last year, he hit .471/.630/1.078 over 73 plate appearances for his high school team.
Jaffe was voted a third-team Baseball America All-American by scouting directors, but if it doesn't work out for him as a first baseman, he has a fallback option of being a pitcher. Jaffe can light up the radar gun at 91-94 mph and shows a tight breaking ball.
Southall is a big, strong first baseman from Baton Rouge, La. Like the rest of this list, Southall's standout tool is his bat. He hits from a wide crouch, with his hands in a good hitting position, cocked right above his left shoulder.
Southall has an extremely patient approach at the plate with a keen understanding of his strike zone. He's a quality hitter—for both average and power—and when he gets a pitch he likes, he takes an aggressive cut. He comes out of his crouch when he swings and has a two-handed finish, though he does sometimes bar his front arm during his swing. Already limited to first base,
Southall is a poor runner, clocking in at 7.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
CONTRIBUTING: Dave Perkin