2016 UA Pre-Season Corner Infielders: Athletes, Big Bats, Versatile Defenders
The group of corner infielders (3B and 1B) at the Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament was big and physical, and offered an interesting variety of talent.
SS Today, 3B Tomorrow?
Heading the list is Fresno State commit Jamal O’Guinn (Fresno, CA) who played both SS and 3B during the weekend, but looks to profile best as an athletic 3B at higher levels. He certainly appears to have the bat to stay there as he makes lots of hard contact, is calm and confident in the box, and has present power that will only get better. He is a strong 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, and is trending faster and quicker each time we see him — from 7.32 in January 2015 down to 6.97 about eight months later at the Under Armour Futures West Showcase, and then down another tenth to 6.88 most recently in Mesa.
Another 3B who impressed in Arizona was Gavin Lovesky (Lockport, IL). He is a complete player with strong hands and an excellent approach at the plate with some pop (93 mph exit velocity). In addition, the athletic Lovesky ran 6.93 in the 60 yard dash, and has soft hands to go with good range and plenty of arm for the left side of the infield.
6-foot-3, 205 pound 2016 Hector David Coco (Bronx, NY) holds down SS today with fluid and easy defensive actions, but likely fits better at 3B tomorrow. A switch-hitter with present strength and hand-eye coordination, Coco earned top 10 honors among 2016 graduates, click here to read more about him.
Continuing the trend of athletic 3B are Jared Healey (Philadelphia, PA) and Tyler Kelly (Cottonwood, AZ). Kelly is only a 2018 grad with serious upside. He plays with great energy and shows advanced barrel accuracy for a young hitter. A 2017 graduate, Healy is a natural defender who has smooth actions and soft hands to go with an accurate arm. He has some pop at the plate with an aggressive approach.
A primary pitcher, 2016 Michael Slaten (Nacogdoches, TX) lists 3B as his secondary position. Though he showed a big infield arm and ran in the 6.6 range in Mesa, he earned top 10 honors based primarily on an upper 80s fastball and swing-and-miss breaking ball.
3B/OF Paul Komistek (Knoxville, TN) certainly fits in this group as well. A Tennessee commit, he earned top 10 honors among 2018 graduates, click here to read more about him.
Several other third basemen stood out mainly for the potential with the bat. 2017 3B/1B Paxton Wallace (Greenbrier, AR) had a solid batting practice session and generated 100 mph exit velocity, but the Wichita State recruit made even more noise in the games — with doubles to right-center and left field, and a triple to deep left-center.
At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, 2017 3B Will Frizzell (Rockwall, TX) is another big, strong prospect. A left-handed hitter and a Texas A&M commit, he followed up a strong batting practice session with a triple and a sharp single to the pull side.
The ball left the bat of Ubaldo Lopez (Miramar, FL) at 98 mph, and he offered quick hands with feel to hit as evidence of a high level hit/power combo. A versatile infielder capable of playing 3B and 2B, Lopez plays for powerhouse Archbishop McCarthy in South Florida.
Standing a tall and lean 6-foot-3 and 168 pounds, 2018 3B Andrew Brady (Landenberg, PA) has room to fill out as he matures physically. He has a pretty left-handed stroke that generates line drive contact now and has the look of a high-quality hitter in the future.
Kennesaw State commit 1B Joshua Hatcher (Albany, GA) fits in nearly all of the categories offered in this post, though his advanced hit tool stands out the most, making him an easy top 10 selection among 2017 graduates. Click here to read more about him.
As is to be expected, there were several first basemen in Arizona who could really impact the ball. The 6-foot-4, 230 pound Jonathon Arrieta (El Paso, TX) was an intimidating presence in the box and showed big right-handed power. A 2016 graduate and three-time Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament participant, Arrieta is scheduled to attend Howard College starting this fall.
Another imposing figure with right-handed raw power was 2017 1B/RHP Cole McNamee (Milton, GA). A Wake Forest commit, the ball comes off his bat differently than most. A legit two-way threat, he was up to 86 mph on the mound with a feel for a curve and change.
Continuing the theme of right-handed 1B with raw power were Wesley Faison (Richmond, TX) and Will Stump (Gurley, AL). Faison is extremely strong at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, hits the ball with authority in batting practice, and — perhaps most impressively — exhibits excellent discipline at the plate. Stump has an aggressive stroke that is geared for pull power, as evidenced by his 90 mph exit velocity.
Unique among a group largely constructed of right-handed hitters, 2017 1B Damond Nixon (Baltimore, MD) and Shea Kramer (Vacaville, CA) stand out with different offerings both offensively and defensively.
Nixon, a Mt. St. Mary’s commit, is a switch-hitter with a loose, rhythmic swing from both sides of the plate. He generates some loft power in his swing and is a versatile defender (we’ve also seen him at 3B and in the OF) with quick feet and sure hands.
Kramer is extremely athletic, capable of moving his 6-foot-3, 195 pound frame 60 yards in 6.91 seconds. He is an aggressive baserunner as well as a polished defender, though his ability to hit continues to be his best tool. We’ve seen him at 3B and on the mound previously, and he could likely fit a corner outfield profile at some point to give his bat even more value.