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No Shortage Of Middle Infield Talent From 2018 Class At Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament

As always, there were some special players in the middle infield at the Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament in Arizona. While Jordan Groshans, Raynel Delgado and Xavier Edwards all received Top 10 recognition, the talent did not stop there. There were plenty more quality shortstops – from raw high ceiling prospects, to polished “baseball players”, and any combination in between.

Matt McLain

One interesting combination of both was Vanderbilt-bound Sterling Hayes. While there is still projection in his tall, lean frame, there are plenty of tools present and the ability to use them. Sterling has smooth, natural actions in the field with sure hands, and his line drive stroke and mature approach had him on base 5 times in 7 plate appearances.

Another intriguing combination is Matt McLain. The Tustin, California native and UCLA commit, is quick twitch in all that he does. He possesses explosive actions, from his plus speed and arm strength to his short, compact right-handed swing that results in hard contact.

Damon Keith (uncommitted 2018)

Like Hayes and McLain, Max Jung-Goldberg hails from California (committed to San Diego) and has an advanced skill set and feel for the game. The left-handed hitter always seems to have a quality at bat. He did just that in Arizona going 3-for-5 with a walk, and showing a quiet confidence each time he stood in the box.

Bryce Daniel (uncommitted 2018)

One last California shortstop, Damon Keith, caught the attention of the scouts on hand. His quick, strong hands at the plate led to some hard contact that included a triple in game action. Add in his 6.81 speed and the way he plays low at SS with quiet, soft hands and Damon is an uncommitted 2018 with a bright future.

The East Coast produced four more shortstops of note, beginning with Bryce Daniel from North Carolina. He’s an excellent athlete with current strength (150/143 grip strength) and explosive actions (6.78 in the 60, 9’4” broad jump). Aside from the impressive measurables, Bryce has smooth defensive actions with good range that he displayed on a difficult play he made up the middle. In addition, he made hard contact in BP and went 2-for-5 with two walks.

Another athletic middle guy was Ali La Pread. The Norcross, Georgia native showed a loose, natural swing that used the whole field with flashes of power. He is also a solid defender with active feet and good feel around the bag.

Brett Hammit

Hailing from even further south, Austin Knight of Jacksonville, Florida showed well in all facets. He was on base 5-of-7 times, including a triple. He is also a solid glove man who has a high baseball IQ, and should make quite an impact at the University of Tennessee where he is committed.

Another shortstop that showed an advanced feel for the game, both offensively and defensively, was University of North Carolina commit Nick Biddison. Nick ran a 6.88 in the 60, anticipates very well, and is an extremely dependable defender with a line drive stroke.

Finally, the Midwest produced the biggest power bat in the group.

Nebraska commit Brett Hammit hails from Nixa, Missouri and possesses a powerful right-handed swing. He takes an aggressive hack with a good mix of leverage and bat speed to go with the loft he generates. He’s most comfortable turning on balls and should be a run producer at the next level.

The talent at this premium position was deep at this year’s Pre-Season Tournament with impressive performances both in the workout setting and games. Several of these stand-outs are still currently uncommitted, but we don’t expect that to be the case for very long.

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