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Utah HS Team Preview: Cottonwood


Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

Utah HS Team Preview: Cottonwood HS

 

 

Opening Day is around the corner, try outs have been scheduled starting Feb 28th, and rosters are soon to be set. The Utah High School Activities Association has announced that opening day of the 2022 season will commence on Tuesday March 7th. The PBR Utah staff begins its 2022 season coverage with our annual preseason team previews, where we will take notes from coaches, and highlight returning players, newcomers, and some sleepers. Over the next couple weeks and leading up to opening day, we will be highlighting some of the top programs in the state in our team previews. 

PBR Utah will also be publishing its state Power 25 rankings that will be updated every Monday once the season begins. Throughout the season, PBR Utah will be pumping out coverage, highlighting individual players, games, rankings, scouting reports and nominating a player of the week. PBR Utah looks forward to getting out there this spring to see some great baseball. 

We now break down the Colts with our team capsule below:

We continue our coverage with the Cottonwood Colts. The Colts are led by former Cottonwood HS, Salt Lake CC and Utah star Chris Shelton, who also played in the major leagues for the Detroit Tigers. I was an Angels scout at the time Chris starred in college and worked him out at Salt Lake, and brought him to the Angels pre-draft workout back in 2001. Chris was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and had immediate success at the professional level, after garnering Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors as a Ute! The Colts have the makings of a team that could make a deep playoff run as their young team of sophomores and juniors, are one year older and have that varsity experience from a 19-12 team in 2021. 

In the lineup and on the mound, it starts with junior SS and RHP-Cameron Nielson, who a year ago hit .472 in part-time action, before taking control of SS in the second half of the season. It was last summer that Nielson’s star came into more focus, as he had a terrific summer and took off as a college prospect. Nielson a U of Utah commit, late last summer, was also a member of Team Utah at the prestigious PBR Future Games in Atlanta, where he posted big workout data as a hitter (EV: 99.2, Hand Speed: 26.1 and tremendous bat speed of 83.2) and on the mound, featured a FB 85-89 and the CB 72-76. But Nielson’s best pitch is a CH 76-78 and knows how to kill spin on the pitch, to allow it to fade and dive below the hitting zone. Nielsen was also a few weeks later, another member of Team Utah at the PBR West Coast Games in Las Vegas and shined on both sides of the ball. With two years of HS remaining, it will be fun to see how Nielson’s tools develop!

Another potential standout player that has captured my attention is returning sophomore CF/SS/2B-Keaton Stinson, who caught my attention at the PBR Summer and Fall Prospect events. Stinson has good hitting data (EV: 99.8, Hand Speed: 25.2 and elite bat speed of: 82.1) to go along with 6.92/60 speed. Keaton was an everyday player a year ago, and was growing into his ability with some swing and miss to his game, but I firmly believe he has turned the corner and should and will continue to blossom into a name to remember and have a big year, alongside Nielson. It’s possible that Stinson will play SS, when Nielson is on the mound and hold down either 2B or CF, when Nielson is at SS?

Another couple of names to keep in mind, as they also are growing into their abilities in their own right are sophomore C/INF-Jaxon Fox and junior 1B-Avery Doezie. Fox has vastly improved and gotten better each and every time I’ve seen him play at our state events. Featuring a quick and accurate release behind the plate, Fox also shows some glove actions up the middle and could see playing time at 2B or behind the plate for the Colts. 

Doezie, the son of Troy Doezie, the former Brighton and College of Southern Idaho star, played 5 year in the Twins, Cardinals and Royal farm system. Avery showed well at the PBR Utah Preseason ID on Feb 12th, and has good size like his father and is a LHH with emerging power. 

The Colts will have a young unproven group of players that will definitely grow up quickly through the pre-season, and look to take that next step come region time. 

The Colts during the 2000’s were one of the state perennial powerhouses with at one time, four straight state championships, under legendary state HOF coach Jon Hoover. But with Shelton at the helm and a D1 caliber SS/RHP that could be dominant, the Colts could surprise a lot of teams this spring!

Cottonwood by the numbers

Head Coach: Chris Shelton (2nd Year) 

  • (Former Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariner and Texas Rangers 5 year Major Leaguer)

Classification: 5A

Region: 7

2021 Win-Loss: 19-12

State Playoff appearances in last 10 years: 9

State Championship appearances last 10 years: 2

State Championships last 10 years: 2

  • 2017 and 2019 5A State Champions!

2022 Preseason PBR Ranking: Stay Tuned…

 

Key Returners with Class/Position

2022 Parker Burk, INF

2023 Cameron Nielson, SS/RHP (Utah commit)

2024 Keaton Stinson, MIF/OF

Young players who have College potential down the road

2022 Parker Burk

2023 Cameron Nielson (Utah commit)

2024 Keaton Stinson, MIF/OF

2023 Avery Doezie, 1B

2023 Jaxon Pfeil, OF/RHP

2024 Jaxon Fox, C/MIF

2024 Hayden Hudman, LHP/CIF

Who is your X Factor to your success

  • Cameron Nielson, SS/RHP (Utah commit)

  • Jaxon Pfeil, OF/RHP

  • Keaton Stinson, MIF/OF

Player lost to graduation and College Baseball

  • Hunter Neumayer

  • Isaac Morris

Coaches Summary and Outlook

We have a great mix of kids, with some experience with some older players and a talented group of young guys that are ready to step up and leave their mark. We will be challenged through the year with our schedule and our region. We are looking forward to seeing the growth of this group and where it can take us at the end of the Year.

  • Chris Shelton (Head Coach)

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