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Utah Preseason ID: Quick Hits


Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

The Utah Preseason ID was held February 12th at the Utah Sports Academy in Riverton, UT. Close to 50 players showed up to be identified with our staff and make their case for future exclusive PBR Utah invite only events, such as the Preseason All-State, the Top Prospect Games, the Future Games, the West Coast Games and the Fall All-State Games. 
There were a handful of players who attended previous events, to update their data and work the Preseason ID into their training schedules as they prepare for the upcoming spring HS season. But for many it was their first PBR event, to get themselves familiar with the staples of a PBR showcase. 

The many staples of a PBR event is Trackman and Blast Motion, that captures key ball flight data after contact/impact and swing phase metrics, to help players gain a baseline for how their “tools” measure from a data standpoint. Understanding these key metrics, then give these players the ingredients they need to continue to refine and improve their metrics, and eventually put them to better use on the field, where it ultimately matters most. 

We take a closer look at some of the players who stood out from this inaugural event. 

2022

Kade Gambill, OF, 5-11 185, L-R (Lone Peak HS)

Gambill is the younger brother of All-WCC OF, Cole Gambill from BYU and it's another in the pipeline with this baseball playing family. Kade impressed with the bat at the Preseason ID and showed a controlled, yet efficient hitting stroke from a solid and strong base to hit from. A 2nd Team All-State performer as a junior in 2021, Gambill hit .398 with 5 2B's, 4 3B's and a HR, to go along with a BB/SO ratio of 31/15. The walk total is impressive and sows the kind of plate discipline that should carry him to the college level. I look for big things from this young man as he builds off a strong '21 campaign and looks to take it up a notch or two this coming spring. 

Devan Harmer, CF, 5-9 165, R-R (Clearfield HS)

What hasn't been said by me, that hasn't already been said before about this young man. There are many players in the state, that have been offered before this kid, and he should have been one of the first offers made to a top JC or D2 school. The kid can play and has been a model of consistency for the better part of the last year. A .420 hitter as a junior, garnering 2nd Tm All-State honors, Harmer is a leadoff type, that is patient and has a discerning eye at the plate and works a count. Will ambush a pitcher at times early in the count, trying to sneak a FB by him, and he will smash it on a line. An instinctual defender in CF, that reads balls off the bat really well and takes solid angles and routes. Will leave his feet to make highlight type plays and saves runs, by running balls down. A 6.8-6.9/60 consistent runner and as well has been stuck on the gun at 87-89 from the OF at all events. A West Coast Games alum, that should have an offer and soon. 

Chris Billings, LHP/1B, 6-3 200, L-L (Lone Peak HS)

Billings was recommended to me by his HS coach, Matt Bezzant, and I was asked to come speak to the Lone Peak team a few weeks back on a trip they made to St. George to get out of the cold and practice and scrimmage. I was able to watch Chris take BP and interact with him, before seeing him at the Preseason ID. I left impressed with Billings size, strength and natural loft to lift and drive the baseball. An intriguing two way LHH with a fast bat 27.6 hand speed and 80.6 bat speed, which is alite, though you will get these readings when you meet the ball way out front. But nonetheless impressive. The EV was the leader in the clubhouse at 102.4 and one of the top couple recorded in the state over the last year and half. On the mound there is an intriguing arm as well, as the arm is fluid and has natural arm strength to top out at 86 mph with the FB and sat 82-85. I can see more in the tank, as he rushes his delivery at times and can get out of sync and rely on arm strength. The statistical numbers as a junior are enough to leave room for even bigger strides as a senior, as Billings hit .345 with 6 2B's a triple and 2 HR's, while finishing 7-3 on the mound as the ace, with a 4.14 E.RA and 45 K outs in 38 IP. The walks are little high at 27, but with some lower 1/2 tweaks in the delivery, I can see a 86-89 FB with added control come mid season. 

Nolan Miller, OF/RHP, 6-2 190, R-R (Salem Hill HS/Mountain West)

Miller a Future Games alum with a good arm and intriguing twitchy athleticism, was in preseason form on the mound as he works his way into mound shape come March. But the bat showed well as he smashed balls hard with an EV of 92-94 and was 86 from the OF. a 6.92/60 type, that in this indoor style event, registered a 3.87 H-1B and can scoot. There's some Hunter Pence type mannerisms to his game and it's more than enough on both sides of the ball to play at the next level. The bat and playing the field is starting to intrigue me right now and he is a projectable type athletic kid, that will get considerably stronger as he continues to fill out and mature.   

2024

Boston "Bo" Williams, C/SS, 6-0 165, R-R (Jordan HS/Mountain West) 
Bo has been a name I've had passed along to me at various points over the last year, and it was good to finally have him at an event for the first time and he didn't disappoint. A rangy, lean athletic build, that looks to add size and strength as he continues to grow and mature, Bo has some athletic quick twitch to his game in the MIF and behind the plate. Slated to start at SS this coming spring at Jordan HS, Williams showed soft hands and educated feet with actions to project in the dirt. However I really was impressed with his catch/throw tools behind the plate. He is active and twitchy with a fast lower half, and gets out from behind the plate quick and unloads line drive accurate throws to 2B. The arm strength is below right now, and is enough for 2.0-2.1 pop times right now, but as he continues to add arm strength, as he will, because the arm is fast and fluid, the times will drop below two seconds. The bat is a controlled type stroke from a lower hand position in his setup and takes a short stride from a medium knee kick and takes his hands slightly back and stays inside the baseball well. There is some uphill path at present right now and he needs to stay through the baseball better, but the base to hit from is solid and he has advanced skills to make quick adjustments. Look for this kid to make some noise this spring ona really good Jordan HS team. 
Andrew Lombana, LHP, 6-2 175 (Juan Diego Catholic HS)
Drew has steadily improved and cleaned up some things in his delivery and is getting over his front side better after release, though he does need to clean up his direction to the plate, as he steps across his body at foot strike. Though this does aid in his deception, and can make for an uncomfortable AB vs LHH, with the angle and plane of attack, A loose arm and showing projectable size and strength, Drew has big feet and hands and is oozing added weight and size as he continues to fill out and mature. The FB has remained in the 79-83 range, though he does get solid arm side life and run to it, and can bore in at times vs LHH's. The CB in the mid 60's is feathered in and controlled for K's and needs to tighten and really let it go. The CH has made steady progress and fades with late deceptive sink below the hitting zone. Look for a good sophomore year out of Drew. 
 
Logan Penland, SS/OF, 5-9 155, R-R (Fremont HS/Mountain West)

A medium framed lean athletic build with high chiseled calves, that shows present twitch and explosiveness on the bases and defensively. One of the better 60’s posted at the All-State Games at 6.81 as he has a quick active lower 1/2 that translates into side to side agility and range defensively on the dirt. Ran a 3.92 H-1B on a sac bunt at the Preseason ID and is a solid avg runner overall. Showed some educated feet and was aggressive in his approach to the baseball. His hands play underneath the ball and from the ground up. His feet are quick and get synced up to get his throws off quickly and showed arm strength up to 81 mph, which should only continue to improve with age. Shows some advanced actions for a 15 yr old kid and the makings of staying in the middle of the diamond. The bat shows potential with the metrics you look for on paper. With hand and bat speeds of 26.5 and 76.7, resulted in an EV max of 91. The swing can be a little choppy and is upright through his swing pattern.  Some adjs needed to get into his legs and be on line with the swing plane, which can improve with recognition of this. Tends to swing around his body, instead of through the baseball. Hard work and dedication suggest with his athleticism that this can be remedied. What is apparent is the base tools of hand and bat speed coupled with the run tool and actions on defense, lends to improving in all facets of the game. Would like to see where his off season takes him as he’s been invited to the Preseason All-State event as well.