Prep Baseball Report

January 18 Preseason All State Positional Scout Analysis: Catchers

PBR Alabama Staff

As is the norm in the state, there was another strong group of catchers at the Preseason All State event at the Top Gun Facility in Leeds. Three of the catchers recorded sub 2.0 pop times at the event and a few others also went through the workout at another position. Here are notes on all ten catchers at the event:

Walker Zapp (2022, C/3B, Auburn) Zapp showed very well at the event as he posted some very impressive and consistent pop times, ranking from 1.93- 1.95. Throws were consistently on the bag. He was very quiet behind the plate and the set up was solid with a nice low target. Showed a nice skill of expanding the plate and stealing pitches for the pitcher and did a nice job “sticking” pitches on or slightly off the black of the plate. Also showed an event best of 79 mph C velocity. Showed a slightly open and crouched stance and did a nice job getting his weight back to the launch position. There is some pop in his middle to pull approach, evidenced by a 90 mph exit velocity reading off the tee. 

Devin Polk (2022, C/RHP, Next Level Academy) On the mound, Polk showed a high ¾ slot with very clean mechanics. He does a nice job of keeping the ball down in the zone and the FB showed late life and was up to 84 mph with spin rates in the mid 2000’s. The change up showed real deception out of the hand and is a plus offspeed pitch. Slightly open, tall stance that really creates some “whippiness” with the barrel. He showed a mostly pull side approach with a slightly tilted swing path. Very clean catch and throw skills and nice arm strength. He consistently put throws on the 2B bad and was very consistent with his pop times (1.94- 1.98). Like the versatility in this 2022 grad.

Stone Lawless (2023, C/3B, Huntsville) At 3B Lawless showed very nice lateral movement and the glove presentation was solid. Natural instincts with the feet and there is no questions with the arm strength (84 mph across the infield). Slightly open with the feet in the batters box and an upright stance. The hands work easily and the ball really comes off the barrel. He has some tilt in the swing path and does a nice job creating backspin off the barrel. There is some violence in the barrel. Behind the plate he looks very smooth and receives all parts of the zone well. Presents a very low target and showed nicely sticking borderline pitches. 

Owen Roberson (2021, C, Wilson) Very consistent player that has really added some strength to couple with solid skills. Made it look easy behind the plate and did a superb job of receiving quietly and sticking pitches. Another catcher that gave a nice, low target and was smooth moving behind the plate with nice flexibility in the hips. The catch and throw skills have continued to improve and he was 2.04- 2.06 pop times on the day. At the plate, he shows a small toe tap approach and an inside out approach, resulting in a mostly line drive approach middle to oppo. The hands are set fairly high in the stance and he does a nice job getting his top hand through contact. 

Lawson Stricklin (2022, C/3B, Decatur) Physical catcher that has shown nice offensive improvement. Starts slightly open and does a nice job of creating rhythm in the approach and using the lower half. There is some strength in the hands and he does a nice job of keeping the barrel through the hitting zone. The swing plane has some tilt and he showed a mostly middle to pull side approach. Solid skills behind the plate and is a very quiet receiver and did a nice job of working underneath the borderline strike down in the zone. Showed nice arm strength at 75 mph and a quick transfer with pop times in the 2.0’s. Nice looking 2022 catcher. 

Pierce Edwards (2023, C/OF, Russell County) Edwards is an athletic youngster that shows well as both an OF and a catcher. During the OF portion he showed nice arm strength and carry on throws as he was up to 80 mph. Showed a slightly open, toe tap approach at the plate which allowed him to be on time with the barrel. Tall in the stance and the bat path is fairly level, resulting in a line drive approach. Behind the plate, he shows very athletic actions and nice flexibility in the hips. The arm strength will continue to improve but throws were consistently on the bag. Very athletic 2023 prospect.

Caleb Campbell (2022, C/3B, Brooks) Slightly open with the feet at the plate with a fairly high leg kick that helps generate pop off the barrel. Has some tilt in the swing plane and really keeps the barrel in the zone for a long time. Shows a mostly pull side approach with exit velocity of 85 mph off the tee. Nice setup behind the dish and shows fluid actions while moving very well laterally. The ‘22 grad is a solid receiver and has little, to no wasted movement receiving pitches. The arm strength has improved and will continue to over the next few years. Also showed a quick transfer.  

Jackson Hirschler (2021, C/RHP, Madison Academy) ‘21 grad that has really gotten stronger which shows in his offensive approach. Slightly open, upright stance with a very small toe tap that allows him to get the barrel to contact on time. The bat path is fairly level and he does a nice job getting extension through the zone. He was up to 88 mph exit velocity. Behind the plate, he showed nice footwork with no wasted action on the throw to 2B, which was fairly consistent on the 2B bag. Very athletic catcher that can also play other positions on the field.  

Bentley Goodwin (2023, C/OF, Westminster Christian) The young (2023 grad) Goodwin showed some improvement from his previous event. The feet are even in the stance and he has a simple approach with the hands set fairly high. Showed a mostly pull side approach with repeated line drives from a fairly level swing plane. Really like the quick transfer behind the plate and throws to the bag were consistently on target. The arm strength will improve which will lower his pop times as he gets stronger and physically matures over the next few years. 

Jabez Sampson (2022, C/SS, Hazel Green) Switch hitting, athletic catcher that also shows enough natural talent to play other spots on the field as well. Identical set up from both sides of the plate as he has a fairly wide set up with the feet and he shows a nice rhythmic load of the hands. The swing is well synched and very balanced. Really like the extension he gets through the hitting zone. Behind the plate he shows nice hip flexibility. The catch and throw transfer is fairly quick and the actions are clean. Moves well side to side and is quiet receiving with a strong mitt sticking pitches. 

Keep checking back as next we will take a look at the outfielders on hand for the talent rich event.   

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