Prep Baseball Report

Preseason All-State Games: Catching Analysis

Jordon Banfield
Arizona Scouting Director

Our premier winter event, the Preseason All-State Games took place on Sunday, January 28th at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, home of the Arizona State Sun Devils. The event featured top prospects from the 2019-2021 classes with a roster assembled on an invite-only basis. Today, we continue our positional analysis with the catchers. Due to the size and quality of the event we will rank the position groups with all classes combined, then do a top prospect list for 2019, 2020 and 2021 separately. Complete video, data, pictures and scouting reports have been posted to players' individual profiles. As always contact [email protected] or direct message @PBRArizona on Twitter with any questions and/or information. 

Ranking players across three different graduating classes is extremely difficult as they are in far different stages of physical development. This list is based mostly on long-term potential as it's the only fair way to compare a 2021 to a 2019 graduate. Additionally, players are only considered for this list based on how they project as infielders, other positions/skills are not taken into consideration. The top two catchers were very close with 2020 Shane Erickson earning the nod mostly due to slightly greater offensive prowess and being a year younger, despite 2019 Kody Huff's superior polish and athleticism. 2021 Zach Kress may have been the best receiver at the entire event and should really throw when he adds some physical strength. After those three, another group all performed well, lead by freshmen Tanner Smith and Alex Hernandez due to their offensive prowess. 2021 Steven Stewart, 2019 Jeremey Davidson, 2019 Daniel Johnson and 2020 Kai Taylor all could have easily been included and can certainly play at the next level.


Shane Erickson C / 3B / Ironwood Ridge, AZ / 2020

Stocky 5-foot-10, 190-pound frame. On this day it became even more clear that Erickson’s future is at the catcher position. With improved footwork and transfer behind the plate, he was able to post a 1.99 best pop time, despite some arm soreness and significantly less velo (73 vs. 78 mph) than we saw previously. Erickson projects for at least average raw power as the ball flies of hiss barrel and shows an impressive ability to be on time in game action. Posted 88 mph exit velocity. Improving on 7.71 60-yard dash will only further elevate his status as a D1 caliber prospect. 

Kody Huff C / SS / Horizon, AZ / 2019

Huff was a model of consistency throughout the day at Arizona state. The Notre Dame recruit showed off a simple approach at the plate, and produced with some a very good at-bats in game. The 5-foot-10, 178-pound right-handed hitter features developing strength throughout and athletic frame, and sets up balanced at the plate in a slight crouch before a knee-knock leg kick triggers slight hands movement down and back. He has a direct path to the ball with quick hands, and is aggressive without being out of control. I was impressed with the way he worked pitchers, and he had a quiet confidence to his overall game. Behind the dish, he produced times that were mostly between 1.9-2.0. His arm was a bit longer, but there was obvious strength (77 mph veto) and carry to the throws along with quick feet and a smooth transfer. As he continues to fill out, Huff should get a boost to add more power which should make him an interesting follow moving forward.


Zach Kress C / 2B / Corona Del Sol, AZ / 2021

5-foot-11, 145-pound frame. Looking to lift and pull in BP with deep hand load and slight uphill path. Stays behind the baseball. Body doesn’t yet match up with the type of swing he is trying to execute. 71 mph exit velocity. Easily the top defender at our Freshmen Free event a couple months prior, Kress again stood out at the Preseason All-State Games amongst players much older than him. He continually shows very quick transfer and elite accuracy on his throws to 2B. Kress posted a top pop time of 2.01 with 70 mph velocity and also excelled as a receiver, showing quiet hands and superior flexibility. Very young physically, Kress is a ways off from being able to drive the ball consistently but shows the hand eye coordination necessary to develop into an offensive contributor in addition to his elite defense at a premium position.  

Tanner Smith C / 3B / Basha, AZ / 2021

Solid 5-foot-11, 180-pound frame with thick lower half. Advanced swing with ability to drive the baseball to all fields. Was on time with high-level pitching in game action and showed the ability to square up the baseball. There’s very little question Smith will be a high-level hitter as he continues to mature. 2.08 best pop time with 70 mph velocity from the crouch. Throwing ability will dictate what level prospect he becomes. Shows quick transfer. 7.73 60-yard dash.


Alex Hernandez C / RHP / Hamilton, AZ / 2021

5-foot-11, 160-pound frame with natural strentgh. Hit some fall very hard with elevation during his round of BP. Really gets out over his front leg in swing, lots of forward head movement. Could square the ball up more consistently by limiting that movement and staying behind the baseball. Possesses all the physical tools to really hit at some point; 82 mph exit velocity. Somewhat raw defensively as he takes a bit of a false step and doesn’t really gain ground on throws to second base. Possesses enough athleticism and arm strength to be solid defender behind the plate. Best pop of 2.17 with 68 mph velo using a longer arm action. 7.59 60-yard dash.