Prep Baseball Report

SoCal Underclass Trials: Top Catchers

Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

The inaugural SoCal Underclass Trials went down at Hart Park in Orange, CA on June 12th. There were over 90 players in attendance. As part of our coverage we will be rolling out top position players before releasing our Top Overall Prospects from event.

In this edition we'll look at the top catchers from the showcase. 

*Click on player profile for complete individual stats at the event. 


Owen Cain C / 3B / Rancho Cucamonga, CA / 2020

Cain did a lot of things right during his day at the Underclass Trials. After running a 7.45 60, Cain worked his way into the catchers defensive workout portion. Cain receives with soft hands and shows athleticism with his footwork. Blocks and recovers well. Best pop time was 2.07. Cain then worked his way through the hitting stations where he registered an 84 exit velocity. Cain shows an upright, quiet stance. His swing is balanced and flashes some bat speed with a middle-middle, line drive approach. Cain is a tall, lean, wiry strong player who should see his power improve with continued physical maturation.

Connor Valenzuela C / 1B / Ruben S. Ayala, CA / 2020

There's a lot to like from Valenzuela, a lean, twitchy, wiry strong catcher that offers position flexibility - can also play outfield - with a big, fast arm and bat to match. Valenzuela could've easily made the list of top outfielders too. Behind the plate he is quiet with his body and shows an even crouch - backside is at or just below knee pits - with an upright back to provide a large target. His exchanges are clean and throws were all on or around the bag with carry. During BP Valenzuela showed a slightly open setup with a wrap load in his fluid swings. Shows present bat speed and a knack for squaring balls up with a level bat path that he keeps in the hitting zone. His hands are fast and strong. At 5-foot-11, 160-pounds, Valenzuela projects for added strength through continued maturation.

Daniel Briones C / 3B / Bishop Amat , CA / 2021

We had the good fortune of seeing Briones several times during the high school which gave us a good feel for him as a player and he solidified that opinion at the Underclass Trials. Briones shows advanced feel for the catching position where he has a quiet base with soft hands and an electric arm. His exchanges are clean and footwork is fluid with a two-piece catch-and-throw move. The arm action is a little crude, but it shows carry and accuracy to the bag. At the plate Briones shows an even, balanced setup with a short stride and level bat path through the ball. There's present bat speed there with gap-to-gap, line drive abilities. Briones is short to the ball and long through generating present power that looks easy. It's the type of power that is very projectable with continued development and physical maturation. Had the best catcher pop-time at 1.99 and his worst was 2.03.

Karson Bowen C / RHP / Orange Lutheran, CA / 2022

Bowen seemingly impressed at everything he did at the Underclass Trials. He's a physical young man with a strong, well defined lower half. He ran a 6.95 60 which was on the best times at the event before showing off his arm during the outfield portion of the workout. He was also one of the standout pitchers, but it was behind the plate where he caught our attention. Bowen shows a very quiet, balanced crouch where his legs/backside are parallel to the ground. He has soft hands and a quick, clean exchange that results in throws on the bag. Pop times were in the 2.01-2.07 range. Bowen also shows big potential with the bat from a balanced setup and explosive hands through the hitting zone. A small toe tap trigger gets it going and Bowen does a great job of getting and keeping the barrel in the hitting zone. Shows very good feel for the barrel and the ability to drive the ball gap-to-gap. Bowen is young for his class as he won't turn 14 until July.

Anthony Aleman C / 3B / JSerra Catholic, CA / 2021

Aleman looks what you want a catcher to look like with a strong lower half, thick legs, light on his feet and a big arm. Aleman did everything at the Underclass Trials, he worked out in the outfield, the infield, and behind the dish where he made his biggest impression. Aleman flashes soft hands when receiving before exploding out of his crouch and firing to the second base bag. Best pop-time was 2.02 and all his throws were on or around the bag with carry. The arm really plays behind the plate. The defense is a little ahead of the bat presently, but Aleman shows some quality traits at the plate with his fast hands and knack for squaring the ball up. Presently shows line-drive ability with some pull-side pop that could develop into over-the-fence power down the road.