Prep Baseball Report

Underclass Invitational: Catching Analysis

By Jeff Markle

Assistant State Director

The Prep Baseball Report’s Underclass Invitational Showcase class took place on Sunday January 25th at the Slammers South Baseball Facility in Englewood, Colorado.  50 prospects showed up and strutted their stuff in a pro-style workout. Over the next several days the PBR Scouting staff will roll out position-by-position rankings of the event, culminating with the Top Ten Overall Prospects from the showcase.

Click Here to view the article on top statistical performers from the event.

We also broke down the Top Tools of the event. Click Here to view the Top Tools based on various commonly used scouting criteria for analyzing prospects.

Led by Chaparral's Jonah Jenkins, Jenkins was the most polished behind the plate at the event. He showed good actions, solid framework, and he posted the fastest pop-time of 1.99. Jenkins had an exit velocity at the event of 79 mph off the tee.

2018 Catcher from Wheat Ridge Abraham Apodaca was a close second, impressing with his athletic frame, bat speed, and arm. The left handed hitting Apodaca had a 2.11 pop-time which was the 2nd fastest at the event.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the Top Catching Prospects from this January’s Underclass Invitational.

Top Catching Prospects

Jonah Jenkins, C, Chaparral, 2017 No. 12 ranked 2017
5-foot-11, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher, strong lower half, hits from a balanced setup, with strong lower leg drive, fluid rhythm, hands load back, gets foot down early, long, slightly uphill bat path, 79 mph exit velocity. Defensively, pop times ranged from 1.99-2.02, short, over-the-top arm slot, consistent accuracy on the bag, feet work well coming out of the chute. Also showed the ability to frame the inside pitch real well.  One of the top defensive backstops at the Underclass Invitational.  Ran a 4.6 home to first.

Abraham Apodaca, C/MIF, Wheat Ridge 2018 
5-foot-8, 145-pound left handed hitting catcher, a 60-40 stance with good leg drive through the ball.  High hands create a slight upslope swing through the hitting zone.  Short compact swing allows for good plate coverage and gap-to-gap power that produced a 79 mph exit velocity off the tee. Behind the plate, Apodaca showed good hands and feet and had the second best pop time of 2.11. Did a good job of sticking the low fastball.  He moves well to cover bunts and delivers a strong accurate throw to all bases. Ran a 4.56 home to first.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Russell Cruz, C/3B, Columbine, 2017 
5-foot-11, 185-pound strong, athletically built right handed hitting C/3B hits from a balanced setup, with early load of his hands. Lower half worked well with future power potential. The front foot gets down early allowing good drive through the baseball. Posted an 81mph exit velocity which was the second fastest among catchers. Defensively he moves well both behind the plate and at 3rd base. He moves well laterally and has a plus arm from both positions. Did a good job framing and did a good job sticking the low fastball. Cruz gets the ball into the throwing window quickly and averaged a 2.21 pop-time. Cruz also was very vocal behind the plate when throwing down to bases. Ran a 4.62 home to first.

Brennen Dorighi C/3B, Cherry Creek, 2017

6-foot-0, 160-pound left handed hitting catcher, hits from a balanced stance with a short load. Shows gap to gap power with no stride with slight toe tap. A short compact swing still allows for good extension through the ball with a high finish. Exit velocity was 79 mph off the tee. Behind the dish, quick feet help to keep pop times down, avg. 2.2 at this event. Showed good skills framing the ball with minimal movement.  Throws are accurate and on the bag, arm strength will continue improve as he fills out his frame. Also was real vocal throwing to bases. Ran a 4.60 home to first.

Alek Hall, C/MIF, Peak to Peak 2017 
5-foot-11, 150-pound left-handed hitting C hits from an upright stance, hands drop to load, short stride, long, uphill bat path, 71 mph exit velocity. Had a 71 mph exit velocity off the tee. Defensively, pop times ranged from 2.6-2.63 to second, 60 mph position velocity over the top arm slot with some accuracy.  In the field, a nice low approach to ground balls and quick feet allow him to get the ball out and on target.  Ran a 4.69 home to first.

Chris Lara, C/3B, Columbine 2018 
5-foot-7 180-pound right-handed hitting catcher. Showed soft hands when receiving the baseball, worked well within his framework. Arm played at 67 mph out of the crouch, posted pop times were consistent at 2.38 down to second. From third base, Lara does a nice job of getting behind the ball and delivers a strong throw across the diamond. Balanced setup, short stride, lower half partially involved. Path is simple, not many moving parts, 81 mph exit velocity. Ran a 5.28 home to first.

Kyler Paterson, C/3B, Fort Collins, 2016 
5-foot-10, 185-pound right-handed hitting catcher with a strong lower half hits from a balanced setup, short stride, hands load back smoothly, uphill bat path, high finish, right-center field approach with line drives during batting practice, 85 mph exit velocity which was fastest among catchers. Defensively, pop times ranged from 2.13-2.20, 64 mph out of the crouch to second, over-the-top arm slot with some accuracy. Solid at 3rd base, same arm motion from behind the plate, good feet at both position allows him to get into good throwing positions. Moves well when framing pitches. Ran a 4.88 home to first.

Bailey Seeger, C/3B, Valor Christian, 2018   
5-foot-2, 117-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a balanced stance with high leg kick, short stride, dives through the ball with lower body, right-center approach, sweeping bat path through the hitting zone, 66 mph exit velocity. Defensively, pop times ranged from 2.4-2.45, 58 mph from the crouch with good accuracy to 2nd and 3rd base.  In the field, soft hands allow him to get the ball in the throwing window quickly and across the field.  Ran a 5.12 home to first. 

Ryan Stratton, C/SS, Fountain Fort Carson, 2017 
5-foot-7, 135-pound right-handed hitting C/SS hits from a slightly open stance, short stride, dives slightly, up the middle tendencies with 65 mph exit velocity. Defensively, threw 62 mph across the infield from a short, high ¾ arm slot with some accuracy. Showed average hands fielding, stays back on the baseball. Behind the plate, pop times registered between 2.62-2.71, 62 mph from the crouch.  Ran a 5.09 home to first.



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