2017 Top Prospect Games: Catching Analysis



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Illinois/Wisconsin

This year’s Top Prospect Games brought forth several of the top 2017 prospects in Illinois and Wisconsin. Over the next week we will break down the event with positional analysis starting today with catchers.

Cam Post took the top spot as a physically matured receiver that physically sets himself apart from the rest. Post’s build is developed and mature and already looks the part to handle the everyday beatings behind the plate.

Top Catching Prospects

1. Cam Post, C, Lincoln-Way Central, IL, 2017
Physically advanced 6-foot-2, 190-pound catcher. Proportional strength, defined lower half and strong shoulders. Looks to be one of the top 2017 prospects in Illinois’ 2017 class. Showed extremely well across the board at the 2017 Top Prospect Games, and plays the game hard and with energy. Defensively, has athletic feet and quick release with well above-average arm strength (75 mph), which resulted in pop times ranging between 1.97-2.04, all on the bag. Arm translated in gameplay, too; threw two runners out in a game. Demonstrated advanced blocking abilities; was the starting catcher for Lincoln-Way Central as a freshman. Offensively, hits from a slightly open setup, has aggressive yet relaxed approach. Has long stride but keeps hands back well; showed ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. Barreled several balls during game play, including one that was right at the left fielder. Athletically, moves extremely well for his size; ran a 4.45 home-to-first time. Overall, if Post continues to develop, he should be one of the more highly recruited prospects in the 2017 class.

2. Garrett Gilbert, C, Westosha Central (WI), 2017
Lanky frame with athletic build, lean with room to fill, 5-foot-11, 160-pound catcher, projectable frame. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, athletic setup, smooth loading action, short stride. Above average bat speed, tends to lift, showed pop to both gaps, impact the ball with authority, 85 mph exit velocity from the tee. Hands are loose and generates excellent bat speed. Defensively showed arm strength, 72 mph out of the crouch, short over the top slot, occasionally worked uphill. Athletic setup, 2.09-2.11 pop times.

3. Andy Lopez, C, Brother Rice, IL 2017
6-foot-1, 197-pound catcher, solid build, typical catchers build, strength with sturdy lower half. Defensively possesses excellent catch and throw abilities, short arm action, 73 mph out of the crouch, posted pop times at 2.08-2.18. Excellent in game catching instincts, blocks well, knowledge for the game. Offensively hits from the right side, balanced stance, smooth loading action with short stride, good balance throughout. Flashed pop in BP, pull side approach, strong build shows power potential, 86 mph exit velocity from the tee.

4. Connor McCormick, C/RHP, Manteno, IL, 2017
6-foot, 140-pound multi-positional player, thin frame. Defensively, shows above-average arm strength behind plate, registering 76 mph from crouch with top pop times of 2.03, 2.04. Accuracy varied, effort in throw. Shows athletic feet behind plate. Offensively, hits from balanced setup, bars arm on load, some length in swing, recorded 80 mph exit velocity. On the mound, has short, quick arm action, over-the-top slot. Fastball ranged between 77-78 mph, while curveball sat between 65-68.

5. Nickolas Strysik, C, Lockport, IL, 2017
6-foot, 170-pound muscularly built, physical, right-handed hitting catcher impresses more with the bat currently.  Hits from an open setup with a smooth load back, short stride, and short, slightly uphill bat path producing line drives from gap-to-gap with 82 mph exit velocity.  Consistently barreled baseballs showing power, especially to his pull side during live batting practice.  In games, impressed with a triple crushed to deep left center field, one hopping the wall at Granderson Stadium.  Defensively, threw 2.12-2.25 from long, over the top arm action that lacked carry to the bag.  Ran 4.62 from home to first on a groundout to third during games.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Nick Hernandez, C/3B, Home School, WI, 2017
Athletically built 5-foot-10, 170-pound multi-positional player. Offensively, has simple, mechanically sound approach; maintains excellent balance through contact, quiet mechanics, makes consistent hard contact. Repeats swing well, shows ability to hit to all fields; 83 mph exit velocity. In game action, ripped a run-scoring triple to right-center field; also smoked a line drive to centerfield. Behind the plate, recorded pop times between 2.25-2.29; 69 mph from the crouch. Has short arm action, footwork lacks direction. In games, showed ability to also play third base, making a solid backhand play.

Joe Ludwig, 3B/C, Middleton (WI), 2017
6-foot-1, 180-pound right-handed hitting 3B/C impressed with muscular build and strength with the bat.  Hits from a wide balanced setup with a short stride and level bat, line drive bat path producing 83 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, graded out better behind the plate than in the infield.  Pop times ranged between 2.11-2.27 at 72 mph from the crouch.  Projects at third base in infield, throwing 74 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot with accuracy.  Possesses soft hands fielding through the baseball.  Ran 4.47-4.58 from home to first.

Eastin May, C, Joliet West, 2017
6-foot, 170-pound lanky, projectable right-handed hitting catcher hits from an open setup with hands starting high, and dropping down to load creating level bat path and 75 mph exit velocity.  Upper body gets rotational at times in swing, opening up early on pitches on the outer half, but showed strength to his pull side.  Defensively, shows solid catch and throw skills with pop times ranging between 2.10-2.19 from short, over the top arm action with carry.  Throws 73 mph from the crouch.  Ran between 5.22-5.29 from home to first.

Keaton Rice, C/OF, Geneseo HS, IL, 2017
6-foot, 155-pound left-handed hitting catcher, athletic frame with plenty of room for physical development. Offensively, shows barrel whip through the zone, bat speed present, rotational, pull-side approach. Toe-tap trigger, slightly uphill path, gets good extension after contact, makes hard contact with lift when keeps front side in; recorded 77 mph exit velocity. Defensively, shows quick, athletic feet, above-average arm strength, 74 mph from the crouch, with pop times ranging between 2.12-2.19. Also showed versatility during games, playing a solid outfield. In one inning, while playing right field, Rice gunned a runner at third base, and then threw out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Rice is a high-follow prospect in the 2017 class.

Jacob Ryan, C, Chatham Glenwood, 2017
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher, showed some present strength. Hits from the right side, slightly open stance, short stride. Worked the middle of the field, gap to gap line drive approach. Showed hit tool in game, several hard contacted balls. 83 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively uses a short over the top slot behind the plate, can shorten exchange to improve pop times. Arm played at 70 mph, posted 2.17-2.29 pop times.

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