Central Illinois Open: Catcher Analysis



By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Central Illinois Open took place on August 16th at the Corn Crib in Normal, IL. Following the event the PBR scouting staff compiled all of the notes from the workout and over the next week we will break down the event position by position.

Today we look at the catchers from the event. 2017 Merrik Eddington (Mount Zion) proved once again he is one of the top uncommitted catchers in the 2017 class. Eddington has a strong right-handed bat with pull power and arm strength behind the plate. His arm was clocked at 78 mph from the crouch and had the low pop time of the event, 1.97.

Two catcher’s to follow in the 2018 class are Garrett Fritz (Okaw Valley) and Matthew Mier (Normal University). Fritz, a right-handed hitter, has present bat speed at the plate and pop times ranging between 2.07-2.16. Mier is a left-handed hitter with a simple approach and pop times ranging between 2.12-2.19.

Catching Prospects (Listed Alphabetically)

Matthew Cusumano. C, Sycamore, 2019
5-foot-9, 135-pound right-handed hitting catcher. At the plate hits from a balanced setup with a smooth load and short stride. Pull hitter with an uphill swing path. 71 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.66. Defensively has a short arm action from a high ¾ slot. Stand and throw with a slight pause before release. Popped 2.25-2.34 and threw 69 mph from the crouch.

Brennan Diedrich, C, Normal West, 2019
5-foot-10, 170-pound switch hitting catcher. From the left side has a balanced setup with a short stride and average balance. Early rhythm with a long level swing path. 65 mph exit velocity from the left side. Balanced setup from the right side with early rhythm and a long, uphill swing path. 71 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 8.30. Defensively has a short arm action from an over the top slot. Popped 2.51-2.63 and threw 65 mph from the crouch.

Merrik Eddington, C, Mount Zion, 2017
6-foot, 220-pound right-handed hitting catcher with a strong frame especially in the lower half. At the plate hits from a balanced setup with a smooth load and short stride. Gap to gap hitter with a long, level swing path and fluid rhythm. Showed a fast bat with good balance. Showed strength thru contact with 94 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.96. Defensively has a short arm action from an over the top arm slot. Throws showed carry with a quick transfer and release. Popped 1.97-2.06 and threw 78 mph from the crouch. Flexibility in the lower half receiving with soft hands.

Garrett Fritz, C, Okaw Valley, 2018
5-foot-11, 183-pound right-handed hitting catcher with a strong lower half. Defensively has a short arm action from an over the top slot. Throws showed carry out of the crouch. Quick, clean transfer. Popped 2.07-2.16 and threw 74 mph from the crouch. At the plate hits from an open stance with a low hand set and leg lift stride. Uphill swing path with fluid rhythm. 81 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.57.

Garrett Latoz, C, Georgetown Ridgefarm, 2019
6-foot, 155-pound right-handed hitting catcher with an athletic frame. At the plate hits from a balanced setup with a short heel lift stride and average balance. Gap to gap hitter with a long swing path and fluid rhythm. Showed some looseness in the hands. Showed strength thru contact with 85 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.32. Defensively has a long arm action from a high ¾ slot. Showed a quick exchange. Popped 2.11-2.26 and threw 74 mph from the crouch.

Matthew Mier, 2B/C, Normal University, 2018
5-foot-10, 155-pound left-handed hitting 2B/C. At the plate hits from a balanced, open stance with a short toe tap stride. Line drive pull hitter with a level swing path. 72 mph exit velocity from a tee. Defensively in the infield has a short arm action from a high ¾ slot. Athletic actions with a quick exchange and soft hands. Threw 73 mph across the infield. Behind the plate showed a quick transfer and good blocking ability, Popped 2.12-2.19 and threw 68 mph from the crouch.

Jimmy Peterson, C, Homeschool, 2018
5-foot-11, 142-pound right-handed hitting catcher. At the plate hits from a balanced setup with a short heel lift stride. Pull hitter with an uphill swing path. 80 mph exit velocity from a tee. Behind the plate has a long arm action from a ¾ slot. Tall setup with a slow exchange popped 2.43-2.51 and threw 70 mph from the crouch.

Austin Schwartz, C, Normal West, 2017
5-foot-8, 170-pound right-handed hitting catcher. Defensively has a short arm action from an over the top slot. Popped 2.13-2.19 and threw 70 mph from the crouch. At the plate hits from a balanced, spread out stance. Toe tap stride with no backside involvement. Pull hitter with a long swing path. 73 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.72.

Ben Smith, C, Normal West, 2018
6-foot-1, 190-pound right-handed hitting catcher. At the plate hits from a balanced setup with a short stride and average balance. Pull hitter with a long, uphill swing path a slight collapse on the backside. Showed strength thru contact with 85 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 8.05. Defensively has a short arm action from an over the top slot. Stand and throw. Popped 2.40-2.52 and threw 64 mph from the crouch.

Connor Stephenson, C, Normal West, 2020
5-foot-4, 120-pound right-handed hitting catcher. At the plate hits from a wide base. Long stride and minimal load. Pull hitter with an uphill swing path. 71 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.24. Behind the plate has a short arm action from an over the top slot. Gains ground towards second on throws. Popped 2.22-226 and threw 69 mph from the crouch.

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