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Central Illinois Open: Catcher Analysis


By: Illinois Scouting Staff

On Wednesday, Aug. 4, the PBR Illinois staff hosted the Central Illinois Open at the Corn Crib Stadium in Normal. The event featured over 60 players from all high school classes spanning the state, including a handful of prospects from the central and southern Illinois area. 

Shortly after the event's conclusion our staff published several post-event content pieces, highlighting the day’s top performers, statistical standouts, and all of the advanced analytics captured through our tech partners. You can find all of those by clicking HERE

Today we’ll begin our position-by-position analysis from the event, starting with the catchers and working our way around the diamond as the week rolls on. Read below for all of the scouting reports from this backstop group. 

TOP CATCHING PROSPECTS

1. Jaden Fauske, Nazareth Academy (IL), 2025; Louisville commit.
Positional Profile: C/INF
Body: 6-0, 155-pounds. Lean, athletic frame.
Hit: LHH. Athletic, balanced setup, leg-kick trigger, smooth, advanced pre-pitch actions. Easy swing, short path, working efficiently through the zone, consistent hard contact, showed gap-to-gap approach in advanced round of BP.
Power: 89.2 max exit velocity, averaged 83.4 mph. 282’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. INF - 82 mph. Short, loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.08-2.14 pop times. Catcher: athletic footwork, soft hands with a quick release, advance blocking. Infield: smooth footwork to the ball, works with proper direction, advanced double play turn.
Run: 7.61 runner in the 60. 

2. Nathan Bajic, Manteno (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-9, 150-pounds. Wiry, athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Athletic, open stance, arm bar load, long stride. Long, slight uphill swing with bat speed, hits the ball where it's pitched, line drive approach.
Power: 86.6 max exit velocity, averaged 71.9 mph. 267’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 72 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.18-2.28 pop times. Fluid footwork, gains ground toward second base, clean exchange/release.
Run: 7.81 runner in the 60.

3. Carter Hall, Champaign Central (IL), 2022; Morton JC commit.
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-10, 165-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Simple stance, minimal load, short stride. Easy, repeatable swing, direct to the baseball, line drive, whole field approach.
Power: 87.3 max exit velocity, averaged 77.2 mph. 295’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.10-2.20 pop times. Athletic setup, smooth footwork, sure handed, quick exchange.
Run: 7.46 runner in the 60. 

BEST OF THE REST (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)

Matthew DeLorenzo, St. Thomas More (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-9, 160-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Open, athletic setup, easy pre-pitch actions. Direct swing, level bat path, works inside baseball, line drive approach, flashes ability to use the entire field.
Power: 83.8 max exit velocity, averaged 67.4 mph. 190’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot.
Defense: 2.12-2.18 pop times. Athletic, consistent footwork, quick exchange, throws play with carry.
Run: 7.60 runner in the 60. 

Connor Drowns, Pekin (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-5, 145-pounds.
Hit: LHH. Crouch, balance stance, smooth load to the back leg, short stride. Quick, athletic hands, long bat path, level swing plane, keeps the hands inside the baseball, spray hitter.
Power: 87.2 max exit velocity, averaged 79.5 mph. 299’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 69 mph. Short, loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.12-2.26 pop times. Small setup, athletic feet, receives with two hands, clean exchange.
Run: 7.25 runner in the 60. 

Payton Evans, Bloomington  (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-9, 160-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Weight on the back leg, short stride. Short to the baseball, level swing, middle of the field approach.
Power: 83.2 max exit velocity, averaged 73.1 mph. 268’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.19-2.22 pop times. Consistent hands, in control footwork, clean exchange.
Run: 7.77 runner in the 60. 

Ayden Hendrix, Kewanee Wethersfield (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-9, 160-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Simple, balanced stance, short lunge stride Compact swing, stays inside the baseball, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 79.1 max exit velocity, averaged 67.3 mph. 230’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 61 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.40-2.61 pop times. Developing feet and hands, clean exchange.
Run: 8.48 runner in the 60. 

Bryan Kohlmeyer, Paris (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-9, 190-pounds. Strong lower half.
Hit: RHH. Open stance, controlled load, toe tap stride. Strong hands, compact swing, ability to hit to all fields, line drive approach.
Power: 88.6 max exit velocity, averaged 76.7 mph. 273’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.11-2.19 pop times. Developing hands, consistent footwork, clean exchange.
Run: 7.46 runner in the 60. 

Joseph Matteson, Effingham (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-11, 190-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Weight starts stacked on the back leg, minimal load, leg kick stride. Quick hands, short, level swing, stays inside the baseball.
Power: 81.7 max exit velocity, averaged 74.3 mph. 256’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. Short arm action, 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.18-2.22 pop times. Controlled footwork, developing hands, clean release.
Run: 8.08 runner in the 60. 

Cameron Olivero, LaSalle-Peru (IL), 2025
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-8, 175-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Pre-loaded weight on the back leg, toe tap stride. Short, level swing, line drive, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 86.3 max exit velocity, averaged 77.5 mph. 306’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 58 mph. Short arm action, 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.49-2.58 pop times. Wide base, consistent feet, developing hands, clean transfer.
Run: 7.30 runner in the 60. 

Ben Railey, Normal Community (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-9, 160-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Tall, open stance, smooth load, short stride. Flashed bat speed at times, short to the baseball, level swing, pull side approach.
Power: 81.9 max exit velocity, averaged 67.7 mph. 252’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 70 mph. Long arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.26-2.32 pop times. Consistent feet, hands meet the baseball to the spot, clean exchange, deads the baseball on a block.
Run: 7.96 runner in the 60. 

Logan Roepke, Teutopolis (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-7, 145-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Crouched, wide stance, smooth pre-pitch load, toe-tap stride. Flashes bat speed, long path, uphill swing, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 85.1 max exit velocity, averaged 73.9 mph. 275’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 70 mph. Short, loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.19-2.25 pop times. Clean footwork, quick exchange/release, accurate throws low on the bag.
Run: 6.94 runner in the 60. Best 60 time from the catchers.

Thomas Swartz, Monticello (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-8, 160-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Balance stance, arm bar load, short stride. Short level swing with a direct path to contact, spray hitter.
Power: 79.3 max exit velocity, averaged 69 mph. 239’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 67 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.36-2.54 pop times. Gains ground to second base, developing hands, clean exchange.
Run: 7.44 runner in the 60. 

Payton Van Horn, Carterville  (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-10, 184-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Tall, narrow stance, sinks into the back leg, long stride. Direct to the baseball, short swing path, level path, line drive, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 79.9 max exit velocity, averaged 70.9 mph. 265’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 67 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.49-2.54 pop times. Starts tall, feet work towards second, developing hands, clean exchange.
Run: 7.87 runner in the 60. 

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