Chicagoland Open: Catcher Analysis


By Illinois Staff

On Aug. 23, the PBR Illinois team hosted this large, annual late summer showcase: the Chicagoland Open. Eligible to any and all high school-aged players, the Chicagoland Open is generally among the more well-attended events on our summer dockett, and this year’s edition was no different. There were 90 players who made it out to Carol Stream’s Lee Pfund Field for this showcase, and we began breaking down our findings in the days that followed. We previously published rapid analysis inside of our Quick Hits story, and we dove into the measured data gathered inside the Statistical Analysis.

Today, our analysis continues as we begin to publish scouting reports on each of the players in attendance, starting with the day’s catchers.

At the top of the list is Ryan Caccia, a junior from St. Charles North, whose athleticism and arm strength helped him record the event’s lowest average pop time. Ranked inside the state’s top-100, Caccia is an interesting uncommitted 2022 backstop to check back in on next spring.

See which two rounded out this top-three, and read up on the rest of the catchers who made it to the Chicagoland Open below.

TOP CATCHER PROSPECTS

1. Ryan Caccia, St. Charles North (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 6-0, 170-pounds. Athletic build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, smooth pre-pitch rhythm, hands load back, short stride, some balance through contact. Quick hands, short bat path, extends through contact, line drive approach.
Power: 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 79 mph. Shorter arm action finishes out of a high 3/4 slot from the crouch, longer windup in the outfield. Accurate throws from the chute to the bag, play with carry.
Defense: 1.94-2.01 pop times. Worked out behind the plate and in the outfield. Advanced catching actions, receives the ball with soft hands, strong wrists, and presents the ball well. Athletic stance, fluid feet that work in line to the bag, silky-smooth hand transfer to a quick trigger release. Showed some rhythm in the outfield, hops to release.
Run: 6.93 runner in the 60. 

2. Will Sommers, Prospect (IL), 2021; Concordia University (WI) commit.
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 5-9, 180-pounds. Strong, well-proportioned frame. Broad shoulders.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, open base, hands slot into a strong hitting position, short stride, controlled through contact.  Loose hands with some bat speed, short and smooth stroke, level path through the zone. Gap-to-gap approach, repeats well.
Power: 88 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 76 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot. Accurate on throws to the bag.
Defense: 2.07-2.18 pop times. Composed behind the plate, clean hand transfer, works quick to release, adept blocker.
Run: 7.79 runner in the 60. 

3. Case Sparks, Springfield (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-10, 165-pounds. Athletic, well-proportioned frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, rhythmic pre-pitch hand movement, smooth stride, quick leg lift timing trigger.  Strong hands and wrists, short bat path with an elevated attack angle at times, gap-to-gap approach, hard contact on the barrel.
Power: 82 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.05-2.19 pop times. Jumps out the chute, feet gain ground towards the bag, quick hands to release. Chests the baseball up on the block.
Run: 7.44 runner in the 60. 

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Gunnar Briggs, Glenbard North (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 5-8, 175-pounds. Strong, compact frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands load back, quick toe-tap timing trigger.  Quick hands, short and compact stroke, level path through the zone. Gap-to-gap approach, stays on plane, smooth rhythm throughout.
Power: 88 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. Short and whippy arm action, 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.01-2.16 pop times. Some quickness out the crouch, stays low as feet gain ground, quick hand transfer, slings to release.
Run: 7.25 runner in the 60. 

Christian Cast, Metea Valley (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 5-11, 170-pounds. Athletic build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, bat wraps, smooth load, short stride.  Long and uphill bat path, pull-side approach.
Power: 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 72 mph. Short and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.11-2.33 pop times. Upright posture at gather, feet work away from the bag, some length to release.
Run: 7.63 runner in the 60. 

Zach Konrad, Kaneland (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: C/2B
Body: 5-5, 135-pounds. Lean build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, weight rocks forward then shifts back, steady toe-tap trigger.  Swings with intent, short and level bat path, line drive approach, stays on plane.
Power: 75 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 66 mph. Long and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.35-2.45 pop times.  Staggered base, tall at gather, long gather to release.
Run: 8.01 runner in the 60. 

James Linn, North Boone (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: OF/C
Body: 5-9, 155-pounds. Strong, athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, bat rests over shoulder, high back elbow, short stride.  Short bat path, middle-away approach.
Power: 80 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. OF - 74 mph. Short arm stroke, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.19-2.32 pop times. Worked out in the outfield and behind the dish. Feet attack the baseball on the grass, glove plays out front with some steadiness in the hands, glove backs to release. Staggered base, quick gather to release from the chute.
Run: 7.54 runner in the 60. 

Myles Maxedon, Effingham (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 5-8, 162-pounds. Athletic build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, slight pre-pitch hand movement, quick leg kick trigger.  Uphill bat path, gap-to-gap approach, some juice on the barrel.
Power: 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 68 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.26-2.33 pop times. Weight starts shifted onto both heels, upright at gather, some length to release.
Run: 7.82 runner in the 60. 

Luke Staerkel, Walther Christian Academy (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: C/2B
Body: 5-10, 160-pounds. Compact strength.
Hit: RHH. Tall, open setup, short stride.  Short bat path, gets on top of the baseball.
Power: 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 58 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.51-2.79 pop times. Feet work away from the bag, long to release.
Run: 7.34 runner in the 60. 

Nolan Schuetz, Lake Zurich (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 5-5, 150-pounds. Strong, compact frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, slightly closed base, smooth load, high leg kick trigger.  Quick hands with strength, short and level bat path, stays inside the baseball. Line drive approach, some feel to all fields.
Power: 84 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.25-2.32 pop times. Upright at gather, rises straight up then moves forward to the bag, little wasted movement on transfer, clean to release.
Run: 7.69 runner in the 60. 

Henry Stried, Zion-Benton (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/RHP
Body: 6-3, 200-pounds. Lanky, highly projectable frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands coil in towards back shoulder, short stride.  Strong hands, uphill bat path, flashed power to the pull-side.
Power: 81 mph exit velocity from the tee. Intriguing power ceiling as he fills out frame. Max exit velocity of 91.27 mph with a max fly ball distance of 337 feet in BP, per TrackMan.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm stroke, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.26-2.36 pop times. Balanced stance, clean exchange, recoil finish through release.
Run: 7.65 runner in the 60. 

Jack Wilson, New Trier (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: RHP/C
Body: 5-7, 125-pounds. Lanky frame, projects.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, slight bat waggle into a smooth load, short stride, creates some separation at footstrike.  Loose hands, short and level bat path, line drive approach, sprays across the field. Smooth rhythm throughout, intriguing offensive upside at the plate.
Power: 80 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 66 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.26-2.33 pop times. Narrow base, feet gain some ground to the bag, average hands, clean hand transfer.
Run: 8.4 runner in the 60. 

Noah Zaccanti, Geneva (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 6-1, 180-pounds. Athletic, proportionally strong frame. Continued room for added physical strength.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, bat wraps, smooth load, short stride.  Short and simple stroke, bat stays level through the zone, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 72 mph. INF - 71 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.18-2.25 pop times. Worked out on the dirt and behind the dish. Sits into back hip behind the plate, tall posture at release, clean exchange to the hand.  Glove fields out front at first base, two-hand gather, quick to release on the move.
Run: 7.42 runner in the 60. 

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