Prep Baseball Report

PBR Midwest ProCase: Catcher Analysis

By Sean Duncan

Executive Director

An impressive array of 2017 prospects from six states convened at Silver Cross Field in Joliet for the second-annual Prep Baseball Report Midwest ProCase on June 21. Although only time will tell if this year’s event will match the level of last year’s, when it had nine players eventually drafted, this class of rising seniors showed intriguing upside.

Throughout the week, we will roll out all reports from the event. Today, we will examine the catchers at the event. Here’s a look at the catchers at the PBR Midwest ProCase, listed alphabetically:

Blake Dunn, C/INF, Saugatuck HS, MI, 2017
Western Michigan recruit, currently ranked No. 14 in Michigan’s 2017 class. Solidly built 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete; switch-hitter who can play multiple positions on the field; super-utility type. A primary catcher, features highly athletic feet behind the plate, fires out the chute well, quick release; registered pop times between 2.04-2.14, 77 mph out of the crouch. Excellent blocker in game action, active feet, soft hands receiving. Athleticism plays in middle infield, above-average range, solid carry across the infield at 86 mph. Ran a 6.73 laser-timed 60. … Switch-hitter, balanced, simple approach from both sides. Stronger contact from the right side (90 mph exit velocity from right, 80 from left); looser swing, more aggressive lower half. Handsy approach from the left side.

Brian Fuentes, C/INF, Crystal Lake South HS, 2017
Uncommitted prospect, recently moved in from Venezuela. 5-foot-10, 178-pound multi-positional athlete, strong frame, developed lower half. Right-handed hitter, high-ceiling potential, shows rhythm, strength and bat speed in swing. Balanced and athletic in the box, uses pronounced leg lift in BP (not in game), strong through contact, excellent extension through contact, slightly uphill path, natural loft in swing. Ball jumps off barrel, registered 94 mph exit velocity with wood. In game, barreled the ball in all three at-bats, finishing 1-for-3 with a single and a line-out to left field and flyout to centerfield. Defensively, can play multiple positions well, super-utility type. Primary catcher, highly athletic feet, quick transfer and release, average arm strength at 74 mph; gets out the chute well. Delivered top pop times of 1.93, 1.97 and 2.01. Also shows legitimate infielder actions. Athletic hands and feet, shows ability to throw from multiple angles on the move, quick release, above-average range, solid carry across the infield at 76 mph. Ran a 7.06 laser-timed 60.

Jack Kelly, C, St. Michael Albertville HS, MN
Northwestern recruit. 6-foot, 175-pound left-handed hitting catcher. Quietly was one of the top overall performers at the PBR Midwest ProCase. Does everything on the field well. Offensively, has simple, balanced approach, excellent rhythm and timing in swing, generates bat speed with minimal effort; aggressive lower half, maintains balance throughout. Works both alleys well, sneaky pop, registered 88 mph exit velocity with wood. In game, he ripped a single to right field and barreled a ball at the centerfielder. Defensively, shows athletic feet, directional footwork, blocks and receives well, soft hands. Throws have carry and finish to second base, pop times ranged between 1.94-2.01, on target; 79 mph out of the crouch. Also ran a 7.10 laser-timed 60.

Mike Maher, C/INF, South Lyon HS, MI
Currently uncommitted. 6-foot, 170-pound multi-positional athlete, solid build, proportional strength. Primary catcher who can play multiple positions adequately. Athletic feet behind the plate, directional footwork, gets out the chute well, highly accurate thrower, put all throws on bag, pop times ranged between 2.11-2.19, 74 mph out of the crouch. In the infield, shows reliable hands, was clocked at 77 mph. Ran a 6.98 laser-timed 60. Offensively, hits from a balanced setup, simple approach, minimal stride/load, direct path to the baseball, line-drive approach, works gap-to-gap well. Registered 90-mph exit velocity with wood. Was a clear standout in game play. Barreled a 90-mph fastball for a double to left-center field; also singled sharply in first at-bat and squared a ball at the centerfielder. Plays hard and with bounce.

Nick Neibauer, C, Detroit Country Day HS, MI
Bowling Green recruit. Physical 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed hitting catcher; strong sturdy frame, barrel-chested, defined forearms. Offensively, hits from open setup, high hands, when timed up shows some lift and power potential, tendency to hit off backside; registered 86 mph exit velocity. In game, smoked a line-drive single. Defensively, above-average arm strength, 78 mph from the crouch, registered pop times between 2.02-2.11. Moves well for size; ran a 7.07 laser-timed 60.

Keaton Rice, C, Geneseo HS, IL, 2017
Bradley recruit. 6-foot-2, 180-pound left-handed hitting catcher, athletic build, wiry strength. Offensively, shows pull-side power potential. Hits from balanced setup, up-and-down leg lift, generates bat speed through shoulder rotation, uphill path, consistently lifts the baseball to the pull side. Registered 84 mph exit velocity with wood. Defensively, possesses strong arm, 80 mph from the crouch, excellent carry. Works uphill, slower transfer; top pop times ranged between 1.97-2.04. Ran a 7.34 laser-timed 60.

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