Peoria Preseason I.D.: Catcher Analysis


By Illinois Scouting Staff

On Feb. 20, the PBR Illinois team made its way down to Peoria to host the area’s annual preseason event where over 60 prospects came out to showcase the improvements they made over the offseason. The Peoria Preseason I.D. has allowed us to get a closer look at the best players in Central Illinois. This year, the talent was once again on display.

Starting today, we’re going to release full scouting reports on each of the prospects who attended the event, beginning with the day’s catchers. If you missed our rapid analysis inside our Quick Hits post or the data gathered in our Statistical Analysis, click the previous hyperlinks to learn more.

Uncommitted juniors are peppered among the top-five-ranked backstops from Peoria. The tops among them is Washington’s Chase Mason, a prospect we had an eye on coming into the showcase. In Peoria, Mason showed a loose swing with some bat strength. More notably, he recorded among the lowest average pop times at the event. The combination of his offensive and defensive upside has him as one of the more interesting next-level targets in the class.

The only underclassman to earn a spot on the board is catcher/corner infielder Josh Heyder, who’s also from Washington. He wields a simple right-handed bat and was also quick and clean out of the crouch and was consistently on the bag with his throws.

Continue on below for reports on each and every one of the catchers who made it out to Peoria in February. Stay tuned tomorrow for a look at the day’s outfielders.

TOP PROSPECTS

1. Chase Mason, C, Washington, 2020
6-foot, 165-pound catcher with wiry, athletic build. Right-handed hitter, tall/open setup. Hands load back, long stride back even. Loose hands, level bat path, inconsistent timing but looked fluid throughout when on time; 91 mph exit velocity off the tee. Defensively, wide crouch, long and over-the-top arm action, above-average carry; throws topped 83 mph. Pop times ranged from 2.01-2.10. A 7.09 runner in the 60.

2. Tyler Wessels, C, Elmwood, 2020
6-foot-1, 180-pound left-handed-hitting catcher with strong frame. In the batter’s box, tall setup, smooth load back, hands drop into leg lift stride. Long path, uphill path with above-average bat speed. Some quick-twitch in swing, showed ability to backspin into gaps; 90 mph exit velocity from the tee. Behind the plate, short, high ¾ arm action; throws topped 79 mph through the infield. Pop times ranged between 2.05-2.12. Ran a 7.23 in the 60.

3. Josh Heyder, C/3B, Washington, 2021
6-foot, 195-pound catcher/third baseman with a strong, athletic frame, thick lower half. Tall/closed setup, short stride, simple throughout. Short, level path with length through extension; 83 mph exit velocity through the tee. From behind the plate, short and over-the-top arm action with quick and clean exchanges, thrown on the bag; throws topped 75 mph. In the infield, hands work, short and loose arm, fields athletically; 80 mph across the infield. Pop times ranged between 2.00-2.08. A 7.85 runner in the 60.

4. Ryan Janssen, C, Nokomis, 2020
5-foot-11, 185-pound catcher with long levers and strength throughout build, especially lower half. Right-handed hitter, pre-pitch rhythm, wide/balanced setup. Arm bar load, small, short leg kick stride. Long, level bat path, strong hands, fast bat, hard contact toward the middle of the field; 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively, short, over-the-top arm action; 76 mph throws to second. Pop times ranged between 2.04-215. A 7.31 runner in the 60.

5. Tyler Steck, C, Galesburg, 2020
5-foot-11, 170 pounds catcher. Right-handed hitter, wide/balanced stance, slightly tall/open setup. Static, quick load back into brief short stride. Level bat path, simple throughout, some bat strength; 84 mph exit velocity off the tee. On defense, short arm action, high ¾ release, throws consistently on the bag; topped 79 mph down to second. Controlled out of the chute, pop times ranged between 2.00-2.11. A 7.40 runner in the 60.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Jacob Abenroth, C/1B, Dunlap, 2021
5-foot-11, 135-pound catcher/first baseman with lanky, long-limbed frame. Right-handed hitter, crouched/balanced setup, quick load back, short stride. Long and level bat path; 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. At first base, some feel for the bag, long and high ¾ throws across the infield, topped 73 mph.From behind the plate, long and over-the-top arm action; throws topped 71 mph. Pop times ranged between 2.14-2.25. An 8.02 runner in the 60.

Andrew Briggs, C, Normal Community, 2021
6-foot, 170-pound right-handed-hitting catcher. Tall/balanced setup, slightly open, bat wrap load into big leg kick stride. Short bat path, above-average bat speed, extension through the ball; 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively, short and over-the-top arm action, throws on the bag; throws topped 76 mph. Pop times ranged between 2.11-2.20. A 7.88 runner in the 60.

Seth Gossett, OF/C, Champaign Centennial, 2021
5-foot-7, 165-pound right-handed-hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced setup, smooth back, short stride. Short and direct to the ball, level bat path, line-drive type contact, hits in some rhythm; 74 mph exit velocity from the tee. In the outfield, short arm action, high ¾ slot, 75 mph throws home. From behind the plate, short and over-the-top arm action. Pop times ranged between 2.18-2.33. A 7.42 runner in the 60.

P.J. Jerszynski IV, C/1B, Rochester, 2020
6-foot-1, 205-pound catcher/first baseman with strong build. Offensively, left-handed hitter, tall setup, arm bar load, leg kick stride. Above-average bat speed, short, uphill path, bat strength; 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. From behind the plate, short, over-the-top throws, topped 75 mph to second. Pop times ranged between 2.23-2.28. A 7.37 runner in the 60.

Tanner Tompkins, C, Normal West 2021
6-foot, 190-pound right-handed-hitting catcher. In the batter’s box, tall/open setup with slight bend, bat wrap load, long stride back even. Short, uphill path; 79 mph exit velocity off the tee. Behind the plate, short, over-the-top arm action; throws topped 75 mph to second. Pop times ranged between 2.18-2.32. A 7.65 runner in the 60.

Carter Wiegman, C, Highland, 2020
6-foot, 184-pound catcher with athletic build, strength throughout frame. Right-handed hitter, wide/tall stance, slightly open setup. Hands drop into load, bat gets tall, crouches into quick toe-tap trigger. Long, level path with above-average bat strength, pull-side approach; 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. On defense, short high ¾ arm action. Plays with some bounce, some throws carry; throws topped 81 mph. Pop times ranged between 2.11-2.19. A 7.36 runner in the 60.

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