Preseason All-State: Catcher Analysis



 By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

The Preseason All-State brings a collection of the top 2018 prospects from across the state, previewing what to expect this spring from some of the more impactful juniors. Kicking off our post event analysis we lead things off with the top catching prospects. You’re likely to see this entire list making a difference on their varsity clubs this spring, but we narrowed it down to our top 10 catching prospects from the event. Stay tuned the rest of this week for more event analysis from the Preseason All-State.

Here’s a look at the top 10:

Top Catching Prospects

1. Jake Zylman, C, St. Rita, 2018
5-foot-10, 185-pound catcher, stocky strong build, physically advanced. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, slightly open stance, leg kick trigger. Lower half works, strong balance through contact. Fast bat with strength, gap to gap type hitter, showed pop, hard loud contact. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, showed accurate to the bag, 77 mph. Athletic and agile behind the plate, block and recover well, feet work well out of the chute. 2.00-2.08 pop times out of the crouch. 7.75 runner in the 60.

2. Jake Kapers, UTL, Mount Carmel, 2018
Valparaiso commit. 6-foot, 170-pound utility player, athletic shape. Projects best behind the plate. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, showed carry and accuracy 78 mph out of the crouch, 89 mph from the outfield, 87 mph across the infield. Soft hands receiving the baseball, quiet setup, exchange is quick and clean, 1.94-2.04 pop times, blocks well, athletic . Right-handed hitter, open stance with taller setup, drops hands in to load, leg lift stride back to square. Path is short, showed bat speed, line drive gap to gap approach. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.22 runner in the 60.

3. Ryan Hampe, C, Sandburg, 2018
6-foot, 200-pound catcher, solid build. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, slightly crouched setup, toe tap stride, solid balance. Long loose bat, gap to gap type approach, shows bat speed, 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, loose arm with carry, 76 mph arm. Soft hands, blocks well, active and agile out of the crouch. 2.00-2.14 pop times. Ran the 60 at 7.56, laser timed.

4. Brandon Bannon, C/INF, Richmond Burton, 2018
Athletic, live loose body, 5-foot-10, 150-pound catcher/infielder. Defensively showed a big arm out of the crouch, 77 mph, short loose action, quick release, carries to bag well. Quick actions out of the chute, feet work well, can improve direction. 7.06 runner in the 60. 1.93-2.08 pop times. Active receiver, blocks well, soft hands, low setup. Profiles best behind the plate, showed playable infield actions. 74 mph arm across the diamond. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, short leg lift stride, simple approach. Line drive type hitter, above average bat speed, showed some length in path at times. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee.

5. Brant Vanaman, C, Hall Township, 2018
6-foot-1, 170-pound catcher, athletic frame, lean strength. Excellent runner at his position, 6.95 laser timed 60. Right-handed hitter, slightly closed stance, short stride, gets off back side, good balance. Handsy type hitter, quick hands, line drive gap to gap in BP. 90 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm played short and over the top, 74 mph out of the crouch. 2.03-2.13 pop times.

6. Colin Brown, C, Bremen, 2018
Advanced physicality, strong wide shouldered build, strong lower half, 5-foot-10, 180-pound catcher. 1.93-2.02 pop times, quick release from a short over the top slot, ball carries at 77 mph. Active blocker, squares up well, bounce to recover. 7.31 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, wide setup, balanced stance, short stride. Shows bat strength, 83 mph exit velocity from the tee, opposite field contact in BP.

7. Brett Riegler, C, Downers Grove South, 2018
5-foot-11, 160-pound left-handed hitting catcher, average frame, longer torso. Advanced defender, soft hands, quick exchange, 1.94-2.07 pop times. Quiet receiver, sets up with taller lower half, flat back, keeps glove under the baseball. Blocks well, agile to his feet. Arm action is short and over the top, quick release 75 mph out of the crouch. Offensively hits from the left side, balanced stance, short stride. Path works uphill through the baseball, lifts. 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.64 runner in the 60.

8. Ben Chapman, C, Rochester, 2018
6-foot, 185-pound strong armed catcher. Advanced arm strength out of the chute for his age, carries well, typical short over the top catcher’s slot, quick release, accurate to the bag, 78 mph. Hands are soft, receives well, quick exchange, 2.01-2.11 pop times. Right-handed hitter, squared setup, short stride, loads hands up. Stays on backside, line drive gap to gap type approach, low effort. 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.52 runner in the 60.

9. Cam Redding, C, New Trier, 2018
6-foot-1, 197-pound catcher, solid athletic frame. Defensively arm action is quick short and over the top, 71 mph out of the crouch. Quick transfer, hands played soft, 2.04-2.16 pop times. Blocks well, shows agility. 7.69 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, slightly open, short stride. Worked the middle of the field, line drive gap to gap type, loose hands, short to the baseball. Flat through contact with extension.

10. Nick Jones, C, Providence, 2018
5-foot-10, 230-pound catcher, thick build with strength. Right-handed hitter, open stance, leg kick trigger, good balance. Bat strength present, 96 mph exit velocity from the tee, strong compact swing, some lift, power potential. Defensively uses a short over the top arm action, 73 mph out of the crouch. Exchange is quick, 2.03-2.12 pop times. Ran a 7.69 in the 60.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Diego Acosta, C, Niles West, 2018
6-foot, 185-pound catcher, solid average frame. Defensively arm action is long, over the top slot, accurate to the bag, carries at 76 mph out of the crouch. Athletic defender, exchange is clean with quickness. 1.97-2.07 pop times. Right-handed hitter, tall squared setup, short stride dives to foot strike. Shows bat strength, short path to the baseball, 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.39 runner in the 60.

Logan Anderson, C/INF, Providence Catholic, 2018
6-foot-1, 215-pound catcher/third baseman, stocky build. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, open stance, short stride. Strong bat, long path, 95 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm played short and over the top, 74 mph out of the crouch, 77 mph across the diamond. Pop times ate 2.12-2.19.

Nick Cecchi, C, Oswego, 2018
5-foot-8, 178-pound catcher, stocky thick build with strength. Efficient actions out of the chute, clean exchange, 2.12-2.18 pop times. Arm action is short and quick, over the top slot and accurate to target, 73 mph out of the crouch. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short leg lift stride, simple static setup. Uses the middle of the field, path stayed inside the baseball, short to it, uphill finish. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran the 60 at 8.03.

Braden Cox, C, Illini Bluffs, 2018
6-foot-3, 208-pound catcher. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, short stride to even, solid balance through contact. Path works uphill, flashed pop, swing lifts to pull side. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short, 72 mph out of the crouch, showed accuracy. Exchange is clean, 2.12-2.19 pop times. 7.73 runner in the 60.

Andrew Erickson, C, Tuscola, 2018
5-foot-9, 195-pound catcher, wide shouldered, stocky frame. Right-handed hitter, open stance, leg lift trigger. Showed pull side pop, lifts the baseball, uphill path. 90 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed arm strength at 79 mph, short over the top slot. 2.15-2.20 pop times. Ran a 7.91 60.

Luke Faifer, C, Minooka, 2018
6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher, athletic frame with lean strength. 7.09 runner in the 60. Left-handed hitter, open stance, tall setup, stride gets back to even, lower half works, average balance, simple approach. Path has length, uphill path, pull side contact. 92 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is firm and over the top, 73 mph out of the crouch. Pop times range 2.11-2.23.

Bryce Hellgeth, C/RHP, Saint Viator, 2018
6-foot-2, 200-pound two-way player, solid frame, strong lower half. On the mound works directionally down the hill, regular effort, some rhythm. Short over the top arm strength. Fastball sat 85-86 mph, touched 87 mph, showed feel for the bottom of the zone. Curveball has 11/5 shape, 68-72 mph, slight deceleration. Changeup is 70-75 mph. Defensively showed arm strength, 79 mph out of the crouch, 81 mph across the diamond. Arm works with length out of the crouch, some carry, high ¾ slot. 2.04-2.12 pop times. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, leg kick trigger, simple setup. Flashed hard contact, 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.08 runner in the 60.

Bryce Moskiewicz, C, Lyons Township, 2018
Stocky, strong build, wide shouldered, 5-foot-9, 187-pound catcher. Plus arm for his age out of the crouch, 82 mph from a short over the top slot, strong carry to the bag, raw arm strength, showed to be accurate. 2.07-2.22 pop times can improve with quicker exchange. 7.12 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, minimal loading action, simple strong approach. Bat strength creates hard contact, occasionally jumps off bat, lifts. 94 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Luke Muller, C, Plainfield North, 2018
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher, strong athletic build. Good runner at his position, 6.93 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, wider stance, crouched setup, heel lift trigger, good balance. Path plays uphill, gap to gap contact, flashed occasional pull pop. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 75 mph out of the crouch. 1.98-2.07 pop times.

Niko Pozzi, C, Mount Carmel, 2018
6-foot, 195-pound catcher, strong build. Right-handed hitter, open stance, leg lift stride. Solid contact, showed barrel control, raw pop, gap to gap type with pull pop. 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, average arm strength, 74 mph out of the crouch. Clean transfers, 2.07-2.19 pop times. 8.17 runner in the 60.

Alek Radicevich, C, Waubonsie Valley, 2018
Stocky frame, 5-foot-11, 180-pound catcher. Defensively showed arm strength out of the couch, 79 mph, long high ¾ action. 2.19-2.26 pop times. Right-handed hitter, open stance, reverse loading action, heel lift toe tap stride. Raw bat strength, flashed pull side pop. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.67 runner in the 60.

Logan Shepard, C Maroa-Forsyth, 2018
6-foot, 170-pound left-handed hitting offensive minded catcher, solid build with strength. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, short stride, good balance. Showed bat strength, simple loose hands, gets through the baseball, pull side lift contact in BP. 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action has some length, high ¾ slot, showed arm strength 78 mph out of the crouch. Pop times registered at 2.11-2.22. 7.52 runner in the 60.

Zac Styka, C, Mount Carmel, 2018
6-foot, 200-pound catcher, wide shoulder, strong build. Right-handed hitter, open stance, short stride back to square. Present bat strength, fast bat with some pull side tendency and pop. 90 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm played over the top, 76 mph out of the crouch. Plays tall out of the chute, 2.08-2.18 pop times. 7.82 runner in the 60.

Brett Swalve, C, Eastland, 2018
6-foot, 180-pound catcher, athletic frame. Defensively arm played over the top, showed accuracy, 77 mph, carried. Exchange gets long at times, feet work directionally, 2.05-2.14 pop times out of the crouch. Ran a 7.58 in the 60. Right-handed hitter, open stance, leg kick stride. Gap to gap type approach, level path, showed loose hands. 93 mph exit velocity from the tee.

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