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Preseason All-State: Catcher Analysis


By Illinois Scouting Staff

On Feb. 10, PBR Illinois hosted one of its biggest showcases on its annual calendar: Preseason All-State. This invite-only showcase brings together the state’s best talent in its 2020 class, and all that talent was certainly on display at The MAX last month. Well over 100 of Illinois’ best juniors made it to McCook on Sunday, many of whom remain uncommitted.

Today marks the start of our position-by-position analysis, beginning with the event’s backstops.

Of the 16 catchers who took reps from behind the plate, we narrowed the rankings to a top five, listed below. Danville’s Trevor Davis (Eastern Illinois) came into the day as the top ranked prospect among them in Illinois’ 2019 class, and re-substantiated his standing on the junior rankings. His left-handed bat separated him from the rest of the group.

Warren’s Thomas Kenney is unranked in his state’s class, but that’s not going to last. Kenney’s performances at two showcases in early 2019, including his work at Preseason All-State, have him trending way up headed into the spring. Once again, he showed excellent feel in the right-handed batter’s box, repeatedly making hard gap-to-gap contact during batting practice.

Check out the detailed scouting reports on Davis, Kenney, and the 14 backstops who joined them at The MAX last month. Stay tuned later today, when we break down the outfielders from the high-profile showcase.

For now, here’s all you need to know on the state’s top 2020 catchers.

TOP PROSPECTS

1. Trevor Davis, C, Danville, 2020
Eastern Illinois commit. 6-foot, 185-pound catcher, athletic strong build. Left-handed hitter, balanced stance, smooth loading action, short stride, good balance through contact. Path is short and uphill, advanced bat speed, flashed pop. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. 1.94-2.05 pop times, out of the crouch, long release, quick glove-to-hand transfer. Arm is long and over the top, 81 mph, showed carry.

2. Mike Schicker, C, Riverside-Brookfield, 2020
6-foot-3, 200-pound catcher, strong athletic build, projectable frame. Arm action is short and loose, over the top slot, plus arm strength, flashed premium carry, 83 mph out of the crouch, played accurate. Exchange is quick and clean, quick footwork, 1.94-2.01 pop times. Right-handed hitter with slightly wider setup, toe tap stride. Gets to front foot, drifts at times, bat path has length and gets extension. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.41 runner in the 60.

3. Jack Kuchel, C, Sandburg, 2020
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher, strong athletic build. Right-handed hitter, slightly crouched and open setup, short stride, strong balance. Bat path showed extension, slightly uphill, hits in rhythm. Barrel aware, made hard contact to all fields, power potential bat. 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, flashed carry, 79 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.02-2.12, quick release. Above average athlete at the position, ran the 60 at 6.94.

4. Isaac Crabb, C, Harrisburg, 2020
6-foot-2, 200-pound catcher, sturdy strong build, solid lower half. Plus arm strength out of the crouch, played over the top with slight length, carried well at 81 mph. 1.95-2.06 pop times, exchange is quick and clean, feet are direct, release has slight length. Cushions the block and showed soft hands receiving. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, leg kick trigger, athletic balance. Path is short, showed bat strength, hard line drive contact to the middle of the field. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.49 runner in the 60.

5. Thomas Kenney, C, Warren, 2020
5-foot-11, 205-pound catcher, strong sturdy build, compact frame. Right-handed hitter, athletic setup, slightly crouched and quiet, short stride, excellent balance through contact. Bat path is short and fast, gap to gap approach, hard barrel contact, ball jumps of the bat, well above average pull side power. 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm plays over the top, 76 mph out of the crouch. 2.09-2.19 pop times. Advanced runner, 6.84 in the 60 yard dash.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Bryan Broecker, C/INF, Notre Dame, 2020
6-foot-1, 185-pound catcher/infielder, lean strong frame. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, loads hands back, short stride, lower half works, good balance through contact. Above average bat speed, short path, line drive contact in BP. 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm played long and loose, accurate across the diamond, 79 mph out of the crouch, 81 mph across the diamond. 2.02-2.11 pop times. Plus runner, 6.84 in the 60 yard dash.

Cole Conn, C/OF, St. Charles East, 2020
5-foot-11, 165-pound switch hitting catcher/outfielder, athletic frame, loose and live. Defensively plays easy with bounce in his step, actions play smooth in the outfield working through the baseball. Soft hands out of the crouch, quick transfer, quiet receiver. 1.98-2.04 pop times. Arm played short and loose, carried well, played at 87 mph from the outfield, 78 mph out of the crouch. Switch hitter, sets up balanced, short stride and smooth loading action. Loose hands, creates bat speed, path stays on top of the baseball. 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.05 runner in the 60.

Kyle Czarnecki, C, Minooka, 2020
5-foot-8, 179-pound right-handed hitting catcher, strong physical frame, compact build. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, slightly wide, short reverse toe tap trigger, good balance through contact. Compact bat speed, path is short, line drive gap to gap approach, hard middle of the field contact. 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran a 7.12 in the 60. Defensively arm played short and over the top, 73 mph out of the crouch. Two-handed receive and exchange, solid block, average hands. 2.13-2.22 pop times out of the crouch.

Nicholas Hemken, C, Edwardsville, 2020
6-foot-2, 195-pound catcher, lean strong frame. Right-handed hitter, tall balanced stance, arm bar load and short stride, static and quiet pre pitch. Path works slightly uphill, casted at times, 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. 2.19-2.26 pop times, footwork is fluid out of the crouch. Arm played 70 mph, over the top slot. 7.51 runner in the 60.

Johnny Hernandez, C, Plainfield South, 2020
5-foot-11, 165-pound catcher, solid build. Right-handed hitter, open stance, short leg lift stride, in rhythm load. Path has length, uphill plane, pull side approach. 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 77 mph out of the crouch. Hands played soft receiving the baseball, clean exchange, 2.10-2.25 pop times. 7.40 runner in the 60.

Ben Kouri, C, Peoria Notre Dame, 2020
6-foot, 180-pound switch hitting catcher, strong build. Hits from a slightly open stance, short stride, similar setup and pre pitch actions from both sides. Feel for the barrel from both sides, path is more compact and on top from the right side, left-handed swing plays with more lift. 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. Arm played long and over the top, 76 mph out of the crouch. 2.10-2.16 pop times. 7.03 runner in the 60.

Jake Masini, C, Prairie Ridge, 2020
6-foot, 160-pound catcher, athletic lean frame. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, leg kick trigger, athletic and on time. Path is slightly uphill, made line drive contact in BP, occasional top spin contact. 81 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm strength is present, short over the top slot, carries to target, 79 mph out of the crouch. Pop times posted at 2.13-2.23, exchange has some length. Ran the 60 at 7.18.

Matthew Murphy, C, Notre Dame, 2020
5-foot-11, 185-pound catcher, solid build, durable lower half. Defensively showed above average actions, gets out of the crouch quick and clean, transfer is efficient, direct footwork. 1.96-2.09 pop times. Comfortable and confident receiver. Arm action is short and over the top, accurate to target, 81 mph out of the crouch. Right-handed hitter, tall open stance. Aggressive swing with effort, attacks the baseball, path is long and works uphill, pull side power approach. 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.17 runner in the 60.

Luke Napleton, C, St. Rita, 2020
6-foot, 180-pound catcher, solid build with strength. Right-handed hitter, open stance, leg lift trigger, on time and in rhythm. Path is long and uphill, flashed hard pull side contact, above average bat strength. 92 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short, over the top slot, accurate at times, 75 mph out of the crouch. 2.09-2.14 pop times out of the crouch, hands played soft. 7.70 runner in the 60.

Lucas Ryan, C, Chatham-Glenwood, 2020
6-foot, 175-pound left-handed hitting catcher, lean proportional frame. Hits out of a balanced setup, short stride, maintains balance through contact. Hits in rhythm, above average bat speed, line drive contact, worked the middle of the field and showed the ability to spray the baseball. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action has length, high ¾ slot, 74 mph out of the crouch. 2.12-2.19 pop times, release can shorten up, light feet out of the crouch. 7.24 runner in the 60.

Ben Wright, C, Benet, 2020
6-foot-1, 195-pound catcher, strong build. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, loads hands back, slight late bat wrap, minimal stride. Path has length, contact jumped off the bat at times, flashed above average pop. 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is long loose and over the top, played at 75 mph out of the crouch. Squares up well to block, clean exchange, 2.10-2.30 pop times. 6.95 runner in the 60.

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