Preseason I.D. - McHenry: Catcher Analysis


Illinois Scouting Staff

On Jan. 28, Prep Baseball Report held its third annual Preseason I.D. - McHenry event at the Pro Player Academy in McHenry, Illinois. Nearly 100 players registered and some of the best of the crop were featured at the catcher position. We’ll take a closer look at the position today.

Among the most impressive from the group were two underclass catchers: Logan Delgado (Antioch, 2020) and Camden Janik (Wauconda, 2021). Both showed advanced, natural skill at the position for their age and will be two names to follow as they mature further. There was also a number of 2019 follows, too: Ben Harris (Prairie Ridge), Evan Jewson (Crystal Lake South), and Jason Volpe (Lakes Community). All three of the aforementioned 2019s demonstrated athleticism from the crouch and showed promise in the batter’s box.

Harris, specifically, recorded the best pop time of the day at 1.97, that worked well in conjunction with his arm that flashed carry and accuracy. Delgado had the day’s hardest throws, topping at 79 mph, and also presented a next-level skillset as a hitter. Volpe and Jewson were two catchers who were more all-around performers and displayed strong blocking skills and efficient pop times, as well as a feel to hit.

Below is a look at all of the catchers in attendance:

TOP CATCHING PROSPECTS

1. Logan Delgado, C, Antioch, 2020
5-foot-11, 185-pound left-handed hitting catcher, solid build. Hits from a balanced stance, smooth load, leg kick trigger. Loose hands makes hard contact, path stays through the zone, creates line drive, gap to gap contact. 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, arm is accurate and carries on line, 79 mph. Natural defender, hands are soft, ability to block, easy actions, gains ground out of the crouch. 2.07-2.20 pop times. 4.29 runner down the line.

2. Ben Harris, C/RHP, Prairie Ridge, 2019
6-foot-2, 1709-pound two-way player, sloped shoulders, lean strength. Projects best behind the dish, advanced catch and throw prospect. Arm action is short and over the top, played accurate and carried well to target, 77 mph out of the crouch. Natural actions, hands are soft, quick clean release, pop times ranged 1.97-2.02. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, smooth loading action with leg lift trigger. Loose hands, creates whip, flashed hard contact on uphill path with bat speed. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.58 runner down the line. On the mound arm action is similar, regular effort on line with squared landing. Fastball is straight, 79-82 mph. Curveball has 10/4 shape, slider type sweeping action, 65-69 mph. Changeup fades to arm side, near fastball arm speed, 72-74 mph.

3. Camden Janik, C, Wauconda, 2021
5-foot-9, 175-pound catcher, strong stocky build. Defensively shows plus arm strength for his age, 77 mph out of the crouch, carried well, short, over the top slot and accurate. Soft hands, clean exchange, athletic defender, durable and willing blocker, pop times 2.11-2.18. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, slightly open stance, short stride, good balance. Strong hands, path is flat through the zone, gets extension, gap to gap approach. 79 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.69 runner home to first.

4. Evan Jewson, C, Crystal Lake South, 2019
6-foot-2, 175-pound catcher, proportional build. Defensively, arm action is short and over the top, played with carry to second, 77 mph. Athletic catcher, plays with bounce, agile block and recover, quick exchange, 2.07-2.17 pop times, soft hands and quiet receiver. Right-handed hitter, slightly open stance, crouched setup, short stride. Hits with strength and lift, uphill path. 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.69 runner down the line.

5. Jason Volpe, C, Lakes Community, 2019
6-foot-2, 190-pound left-handed hitting catcher, lean athletic frame. Hits from a balanced stance, smooth loading action, short stride. Strong simple approach, level path with bat speed and rhythm. 85 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.57 runner down the line. Defensively arm action plays over the top, 71 mph out of the crouch. Showed athleticism, agile block and recover, soft hands, quiet receiver. 2.13-2.19 pop times.

BEST OF THE REST (ALPHABETICALLY):

Daniel Contreras, C, Boylan Catholic, 2021
5-foot-10, 170-pound catcher. Right-handed hitter, open stance, reverse leg lift trigger, average balance. Bat strength present, hard contact, swings with intent. Path is short and uphill path, gap to gap type, fluid rhythm. 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. Arm plays from a high ¾ slot, occasional carry, 72 mph out of the crouch. Pop times range 2.18-2.33, flashes quick transfer. 4.87 runner down the line.

Hunter Dawson, C, Huntley, 2020
5-foot-9, 165-pound catcher, strong build. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, smooth leg lift stride, average balance. Showed bat speed, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short from a high ¾ slot, 70 mph out of the crouch. Long exchange, blocks well, 2.37-2.51 pop times. 4.82 runner in the 60.

Aidan Herrick, C, Richmond Burton, 2021
5-foot-7, 138-pound catcher, lean frame. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, short stride, simple swing, ability to repeat. Long path, line drive type, fluid rhythm. 74 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is long form a high ¾ slot, 67 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.40-2.51. 4.94 runner down the line.

Brock Jewson, OF/C, Crystal Lake South, 2021
6-foot, 150-pound catcher, lanky athletic frame. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, loads hands back, short stride, good balance. Simple approach, keeps head still, pull side approach, 78 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 66 mph out of the crouch, 69 mph from the outfield. Simple actions out of the chute, short footwork, 2.25-2.30 pop times.

Brice Klepfer, C/INF, Huntley, 2020
5-foot-7, 140-pound left-handed hitting catcher/infielder, small athletic build. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, some accuracy and carry, 70 mph out of the crouch, 76 mph across the infield. Bounces out of the crouch, athletic catcher, receives with two hands to clean transfer, 2.19-2.29 pop times. Left-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, good balance. Simple approach with feel for his barrel, path is short with slight uphill finish. 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.50 runner down the line.

Ethan Manaois, C, Huntley, 2021
5-foot-6, 130-pound catcher, thin frame. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, short stride. Loose easy simple swing, lacks present strength, uphill path. 74 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action has some length, high ¾ slot, 68 mph out of the crouch, 73 mph across the diamond. Transfers are clean, average hands for age. 2.19-2.25 pop times. 4.88 runner home to first.

Jake Masini, C, Prairie Ridge, 2020
6-foot, 155-pound catcher, lean athletic frame. Defensively arm plays short and over the top, 76 mph out of the crouch. Quick tendencies, athletic block and recover, 2.19-2.30 pop times. 4.41 runner down the line. Right-handed hitter, open stance, smooth loading, leg lift stride, average balance. Loose hands, uphill path, gap to gap contact. 77 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Brenden Naylor, C, Lake Zurich, 2021
5-foot-8, 135-pound catcher, thin young build. Right-handed hitter, narrow stance, minimal loading action, long stride. Path has length, line drive contact, 68 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 61 mph arm strength from the crouch. 2.54-2.64 pop times out of the crouch. 5.18 runner down the line.

Trevor Rockweiler, C, McHenry West, 2021
5-foot-11, 155-pound catcher. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, short stride. Level path with length, line drive contact, 79 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is long high ¾ slot, 65 mph out of the crouch. Pop times range 2.36-2.44. 4.90 runner home to first.

Drew Stengren, C, Cary-Grove, 2020
5-foot-11, 150-pound catcher. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, slightly dives to contact, average balance. Compact swing with middle of the field approach, showed ability to repeat and find the barrel. 78 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is shot and loose from an over the top slot. 73 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.15-2.19. Ran a 4.75 down the line.

Jimmy Taylor, C, Grant, 2020
5-foot-11, 180-pound catcher, strong build, wide shoulders. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, minimal load, short stride, good balance. Strong hands, strength creates bat speed, made hard contact. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 72 mph out of the crouch. 2.26-2.33 pop times, clean exchange. 4.51 runner down the line.

Tyler Waterson, INF/C, Woodstock, 2020
5-foot-11, 200-pound catcher, thick build with some strength. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride. Strong simple approach, lifted contact, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short from a high ¾ slot, 72 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.26-2.40. 5.22 runner home to first.

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