Prep Baseball Report

Top Prospect Games: Catching Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Illinois and Wisconsin

The Class of 2016 Top Prospect Games on July 23-24 featured many of the top rising sophomores from Illinois and Wisconsin at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s pristine Les Miller Field. Over the course of the two-day, invitation-only event, many players emerged as high-interest prospects.

The catcher crop at the event was especially impressive … for various reasons. Left-handing hitting Ben Rortvedt (Verona Area HS, WI) showed off high-level tools and already has man-strength. Cal Elvers (Sprinfield Sacred Heart-Griffin HS, IL) had the best arm strength (81 mph from crouch) and barreled baseballs to the left side consistently. Bryce Gray (Homewood-Flossmoor HS, IL) has a polished right-handed swing and excellent footwork defensively. Jackson Kinzer (Port Washington HS, WI) is a top-level receiver with arm strength. Nick Price (Waubonsie Valley HS, IL) is a versatile performer who can swing it.

Complete analysis of the catchers at the Class of 2016 Top Prospect Games:

Cal Elvers, C, Sacred Heart Griffin (IL), 2016
Elvers is a 5-foot-11, 160-pound receiver. Elvers showed some of the best arm strength we’ve see for his age. Clocked at 81 mph from the crouch, he recorded pop times of 2.19-2.22. His arm shows excellent carry from a short over the top arm action. Elvers stands up out of his crouch abruptly and takes longer to get rid of it but his 81 mph arm makes up for it. With a quicker approach out of the crouch Elvers pop times could see significant improvements. At the plate hits from a balanced stance, smooth load, with a short stride, solid balance throughout. Bat speed present, 84 mph exit velocity, short path with gap to gap tendencies. Elvers is one of the stronger armed catchers in the Class of 2016. His receiving skills and arm strength will make him one of the hottest catchers in the class.

Jackson Dvorak, C/3B, Providence, 2016
Physical 5-foot-11, 185-pound catcher and third-baseman. Frequently found the barrel making hard contact during BP. Displayed bat speed and full extension with balance throughout the swing – registering an 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed soft hands overall. Behind the plate recorded pop-times ranging 2.17-2.25 at 68 mph from the crouch. At third he threw 70 mph across the diamond.

Bryce Gray, C, Homewood-Floosmoor (IL), 2016
5-foot-10, 180-pound catcher, sturdy build, athletic, also showed the ability to play a corner infield position. Advanced offensive approach, looks to be one of the stronger hitters in the Class of 2016. Hits from a balanced stance, highly athletic setup, short stride approach. Lower half works, showed solid balance throughout. Advanced bat speed, 82 mph exit velocity, gap to gap line drive hitter, shows rhythm. Run producing type hitter. Defensively showed a loose arm action from an over the top slot from the crouch, showed accuracy through his target with carry. 71 mph arm strength from the crouch. 2.09-2.22 pop times. Gray is a high energy player on the field and has all the characteristics of a team leader. High follow 2016 prospect.

Jack Kinzer, C, Port Washington (WI), 2016
Athletic build, 6-foot, 175-pound catcher. Well above average defensive actions behind the plate, mechanically sound blocking the baseball. Arm works well from the crouch, stays online, loose over the top slot, with accuracy, 75 mph from the crouch. Posted pop times of 2.04-2.11. Hits from a slightly open stance, smooth load, short stride approach. Lower half works, shows good balance through finish. Showed bat speed with extension, short path with rhythm. Line drive guy, worked both gaps, flashes pull side power potential. Kinzer is one of the best 2016 catchers in the state and shows a serious feel for the game behind the dish.

Nick Price, C/3B, Waubonsie Valley, 2016
5-foot-10, 165-pound catcher and third-baseman went 4-8 (one double) with hard contact through two Top Prospect Games. Showed gap power to his pull side during batting practice, hitting with bat speed, a level bat path, and balance throughout (78 mph exit off the tee). Defensively registered pop-times between 2.0-2.1 – threw 74 mph from the crouch and 78 mph across the diamond with some carry. Price also ran a 4.5 home-to-first. Price found himself all the place in his two days at the Top Prospect Games, filling in at multiple positions as well as his primary Price made plays and came to bat in key situations. His solid skill set should play well at the next level.

Ben Rortvedt, C/OF, Verona Area (WI), 2016
Highly physical 2016 prospect, shows advanced strength, 5-foot-10, 170-pound left handed hitting catcher and outfielder. Rortvedt was one of the most eye catching prospects at the event. Hitting from the left side he showed easy explosive bat speed. Posted exit velocity of 92 mph from the tee. Hit from a balanced stance, lower half worked well, good balance throughout. Advanced bat speed, impressive whip through the zone. Showed advanced approach at the plate in game, showed the ability to take what is given and hit the ball where its pitched with hard contact. Went 4-for-7 with a double. Advanced foot speed, excellent base runner. Defensively showed improved hands behind the plate, highly agile, high flexibility. Arm played at 79 mph from the crouch, over the top slot, with accuracy and carry. Recorded event best 2.00 pop time. Rortvedt is physically impressive, it is obvious to see he puts in hard work and should progress at a steady pace. The left handed hitting catcher is a high follow in Wisconsin and the region.

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