Prep Baseball Report

Top Prospect Showcase: Catching Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director - Illinois

The ability to hit from the left side is one of those tools that is most sought after at the next level. Now being able to catch and hit fro the left side makes you even more of a hot commodity.

The top four receivers at this year's Top Prospect Showcase all hit from the left side and Ian Kristan took one of the better round of the day. Kristan shows pop from the left side and showed to have the ability to hit at a high level.

Here's a look at our top ten catchers.

Top Catchers

1. Ian Kristan, C, Carmel Catholic HS, 2014
Physically impressive 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed hitting catcher. Kristan was one of the clear offensive standouts at the Top Prospect Showcase. Has a simple, repeatable swing, hitting from a wide, slightly crouched setup. Left-handed power bat, comfortably works both power alleys, creates excellent leverage with natural lift and backspin carry. Ball jumps off his bat. Maintains balance throughout, has strong hands and gets excellent extension after contact. Defensively, receives solidly and shows adequate footwork. Registered pop times ranged between 2.12-2.19.

2. Cody Freund, C/INF, McHenry West, 2014
5-foot-10, 140-pound left handed hitting catcher. Defensively uses an over the top arm slot, shows accuracy with slight carry, 76 mph from the crouch. Shows above average footwork out of the crouch, pop times ranged from 1.97-2.08. Offensively hits from the left side out of a slightly wider and open stance, no stride approach. Pull side approach, hits off back side, line drive guy, above average balance throughout.

3. Peyton Isaacson, C, Galesburg, 2015
6-foot, 180-pound left handed hitting catcher, frame shows some length. Defensively recorded pop times of 2.01-2.08. Arm action is long, high ¾ slot, gets carry to his target, 80 mph from the crouch. Hits from the left side, slightly open stance, short stride. Bat speed present, 83 mph exit velocity, path is mostly level, short to the baseball, occasional lift. Isaacson is a projectable left handed hitting catcher who should see expansive strides in the coming years.

4. Evan Sandmann, C/INF/OF, Lincoln-Way East, 2014
Athletic, 6-foot, 165-pound utility player. Sandmann showed a well-rounded game with the ability to perform at multiple positions. Behind the plate he showed a short, over the top arm action resulting in 1.94-2.01 pop times with arm strength of 81 mph from the crouch. On the infield he showed advanced arm strength at 86 mph with carry, longer arm action. He showed arm strength again in the outfield at 86 mph with carry. Offensively hits from the left side, slightly open stance. Flat bat path from load to finish, line drive guy, simple approach, works the middle of the field.

5. Andy Shadid, C/OF, Peoria Notre Dame, 2015
Physically advanced 6-foot, 180 pound multi-positional player. Posted pop times at 2.01-2.09 down to second. Arm works from an over the top slot, showed carry. Feet worked quickly, 6.82 runner in the 60. Arm plays at 78 mph from the crouch and 83 mph from the outfield. Offensively uses a no stride approach, strong hands, above average barrel awareness, 84 mph exit velocity from the tee.

6. Sam Heilenbach, C, Lyons Township, 2014
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound catcher showed potential in all facets of the showcase.  Heilenbach’s arm action is loose with length behind the plate and recorded pop times between 2.07 and 2.1, throwing 76 mph from the crouch.  He showed pop at the plate posting an 84 mph exit velocity.  His setup is balanced with a short stride.  Displayed an advanced bat path, short to the ball and level through the zone, gets full extension through the ball, excellent balance through finish.  He also ran a 7.39 60 at the event. 

7. Jonah Meidl Zahorodny, C,Wauwatosa East (WI), 2014
Average frame, shows strength, 5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher. Defensively showed directional foot work, works online toward his target. Arm works from a short over the top slot, showed consistent accuracy, showed arm strength, arm carries at 75 mph from the crouch. Pop times recorded at 2.09-2.19. In the outfield arm played at 83 mph. Offensively hit from a taller, narrow, slightly open stance. Shows bat speed, strong hands, occasionally showed a short path with extension. Solid balance throughout.

8. Zach Girard, C, Dundee Crown, 2014
5-foot-10, 170-pound receiver, solid build. Defensively posted pop times in the 2.01-2.11 range, arm showed accuracy, over the top slot. Offensively hits from an open stance, short stride with slight dive. Showed bat speed, 84 mph exit velocity, front foot tendencies, handsy swing with whip. 7.19 runner in the 60.

9. Glen Kubek, C, De La Salle, 2014
Physically developed left handed hitting catcher, mature build, 6-foot-4, 210-pounds. Hits from the left side, tall, open stance, smooth load, short stride approach. Pull hitter, shows pull side pop, 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed soft hands. Arm action is long, over the top slot, showed accuracy, 71 mph from the crouch, long transfer. 2.11-2.19 pop time.

10. Adam Harvey, C, Antioch, 2014
Solid build, 5-foot-11, 185-pound catcher. Defensively posted pop times at 2.04-2.15. Arm works from an over the top slot, short arm action, efficient catchers’ arm, shows carry, 75 mph arm strength from the crouch. Offensively hit from a balanced stance, short stride approach. Bat path works uphill, 82 mph exit velocity.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Matt Banaitis, C, Chatham Glenwood, 2014
6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver. Arm plays at 72 mph from the crouch, short arm action, over the top slot, occasional accuracy. Pop times ranged from 2.24-2.33. Offensively hits from a balanced setup, short stride. Lower half has minimal involvement, 78 mph exit velocity. 7.93 runner in the 60.

Shawn Chiaramonte, 3B/C, Richards, 2014
6-foot, 170-pound catcher/third baseman. Out of the crouch posted 2.02-2.18 pop times, deliberate footwork, 73 mph arm behind the plate. On the infield arm played at 77 mph, firm arm action, third base type. Offensively hits from a balanced stance, slightly narrow, long strided. Bat path showed length, level plane, solid balance throughout.

Kevin Coppin, C, Lisle HS, 2014
5-foot-11, 185-pound left-handed hitting catcher. Helped lead Lisle to the Class 2A state championship. Hits from a slightly open setup, quiet mechanics, short stride, barrel whip through the zone. Maintains solid balance through contact. Defensively, had a top pop time of 2.10, and was clocked at 69 mph from the crouch. Also ran a 7.57 60.

Clay Gale, C, La Crosse Central (WI), 2014
6-foot, 185-pound catcher. Defensively Gale showed a clean exchange, arm plays long from a high ¾ arm slot, showed accuracy and occasional carry. Pop times range from 2.18-2.26, arm played at 75 mph from the crouch. Footwork is fluid, 7.19 60 time. Offensively hits from an open stance, minimal stride, lower half works, solid balance through contact. 77 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Freddie Landers, C/OF, Grayslake Central, 2014
Long legged, 6-foot-1, 175-pound multi-positional player, athletic build with length. Behind the plate posted pop times at 2.1-2.25. Worked uphill out of the crouch, arm played at 73 mph, short arm action. In the outfield arm played at 77 mph, deliberate routes to the baseball. Offensively hits from a slightly open stance, short stride. Showed the ability to find the barrel, 82 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Joey Morris, C, Stevenson, 2014
Sturdy build, 5-foot-11, 185-pound left handed hitting catcher. Defensively recorded his best pop time of 2.05. Arm works from a high ¾ slot, short arm action, showed occasional accuracy, 74 mph. Deliberate foot work, 7.58 runner in the 60. Offensively hits from the left side, no load, no stride approach. Lower half lacked involvement, strictly hands approach.

Connor Quinn, C, Schaumburg, 2014
Quinn is a 6-foot-3, 175-pound catcher, frame shows length, some projection.  Defensively showed some accuracy down to second, shorter arm action, over the top slot, 69 mph out of the crouch. Posted 2.25-2.33 pop times. Offensively hits off back side, arm bar load, 78 mph exit velocity off the tee. Ran a 7.76 60. 

Charles Zeschke, C, Richards, 2014
5-foot-10, 170-pound catcher. Short over the top arm action, occasional accuracy, 67 mph out of the crouch, 2.11-2.3 pop times. Deliberate foot work, 7.28 runner in the 60. Offensively hits from an open stance, level bat path, 80 mph exit velocity from the tee.

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