Prep Baseball Report

Underclass Games: Catcher Analysis

By Illinois Scouting Staff

On July 23, we hosted one of the summer’s most high-profile 2021 showcases, Underclass Games at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Les Miller Field at Curtis Granderson Stadium.

We previously published our Statistical Analysis from the event as well as our Quick Hits post, but today we’ll begin our look at the players from each position, beginning with the day’s catchers.

One thing about this group: They peppered the top exit velo board. Four catchers earned a spot on the top-10 board for recorded exit velocity, including Underclass Games’ top-ranked backstop on the day: Wisconsin’s Joey Spence (West Bend East). The left-handed hitting catcher from West Bend looked capable at the plate in batting practice and it translated over seamlessly in-game, where he doubled. Behind the plate, Spence moves athletically and he has the catch-and-throw traits to continue developing positively as a receiver.

While Spence demonstrated an all-around skill set, Mason Roehr (Granite City, IL) crashed this top-five list with is loud bat that showed some power potential. The 6-foot-1 physical catcher produced one of the hardest exit velocity marks on the day and he used it well in the batter’s box.

Camden Janik (Wauconda, IL) impressed with arguably the most advanced defensive work on the day, displaying the top velocity out of the crouch among this group. He has the ability to make an impact at with the bat, too, regularly producing hard gap-to-gap contact in Chicago.

Below, we have detailed reports on each and every one of the catchers who made it out to Underclass Games last month. Tomorrow, we’ll examine the outfielders who attended the showcase with infielders and pitchers to come later in the week.


  1. Joey Spence, C, West Bend East (WI), 2021
    5-foot-9, 185-pound left-handed hitting catcher, compact build with strength. Hits from a slightly open stance, smooth loading action, small leg lift stride, strong lower half and maintains strong balance. Path is compact and strong, aggressive swing with intent, hands generate above average bat speed and strength. Natural hitter with feel for the barrel, above average hand eye, ball jumps off the barrel to the middle of the field. 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.69 runner down the line. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, flashed carry, 74 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.11-2.19. Above average receiver at his age, plays athletically behind the dish.

  2. Mason Roehr, C, Granite City (IL), 2021
    6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher, physical build, carries loose strength. Right-handed hitter, works out of a tall open setup, short toe tap stride. Well above average bat speed, for his age, showed pop to pull side, can get more lower half involved. Path has some length, gap to gap approach, fluid rhythm. 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action works over the top, 75 mph out of the crouch, played accurate. Pop times are 2.12-2.25, clean exchanges out of the crouch, stays low through release. Gets down the line at 4.50.

  3. Camden Janik, C, Wauconda (IL), 2021
    5-foot-9, 185-pound catcher, strong compact build. Plus armed defender for his age, gets carry at 79 mph, short over the top action that plays accurate. Hands are soft and clean, natural catching actions. Pop times ranged 2.08-2.19. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, short stride. Gets into lower half and occasionally lifts on uphill plane, strong hands and bat control, makes consistent hard contact, gap to gap type. 88 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.59 runner down the line.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Nathan Brinker, C/RHP, Naperville Central (IL), 2021
6-foot-2, 180-pound two-way player, long frame. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, leg kick stride. Path is long, works slightly uphill, made gap to gap contact. 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action works over the top, some length, 74 mph out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.25-2.32. On the mound delivery works slightly to open side. Long arm action, over the top slot. Fastball topped at 79 mph, ranged 73-78 mph. Curveball sat 58-59 mph.

Josh Caron, C, Sun Prairie (WI), 2021
5-foot-10, 170-pound catcher, strong sturdy frame, above average strength for his age. Right-handed hitter, open stance, long leg lift stride. Bat path is level, some length, shows bat strength, hits in rhythm. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Best tools showed behind the plate, arm flashed carry at 75 mph and gets out of the crouch quickly. Clean exchanges led to accurate throws and 2.04-2.11 pop times. 4.76 runner down the line.

Drew Ezard, C, Jacksonville (IL), 2021
6-foot-2, 205-pound catcher, large frame. Right-handed bat carries strength, balanced setup, short toe tap stride. Path is short with slight uppercut, 87 mph exit velocity from the tee. Above average arm strength for his age, 77 mph out of the crouch, over the top slot, flashed carry. Gets tall out of the crouch, feet work directional, short steps. 2.18-2.25 pop times. 4.92 runner down the line.

Ben Hartl, C, Springfield (IL), 2021
5-foot-9, 150-pound catcher, lean frame. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, slightly open, short stride, occasionally dives. Path is loose and creates bat speed, short uphill plane, occasional line drive contact. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. 4.79 runner home to first. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 76 mph out of the crouch. Occasionally gets uphill out of the chute, hands play soft clean exchange. 2.18-2.25 pop times.

Brian Rapanan, C/INF/RHP, Warren (IL), 2021
5-foot-7, 150-pound two-way player, compact build with present strength. Right-handed hitter, balanced spread stance, loads hands back, short stride, maintains balance throughout. Path is short and level through contact, gets extension, present bat speed. Spray line drive contact, 83 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and over the top, 75 mph out of the crouch, played at 77 mph across the diamond. Catcher/second base defensively profile, hands play soft and clean, athletic actions. 2.11-2.19 pop times. 4.68 runner down the line. On the mound arm action plays similar to that on the field, compact delivery, repeats. Fastball is mostly straight, 80-82 mph. Curveball played 70-72 mph, 11/5 action.

Anthony Vivian, C, Dodgeville (WI), 2021
5-foot-11, 190-pound catcher, strong physical make up. Right-handed hitter, tall open stance, short stride. Bat strength present, ball jumps off the bat at times, path works slightly uphill, middle of the field contact. 90 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed arm strength, 74 mph out of the crouch, over the top slot. Pop times ranged 2.19-2.32. 4.58 runner down the line.