Underclass Trials: Catcher Analysis


Phil Kerber
Assoc. Scout/JUCO Wire Editor

On June 6, PBR Illinois hosted the state’s Underclass Trials at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg, which provided a platform for approximately 100 of Illinois’ best and brightest 2020 and 2021 prospects. This week, we break down the day’s prospects position by position, beginning today with the catchers from the event.

There were a few standout backstops, 2020s Mike Schicker (Riverside-Brookfield), Aaron Montgomery (Woodstock North), and Connor Cassady (Lyons Township), who all carried the traits it’ll take to progress well at the position moving forward – see how they ranked among the top five below.

For a look at the event’s previously published statistical analysis CLICK HERE.

TOP PROSPECTS

1. Mike Schicker, C, Riverside-Brookfield, 2020
6-foot-3, 200-pound, strong, durable, athletically-built, catcher. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, throws on target with carry, 78 mph out of the crouch. Soft receiver, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times ranged between 2.00-2.08. Offensively, right-handed hitter, balanced setup, hands load back smoothly, leg lift stride, maintains good balance. Gap-to-gap hitter, hands work loosely, fluid rhythm, long barrel path, present bat speed, 89 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.92 laser-timed 60.

2. Aaron Montgomery, C, Woodstock North, 2020
5-foot-10, 165-pound, strong, durable frame, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced, closed setup, short stride, maintains good balance through contact. Simple approach, line drive type hitter with some gap-to-gap, level barrel path with extension through the zone, fluid rhythm, present bat speed, 88 mph exit velocity. Defensively, over-the-top slot, short arm action, kept throws around the bag, 77 mph out of the crouch. Fields position athletically, soft hands, footwork and exchanges are quick and clean, active blocker, pop times ranged 2.00-2.07. Ran a 7.73 60.

3. Connor Cassady, C/RHP, Lyons, 2020
6-foot-3, 180-pound, lanky, athletically-built two-way prospect. Defensively, traditional catcher’s actions, short, over-the-top slot, throws on target with easy effort, 74 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times ranged between 2.11-2.19. Offensively, right-handed, open setup, hands load back. Line drive contact, loose hands, long, level barrel path, 78 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.87 laser-timed 60. On the mound, long, loose arm action, high ¾ slot, easy effort. Tall and fall delivery, smooth rhythm, momentum works down the mound towards home, lands square, finishes athletically out front. Fastball, consistent sink action, run at-times, some tilt, commanded, 78-81, touched 82. Curveball, 12/6 shape, feel for, 63-70. Changeup, fastball arm speed, fade action, thrown with conviction, 62-69.  

4. Ben Kouri, C, Peoria Notre Dame, 2020
5-foot-11, 180-pound, strong, switch-hitting catcher. Offensively, wide, open setup, smooth load, short stride, maintains good balance through contact. Simple approach, gap-to-gap type hitter, quick twitch actions, loose hands, short, uphill barrel path through the zone, present bat speed, 87 mph exit velocity from the right-side, 86 from the left. Defensively, short, firm arm action, over-the-top slot. Fields position athletically soft receiver, fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, 76 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.10-2.33. Ran a 7.36 laser-timed 60.

5. Alejandro Del Valle, C, St. Laurence, 2020
6-foot, 175-pound, strong, right-handed hitting catcher. Defensively, traditional catcher’s arm action, short, over-the-top, kept throws around the bag with some carry, 75 mph out of the crouch. Flashed soft hands, fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, pop times ranged 2.11-2.19. Athletic blocker. Offensively, wide, balanced setup, short stride. Pull hitter, long barrel path through the zone, some easy effort, 81 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.55 laser-timed 60.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Andrew Briggs, C, Normal Community, 2021
6-foot, 155-pound, catcher. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, wraps barrel at load, leg kick timing trigger, maintains balance, 78 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, long arm action, high ¾ slot, 70 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.46-2.60. Ran an 8.30 60.

Kyle Czarnecki, C, Minooka, 2020
5-foot-7, 170-pound, strong, compact frame, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced setup, smooth load, reverse toe tap stride, maintains balance through contact. Pull-side hitter, long barrel path through the zone, uses strength, 90 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, throws routinely on target, 75 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.15-2.26. Ran a 7.35 laser-timed 60.

Dominic Ferrari, C/RHP, Alleman Catholic, 2021
6-foot-1, 170-pound, physically-built two-way prospect. Offensively, right-handed hitter, tall, open setup, barrel wrap on load, long stride. Pull hitter, long, uphill barrel path, 84 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.72 laser-timed 60. Defensively, behind the plate, long arm action, high ¾ slot, 75 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.22-2.29. On the mound, long, loose arm action, high ¾ slot. Drop and drive delivery, smooth rhythm, shoulders stay level, lands square. Fastball, slight cut at-times, located, 76-78, touched 79. Curveball, 11/5 shape, gradual break, 61-64. Changeup, mostly straight, 64-66.  

Alec Flamm, C, Andrew, 2020
6-foot-1, 170-pound, lanky, athletically-built cather. Offensively, right-handed hitter, loose actions, fluid rhythm,  open setup, leg kick timing-trigger, long, uphill barrel path, 75 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.34 laser-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ slot, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, plays through the ball, 75 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.30-2.40.

Xavier Frazier, OF/C, Homewood-Flossmoor, 2020
5-foot-8, 176-pound athletic, outfielder and catcher. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, short stride, slight load back. Level barrel path, line drive contact, omakes hard contact at times, 82 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.14 60. Defensively, long arm action, over-the-top slot, clean on exchanges behind the plate, 69 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.36-2.44. In the outfield, similar arm actions, moves athletically, plays through the ball, 74 mph from the outfield.

Lee Hodges III, C, De La Salle, 2020
6-foot-2, 195-pound, strong, athletically-built catcher. Offensively, balanced setup, fluid rhythm, smooth load, toe-tap stride. Gap-to-gap hitter, uphill barrel path, present bat speed, 89 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short, loose arm action, ¾ slot, clean exchanges, 71 mph out of the crouch, pop times 2.25-2.35. Ran a 7.77 laser-timed 60.

Colin Lehmann, C/1B, Barrington, 2020
6-foot-1, 201-pounds, strong, durable-build, catcher and first baseman. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, fluid rhythm, reverse toe tap stride. Gap-to-gap type hitter, attacks the ball, long barrel path through the zone, maintains strength through contact, 95 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran an 8.07 laser-timed 60. Defensively, behind the plate, short arm action, over-the-top slot, quick, clean exchanges, 68 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.25-2.30. At first base, long arm action, over-the-top slot, 72 mph across the infield.

Ryan Maloney, C, Providence Catholic, 2020
6-foot-2, 220-pound, strong, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced setup, loads back, short stride, maintains good balance. Long, level barrel path, pull-side tendency, fluid rhythm, 88 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, slot varied between over-the-top and high ¾, kept throws around bag with some carry, 75 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged, 2.22-2.34. Ran an 8.07 60.

Leo Miller, C, New Trier, 2021 
5-foot-10, 190-pound, strong, compact frame, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, wide, balanced setup, long leg lift stride, maintains balance. Power hitter, barrel path is short through the zone, gains extension, 81 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, long arm action, over-the-top slot, 67 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times 2.38-2.44. Ran an 8.01 laser-timed 60.

Daniel Mulcare, C/3B, Glenbard West, 2021
6-foot-4, 180-pound, lanky catcher and third baseman, extra large frame. Offensively, right-handed hitter, balanced, open setup, barrel wrap load, short stride. Level barrel path, line drive contact, 82 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, slot varied between ¾ and low ¾, 69 mph across the infield, 66 out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.30-2.44. Ran an 8.19 laser-timed 60.

Luke Napleton, C, St. Rita, 2020
6-foot, 180-pound, strong, athletic catcher. Offensively, tall, balanced setup, hands load back, leg kick timing-trigger, maintains good balance. Gap-to-gap type hitter, easy effort, short, uphill barrel path, 86 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, works downhill, deliberate actions, 73 mph out of the crouch. Soft receiver, fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, pop times ranged 2.14-2.25.  

Benji Ries, C, Stevenson, 2021
5-foot-11, 180-pound athletic catcher. Offensively, right-handed hitter, open setup, long leg lift stride, maintains good balance through contact. Fluid rhythm, pull-side tendency, back spins fly balls, long, uphill barrel path, present bat speed, 84 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short, over-the-top slot, fluid footwork, 71 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.28-2.38. Ran an 8.26 alser-timed 60.

Daniel Rogers, C, Grayslake Central, 2020
6-foot-1, 180-pound, left-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced setup, short stride, maintains balance. Long, uphill barrel path, line drive contact,74 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short, over-the-top slot, soft, steady receiver, 69 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.29-2.40. Ran an 8.02 laser-timed 60.

Jake Rudolph, C, Crystal Lake Central, 2020
6-foot, 150-pound, lanky catcher. Offensively, right-handed hitter, open setup, loads back, maintains balance through contact. Long barrel path, loose hands, fluid rhythm, 76 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.87 laser-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, clean on exchanges, 67 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.31-2.44.

Nick Scroppo, C/INF, Peotone, 2020
5-foot-11, 150-pound, lanky frame, catcher and middle infielder. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, hands load back, reverse toe tap stride, long, level barrel path through the zone, flashed hard contact, 72 mph exit velocity. Defensively,  long arm action, high ¾ slot on the infield, over-the-top behind the plate, quick on exchanges and with footwork. Clocked at 72 across the infield, 68 behind the plate, pop times ranged 2.15-2.26. Ran a 7.69 laser-timed 60.

Patrick Straub, C/RHP, Metea Valley, 2020
6-foot-2, 165-pound, athletically-built, projectable frame, two-way prospect. Offensively, right-handed, open, balanced setup, short stride. Fluid rhythm, line drive hitter, flashed hard contact, loose, 89 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, kept throws on target with carry, 78 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.09-2.20. Ran a 7.93 laser-timed 60. On the mound, short, loose arm action, high ¾ slot, regular effort. Tall and fall delivery, lands square, finishes upright with slight recoil. Fastball, some run, 81-82. Slider, 10/4 shape, occasional sharp action, 64-72. Changeup, mostly straight, 66-71.

Bodie Turner, C/3B/RHP, St. Rita, 2021
6-foot-3, 212-pound, two-way prospect, strong, thick upper and lower halves, extra large frame. Offensively, right-handed hitter, wide, balanced setup, short stride. Power, pull hitter, long, uphill barrel path, 86 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short, high ¾ slot behind the plate and in the field. 70 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.37-2.44. 72 mph across the infield. Ran an 8.01 laser-timed 60. On the mound, short arm action, slot varied between high ¾ and over-the-top, tilt and topple delivery. Fastball, cutting action at-times, 73 mph, touching 74 once. Curveball, 11/5 shape, gradual break, 63-66. Changeup, fade action, feel for, 68-70.   

Cade Turner, C/INF/RHP, Lincoln-Way East, 2020
5-foot-11, 155-pound, lanky frame, right-handed hitting two-way prospect. Defensively, at catcher, arm action works short, over-the-top, 74 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.26-2.36. On the infield, long arm action, high ¾ slot, kept throws around bag, 75 mph across the infield. Offensively, balanced setup, smooth load, short stride, 80 mph exit velocity off a tee. On the mound, short, loose arm action, high ¾ slot, regular effort. Tall and fall delivery, works on-line, lands open, finishes athletically with slight recoil. Fastball, sinking action, down in the zone for strikes, 74-76, touching 77. Curveball, 11/5 shape, gradual break, 59-61. Split-finger, some tumble, 62-64. Ran an 8.26 laser-timed 60.

Joshua Williams, C, Plainfield Central, 2020
5-foot-9, 150-pound, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced setup, loads back, short stride. Long, uphill barrel path, made contact to all fields, 84 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.80 laser-timed 60. Defensively, long arm action, ¾ slot, long on exchanges, 73 mph out of the crouch, pop times between 2.35-2.44.

Reece Zonts, C, Elgin Academy, 2021
6-foot-1, 165-pound, left-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, open setup, hands load back, short left lift stride, maintains good balance. Long barrel path, flashed line drive contact, 86 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, 69 mph out of the crouch, pop times ranged 2.37-2.46. Ran a 7.70 laser-timed 60.

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