Class of 2015 Games: Catching Analysis



By Sean McCann
Prep Baseball Report Kansas

The Kansas Class of 2015 Games took place on Wednesday, August 6th at Trusler Sports Complex in Emporia, Kansas.  This first-ever event featured a number of the top uncommitted seniors from across the state.

There were several two-way players (pitcher + position player) at this event, but keep in mind that the evaluations below are based on the position player side only.  In the next week we will be reporting on the pitchers in this event, a group that also includes the two-way players.  When we do our state player rankings we take the overall player into account. 

Below are the scouting reports on the catchers that participated in the event.  The talent level among the catching group was high and loaded with college baseball prospects.  Tyler Garrison (Mill Valley) stood out above all with a strong, durable frame while flashing across the board tools - in particular, a left-handed bat that projects.

Reid Fehr was impressive again – the very strong football/baseball athlete for Topeka Seaman launched line drives in the gaps in batting practice, ran a 4.28 home to first base and showed solid defensive skills in both the outfield and behind the plate. 

The surprise among the catchers was Olathe East’s Thomas Williams, who missed the 2014 spring season due to injury.  The thin, athletic-framed Williams was also solid in all areas and impressed with an advanced middle of the field approach at the plate and at 6-foot-1, 170-pounds is nowhere close to being done physically. 

Another thin, projectable athlete Fort Scott's Mason Knopp rounds out the top prospect list.  Knopp showed bat speed, quickness behind the plate, ran a sub 4.30 home to first base and made easy, accurate throws with carry.

Click on the player's headline link to be directed to their profile with video from their performance.

Top Prospects

1. Tyler Garrison, C, Mill Valley, 2015
Garrison is a physical 6-foot, 200-pound left-hand hitting catcher.  Balanced set-up at the plate, slightly open stance, simple hand load, minimal inline stride, slightly uphill bat path, fast bat, excellent balance and extension though the baseball.  Repeatedly squared up the baseball in batting practice.  Line drive gap-to-gap approach.  Exit velocity 85 mph, 4.27 home to first base from the left side.  Advanced approach, power projection.  Behind the plate showed quick feet, short over-the-top throw, quick release, 1.91-2.08 pop times, 77 mph throwing velocity - top mark in camp.  Most throws were accurate, on the inside of the bag.  Left-hand hitting catchers are rare and Garrison stood out defensively and can swing it with authority – he is one of the top uncommitted class of 2015 prospects in the area. 

2. Reid Fehr, C/OF, Topeka Seaman, 2015
Fehr is a very strong 5-foot-10, 195-pound catcher and outfielder.  At the plate showed a tall, athletic set-up and inline stance, mini-leg kick, inline stride with a short hand load.  Showed bat speed and extension while maintaining balance throughout.  One of the more impressive rounds of batting practice, repeatedly driving the ball in the gaps and showing an advanced middle-oppo approach built to hit for a high average.  Exit velocity high was 85 mph.  Ran a 4.28 home to first base – an impressive number considering how physical he is.  Behind the plate has quick footwork and a short, quick high three-quarters throwing motion.  Throws to second base were clocked consistently in the 1.94-1.99 range with one throw clocked at a camp best 77 mph and mostly accurate throws.  In the outfield fielded everything cleanly, worked through the ball well, throws had carry, high three-quarters arm slot, short arm action, top velocity of 81 mph.  Fehr is one of the top uncommitted class of 2015 prospects in the area.

3. Thomas Williams, C, Olathe East, 2015
Williams is a thin, athletic 6-foot-1, 170-pound right-hand hitting catcher.  Offensively starts with a tall, athletic set-up and inline stance.  Strides inline, fluid hand load, fast bat, explosive lower half, short bat path.  Balance throughout and extension.  Easy, simple swing with advanced line drive, gap-to-gap approach.  Flattened the ball out in the middle of the field during batting practice.  82 exit velocity, 4.53 home to first base time from the right side.  Defensively showed quick feet and quick release.  Short, easy, three-quarters throwing motion.  Throws had carry.  72 throwing velocity, 1.97-2.10 pop time range.  All throws on or near the bag at second.  Athletic, projectable class of 2015 catching prospect with plenty of room to fill out.

4. Mason Knopp, C, Fort Scott, 2015
Knopp is a thin, athletic 6-foot, 160-pound right-hand hitting catcher.  Offensively showed a tall set-up, open stance, inline stride and fluid hand load.  Easy, line drive swing, upper half dominant, short finish, generates bat speed – mid-oppo approach.  Exit velocity 85 mph, 4.28 home to first base from the right side.  Throwing to second base showed quick, athletic footwork, quick release and easy three-quarters throwing motion.  Throwing velocity high of 75 mph, pop times in the 1.94-2.03 range.  Mostly accurate throws.  In the game threw out runner with a 2.03 pop time.  Athletic and projectable class of 2015 prospect.

Best of the Rest (listed alphabetically)

Chase Brown, C, Fort Scott, 2015
Brown is a 5-foot-9, 180-pound left-hand hitting catcher.  At the plate showed balanced set-up, open stance, shifts his weight back early, leg kick, smooth hand load, and strides inline.  Bat path is short and level to slightly uphill with some bat speed with balance and extension.  Hands work, easy swing with gap-to-gap to oppo approach.  Exit velocity clocked as high as 82 mph.  Collected one hit in the game, stole a base and ran a 4.50 home to first base.  During defensive evaluations showed quick feet, short, easy three-quarters throwing motion, throwing velocity was 73 mph, pop times in the 1.95-2.03 range.  One of the most accurate throwers among the catchers. 

Tanner Cairns, C, Wichita-Independent, 2015
Cairns is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound right-hand hitting catcher.  During batting practice Cairns showed a tall set-up, open stance, strides slightly open and has a smooth hand load.  Bat path is level, finishes with extension, maintains balance throughout, has some bat speed, upper half dominant swing, slight pull approach.  Top exit velocity clocked at 84 mph.  In the game had one hit and ran a 4.62 home to first base.  Throwing to second base during defensive work showed fluid footwork and short, quick, high three quarters arm action, top throw clocked at 73 mph with pop times in the 2.05-2.16 range.  Showed a very accurate arm, putting four throws in a row on the inside of the bag. 

Karl Harding, C, Shawnee Mission East, 2015
Harding is an athletic 5-foot-10, 160-pound right-hand hitting catcher.  Starts with slight crouch at plate, inline stance, reverse toe-tap followed by inline stride, minimal hand load.  Short, compact, line drive approach, explosive backside, worked middle of the field in batting practice.  81 exit velocity and 4.41 home to first base.  Throwing to second base showed quick, simple footwork, clean exchanges, short over-the-top throwing motion.  Top throw clocked at 75 mph, pop times 2.08-2.15, most throws around the bag. 

Brant Millerborg, C, Blue Valley Southwest, 2015
Millerborg is a physically impressive 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hand hitting catcher.  Athletic set-up and wide, slightly open stance at the plate.  Short inline stride, minimal hand load, bat speed.  Strong hands with a line drive, slight pull approach.  82 mph exit velocity and 4.80 home to first base.  Collected one hit in the game.  Behind the plate showed quick footwork, loose three-quarters throwing motion, throws had carry.  76 mph throwing velocity, pop times in the 2.00-2.08 range.  Mostly accurate throws. 

Cody Starkel, C, McPherson, 2015
Starkel is an athletic 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-hand hitting catcher.  At the plate showed a tall set-up, slightly open stance, leg kick, strides inline, short load, slight hand drop, level bat path, fast bat.  Line drive, gap-to-gap approach.  86 exit velocity, 4.53 home to first base from the right side.   Throwing to second base showed fluid footwork, short over-the-top snap throw, throws have carry.  73 throwing velocity, 1.95-2.15 pop times.  Mostly accurate throws.  Projectable catching prospect in the 2015 class.

Blake Wiles, C/3B, Blue Valley West, 2015
Wiles is a 5-foot-10, 200-pound right-hand hitting catcher and third baseman.  At the plate starts with a tall set-up, slightly open stance, simple inline stride, raises hands during minimal hand load, short bat path.  Line drive, middle of the field approach.  Balance throughout and extension through the ball.  Simple, repeatable swing.  84 exit velocity, 4.76 home to first base from the right side in the game.  Defensively showed an easy, high three-quarters throwing motion.  71 throwing velocity, 2.08-2.15 pop times.  Most throws on or near the bag.  At third base fielded everything cleanly, quick exchanges, threw with loose three-quarters arm action, all accurate throws.  Infield throwing velocity 75 mph. 

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