Underclass Invitational: Catching Analysis



By Sean McCann and Shon Plack
Prep Baseball Report

The Prep Baseball Report Underclass Invitational took place on January 19, 2015 at 68’s Inside Sports Indoor Training Facility in Overland Park, KS. The event featured several of the top class of 2017 and 2018 prospects from Kansas and Missouri. 

Over the next several days the PBR scouting staff will roll out position-by-position analysis articles with scouting reports on each player. Two-way players will be covered in both a position feature article and the pitching analysis in coming days.

Today we take a look at the ten catchers that participated in the event. Several catchers put in strong performances but Platte County's Justin Mitchell stole the show. The physical 5-foot-11 backstop showed a speed and strength combination that stood out among all players at the event, in addition to repeatedly throwing sub 2.00's pop times to second base with accuracy. He's one of the top class of 2017 prospects in the region.

Another physical sophomore from the Missouri side of Kansas City that performed well is Rockhurst's Jackson Moore who showed arm strength and made consistent hard contact in batting practice with a very aggressive swing. 

Click here to view the article on the top statistical performers from the event. 

Top Catching Prospects

1. Justin Mitchell, C/IF, Platte County HS, MO (2017)
Mitchell is a class of 2017 right-hand hitting catcher that attends Platte County HS in Platte City, MO. Strong, athletic 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame. At the plate showed a balanced set-up, slightly open stance, level path out front, strong hands, fast bat, lower half works, maintains balance. Made hard, flat contact in the middle of the field. Exit velocity 87 mph – second best mark in camp. Ran a 4.07 home-to-first from the right side – best mark in camp. Behind the plate showed simple, quick footwork, quick release, no wasted movement, short over-the-top throwing motion, 1.85-1.92 pop times – best in camp. 76 mph throwing velocity, throws had carry, very accurate. Major college prospect with serious tools.

2. Jackson Moore, RHP/C, Rockhurst HS, MO (2017)
Moore is a class of 2017 right-handed pitcher/right-hand hitting catcher with a physical 6-foot, 190-pound frame. Attends Rockhurst HS in Kansas City, MO. At the plate starts with a slight crouch, smooth hand load, short path to the ball, swings with aggression, bat speed, finishes with extension, has rhythm and flow. Made hard middle of the field contact, drove pitches up in zone with some lift.  Ran a 4.58 home-to-first. Behind the plate made clean exchanges, loose high three-quarters arm action, pop times 2.03-2.15, all throws on or near the bag, strong throws with carry, 78 throwing velocity – top mark among all catchers. On the mound showed an old school wind-up, hands over the head, works from a tall balance point, up-tempo delivery, natural three-quarters arm action. Fastball with arm side running action, high percentage of strikes, 78-81 mph. Controllable breaking ball with 12/6 to 11/7 shape, 61-68 mph. Feel for 66-68 mph change-up with arm-side fade, good pitch. 

Best of the rest (listed alphabetically)

Joe Benkovich, RHP/C, Raytown HS, MO (2017)
Benkovich is a right-handed pitcher/right-hand hitting catcher with a 5-foot-7, 185-pound frame. Class of 2017, attends Raytown HS in Raytown, MO. At the plate showed an open set-up, slight crouch, simple line drive swing, barreled the ball, maintains balance throughout, worked middle-oppo. Exit velocity clocked at 70 mph, ran a 5.07 home-to-first. Behind the plate showed quick, simple footwork, short high three-quarters snap throw, 2.03-2.08 pop times, 70 mph throwing velocity, accurate throws. On the mound methodical and balanced early, loads up on back leg, high three-quarters arm action. Fastball with natural cutting action, also showed arm-side running two-seamer, 76-77 mph. Breaking ball with 11/7 shape, gradual action, 64-65 mph. Change-up with early arm side run, 69-70 mph. 

Jackson Caley, C/IF, Pleasant Hill HS, MO (2018)
Caley is a class of 2018 catcher with a 5-foot-9, 143-pound frame. Attends Pleasant Hill HS in Pleasant Hill, MO. Right-handed hitter, open set-up, mini-leg kick, keeps hands inside ball, lower half works, delivers barrel out front, maintains balance, squared the ball up at a high rate. Line-drive, gap-to-gap approach. Recorded a 78 mph exit velocity, ran a 4.57 home-to-first. During defensive drills behind the plate showed quick feet, quick exchanges, short snap throw, consistent sub-2.10 pop times, 70 mph throwing velocity, mostly accurate throws.

Harrison Frazier, C/IF, Blue Valley North HS, KS (2017)
Frazier is a right-hand hitting catcher in the class of 2017 that attends Blue Valley North HS in Overland Park, KS. 5-foot-8, 162-pound frame. At the plate showed a balanced set-up, reverse toe tap, strides inline, line drive approach, maintains balance, worked middle of the field. Exit velocity high of 75 mph, ran a 4.56 home-to-first. Behind the plate showed simple footwork, clean exchanges, short three-quarters arm action, pop times 1.98-2.09, 70 mph throwing velocity, accurate throws. 

Tanner Freeman, C/MIF, Turner HS, KS (2018)
Freeman is a class of 2018 right-hand hitting catcher that attends Turner HS in Kansas City, KS. 5-foot-5, 138-pound frame. Balanced set-up at the plate, smooth hand load, knee in to stride, short bat path, lower half works, very aggressive swing, loose hands, repeats. Hard middle of the field contact. Recorded an 80 mph exit velocity, ran 4.84 home-to-first. Behind the plate showed quick, simple footwork, short over-the-top throwing motion, 2.08-2.14 pop times, 70 mph throwing velocity.

Lane Sadler, C, Derby HS, KS (2017)
Sadler is a class of 2017 right-hand hitting catcher that attends Derby HS in Derby, KS. Athletic 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame. At the plate has tall set-up, inline stance. Minimal hand load and stride. Simple line-drive swing with bat speed, strong hands,  repeats, worked middle of the field in batting practice. Exit velocity 84 mph, ran a 4.56 home-to-first. During catching drills showed quick feet and quick, clean exchanges, high-three quarters arm action. Pop times between 2.12 and 2.14, throwing velocity 71 mph, accurate throws. Athletic catcher that started for a 6A school (Derby HS) last spring as a freshman.

Kendle Thompson, C/OF, Derby HS, KS (2017)
Thompson is a class of 2017 right-hand hitting catcher/outfielder with a 6-foot, 180-pound frame. Attends Derby HS in Derby, KS. Tall set-up at the plate, high hands, lowers hands in load, upper half dominant swing, line drive approach, 74 mph exit velocity, ran a 5.01 home-to-first. Behind the plate made clean exchanges, threw with short high three-quarters arm action, pop times in the 2.56-2.62 range, 63 mph throwing velocity.

Nick Wagoner, C/IF, Grain Valley HS, MO (2017)
Wagoner is a class of 2017 right-hand hitting catcher/middle infielder that attends Grain Valley HS in Grain Valley, MO. Athletic 5-foot-10, 165-pound frame. At the plate showed a wide set-up, slight crouch, minimal hand load, short bat path, hands inside the ball, maintains balance, middle-oppo approach. Recorded a 78 mph exit velocity, ran a 4.41 home-to-first. Behind the plate showed simple footwork, clean exchanges, short high three-quarters arm action, 2.15-2.20 pop times, 68 mph throwing velocity, accurate throws. During defensive drills at shortstop showed athletic footwork, quick exchanges, three-quarters throwing motion, clean arm, 68 mph throwing velocity, mostly accurate throws.

Jonah Watt, C Shawnee Mission East HS, KS (2018)
Watt is a thin, athletic-framed 5-foot-10, 150-pound left-hand hitting catcher that attends Shawnee Mission East HS in Prairie Village, KS. Class of 2018. Athletic set-up at the plate, strides inline, minimal hand load, short path to the ball, finishes with extension, bat speed, maintains balance throughout. Line drive, middle approach. Simple, repeatable swing with rhythm and flow. Squared the ball up in batting practice. Exit velocity clocked at 80 mph, ran a 4.57 home-to-first. During catching drills showed quick feet, clean exchanges, short over-the-top throwing motion. Clean, loose arm, 2.15-2.32 pop times, 66 mph throwing velocity.

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