Underclass Preview: Top Catchers



By Mike Penn
Michigan Scouting Director

With an abundance of talent in attendance at the Underclass Preview it is easy to overlook one of the most important positions: catcher.  The catching group was solid and a several names emerged as top prospects moving forward.

Jake Garbarino (Grandville HS, 2015) was the top performer at the catcher position at the Underclass Preview.  Garbarino is a 5-foot-11, 195-pound Class of 2015 catcher.  Garbarino is put together extremely well and has a strong lower half. His defense is a advanced for his class and is his big separator. He threw consistent 1.94-1.97 pop times with accuracy on the bag.  Behind the plate he moves well and shows strong consistent hands.  His feet were exceptional moving quickly and effortlessly. At the plate Garbarino provides plenty of pop. His strength allows him to drive the baseball with authority.  Lastly Garbarino runs well for a catcher at 7.22. 

Jeff Timko (Brother Rice HS, 2016) is once again another talented player to attend Brother Rice.  Only a freshman Timko stands at 6-foot, 180-pounds. He, too, is well put together and has a strong lower half. His arm is strong and provides good carry through the bag, but his pop times are slowed by a longer transfer.  Once he cleans up his transfer his pop time will lower considerably.  Offensively, Timko is advanced for a freshman.  He keeps his approach simple and compact.  His hands fly to the baseball with fast bat speed and generates good pop.  With his performance, Timko has emerged as one of the top catchers in the Class of 2016 in Michigan and one to follow over the next four years.

Chris Ackerman (Howell HS, 2015) joins a talented Howell program.  The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Ackerman has plenty of room to grow.  He has a quick clean transfer and short arm action. His pop times were between 2.12-2.15 consistently.  Receiving the ball he is low to the ground and shows good hands beating the ball to a spot.  He smothered pitches well during the live pitching segment.  At the plate he was balanced with good bat speed.  He takes an aggressive hard swing.

Brent Showers (Rockford HS, 2014) was a Midwest Futures Games participant.  Showers continues to improve.  He lowered his pop times with accurate throws and registered them at 1.97-2.07. His footwork is athletic and quick.  Showers is physically stronger than the rest of his competitors.  He is an outstanding blocker of the baseball.  Offensively Showers continues to get faster and his pop continues to improve. He does have an uphill swing path that leads to top spin from time to time.  

Brady Sarkon (Linden HS, 2015) may not be a burner (8.0) but he makes up for it in other areas.  Sarkon has a strong lower half and quick arm. His pop times ranged between 2.15-2.25. He is versatile enough to play third base. In the infield he had solid actions and got rid of the ball quickly.  All of his throws, whether they be in the infield or behind the plate, had good carry.  Sarkon projects to be an offensive threat.  He has a smooth load and short stride and then gets good leverage on the baseball.  He certainly will not be cheated at the plate.

Tanner Kaplan (Traverse City St. Francis HS, 2015) was a pleasant surprise at the Underclass Preview.  Kaplan moved well behind the plate. Occasionally got too high out of his crouch but he demonstrated quick feet.  Overall he is a quick twitch athlete.  At the plate he starts from an upright position but really whips the barrel through the zone using his lightning quick hands. He was one of our favorite swings on the day. He gets plenty of extension through the zone. Expect Kaplan to hit with good power.