MN Preseason Underclass: Catching Analysis

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By Rob Allison
Prep Baseball Report Minnesota

On Sunday, February 22nd Prep Baseball Report Minnesota hosted the MN Preseason Underclass, an event that included players from the 2017 and 2018 grad classes. The event was held in the Sports Expo Center on the campus of the National Sports Center.

Over the next several days we will breakdown the top prospects from the event by position, culminating in the Top Overall Prospects. Today, we’ll take a look at the catchers, highlighted by Cretin-Derham Hall sophomore Nicholas Onomiya. Onomiya posted 86 mph exit velocity, and impresses with his power potential at the plate. He also posted the lowest pop time of the event at 1.91 seconds.

Left-handed hitting 2017 graduate Ben Livorsi will give Minnetonka a good underclass option behind the plate in the upcoming years and he impresses with his overall ability. He displays blocking and receiving skills behind the dish and has upper echelon ability to hit along with producing 87 mph exit velocity off the tee.

Foley's Noah Winkelman is another underclass catcher that stood out. Winkelman impressed with a fluid left-handed swing (88 mph exit velocity) and posted some of the most consistent pop times of the event at 2.00-2.03.

Let’s take a look at the top overall catching prospects from the MN Preseason Underclass.

Top Overall Catching Prospects

1. Nicholas Onomiya, C, Cretin-Derham Hall, 2017
6-foot, 195-pound catcher. Strong build. Ran 7.31 60. Right-handed hitter with 86 mph exit velocity. High back elbow in load. Shows pop to gaps. Short to contact and creates bat speed. Line drive swing plane. Stiff lower half effects balance. Soft hands receiving. Clean and efficient mechanics blocking and catch/throw. Arm action is short and repeatable. Good feet and direction to second base. Events best pop time at 1.91. Average accuracy to bag. High Follow catcher in 2017 class.

2. Ben Livorsi, C, Minnetonka, 2017
6-foot, 200-pound catcher. Ran 7.8 60 on slip/bad track. Recently improved running time to 7.43. Left-handed hitting catcher with 87 mph exit velocity off tee. Leg kick trigger to contact. Strides across body restricting swing at times. Shows pop to gaps and ability to consistently square baseball with authority. Shifts weight well through swing. Quiet head at contact. One of better receivers/ blockers during bullpen session. Grinder. Showed above average ability to catch and throw for 2017. Velocity on throws will improve with better direction and momentum to second base. Showed average accuracy to bag at 2.00-2.06 pop times with 69 mph arm strength. High Follow catcher in 2017 class.

3. Noah Winkelman, C/OF, Foley, 2017
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher/outfielder. Long legs- wide shoulders. Will really fill out and with added strength and maturity. Ran a 7.35 60. Left-handed hitter with upright open stance. Strides in-line with pitcher. Athletic set-up with quick hands to contact. Mid-pull approach with bat speed. Short finish after contact. Would improve with more length through zone after contact creating greater separation. Uses hands well in swing. Proto right fielder in outfield. High ¾ arm slot with carry. Fields balls cleanly and is solid defensively. 88 mph arm strength from outfield. Flexible and strong behind plate. Receives and blocks well. A ton of carry on throws even with low elbow ¾ release. Slot effects accuracy at times.  2.00-2.03 pop times with 73 mph arm strength. Overall High Follow for 2017 class. Has minor things to improve on but his highly projectable and has good tools.


Best of The Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Dawson Degnan, C/3B/RHP, Cretin-Derham Hall, 2017
6-foot, 167-pound utility player. 7.53 60 time. Improved in every statistical category since last event in October 2014. Slightly closed stance. Has shortened load and is quicker to contact. Line drive swing plane and shows ability to keep bat in zone. Mid-pull approach. Offensively will continue to improve as he adds strength. Shows soft hands in field. Able to make routine plays. Slows game down and handles in-between hops. Throws from over-the-top slot with accuracy at 74 mph across. Has athleticism behind plate. Better energy and rhythm. Release is much cleaner than before. Shows accuracy to bag with 2.10-2.15 pop times and 68 mph arm strength.

Jackson LeLeux, C, Centennial, 2017
5-foot-6, 160-pound catcher. Ran a 7.9 60 with 80 mph exit velocity off tee. Double tap trigger. High back elbow with over rotation in hands at set-up. Average bat speed with line drive swing plane. Mid-pull approach. Balls tend to pull glove out of zone receiving. Above average blocking mechanics. High set-up on catch and throw. Limited momentum to second base. 2.20-2.46 pop times with 61 mph arm strength.

Owen Reischl, C, St. Cloud Apollo, 2017
5-foot-10, 160-pound catcher. 7.97 60 time with 64 mph exit velocity off tee. Tall set-up with tall and fall swing mechanics. Choppy swing mechanics that lack looseness and rhythm. Short finish after contact. Average receiving and blocking ability. Throws from mid ¾ slot with 12.4-2.53 pop times and 62 mph arm strength to second base.

Jevan Richert, C, Springfield, 2017
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher. Richert has made good strides since his first event in August of 2014. Has gained 10-pounds of quality weight. Ran a 7.44 60 yard dash. Better set-up with easy load into swing. Consistently squared baseball with strength. Lower half is stiff at times. Shows good actions behind the plate with ability to receive and block. Improved accuracy and release with personal best 2.03 pop time.

Derek Thellin, OF/C, Burnsville, 2017
5-foot-10, 175-pound outfielder. Medium build. Ran a 7.32 60. Short stride across body. Low hand-set in load. Has some looseness and bat speed. Some disconnect in swing; slight arm bar. Shows some pop gap to gap. Good weight transfer with lower half. 79 mph exit velocity off tee. Ok actions in outfield. Tends to field with two hands. Arm works from over the top slot. Plus accuracy. 76 mph arm strength from outfield. Behind the plate shows average ability to receive. Flashes of soft hands. Footwork is good and exchange is clean on catch and throw. Stands straight up. Loses lower half and momentum on throws. 2.06-2.2 pop times with average accuracy to second base.

Tyler Young, C/2B, Wayzata, 2017
6-foot-2, 175-pound catcher- second baseman. Ran a 7.84 60. Left-handed hitter with quality linear actions in lower half. Open to start with athletic set-up. Hands close to body restricts swing at times. 70 mph exit velocity off tee. Shows average actions in field with good accuracy and average carry on throws at 66 mph. Has ability to receive and block behind plate. Pause in release effects pop times. Showed accuracy to bag. 2.19-2.37 pop times with 64 mph arm strength.

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