2018 Top Underclass Games: Catcher & Corner Infielder Analysis


Brandon Hall, Matt Payne, & Lee Miller
North Carolina Director of Scouting & PBR NC Scouts

Wednesday August 8th saw some of the Top Underclass players from across North Carolina converged on Jim Perry stadium on the campus of Campbell University.  The Top Underclass Games culminated PBR’s three days at Campbell and the talent on hand was impressive.


Close to 45 players took part in the day.  Position players ran through a full pro-style workout, running a laser timed 60, going through offensive testing, taking live BP, and working out defensively.  PBR was able to take statistics on each player throughout the workout. Video has been added to each player's profiles on PBR in the coming week.  Pitchers threw in live game situations, working two controlled innings, allowing hitters to get live at-bats.


The catchers in attendance produced a unique blend of offensive and defensive players with several projecting to higher levels as they continue to develop. Six turned in pop times under 2.10 in the workout, while four produced exit velocities of better than 85 mph off the barrel. While most of the corner infielders in attendance were also primary pitchers. Three corner infielders are featured below as well. Eleven total players are profiled in this article with evaluations, statistics, and links to their individual video.


PBR Top Underclass Games: By the Numbers
+ 44 Players worked out on the day… 39 took part as position players and 15 pitchers threw in live game action.
+ Top Underclass Games Record - Laser timed 60 of 6.48… Topped a record time of 6.52 recorded earlier in the day
+ 42 Players ran the 60.  4 ran under 7.00. Median time of 7.42.
+ 8 of 21 infielders had a positional velocity across the infield topping 80 mph
+ 7 of 15 outfielders posted a positional velocity of 80 mph or better
+ 5 of 9 catchers recorded workout pop times under 2.10
+ 15 hitters with an exit velocity of 85 mph or better… 9 above 88… 5 above 90 and the leader at 94.
+ Median fastball of 81 with two arms reaching 87 mph on the day.


CLICK HERE for a complete roster from the 2018 Top Underclass Games

 

CLICK HERE for a the complete statistical results from the Top Underclass Games.

 

  
Catcher Analysis

 

 

Garrett Clapsaddle C / OF / Christ School, NC / 2021

 

6 feet, 160-pound lanky build. Hits from the right side using an athletic setup. Good athlete behind the dish who ran a 7.07 sixty.  Dives into the plate with a short stride. Gets his lower half through the ball, with good balance, generating above average bat speed.  Fluid swing, with barrel awareness.  Exit velocity recorded at 82 mph.  Athleticism plays behind the plate with quick, fluid feet and quick exchanges.  Short arm action, throwing from a high ¾ slot.  Some accuracy to his throws with pop times at 2.08-2.18.  Positional velocity recorded at 76 mph.  Showed well in game with quick, athletic actions behind the plate, moving well to block pitches.  In game pop time at 2.16 from his knees. 

 

Jax Gerrell C / 3B / Grays creek, NC / 2021

 

5 feet 10, 165-pound average build.  Hits from the right side using an open setup with a short stride during his load. Gets his lower half through the ball with average bat speed. Works gap to gap with a line drive approach. Exit velocity recorded at 85 mph.  Quick, fluid feet behind the plate, with quick, clean exchanges.  Short arm action, throwing from an over the top slot. Accurate arm with pop times at 2.00-2.19.  Positional velocity peaked at 74 mph.  Recorded a 7.61 in the 60-yard dash.

 

Gray Culler C / 3B / Union Pines, NC / 2020

 

5 feet 11, 150-pound build.  Hits from the right side using a tall setup. Works back in his load with a small leg kick.  Stays balanced throughout his swing with a line drive approach.  Gets stiff at times causing his barrel to work in and out of the zone to quick.  Exit velocity recorded at 80 mph.  Plays through balls on the infield with fluid feet and average hands.  Short arm action with some accuracy to his throws topping at 62 mph across the diamond.  High setup behind the plate, with clean exchanges and medium arm action, throwing from a high ¾ slot. Some accuracy to his throws with pop times at 2.15-2.33.  Positional velocity peaked at 71 mph.  Recorded a 7.98 in the 60-yard dash.

 

Michael Groves C / 3B / Holly Springs, NC / 2020

 

6 feet 2, 178-pound athletic build.  Switch hitter with a balanced setup and smooth load.  Long stride, with an explosive lower half.  Shows pull power during batting practice with above average bat speed from the left side.  Exit velocity peaked at 84 mph.  Pop times at 2.04-2.09 with carry to his throws from behind the plate.  Fluid feet and accurate arm peaking at 79 mph from the crouch.  Plays through balls in the outfield with average hands and clean exchanges.  Short arm action, throwing from a high ¾ slot with some accuracy to his throws.  Arm topped at 84 mph from the outfield. Fluid feet on the infield with average hands.  Accurate arm across the diamond, with carry to his throws reaching 82 mph across the diamond.  Showed barrel awareness in game.  Recorded a 7.68 60-yard dash. 

 

Ryan McCrystal C / RHP / Fuquay-Varina, NC / 2021

 

6 feet 1, 180-pound strong build.  Hits from the left side with an athletic setup.  Smooth load, with a short stride, getting his lower half through the ball.  Good hands with strength in his swing.  Showed power during batting practice driving balls to his pull side.  Gets extension with his exit velocity peaking at 86 mph. Shows arm strength from behind the plate, with quick, fluid feet and quick exchanges.  Short arm action, throwing from an over the top slot.  Accurate arm with carry to his throws.  Pop times at 1.94-2.08 with positional velocity topping at 79 mph.  Played well defensively behind the plate in game.  Recorded a 7.85 in the 60-yard dash.

On the mound, the fastball is firm with hard arm-side boar.  83-86, the action helps the fastball to jump on hitters with late, heavy tilt.  Power breaking ball at 69-73.  Hard 11/5 tilt.  Around the zone with each pitch using some of the lack of command to create some discomfort.  Really quick arm through a high-3/4 slot with a long arm swing.  Some effort in the release, working to find consistent rhythm.  Level and on-line, lands square rotating with a slight fall to the 1B side.    

 

Will Thistle C / OF / Apex Friendship, NC / 2020

 

Thin frame at 5-foot-8, 145 pounds. Open stance with a smooth load, has a bit of a dive into the plate with good lower half actions. Works with a vertical bat.  Gets going early, produces line drives with a level barrel.  Average bat speed with good barrel awareness.  Wants extension.  Gap-to-gap approach.  Exit velocity of 82 mph off the barrel.  Has good footwork behind the plat.  Hands have some speed and strength present.  Good bend in the hips presenting a solid target.  Clean exchanges with quickness, across his chest to a short arm action and high-3/4 slot.  On-line with throws peaking at 68 mph out of the crouch.  Pop time ranged 2.19 – 2.26.  Laser timed 60 time of 7.38.

 

Luke Johnson C / 2B / Southwest Guilford, NC / 2021

 

Lanky and thin frame at 5-foot-9, 150 pounds.  Still a lot of maturation ahead.  Right handed hitter is tall at the dish, using a leg kick to generate rhythm and a load.  Waggle in bat head quiets as he works to a consistent launch point. Average bat speed and a gap-to-gap approach, saw a lot of barrels in BP.  Works for extension with looseness in swing.  Exit velocity of 80 mph.  Late with stride at times in game at-bats.  Solid target in a normal setup behind the plate.  Hands works with quickness and ease through the catch, exchanging across his chest.  Quick, clean transition to a short arm action and high-3/4 slot.  Average carry with some accuracy.  Pop times ranging 2.19 – 2.29 with a positional velocity of 75 mph out of the crouch.  On the infield, works to play through the baseball.  Hands fight through some stiffness, typically catching the ball off his right inside hip.  Clean exchanges to a short arm action, loading his scapular.  High-3/4 slot with accuracy at 77 mph across the diamond. 

 

Jonathan Villa C / OF / Lumberton, NC / 2020

 

Strength is present in an average 5-foot-11, 170 pound frame.  Right handed hitter is balanced with a slight crouch.  Bat waggles to a flat position before standing vertical on his leg kick. Kick loads the weight back.  Short stride landing gently and setting the shoulders to an uphill leverage.  Rotational on the backside, working for extension.  Gap to gap approach with some pop to the pull side.  Exit velocity of 86 mph off the barrel.  Homered in game situations to left.  Behind the plate, slightly turned in his setup working to a vertical position on exchange.  Controlled transition across his chest.  Short arm swing with long feet to a high-3/4 slot.  On-line with the throws, working to carry the bag at 71 mph out of the hand and pop times ranging 2.08 – 2.40.   Sixty time of 7.53.

 

Chris Katz C / 3B / Heritage, NC / 2021

 

Wake Forest commit.  Strong frame with a thick lower half. Broad shoulders.  Stands 6-foot, 200 pounds.  Strength plays throughout his game.   Advanced defensively.  Easy setup and receive, presenting a consistent target.  Good bend in hips.  Quick actions on throws.  Rakes across his chest to a short arm swing and high-3/4 slot.  Quick feet, working to stay in his legs and creating a consistent line for his throws.  Good accuracy and carry.  Positional velocity of 80 mph out of the crouch.  Pop times ranged 1.90 – 2.01 in the workout.  Easy, direct process in blocking with a ‘want’ to be a catcher.  Right handed hitter is balanced using a slow leg kick to load his weight back.  Bat works from a vertical position to a tipped position on the leg kick.  Short stride and aggressive back side work to create extension with better than average bat speed.  Some uphill leverage in the swing.  Good feel for the barrel.  Exit velocity of 87 mph off the bat.  Carried the swing into game situations, showing barrel awareness and the ability to drive the baseball.  Turned in a 7.69 laser timed sixty.

 

 

Corner Infielder Analysis

 

Tanner Bledsoe 1B / RHP / Grays Creek, NC / 2021

 

5 feet 11, 190-pound build.  Offensively he works from the right side using an open setup.  Works back in his load with a short stride.  Gets his lower half through the ball with average balance.  Swing gets long at times.  Works gap to gap during batting practice.  Exit velocity recorded at 75 mph.  Average hands at first base with his feet stopping at catch.  Clean exchanges with a short arm action throwing from a ¾ slot.  Accurate arm that topped at 77 mph.  Recorded an 8.67 in the 60-yard dash.

On the mound, the fastball ranged 66-70 with early run to the arm side.  Occasionally cut the fastball to the glove side.  Level and on-line, works with some rhythm.  Open toe at foot-strike.  Long arm swing to a high-3/4 slot.  Occasionally drops the slot and pushes his change-up.  Some deception in the hand speed with the pitch sitting 57-63.  Change-up runs and sinks, with early action.  Gradual break to the curveball at 56.  Slows the arm through the release.

 

 

Will Ledford 3B / 2B / Weddington, NC / 2020

 

5 feet 9, 160-pound athletic build. Offensively he works from the right side using an athletic setup.  Smooth load with a short stride, diving back in to the plate.  Balanced throughout his swing, getting his lower half through the ball.  Average bat speed with extension through the zone.  Fluid swing with a gap to gap approach.  Exit velocity peaked at 81 mph.  Fluid feet on the infield, playing through the ball.  Average hands, transferring to the center of his body after catch. Short arm action, throwing from a high ¾ slot with some accuracy to his throws.  Arm topped at 74 mph across the diamond.  Recorded a 7.61 in the 60-yard dash.

 

 

Benjamin Jones RHP / 3B / Grays Creek, NC / 2021

 

5 feet 10, 190-pound build.  Hits from the right side using a tall setup.  Looks to stay gap to gap with a line drive approach.  Loses his lower half during his load, causing his barrel work long to the ball. Exit velocity recorded at 75 mph.  On the infield he uses a long arm action throwing from a ¾ slot. Stops at catch then works to get through his throws.  Arm peaked at 63 mph across the diamond.  Recorded a 9.3 60-yard dash.  Working back from an injury and was still hampered in his workout.