Prep Baseball Report

NC Top Prospect Games: Catcher Analysis

By Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

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Tuesday July 25th brought about the first outdoor invitation event with Prep Baseball Report in North Carolina.  A roster of over 50 elite players, mainly from the 2018 class, with a few 2019's sprinkled in, met at Boshamer Stadium on the campus of the University of North Carolina.  The all-star event was attended by college coaches and pro scouts as well as national crosscheckers from PBR.

Each player ran through a full workout, including multiple rounds of BP on the field and exit velocity testing in a cage area.  Defensively, players were put under the spotlight, working out from their primary position.  Players, divided into four teams then played in a controlled scrimmage, facing live pitching.  Each player was filmed and video, along with the updated statistics and an evaluations, will be added to the player's PBR Profile page.

The catching corp assembled stood out in front of PBR's staff.  A physical group, with depth, set the bar high on the day during BP and in their workout.  Within the group there is a good mix of defensive oriented, offensive oriented, and balanced catchers.  Some have high ceilings as they are just now finding comfort in their frames, while others are working to test the limits of their quickness and agility.  At the conclusion of the workout it was evident that a college team needing a catcher will have options in North Carolina.

Catchers Analysis


Gold Team Catchers


Nick Kromer C / 3B / Cary, NC / 2018

Average frame at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds with strength present.  Right handed hitter transfers the strength into a quick bat with an exit velocity of 90 mph.  Slightly crouched, creates some lag in the bat head during the load.  Handles the bat head with hand strength showing an ability to stay direct and level to the ball.  Gap-to-gap approach with fluid rhythm.  Swing showed more uphill leverage in game situations.  Behind the plate, presents with loose hips and an easy target.  Glove hand works with strength.  Blocks with simple mechanics, keeping balls corralled in his area.  Short arm action gets to an over-the-top slot.  Average carry.  Feet work with quickness, at times rushing the arm.  Positional velocity from the crouch of 74 mph with a pop time of 2.18.





Aaron McKeithan C / 1B / T.C. Roberson, NC / 2018

Tulane commit.  Physical build with mature, muscular lower half.  Built to handle the wear and tear of a full season behind the dish.  6-foot-1, 205 pound right handed hitter works from a balanced setup and a slight crouch.  Hands have good rhythm with a synced down-up movement, creating a timing mechanism.  Uses a leg kick to load the back side, working to a short stride.  Better than average bat speed produced an exit velocity of 91 off the barrel.  Thin through the ball at times in BP, working to create leverage.  There is natural leverage in game situations with more barrel awareness.  Stays gap-to-gap.  Easy target to throw to behind the plate.  Hands work to cradle the ball.  Shows an aggressive nature to blocking, good body position and agile in a short box to keep blocked balls nearby.  Pop times ranged 1.90-1.94 with advanced accuracy.  Quick releases don’t allow the arm to fully load, but the ball stays true.  More arm strength may be present.  Positional velocity reached 76 from the crouch.  A bit heavy legged on the bases, ran a 4.91 home to first.





Chris Shepherd C / 2B / C E Jordan, NC / 2018

Physical presence at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds.  Strength is evident in the build and in the box.  Right handed hitter works from an athletic and balanced position.  Bat waggle through the setup and short stride to a vertical launch position.  Uphill leverage with advanced bat speed, staying in the middle of the field.  Good rhythm.  Swing transferred to the game where there is some swing and miss but damage is done when on the barrel.  Defensively, works with quick, athleticism.  Feet are active and work to the line.  Hands are active and strong.  Low exchanges created a timing issue in the workout, decreasing accuracy on throws ranging 2.06 – 2.11.  In game, the rhythm slowed a little, allowing the arm strength to play and carry the baseball with better accuracy.  Short arm action and an over-the-top slot worked to a positional velocity of 75 mph.  Some effort in the blocking game, but there is want to.  Stays vertical, shifting to the left leg, allowing balls to skirt a little further away than wanted.  Aggressive and quick feet to the ball made up some of the time difference.





Blue Team Catchers


Tyler McPeak C / 1B / North Lincoln, NC / 2018

Recently re-opened his recruiting process.  Physical frame at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds with strength present.  Right handed hitter sets up balanced and athletic.  Loads back, using a short stride.  Bat head loads to a lagged position.  Hand strength handles the bat head creating above average bat speed with a flat path.  Wants extension.  Ball jumped to the pull-side gap with an exit velocity of 91 mph.  Good rhythm throughout the swing.  Behind the dish settles a little high in the hips.  Strong hands work without much sway in the hips.  Average job tracking balls to the glove.  Rakes the catch across the chest to a short arm action and high-3/4 slot.  Easy arm action produces carry and a good feel for accuracy.  75 mph out of the crouch with pop times ranging 2.07-2.18.





Andrew Vladyka C / RHP / Jacksonville , NC / 2018

Athletic frame that can continue to add strength.  Quiet demeanor that competes in a workman like manner.  Hands work to receive from an average setup.  Loose hips and fairly athletic in his stance.  Fluid feet work to create quick, clean exchanges.  Pop times ranged 2.03-2.26 in the workout.  2.44 on the bag in a game situation.  Carry and accuracy are present from a short arm action and over-the-top slot.  Arm speed measured at 78 from the crouch.  Left handed hitter works from an open, tall stance.  Leg kick to a short stride that dives back toward the plate.  Bat head works to a vertical position at launch.  Average feel for the barrel, cutting across the ball at times, working to stay level through the zone.  Exit velocity peaked at 83.  Ran a 4.41 to 1B in game.





Gray Team Catchers


Hayden Cross C / OF / Southern Lee, NC / 2018

Appalachain State commit.  Athletic at 6-foot, 175 pounds.  Left handed hitter works from a slightly open posture, using a leg kick to load.   Vertical bat.   Aggressive demeanor.  Good bat speed has some uphill leverage.  Tends to work off his back side, rotating through the zone.  Stayed in the middle of the field.  Exit velocity peaked at 80.  In game, showed an ability to be on time and get the bat head out in positive counts, hammering balls to the pull side with looseness.  Behind the plate, easy receiver and athletic.  Fluid footwork popped the body to an exchange area around the chest and strong-arm action to a high-3/4 slot.  Ball shows carry, with slight fade, and good accuracy.  Pop times ranged 2.01-2.12 with a positional velocity of 74 from the crouch.





Colby Emmertz C / 1B / Topsail, NC / 2018

Athletic with some quick twitch in a 5-foot-9, 180 pound frame.  Hands really work well from the right side of the plate.  Quickness is evident in BP and game situations.  Balanced setup.  Loads to a vertical position.  Short stride.  Aggressive with a feel for the barrel.   Better than average bat speed.  Level path, producing line drives in the middle of the field.  Fast twitch with good rhythm.  Ran a 4.58 to 1B, finishing his swing.  Defensively a solid presentation to pitchers and the hands work.  Aggressive feet  and quick exchanges from a vertical stance.  Short arm action to an over-the-top slot produced a positional velocity of 75 mph from the crouch.  Pop times ranged 2.01-2.16 with carry and average accuracy.





Elijah Hunt C / 1B / Covenant Day, NC / 2018

Physical with strength in the lower half of a 6-foot, 195 pound frame.  Loose hips in his setup, presented an average frame.  Decent quickness blocking and shifting.  Tends to catch and sweep the body to a low exchange area.  Feet work around the ball and exchange area. Arm works to be short to a high-3/4 slot with good carry.  Some feel for accuracy, but ball did fade at times.  Pop times ranged 2.04-2.22.  Offensively the right handed hitter works from a crouch with a weight shift back to load the swing.  Short stride.  Direct path to the ball with a level swing.  Exit velocity peaked at 83, staying in the middle of the field.  Did flash average power in game, barreling a ball to the base of the wall.  Strength over quickness in the swing.





Red Team Catchers


Sam Edwards C / 3B / Ardrey Kell, NC / 2018

Athletic frame at 6-foot-2, 165 pounds that can continue to add strength.  Good target and hips sit well.  Agile left and right from the crouch.  Average feet work direct through the ball with a cautious nature.  Lands soft on the front side.  Short arm action with clean exchanges made around the chest.  High-3/4 slot keeps the ball true, showing a feel for accuracy.  Pop times ranged 2.18-2.26 measuring 74 mph out of the hand.  Balanced setup from the right side.  Uses a short stride, early to the ground.  Flat through the zone, staying in the middle of the field.  Exit velocity peaked at 80 mph.





Colin Smith C / 3B / High Point Central, NC / 2018

Committed to North Carolina Central shortly after attending the Top Prospect Games.  Strength is present in a 6-foot, 195 pound frame.  Easy setup and good presentation of the target.  Better quickness than expected with a thick and powerful lower half.  Direct feet.  Clean exchanges when high.  Occasionally hands raked low and exchanges were bobbled.  Ball carries true, showing accuracy through the bag on throws, from a short arm actin and high-3/4 slot.   Pop time ranged 2.08-2.11 with a positional velocity of 74 from the crouch.  Right handed hitter recorded an exit velocity of 86 off the barrel.  Tall and balanced to setup.  Uses a leg kick to load the body.  Short stride dives toward the dish.  Flat through the zone with rhythm, working the middle of the field.  Found the barrel in games.





Ryan Taylor C / RHP / Hoke County, NC / 2018

Physical with a strong lower half in a 6-foot, 200 pound frame.  Balanced from the right side.  Uses a weight shift to start the timing, with a leg kick.  Long aggressive stride as the bat head works to a vertical position for launch.  Quick bat through the zone with strong hands.  Level, gap-to-gap approach with rhythm.  Exit velocity peaked at 89 mph.  Slight side saddle at time in his setup.  Good hands.  Head and eyes track pitches.  Active blocker that “wants to”.  Feet work well with pitches in his frame, allowing for accuracy.  Balls outside the frame, there is a lack of sync in the feet and hands.  Can let the ball get deep at times.  Low exchanges at times as pop times ranged 2.09-2.22 with carry, staying true.  Positional velocity peaked at 79 mph. 
On the bump the fastball played hard at 80-84 after a long day behind the plate.  At times erratic, there were enough strikes.  Average leg kick, loads the back side.  Good tempo and direct lines.  Quick arm works from an over-the-top slot.  Breaking ball ranged 66-70 with 11/5 action.  Slows the arm to feel for the pitch.  Erratic command of the spinner.