Prep Baseball Report

NC Top Underclass Games: Catcher and Outfielder Analysis

By Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

On August 10th, fifty of the top underclass players in North Carolina assembled at Campbell’s Jim Perry Stadium.  A gorgeous day featured each player showcasing their talent in a controlled setting.  The position players went through an extended BP, followed by individual work at their defensive positions.  Pitchers worked to live hitters in two controlled innings, showcasing their stuff and ability to pitch.

The catching corp at the event showed a mix of athleticism and physicality.  Still a lot of growth ahead in the young group but there are plenty of signs pointing toward bright futures.  Robbie O'Neal (DH Conley HS, 2019) led the way with a 1.99 pop time.  Bo Rusher (Salisbury HS, 2019) and Derek Hughes (Ravenscroft, 2019) each came in with a pop time at 2.10 or less.  In all 9 catchers showed some accuracy with pop times below 2.20. 

The group of outfielders ranged in age from 2019 - 2020 graduates.  Athletic and length throughout the roster, several showed an above average tool.  Jayden Gatling (North Lenoir HS, 2019) led all outfielders with a 7.07 sixty.  Shemar Dalton (South Stokes, 2020) touched 85 mph from right field with carry and accuracy. 

Top Underclass Games Quick Hitters

+ 47 Players took part in the Top Underclass Games
+ 15 Players ran a 7.40, or better 60… 6 ran better than 7.20
+ 6 Position players showed an arm speed of better than 80 mph from their position
+ 9 catchers registered Pop Times of better than 2.20… 3 were below 2.10
+ 12 hitters had exit velocities, off the barrel, of 84 mph or higher
+ 7 pitchers touched 83 or better with their fastball… 1 touched 90.

CLICK HERE for a full roster of participants

CLICK HERE for a full statistical breakdown from the Top Underclass Games



Catcher Analysis


Braden Smith C / Carmel Christian, NC / 2019

Lots of maturity ahead in the 5-foot-10, 140 pound receiver.  Works with quickness and desire behind the plate, showing an ability to corral balls as he blocks.  Easy target for pitchers, shifting with looseness in the hips.  Arm has some carry at 76 mph out of the crouch.  Pop times ranged 2.14 – 2.33 in the workout with some accuracy.  Pop times have been better in the past, but the arm strength is beginning to catch the quickness in the exchange.  Expect the pop times to be above average moving forward.  Quickness is present with a 7.37 sixty.  Right handed hitter is balanced and athletic from the right side.  Slight waggle in the bat head to the load position.  Short stride gets to average bat speed, staying level through the zone.  Line drive approach stays in the middle of the field with good rhythm.  Average barrel awareness.  Exit velocity peaked at 81.





Derek Hughes C / Ravenscroft, NC / 2019

Athletic build at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds.  Easy to dream on the body continuing to mature and adding strength.  Arm strength and carry on the baseball out of the crouch at 77 mph.  Short arm swing to a high-3/4 release as the ball exchanges in a strong fashion across the chest.  Pop times ranged 2.10 – 2.19 with a feel for the bag.  At times setup with a slight forward press in the glove-side, the hips can be high.  Aggressive to block and through any throws.  Hands worked with some ease funneling back to the middle of the body to present pitches.  Right-handed hitter works from an open stance with a slight crouch.  Loads back, taking the bat head to a vertical position.  Uses a leg kick to get to a short stride.  Better than average bat speed through a level bat path, wanting extension.  Pull emphasis with good rhythm.  Occasional swing and miss in game action, but showed a feel for the strike zone.  Exit velocity peaked at 83 mph.





Ryan McCrystal C / 3B / Fuquay-Varina, NC / 2021

Young player with a lot of growth and development ahead.  Stands 5-foot-10, 165 pounds with an average frame.  Pop times ranged 2.11 – 2.32 with a positional velocity of 71 from the crouch.  Good feel for accuracy.  On the infield, hands have some stiffness in them as he cradles the ball to the right hip for the exchange.  Works to load the arm with his feet getting long at times.  Arm swing varies on the play, working to a high-3/4 slot, touching 75 from shortstop.  Left-handed hitter starts athletic and open in his base.  Loads back, keeping the bat head flat.  Short stride works to average bat speed.  Some uphill leverage with an occasional inside-out approach, that would cut across the ball at times.  Average barrel awareness with an exit velocity of 78 mph.





Colin Ravin C / RHP / Providence Day School, NC / 2020

Right-handed hitter works from a tall base, showing better than average bat speed from the 5-foot-10, 165 pound frame.  Good barrel ability on swings that work level through the zone, creating line drives in the middle of the field with an exit velocity of 83 mph.  Glide approach, there is looseness as he gets to his front side.  Behind the plate, pop times ranged 2.11 – 2.36 with some feel for the bag.  Positional velocity of 72 from the crouch.  Catches the ball deep in stance on the infield, transferring to a long arm arc and over-the-top slot with some stiffness.  76 across the diamond.  Ran a 7.47 sixty.





Rodney Bonilla C / OF / Apex Friendship, NC / 2020

Average build in a 5-foot-8, 153 pound frame.  Pop times ranged 2.17 – 2.35 from behind the plate with a positional velocity of 68 out of the crouch.  Some accuracy as the hands exchange in a strong fashion in the middle of the chest.  Good footwork and timing as the body stays through each throw.  On the infield, feet get a little heavier and exchanges become a little longer working a long arm action and over-the-top slot.  69 mph from shortstop.  Right handed hitter is balanced working without a load.  Uses a leg kick and short stride with the bat head working to a vertical position.  Average bat speed, works level through the zone, staying in the middle of the field. Barrel awareness can improve with strength.  Exit velocity peaked at 77.  Ran a 7.95 sixty.





Bo Rusher III C / Salisbury, NC / 2019

Strength exists in an average 6-foot-1, 180 pound frame.  Pop times ranged 2.06 – 2.07 with a positional velocity of 75 out of the crouch.  Sits a little high in stance, presenting a decent target.  Hands exchange around the belt, in front of the body, loading the arm in a short fashion and working to a high-3/4 slot.  Accuracy and carry exists.  Tends to fall forward blocking, onto his hands but the desire to block exists.  Worked for his pitchers in game situations.  Easy to dream about projection with the frame and athleticism that is present.  Left handed hitter has average bat speed with an ease in his swing that catches the eye.  Balanced, lacking a major load, uses a short stride.  Strength in the hands.  Gets to the front side, wanting extension, working the pull side throughout BP.  Leverage through the ball.  Average barrel awareness.  Exit velocity of 82.  Ran a 7.51 sixty.





Cambell Conard C / 2B / T C Roberson, NC / 2020

Young build at 5-foot-10, 163 pounds.  Athletic presence across his game.  Positional velocity of 71 from the crouch, behind the plate.  Pop times ranged 2.18 – 2.31 with a feel for accuracy.  Easy setup with looseness in the hips and good presentation.  Exchanges in a strong fashion across the chest.  Short arm action to an over-the-top slot where the head clears room for the slot.  Ball has some fade back to arm side at times.  Caught the ball with ease on the infield.  Good rhythm between feet and hands.  Works to catch on the right hip, somewhat deep in stance.  Clean transition to an over-the-top slot.  Showed some accuracy at 71 mph across the field.  Switch hitter works from a balanced setup, using a leg kick and short stride from each side.  Flat through the zone with average bat speed from the right side.  Middle of the field approach showing some feel for the barrel.  Exit velocity peaked at 76.  On the left side, the swing sweeps through the zone with a pull emphasis.  Bat speed drops some, but the swing has more strength when on the barrel.  Ran an 8.01 sixty.





Robbie O'Neal C / 2B / DH Conley, NC / 2019

Physical and athletic at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds.  Strength in the hands plays with the bat.  Switch hitter is balanced and tall with a short stride from each side.  On the right side, exit velocity peaked at 89 mph.  Quick bat that pounded the pull side gap in BP showing back spin and a feel for the barrel.  On the left side, exit velocity worked to 84.  Little more pull emphasis, working for extension with slight uphill leverage.  Simple and repeatable actions on both sides.  From behind the plate, pop times ranged 1.99 – 2.13 with advanced accuracy and carry.  Positional velocity peaked at 77 from his stance.  Aggressive nature working through the ball with a strong exchange and over-the-top release.  On the infield, hands work out front.  Average rhythm in the feet.  Solid transitions to a short arm action and over-the-top slot producing 82 mph across the diamond.  Ran a 7.60 sixty.





Outfielder Analysis


Corey Avant OF / RHP / Sun Valley, NC / 2020

Long frame with length in the limbs at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds.  Tall in stance with a vertical bat.  Weight shift back working to an average stride length.  Better than average bat speed with looseness throughout.  Level, showed some barrel ability, staying in the middle of the field.  Exit velocity peaked at 84 off the barrel.  Clean with the ball, footwork and exchange could get long at times.  Long arm action worked to sync with a front side that wanted to clear out early.  High-3/4 slot showed some accuracy and some carry at 78 mph out of the hand.  Ran a 7.82 sixty.





Riley Caudle OF / 3B / South View , NC / 2019

5-foot-10, 165 pounder does a lot well.  Ran a 7.39 sixty with a good burst off the line.  Arm carried with advanced accuracy from the outfield at 79 mph.  Exit velocity peaked at 82 off the barrel.  Right-handed hitter works from a crouched stance, loading the back side with his weight.  Hands drop slightly as he loads back.  Short stride sets the swing to an uphill position.  Works for extension through the leverage.  Pull emphasis with average bat speed.  Fluid and clean through the ball on defense, works from an athletic position to get to a high-3/4 slot.  Some stiffness in the long arm arc, turning the ball over early, creating decent carry. 





Shemar Dalton OF / SS / South Stokes, NC / 2020

Athletic frame that has some strength present at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds.  Ran a 7.21.  Arm measured at 85 from right field.  Quick clean exchanges, playing through the ball.  Short, loose arm swing gets to a high-3/4 slot.  Advanced accuracy with above average carry.  Left-handed hitter works with a vertical bat, with waggle through the load back.  Short stride.  Average bat speed.  Works level and wants extension.  Pull emphasis through BP.  Barrel is in and out of the zone quick at times.  Load can be rushed, getting the waggle to set to a launch position.  Exit velocity of 81 off the barrel. 





Jayden Gatling OF / 2B / North Lenoir , NC / 2019

Average build at 5-foot-8, 140 pounds.  Young frame.  Ran a 7.07 sixty.  Extremely accurate in the outfield on throws measuring 74 mph out of the hand.  Clean with the baseball, plays through with aggression.  Long arm swing, works through some stiffness, getting to an over-the-top slot.  Right handed hitter sweeps the bat through the zone with average barrel awareness and an exit velocity of 83.  Wide, balanced and tall, uses a short stride and a quick bat to get to extension.  Vertical bat.  Pull emphasis.  Rushed through the load at times, tends to stay on the back leg.  Head discipline can be improved. 





Ryan Miller OF / SS / Grays Creek, NC / 2019

Balanced and slightly crouched on the right side of the dish.  5-foot-8, 175 pound frame has decent strength in the hands and swing.  Short stride leads to average bat speed, working level with some length through the zone.  Stays in the middle of the field with an exit velocity of 84 mph off the barrel.  Quick and clean through the ball in the outfield, arm reach 78 from a long, over-the-top slot.  Some accuracy and average carry.  Decent athleticism.  On the infield hands played with more stiffness and the exchange was clean with some length, feeling rushed at times.  77 mph across the diamond.  Ran a 7.83 sixty.





Aidan Voorhees OF / OF / Jack Britt, NC / 2019

Quick twitch is present in the 5-foot-7, 125 pounder.  Ran a 7.13 sixty with a good burst over the first thirty yards.  Tall, narrow stance from the right side of the plate.  Loads back with a short stride and flat barrel.  Average bat speed works to stay level and in the middle of the field.  Average barrel awareness that may increase as strength is added.  Exit velocity peaked at 72.  Average hands and fluid through the ball in the outfield, working to play through hit and into the exchange.  Short arm action, with slight stiffness, works to an over-the-top slot, peaking at 72 mph from right field.