Prep Baseball Report

Preseason All-State: Catching Analysis

By TJ Hunt
Director of Scouting, New Jersey

The Preseason All-State Showcase was an unequivocal success this year, bringing out some of the top talent in the state, many of which had not been seen prior to the event. This year, several prospects put their names on our big board and over the next week we will break down the top prospects at each position.

Today we begin the analysis by taking a look at the catchers. Physically advanced Matthew Rivera separated himself from the pack with a strong arm from behind the plate with a quick release. Virginia recruit Kyle Teel showed why he was one of the most sought after young prospects in the country as well.

Top Catching Prospects

1. Matthew Rivera, C, Holy Spirit HS, NJ, 2018
Rivera has a physical build at 6-foot-3 200-pounds. Ranked No. 7 in the NJ 2018 class, 231 Overall. Ran a 7.00 60 yard dash. Offensively- starts in a tall, narrow stance with hands loaded back prepitch and the bat wrapped around his head. Uses a big leg kick and stride to start swing. Shows some explosiveness in swing and finish - gets good extension with arms on contact. Partial hip clear on finish. Recorded an Exit Velocity of 100 mph. Defensively- pop times between 1.78-1.81, recorded throws that topped at 80 mph, which was the top catcher velocity of the event. Exchange is clean, gains ground toward 2B on finish. Explosive arm from a high-3/4 slot. Throws had some arm side run. 

2. Kyle Teel, C, Mahwah HS, NJ, 2020
Teel has a lanky, athletic build at 6-feet 165-pounds. Virginia recruit.  One of the top 2020s in the state and overall. Exit velocity of 89 mph. Offensively- LHH starts in a crouch slightly wider than shoulder width with bat rested on shoulder. As pitch comes in, uses a leg lift and stride to start swing. Bat goes from being parallel with the ground to almost perpendicular as hands load down and back.  Hands and hips are violent through the zone. Finishes balanced on back leg. Creates some lift to swing. Defensively- registered throws that topped at 77 mph to 2B, with a top pop time of the event at 1.71 and a range between 1.71-1.81. Quick feet and gains ground toward 2B on finish. Short, quick arm action. Recoil on finish. At SS, recorded throws that topped at 87 mph across the diamond. Exchange is quick and fluid, feet are athletic and gain ground to first base. Throws from a high-3/4 slot. Is able to throw from multiple different slots. 

3. Raul Ortega, C, St. Joseph's Montvale HS, NJ, 2018
 Ortega has a strong, physical build at 6-feet 210-pounds.  Switch hitting catcher ran a 7.27 60 yard dash. Exit Velocity recorded at 91 mph from the right side and 92 mph from the left side. Offensively- Righty: starts in a wide stance with a crouch and emphasis on weight on back side prepitch. Hands are just below shoulder. As pitch comes in, Ortega uses a small leg lift and stride. Hands load down and then back up above the shoulder. Explosive hips and hands in swing, produces gap to gap power with lift on finish. Lefty: Starts in a wide stance with hands above shoulder. Uses a small leg kick to start swing, hand load is minimal. Creates lift in finish and is equally explosive from the left as he is from the right side. Defensively- short, quick arm action - compact movements help him stay efficient and directional on throws. Registered pop times between 1.91-1.97. Throws topped at 77 mph to 2B, one of the top velocities of the event. High follow prospect.

4. Thomas Rodgers, C, Christian Brothers Academy HS, NJ, 2018
Rodgers has a strong, athletic build at 6-feet 183-pounds. Ran a 7.44 60 yard dash. Offensively- starts in a tall, narrow stance with hands locked up and back. Uses a small leg lift and stride to start swing. Creates lift on finish with explosive lower half. Gap to gap type hitter. Exit Velocity topped at 90. Defensively- Recorded pop times between 1.94-2.01, threw 77 mph down to 2B, one of the top catcher velocities from the event. Quick, clean exchange and gains ground with footwork. Throws had backspin and were located on the bag. Interesting prospect to follow for the spring and summer. 

5. Lane Painter, C, Ridgewood HS, NJ, 2018
Painter has an athletic frame at 6-foot-2 185-pounds.  Ran a 7.07 60 yard dash. Offensively- starts in a balanced stance and a slight crouch with hands level with his back shoulder. As pitch comes in, he uses a small leg lift and stride and a small hand load. Shows some power potential. Hips clear through the zone, level bat path. Exit Velocity was 90 mph. Defensively- showed one of the best catch and throw techniques of the event. Quick feet and clean exchange. Throws had some carry toward 2B. Registered pop times between 1.88-1.97. Threw 72 mph down to 2B.  

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Adam Conte, C, DePaul Catholic HS, NJ, 2020
Conte has a strong, athletic build at 5-foot-10 175-pounds. Ran the 60 yard dash in 7.75. Exit Velocity topped at 84. Offensively- starts with a balance stance with weight on back side and hands level with back shoulder. Uses a toe tap and weight transfer to initiate swing. Hands load down and back. Creates some power with his swing and some lift on finish. Hips rotate fluidly through the zone. Defensively- Recorded pop times between 2.07-2.15. Throws topped at 72 mph to 2B. Quick feet and short, slingshot-like arm action.  

Ryan Dzialo, C, Morris Knolls HS, NJ, 2019
Dzialo has an athletic frame at 5-foot-8 150-pounds. Ran the 60 yard dash in 7.44 seconds. Recorded an Exit Velocity that topped at 83 mph. Offensively- LHH starts with a balanced set up in a crouch. Hands level with back shoulder. Uses a small foot stride to start swing, hands rise up and back in load with some fluidity. Level bat path on swing, stiff front leg on contact and finish. Finishes tall and balanced. Defensively- Throws topped at 67 mph to 2B, pop times between 1.97-2.07. Can create some more velocity if he can gain ground with footwork instead of replacing feet when he comes out of the shoot. High-3/4 arm slot, creates backspin on release. Fluid actions and exchange is quick with rhythm.

Michael Faletti, C, Red Bank Catholic HS, NJ, 2018

Faletti has a strong, athletic build at 5-foot-10 190-pounds. Ran the 60 yard dash in 7.54 seconds. Offensively- Exit Velocity topped at 89 mph. Starts in an opened, wide stance with weight on backside. hands are level with back shoulder. As pitch comes in, uses a small leg lift and stride to start swing, hands load straight back. Shows some quickness in hands and some power potential. Level bat head through zone, balanced/under control finish. Defensively- Throws topped at 77 mph to 2B. Pop times between 1.97-2.03. Quiet body with receiving. Footwork and finish are directional toward 2B. Finishes through throws. Short, quick arm action from an over the top slot. Throws were located on the bag.

Cole Fleming, C, Shawnee HS, NJ, 2020
Fleming has a lean, athletic build at 5-foot-9 180-pounds. Ran the 60 in 7.19. Offensively- Exit Velocity topped at 84 mph. Starts in a balanced stance with hands above back shoulder. Uses a toe-tap and stride to start swing. Hand load is minimal. Balanced finish, creates lift in swing. Defensively- recorded pop times between 1.93-1.97. Throws topped at 75 mph down to 2B. Solid foundation already as just a freshman. Receive and exchange are clean and effortless. Footwork is quick and fluid. Throws from an over the top slot with a short, quick arm action. Falls toward third base on finish slightly with a recoil. Interesting young prospect to watch as he continues to mature. 

Jacob Herner, C, Paul VI HS, NJ, 2020
Herner has a slender build at 5-foot-7 130-pounds, and is very much still growing and maturing. Ran the 60 yard dash in 8.01. Offensively- starts in a tall and slightly opened stance with hands just above shoulder. As pitch comes in, uses a big leg kick to start swing, hands load back slightly. Upper cut finish. Exit Velocity topped at 71 mph. Defensively- throws topped at 66 mph - pop times between 2.03-2.09. Stays low to the ground even as he pops up to throw to 2B. Throws were on the bag with some backspin. Pitching- Fastball topped at 74 mph, sat mostly 71-73. Showcased a breaking ball at 61-63 as well. Up tempo delivery, coils himself when in balance point. Drop and drive type pitcher, falls off to first base side on finish. Collapses back leg into landing leg on release. High-3/4 slot. Herner has a solid fundamental foundation to build on.

Drayven Kowalski, C, Steinert HS, NJ, 2018
Kowalski has a lean, athletic build at 6-feet 168-pounds. Offensively- Switch hitting catcher. From the right side - starts in a narrow, opened stance with hands below back shoulder and bat sitting vertically in hands. Uses a foot stride to start swing, hands load back. Balanced finish with a level bat path. Exit Velocity topped at 85 mph. From the left side - opened stance, in more of a crouch with hands below back shoulder. Creates some rhythm with hands and wrists prepitch. Uses a foot stride to start swing, hands load straight back. Level bat path with balance in finish. Exit velocity topped at 84. Defensively- Showed some explosiveness coming out of the shoot on throws to 2B. Footwork is sound, exchange is clean and quick. Throws topped at 74 mph. Pop times between 1.91-2.00. 

Michael McGee, C, Cranford HS, NJ, 2019
McGee has a big bodied frame at 5-foot-10 194-pounds. Ran a 8.85 60 yard dash. Offensively- recorded Exit Velocity of 88 mph. Starts in a tall, narrow stance with hands above shoulder. As pitch comes in, uses a small leg lift and stride to start swing. Hands load down and back. Back leg collapses into front leg. Pulls off on finish occasionally. Defensively- recorded pop times between 1.85-1.90. Throws topped at 73 mph to 2B. Heavy feet, exchange is clean.
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