Pacific Northwest Preseason ProCase: Position Player Quick Hits


By: Dan Jurik & Diego Solares

On Sunday, February 6th, the PBR Washington and Oregon staff held the 2022 Pacific Northwest ProCase at the NW Sports Hub in Centralia, Washington. The invite-only event featured 19 upper-tier players from our region looking to garner some attention heading into the high school seasons in both states.

For a look at the event’s roster, click HERE.

Now, at the event’s conclusion, our staff will begin to roll-out several post-event content pieces pertaining to our biggest takeaways. Below is a quick hitting analysis of all the day’s position players with the pitcher analysis set to come tomorrow.

POSITION PLAYER QUICK HITS

CATCHERS

+ C Max Bledy (Wilsonville, 2022; Pacific) was another winner from Sunday’s event, showcasing an improved skill-set across the board. The 6-foot, 200-pound backstop ran a 6.72 in the 60-yard dash and followed it up with a 100 mph max exit velocity in BP. He then led the catching group in peak throwing velocity, touching 82 mph, and his quickest pop came in at 1.97 seconds.

+ An athletic 6-foot, 180-pound Gonzaga commit, C Kevin Spear (Bishop Blanchet, 2022) had a strong all-around workout like his peers. Spear ran a 6.93 in the 60-yard dash, a noteworthy number for a catcher. His athleticism played from behind the plate, as Spear topped at 80 mph to the bag while using a quick release to consistently pop sub-2.00 second times, his best coming in at 1.82 seconds.

+ The only 2023 prospect present at the event, uncommitted C Brock Leitgeb (Jesuit, 2023) is a former Future Games participant who has continued to increase his stock consistently over the last year and change. Physically he’s fully capable of handling the demands of the position and has the athleticism necessary to stick behind the dish at the next level. His combination of catch & throw skills plus offensive output (upper 90’s EV) make him one of the top remaining uncommitted juniors in the PNW.

+ Another notable headline from Sunday’s event was the performance of C Ryan VandenBrink (West Linn, 2024; Oregon State), who was the lone underclassmen in attendance and is also one of the top prospects in the Oregon sophomore class. VandenBrink impressed across the board, putting up advanced raw numbers for his age in nearly every single category. He reached a max exit velocity of 98 mph, peaked at 79 mph from the crouch, and averaged pop times in the 1.98-to-2.07 range.

OUTFIELDERS

+ Perhaps one of the day’s biggest statistical standouts was OF/RHP Canon Reeder (Summit, 2022; Oregon State), who put up rather impressive numbers across the board. The future Beaver ran the event’s fastest 60-yard dash time at 6.63 seconds, recorded the hardest throw home from the outfield at 94 mph, and also ran his fastball up to 90 mph on the mound. He continues to show an upside profile attached to a wiry 6-foot, 170-pound frame and is one of the state’s top senior prospects. Established himself as a major 2-way player for the upcoming 2022 season. 

+ We will throw OF/1B Jacob Dodge (Southridge, 2022, Oregon) into the OF group as he could potentially find a home there down the road. 1B will always fit well for him with his L/L profile but he can move well for his size with arm strength that projects to be at least average for a corner spot. Dodge continues to impress with some of the best raw bat speed we’ve seen at events. His left side power is a major carrying tool and gives him the chance to develop into an impact bat. His set-up and swing looked dialed during BP as he AVERAGED 94.4 with his EV across 3 rounds with a peak of 100.5.

+ Uncommitted OF Noah Weintraub (Eastlake, 2022) should absolutely be a high follow for colleges heading into the 2022 season. The multi-sport athlete is physically built at 6’2 with speed & power. Offensively he works gap to gap well and showcases a level, up the middle type approach. We’ve seen him show off solid closing speed in the OF on some looks in game to go with an accurate throwing arm. 

INFIELDERS

+ INF/OF Ely Kennel (Santiam Christian, 2022; Oregon State) owns one of the state’s loudest profiles and it showed on Sunday. The 5-foot-11, 189-pound Beaver signee started his day by running a 6.69 in the 60-yard dash and followed it up with a loud round of BP, reaching a 100 mph max exit velocity and 92.4 mph average. Kennel’s max batted distance (362 ft.) and average distance (272 ft.) were also thoroughly impressive marks. He nearly finished with the event lead in infield throwing velocity as well, firing his hardest bullet across the diamond at 85 mph.

+ You could argue that Cole Hubka (Wilsonville, 2022, Utah) is the best pure SS in the PNW right now. A natural infielder who has shown impressive development throughout the years, his combination of footwork, quickness, instincts and arm strength have put him in a spot to be a lockdown defender on the dirt. Offensively he has the hand-eye & barrel control you want to see from a top-of-the-lineup bat and there’s a track record of consistently finding ways to produce offense in game.

+ Smooth swinging SS with quiet confidence on the diamond. ‘22 INF Hudson Shupe (Hanford, 2022, Seattle) has a balanced collection of physical tools and the chance to develop even more as he gets stronger. The actions have always been present and now the physicality is taking his game to another level. Fluid, uphill swing from the left-side produces easy loft & has consistently added raw power. Defensively he controls his body well & maintains a soft glove hand throughout. Runs well, especially once underway. Overall Shupe heads into 2022 with the chance to be a highly productive player on both sides of the ball as a senior.

+ Uncommitted ‘22 INF/RHP Caden Casagrande (Bishop Kelly, ID) made the trip over from Idaho and proved he’s a name to know for any schools looking to add to their incoming recruiting class. A stocky, powerful athlete with strong levers. Casagrande puts a short, compact swing onto the ball and generates consistent line drive pop with a peak EV of 95.6 mph. Defensively he’s light on his feet with plenty of arm to carry the ball across the diamond. Also has aptitude on the mound with a complete 3 pitch arsenal and a lively FB at 84-85. One of the better available 2-way prospects we’ve seen in the class.

+  Uncommitted 1B Chandler Tuupo (Issaquah, 2022) is another prospect still available who carries immense power potential. From the left side he has explosive bat speed & consistently impacts the baseball with authority. His peak EV topped at 98 mph with bat speed consistently holding 72-75 mph. Defensively he’s a great fit at 1B with the L/L profile and he’s an athletic defender around the bag. Again, as with most players on this list, the power potential Tuupo has is tough to find and gives him a considerably high offensive ceiling.

+ The day’s hardest hit, and furthest ball, came off the bat of 1B Caleb Gray (West Valley, 2022; Yakima Valley College). The 6-foot-2, 210-pound prospect reached a max exit velocity of 104.1 mph and peak batted distance of 388 ft., per TrackMan. Offensively, Gray has performed consistently in the last few events and has always gotten high marks for his ability to switch hit and drive the ball from both sides of the plate. He’s transitioned more to a 3B/1B combo at this point in his career and he has altered his physique to a leaner, more athletic frame for 2022. Wherever he ends up setting defensively, the bat is what will carry him as it has the potential to be an impact tool. 

+ Standing at an ultra-physical 6-foot-4, 225-pounds, 1B Cayden Wotipka (Kamiak, 2022; Lower Columbia College) caught our attention when he ran a 6.93 in the 60-yard dash at that stature. There’s plenty of strength attached to his frame and it showed throughout BP, as he recorded near event highs in max exit velocity (100 mph), average exit velocity (91.5 mph), peak batted distance (386 ft.), and average batted distance (260 ft.). Since his first showcase with PBR back in the Fall of 2020, he’s become a much more dynamic athlete with a speed/power combo that is tough to find. 

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