Prep Baseball Report

PA Top Prospect Games: LHP and Catchers

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

The 2015 PBR Pennsylvania Top Prospect Games took place on June 16-17 at Hank DeVincent Field on the campus of La Salle University. 88 prospects from around the state showcased their abilities in front of nearly 40 college coaches in attendance. Today is the third of six installments of player evaluations from the event, this one covering perhaps the two most sought-after commodities by college coaches.

Left-Handed Pitchers

Luciano Besh, 2016, LHP, Franklin Regional
Not the biggest frame at 5-foot-10, 170-pounds, but exhibited perhaps the best pitchability at the event. Worked out of a three-quarter slot, keeping the ball down and staying out of the middle of the plate. Fastball at 81-82 had consistent armside run. Showed an ability to backdoor and backfoot his curveball with 11/5 action at 72-74. Didn’t feature his change-up at 70-71 much, but threw it with good armspeed.

Brendan Cellucci, 2017, LHP, Penn Charter
Projectable frame (6-foot-4, 190-pounds) with long limbs. Pitched out of an over-the-top slot from an athletic delivery with some head snap. Fastball at 85-87 showed late action at the front of the plate. Slow, big-breaking curveball with 11/5 action at 62-64 serves as a borderline eephus pitch given its nearly 25-mph difference from his fastball. Four-pitch mix also included a slider at 68-69 and straight change-up at 74-76.

Bobby Heck, 2016, LHP, Archbishop Wood
Primary position player with solid, medium build (5-foot-11, 180-pounds). Pitched one inning out of a three-quarter slot with low elbow. Pitched primarily with a fastball at 71-72 with occasional cut action.

Kyle Katz, 2016, LHP, Hatboro-Horsham
Not a huge frame (5-foot-10, 170-pounds), but has some pitchability. Worked out of an over-the-top slot with good direction toward home plate and fastball at 74-75. Showed a feel for dropping his curveball with 12/6 break at 63-64 in for a strike, while exhibiting very good armspeed on his change-up at 64-65.

Joe LaFiora, 2018, LHP, Neumann-Goretti
Youngster with developed frame (5-foot-9, 200-pounds) and strong lower half. Cruised through first inning before seeing his command escape him a bit (would pull off toward third base side creating an arm drag). Pitched out of an over-the-top slot with overhead rocker and easy arm action. Fastball sat 77-79, big 12/6 curveball was 62-63, and change-up was 69-70. Incorporated some advanced tactics, including one left-on-left change-up and occasional elimination of his overhead rocker to upset the hitter’s timing.

Austin Lemke, 2018, LHP, La Salle
Solid, medium frame (5-foot-11, 190-pounds). Pitched out of a three-quarter slot with some hook and effort. Worked primarily with a fastball at 77-79 that moved all over the place (sometimes cut, sometimes run, sometimes sink), although this may have been due to not repeating his delivery. Also mixed in a curveball with 12/6 action at 67-68.

Matt Lupoli, 2017, LHP, Garnet Valley
Solid, medium frame (5-foot-10, 200-pounds). Pitched out of a high three-quarter slot with a pronounced wrist wrap. Command can improve, but was around zone with fastball at 82-84 that had occasional cut in on right-handed hitters. Also utilized a curveball at 69-71 and a change-up at 70-72 with a bit of fade.

Dillon Marsh, 2018, LHP, Lancaster Catholic
Oozes projection from 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame and easy delivery. Pitched from high three-quarter slot with high front side and slightly crossfire delivery. Fastball sat 82-84, touching 85, with some run and sink. Showed very good armspeed on change-up at 76-77. Still appears to be learning to trust his curveball at 72-74 that showed a little more depth than in the past.

Curtis Robison, 2017, LHP, Northern York
Medium frame (6-foot-1, 195-pounds) with room to add additional strength. Pitched from an over-the-top slot with abbreviated arm action and some front arm swim. Fastball sat 80-82 and touched 84. Curveball at 68-69 had a tendency to back up on him this day, but had solid 1/7 break when it did what he wanted. Also utilized a change-up at 71-72 with some fade.


Austin Braendel, 2016, C, Cathedral Prep
5-foot-10, 185-pounder showed advanced defensive abilities. Good feet, exchange, and throwing accuracy. Low trajectory with carry. Registered workout pop times of 1.96-2.10 (a 1-2 tenth improvement from when we last saw him in February) and an in-game pop of 2.08. Soft wall, controls ball when blocking. At the plate, the right-handed hitter starts slightly open and strides to square. Swing has some length, but he employs a simple approach with a short stride and load, and ability to hit the ball the other way with some power potential (89-mph exit velo).

Grant Breneman, 2017, C, Cedar Cliff
Primary third baseman who is still learning the catching position. Low arm slot with quick exchange. Workout pop times of 2.10-2.16 with an in-game pop of 2.06, which can be improved by getting his front foot entirely around toward second base. Football player who takes that aggressive mentality when blocking. Rides ball a bit when receiving, which should improve with more reps. At the plate, physical 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed hitter starts from slightly open stance with minimal stride. Works to stay inside the ball and gets solid extension through contact. Logged an in-game 4.25 home-to-1B time.

Arturo Figueroa, 2017, C, Central Dauphin
Received well, showed agility when blocking. Quick feet and release with very good accuracy allow arm strength to play up on stolen base attempts (2.08-2.15 workout pop times) and backpicks, which he is not afraid to do liberally. Appears to have a head for the position, at times patting the glove inside on a hitter before shifting and setting up away. 5-foot-7, 165-pound switch-hitter with some strength in his frame. From the left side, starts slightly open and uses a knee-to-knee stride to get to square, employing a slightly uphill swing path through the zone. From the right side, starts open and strides to slightly open, with a shorter path and more bat speed (88-mph exit velo vs 82-mph from the left side).

Billy Hitman, 2016, C, Pope John Paul II
5-foot-11, 170-pound right-handed hitter. Simple approach at the plate, body and head stay still throughout swing. Starts slightly open, takes short stride to square and has some gap power (88-mph exit velo). Blue-collar kid with limited reps behind the plate due to playing infield in high school. Due to injury sustained on glovehand, did not participate in defensive workout, but posted an in-game best pop time of 2.12. Injury also inhibited ability to swing the bat his last plate appearance, but ran a 4.00 home-to-1B time on a drag bunt.

Matt Kephart, 2017, C, Lower Dauphin
5-foot-9, 170-pound left-handed hitter. Starts slightly open and strides to slightly closed. Short, simple approach with good entry into the hitting zone and loose hands. Some present strength (84-mph exit velo) with room to grow. Defensively, showed a solid throwing arm with good carry and accuracy, logging workout pop times of 2.00-2.10 and an in-game best of 2.05. Posted an in-game 4.47 home-to-1B time.

Zach Klapak, 2018, C, Delaware Valley
Athletic-framed 6-foot, 185-pound left-handed hitter. Starts from a square stance in a slight squat and takes a short stride. Swing has some length and armbar, and was geared backside in game action, but did show some pullside pop (90-mph exit velo) in batting practice. Defensively, body stayed still when receiving and showed some arm strength (2.06-2.19 workout pop times) that would play up by shortening his footwork and release.

Joe Kroeger, 2016, C, Central York
6-foot, 185-pound right-handed hitter. Starts slightly open, rocks weight to backside and rolls front knee during load/separation. Contact guy who doesn’t swing and miss much and has shown the ability to stay on top of elevated pitches. Defensively, good direction with feet and clean exchange when throwing led to workout pop times of 2.11-2.22. Aggressive blocker with improving glovehand when receiving.

Mason McKinley, 2016, C, Garden Spot
Defensively, exhibited solid throwing mechanics with quick feet, exchange, and release, allowing him to record workout pop times of 2.10-2.22, despite below average arm strength. 5-foot-8, 160-pound right-handed hitter who would benefit from adding strength to his frame. Hits from square stance, spins on backside, creating some length in swing and slightly uphill path.

Joe Robinson, 2017, C, Pennridge
Solidly built, 5-foot-11, 190-pound left-handed hitter. Starts slightly open with weight heavy on backside and strides to square, taking an uphill path through the hitting zone. Would benefit from getting his front foot down on time consistently, but showed some strength in BP that isn’t evident in his recorded exit velo. Quick feet and exchange led to workout pop times of 2.10-2.11, while receiving would improve if he can lessen his body movement as the pitch approaches.

Jordan Scott, 2017, C, Lancaster Catholic
5-foot-10, 175-pound right-handed hitter. Has some strength (85-mph exit velo) that he currently doesn’t tap into entirely due to a wide stance that gets even wider when he strides and a finish that he cuts off. Quick feet and exchange allowed his below average arm strength to play up and led to workout pop times of 2.10-2.15.

Corey Webb, 2016, C, Easton Area
Solid defender who blocked well, showing some agility and mobility behind the plate. Made a nice play picking a dirtball and throwing out a runner at third base. Recorded workout pop times of 2.05-2.15, while accuracy will improve when he consistently gets his front foot around and pointed toward second base. 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-handed hitter with room to add strength to frame. Strides on toe with knee roll, but gets weight transferred off backside well. Swing has some length, but showed an ability to barrel the baseball to the opposite field.

Previous PA Top Prospect Games News