All-State Games: Catcher Analysis


By: Illinois Scouting Staff

On Tuesday, June 29, the PBR Illinois staff hosted the All-State Games at The MAX in LaGrange, IL. The invite-only event featured over 50 of the top 2023s from Illinois and Wisconsin, with several high-follow prospects emerging after strong showings from the day. 

Shortly after the event’s conclusion our staff rolled out multiple post-event content pieces, which you can find by clicking HERE

We’ll now begin rolling our position-by-position analysis, starting with the catchers and making our way around the diamond as the week continues. Here are a few nuggets on some backstops that made a name for themselves at this event: 

+ Two of the top left-handed bats of the entire event earned invites to the 2021 Future Games and have since committed: Evan Gustafson (Altoona, WI; Oregon State) and Dominic Kibler (New Berlin West, WI; Kent State). Both showed polished, impactful left-handed bats while Gustafson stood out defensively as well. Gustafson has soft/receptive hands, a quick release and strong arm that plays true and on the bag at 79 mph. Gustafson also produced the low pop time of the event at 1.93. 

Outside of the two committed Wisconsin prospects, there were plenty of other noteworthy backstops who remain on the market: 

+ Caleb Karll (Madison West, WI) is another prospect hailing from Wisconsin who made a statement at the event and earned an invite to the Future Games. Karll has a compact, strong right-handed bat that consistently produces hard, in-game contact with the ability to play behind the plate or in the outfield.

+ Kaleb Wilkey (Lincoln-Way West) has a 5-foot-10, 185-pound, muscular, wide-shouldered frame while showing off above-average athleticism, running a 6.94 laser-timed 60 with athletic actions and soft hands behind the plate. Offensively, his right-handed swing continues to make strides while he consistently worked gap-to-gap with natural lift in his round of BP.

+ Danny Rollins (Lake Park) doesn't wow you with big tools but he was one of the better all-around, fundamentally sound catchers on the day. Rollins has feel for the barrel at the plate and is an above-average receiver who handled a number of different arms with ease throughout the day.

+ William Millard (O’Fallon) helped lead O’Fallon to a state finals appearance this June and carried over his strong play to the All-State Games. Millard creates bat speed from his 5-foot-10, 180-pound, wiry-strong frame and was all over the barrel during his round of BP. 

Read on below for a look at the rest of the backstops from the day.

CATCHING PROSPECTS (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)

Quinn Duffy, Marist (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: OF/3B
Body: 5-foot-10, 160-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, toe-tap trigger, short stride. Short swing, level bat path, looks to make contact out front, fluidity in rhythm, line drives, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 87.64 max exit velocity, averaged 81.8 mph. 272’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot.
Defense: 2.19-2.32 pop times. Fluid footwork, gains ground toward second base, clean exchanges.
Run: 7.66 runner in the 60. 

Evan Gustafson, Altoona (WI), 2023; Oregon State commit
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 6-foot-2, 185-pounds. Athletic frame.
Hit: LHH. Slightly open setup, leg kick trigger, strides slightly closed, easy pre-pitch actions. Smooth, whippy swing, advanced bat speed, flashes effortless pop in barrel, gap-to-gap approach, line-drives throughout.
Power: 95.46 max exit velocity, averaged 85 mph. 310’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 79 mph. Best pop-time at event; short arm action, throws have carry and play true.
Defense: 1.93-2.01 pop times. Advanced actions behind the plate, quick exchange/release, fluid footwork, throws consistently on the bag.
Run: 7.15 runner in the 60. 

Maxwell Kalk, Kimberly (WI), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 6-foot-0, 190-pounds.
Hit: LHH. Athletic, balanced setup, smooth load, short stride, simple pre-pitch actions. Loose, repeatable swing, short, level bat path, rhythmic hitter, consistent hard contact with line drives.
Power: 89.49 max exit velocity, averaged 85.2 mph. 320’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 76 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot, throws flash carry.
Defense: 2.08-2.14 pop times. Athletic setup behind plate, quick footwork, clean exchange/release.
Run: 7.36 runner in the 60. 

Caleb Karll, Madison West (WI), 2023
Positional Profile: OF/C
Body: 6-foot-1, 190-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Slightly open setup, toe-tap trigger, long stride. Short, strong swing with intent, ball jumps off barrel at times, line drives, gap-to-gap approach, pull-side tendencies.
Power: 96.09 max exit velocity, averaged 89.83 mph. 298’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 78 mph. OF - 90 mph. Over-the-top arm slot, throws downhill from outfield, best outfield velocity at event.
Defense: 2.07-2.15 pop times. Catcher: fluid feet, clean exchanges, quick release. Outfield: corner outfield type, plays aggressively through the ball.
Run: 7.37 runner in the 60.

Dominic Kibler, New Berlin West (WI), 2023; Kent State commit
Positional Profile: C. High-level left-handed hitter in the 2023 class.
Body: 5-foot-8, 180-pounds. Strong, compact build.
Hit: LHH. Balanced, simple setup, short stride, smooth pre-pitch actions. Advanced short bat path, direct to the ball, easy effort, barrel works efficiently through the zone, consistent hard line-drives, used middle of the field.
Power: 94.46 max exit velocity, averaged 91.92 mph. 317’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 77 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot, throws flash carry.
Defense: 2.06-2.15 pop times. Quick transfer, feet quickly gain ground toward second base, ability to deaden balls when blocking.
Run: 7.27 runner in the 60.

William Millard, OFallon (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/SS
Body: 5-foot-10, 180-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Balanced, athletic setup, smooth leg lift, short stride, displays balance. Short, aggressive swing, path works slightly uphill,  line drives, pull-side tendencies.
Power: 89.95 max exit velocity, averaged 81.99 mph. 323’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 76 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot.
Defense: 2.09-2.21 pop times. Athletic actions, quick exchange, fluid footwork, gains ground toward second base.
Run: 7.62 runner in the 60.

Danny Rollins, Lake Park (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/SS
Body: 5-foot-9, 165-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands held high, small leg lift, short stride. Short swing, direct to the ball, works inside it, consistent hard line drives, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 96.35 max exit velocity, averaged 89.47 mph. 303’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot.
Defense: 2.08-2.17 pop times. Quick feet/exchange, accuracy in throw downs.
Run: 7.56 runner in the 60.  

Mark Wagner, Neuqua Valley (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 5-foot-11, 185-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Slightly open. athletic setup, leg-lift trigger, short stride. Short, aggressive swing, path works uphill, intent to hit ball in the air, works inside the baseball, used opposite field in BP.
Power: 90.71 max exit velocity, averaged 75.77 mph. 340’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot.
Defense: 2.15-2.21 pop times. Quick exchange/release, accurate throws low on the bag.
Run: 8.04 runner in the 60. 

Kaleb Wilkey, Lincoln-Way West (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-foot-10, 185-pounds. Lean build.
Hit: RHH. Quiet setup, balanced, short stride, smooth pre-pitch actions. Athletic swing with intent, advanced bat speed, direct path to baseball, consistent hard contact with line drives, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 92.14 max exit velocity, averaged 87.05 mph. 292’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 79 mph. High 3/4 arm slot, throws carry.
Defense: 2.05-2.15 pop times. Athletic footwork, quick exchange, accurate throws.
Run: 6.94 runner in the 60. Above average runner.

Henry Wolfe, New Trier (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 6-foot-2, 190-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Wide setup, weight loaded on back side, short toe-tap stride, small hand load. Path works uphill, long through zone, gap-to-gap approach, line drives at times, consistent hard contact.
Power: 93.52 max exit velocity, averaged 88.84 mph. 361’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 79 mph. Long arm action, high 3/4 arm slot, throws carry.
Defense: 2.06-2.14 pop times. Athletic actions, clean exchange, feet gain ground toward second base.
Run: 6.99 runner in the 60. Above average runner.

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