All-State Games: Catching Analysis


Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

On Saturday, October 28, some of the top talent in Texas met in Tomball to compete in the PBR Texas All-State Games. The event featured players from all four high school classes, including 2018 & 2019 grads, along with a select few 2020 & 2021 grads. Here is the catching analysis from that event.



catchers

Luke Banister C / 1B / Hutto, TX / 2020

Banister is a strong, athletic back-stop with a fluid powerful swing, and carry in his arm. He has advanced strength for his class with a muscular lower half at 5-foot-10, 190-pounds. His pop times ranged from 2.0-2.1 with a 76 mph velocity from the crouch, but we have seen him throw sub-2 pops in previous events. He has soft hands, quick in-line footwork and a clean exchange, which should allow him to progress at a fast rate in the coming years. He handles the ball well during games, showing the ability to block and receive at a high level, and gunned down a runner at second base. Offensively, the right-handed hitter shows a lot of upside at the plate with a fluid swing, easy rhythm, loose hands and projectable power. Banister gets the most out of his frame utilizing a reverse toe-tap with clean hand movement before driving his hands through the zone. He creates angle with his shoulders and finishes on his backside with full follow through creating backspin and current gap power with an exit velocity of 88 mph off the tee. For good measure, the sophomore also ran a 7.07 60-yard dash. Overall, Banister demonstrates the defensive capabilities to be a high level catching prospect. His quiet receiving skills only stand to get better as he continues to mature, and with his added strength his bat will certainly play well at the next level.

Dylan Leach C / 3B / Carthage, TX / 2021

Just a freshman, Leach will be a fun player to watch over the next four years. He has a lean-muscular frame with a well defined lower half and strong upper body at 5-foot-11, 175-pounds. The freshman has a high motor and is a “top-step” vocal leader on the field.  A switch-hitter, Leach shows good barrel awareness and a loose hack with rhythm and strength from both sides of the plate. From the right-side, he starts from a tall, slightly open, balanced stance with relaxed rhythm in his hands. Simple load back as he triggers his hands, then lands square with a short stride as he fires his lower half to initiate his hack with a powerful weight transfer. Short path to contact with good extension as he accelerates the barrel with strength in his hands and an exit velocity of 89 mph. From the left side, Leach starts from a wider base with his weight slightly shifted forward. Uses a smooth load as he triggers his hands back, powerful lower-half rotation as he fires his hips, slotting his hands down into the zone. Still has a short path with high end strength at contact, more lift with a higher finish and bottom-hand dominant path from the left side. Drove deep fly balls from center - to - left-centerfield during batting practice. Projectable offensive tools. Behind the plate, leach has a quiet setup with good lower half mobility and strength with strong hands as he receives the baseball. Quick exchange and footwork on throws to second base, high end arm strength (77 mph) and consistent pop times of 2.15-2.19 with accuracy from a short, high-¾ slot. Throws behind runners during games, quick twitch actions behind the plate. Ran 7.36 60-yard dash.

Beckett Vine C / RHP / St John's, TX / 2020

Vine is an athletic two-way player with a 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame. The right-handed hitter showed excellent pop and strength at contact during batting practice with an exit velocity of 90 mph off the tee. He starts from a balanced, square stance, loads with a simple toe tap into a short stride as his hands trigger back and down. Maintains balance as he uses a strong lower half to rotate to contact. Quick hands through the zone on a flat path with easy, simple strength at contact. Covers the zone well, showing the ability to drop the head on the low pitch, and still get to pitch up and in. Laced a double to right field during the game. Behind the plate, Vine has a whippy arm stroke from a high-¾ slot. At this event, he threw 78 mph from the crouch with pop times of 2.13-2.26. A two-way player and right-handed pitcher, Vine also has a quick arm on the mound. His fastball jumps out of his hand, topping at 85 mph. He mixed in a sharp curveball with good depth and 11/5 shape at 74-76 mph. 

Jimmy Crooks C / 3B / Trinity, TX / 2019

Crooks has a strong frame at 6-foot, 190-pounds, and will be a valuable addition to a recruiting class as a left-handed hitting catcher. He has an ultra quick exchange and is an accurate thrower, posting his best pop time of 1.97 twice, with his others ranging from 2.0-2.09, with a top velocity from the crouch of 80 mph. Short, quick arm stroke from back to front, hands and feet sync up well, receives with soft hands. A left-handed hitter, Crooks was on the barrel throughout batting practice, showing good power to the pull side with natural lift. He has loose hands and easy rhythm, using a simple leg kick to engage his lower half and transfer through contact with an exit velocity of 85 mph. During the game, he hammered a single to center field.

Luke Ely C / 1B / Franklin, TX / 2019

At 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, Ely has strong, sturdy frame that should be able to add much more strength in the coming years. The young, left-handed hitting catcher starts slightly open at the plate in a minor crouch. Loads his weight back with a reverse leg hang before striding out long, and utilizing his strong bottom hand to get through the zone on a level plane. Smooth hack, loose hands and repeatable rhythm suggest more potential power to come in the future. Behind the plate, Ely has quick footwork and soft hands to go with a quick, clean transfer. Clean release out front with good extension and 72 mph velocity from the crouch. Pop times ranged from 2.13-2.19 at this event. Solid receiving skills during the game, does a nice job of receiving the low pitch with strong, soft hands. 

Dylan Strater C / 3B / Liberty, TX / 2018

Still uncommitted, Strater is going to be a valuable addition to a recruiting class with his ability to play two premium positions. He is a versatile, gritty player at 5-foot-8, 170-pounds, with solid defensive skills behind the plate and real presence. He has a quick arm stroke from back to front with a clean release and good rhythm in his feet. Threw 74 mph from the crouch, with pop times ranging from 2.05-2.19. Blocked and received well during the game, showed solid hip mobility and soft hands. The right-handed hitter showed good power during batting practice with easy leverage and lift, launching balls deep to the outfield, including a homerun. Strater has a stacked, relaxed setup with quiet rhythm, short stride as his hands load back, lands balanced. Hands get slotted early getting the barrel on plane with a fluid path, loose finish, and an exit velocity of 85 mph off the tee. On the infield, Strater has fundamental footwork, plays low with soft hands out front, and can make the play on the run. Strong arm across the diamond at 86 mph with accurate throws. 

Blake Benavides C / OF / Sweeny, TX / 2019

Benavides is a hard-nosed, aggressive player with a strong, quick twitch, lean muscular frame at 5-foot-8, 150-pounds. The right-handed hitter has an aggressive approach and does not get cheated. Starting from a wide, crouched stance, he uses a big leg kick to load with rhythm, lands with athleticism, explosive lower half transfer as he rotates his hips with leverage and bat speed. Short, uphill path creates lift with a high finish, quick-strong hands, hard contact, and an exit velocity 87 mph off the tee. Behind the plate, he has a quick transfer and footwork into a short arm stroke. His pop times at this event ranged from 2.07-2.22 with a velocity from the crouch of 72 mph. 

 

 

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