Prep Baseball Report

South Texas Underclass Games: Catching Analysis

Toby Bicknell
Texas Scouting Director

Twitter: @PBR_Texas
IG: pbr_texas

COLLEGE STATION, TX - Some of the top underclass talent from around the state converged on Texas A&M on Tuesday, July 25 for the South Texas Underclass Games. The event was loaded with underclass talent from the 2019, 2020, 2021 classes, with a few 2018 grads sprinkled in. Here is the catching analysis from that event.

Top Performers

+ Cole Marler, C, College Station HS, 2019
Marler burst onto the scene at our Houston Area Open event, earning an invite to both the North and South Texas Underclass Games where he put together standout performances. 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, with a strong, athletic frame and muscular lower half. He is an elite level catcher with true carry in his arm, throws strikes through the bag at second base with pop times ranging from 1.88-2.0 and a top velocity from the crouch of 76 mph. Soft hands behind the plate, easy reciever, great hip mobility, athletic blocker. Offensively, Marler is a confident right-handed hitter with an athletic setup, aggressive approach, and loose easy finish of the barrel. Ball jumps off his bat during batting practice with gap power and more to come. Multiple at-bats with hard contact, including a triple he smoked to left-centerfield that one-hopped the wall at TCU. He ran a 7.1-second 60-yard dash, and had an exit velocity of 92 mph off the tee. Marler is a hard-nosed player with high skill set that would be a great addition to a recruiting class.

+ Luke Banister, C, Hutto HS, 2020
Banister is an advanced defensive catcher with a strong, athletic frame at 5-foot-9, 170-pounds. He has highly athletic, quick feet behind the plate with a quick, clean exchange. Accurate thrower with carry through the bag at 76 mph from the crouch. His best pop time was 1.93, while his worst was 2.04. Threw out a would be base stealer with a 2.27 during the game. A right-handed hitter, Banister has an aggressive swing with present bat speed (92 mph off the tee). Toe-tap load, explosive lower half transfer with quick hips. Loose hands with rhythm and strength at contact as he accelerates the barrel with a loose, high finish. Gap power with more to come in the future. With his athleticism and projectable power, look for big things from Banister in the coming years.

+ Ben Dukes, C, Memorial HS, 2020
Dukes is an all-around athletic left-handed hitting catcher with an athletic frame at 5-foot-11, 190-pounds. He has the skill and athleticism to be an impact player at the next level. Plus arm strength behind the plate (79 mph from the crouch), with average accuracy and excellent carry. A left-handed hitter, Dukes has athletic hands that keep the barrel in the zone a long time. Swing works with a pronounced early load and toe-tap, then he walks away from his hands as he drifts to his front side, uncoiling with lift, bat speed, and a loose finish. Drove the ball well during batting practice with projectable power to the pull side. Also worked out in the outfield, where he threw 85 mph with good carry, accuracy, and athleticism through the ball. Ran a 6.95 60-yard dash.

+ Travis White, C, Tivy HS, 2021
Just a freshman, White is a strong defender with a confident demeanor, and will be a fun player to watch in the coming years. He has an athletic frame at 5-foot-10, 155-pounds. Highly accurate thrower with consistent pop times of 2.0-2.1. Above average arm strength for his class with 76 mph velocity from the crouch. Athletic lower half mobility, soft hands, clean, fluid transfer with athletic footwork. A right-handed hitter, White starts from a balanced stance with a low hand position. Simple, short load as he triggers his hands back and up, short stride with balance throughout his swing. Contact approach during batting practice, lots of sharp line drives through the middle with a handful of ground balls sprinkled in. Line drive power (84 mph), flat path, fluid hands, and strength at contact.

+ Rhett Trlicek, C, Hallatsville HS, 2019
Trlicek is an exciting player that will add solid value to a recruiting class because of his ability to play two positions in the middle of the field. He stands 5-foot-8, 170-pounds, with broad shoulders and a strong lower half. Behind the plate, Trlicek has highly athletic footwork, ultra quick transfer, soft hands, and average carry with pop times ranging from 1.93-2.03 seconds. On the infield, Trlicek gets rid of the ball quickly with a quick transfer from a low fielding position. Feet work well with a good sense of timing, makes the play on the run with good rhythm and average athleticism. Accurate thrower with average carry and a velocity across the infield of 82 mph. A right-handed hitter, Trlicek starts from a tall, slightly open stance. Loads with a high leg kick, short trigger of hands with fluid rhythm. Lower half works well as he fires his hips and slots the barrel on plane into the hitting zone. High finish creates lift and carry with average bat speed for his class (85 mph), whips the barrel through the zone with leverage.

+ Kamden Kelton, C/3B, Stony Point HS, 2019
Kelton has a strong lower half and a sturdy frame at 5-foot-11, 195-pounds. The right-handed hitter starts with a tall, relaxed stance and easy rhythm. Simple rock back to load as he walks away from his hands with a short stride, landing athletically. Slight front arm bar, loose strong hands, rotates hips to contact, good extension with high finish creates lift and middle-to-pull side carry. Swing projects for future power, during the game he smoked a single deep down the left field line. Behind the plate, Kelton has quick, directional footwork, and a clean exchange. Throws from a natural, high-¾ slot, average accuracy with pop times ranging from 2.01-2.14, and 76 mph velocity from the crouch. Average hands and receiver during game play. On the infield, his soft hands translate well on the corners with good glove action and smooth footwork. Shows feel at third base with a good sense of timing. With his projectable power and strong frame, Kelton could end up being a solid catcher/corner infielder at the next level.

+ Blake Benavides, C, Sweeny HS, 2019
Benavides is hard-nosed, aggressive player with strong, quick twitch, muscular frame at 5-foot-8, 145-pounds. Started the day by running a 6.88 60-yard dash. 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 average hands, quick transfer, quick footwork into his short arm stroke with effort. His best throw from behind the plate was a 1.94 on the bag, with his remaining times ranging from 1.9-2.1.

Best of the rest (Alphabetical)

+ Carlos Abello, 3B/C, Kinkaid HS, 2019
Abello is a projectable left-handed hitter with broad shoulders and a strong lower half at 6-feet, 180-pounds. He has a balanced swing with a smooth leg kick, long stride, lands athletically as his hands slot back. Hard contact, gap power with an exit velocity of 91 mph off the tee. Clean path through the zone, loose finish. Behind the plate, Abello posted pop times of 2.18-2.3 with a 72 mph velocity from the crouch with average effort, footwork and long exchange. and staggered footwork. On the infield, he has average footwork and hands, and throws  from a high-¾ slot at 76 mph across the diamond.

+ Kaiden Beaty, C/RHP, Clear Falls HS, 2019
Beaty has a strong, sturdy frame at 6-foot, 170-pounds. A two-way player and left-handed hitter, Beaty starts from a balanced stance with his knees pinched inward and quick rhythm in his hands. Loads his hands with a slight trigger as his shoulders tilt upward, lands square with a short stride. Creates lift with a high finish and explosive lower half as he slots the barrel and transfers his weight through contact with quick hips. Strong contact with power and carry to the pull side, above average bat speed for his class at 88 mph. Behind the plate, Beaty is a consistent thrower with pop times ranging from 2.07-2.12. Average accuracy with good carry, 75 mph velocity from the crouch, average hands and feet.

+ Andrew Davis, C, Anderson HS, 2019
5-foot-9, 225-pound frame. The right-handed hitter has a smooth load back, short stride, average balance, long-level swing, choppy rhythm and an exit velocity of 80 mph. Behind the plate, Davis has average footwork and a clean exchange. Throws from a high slot at 69 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging from 2.27-2.35.

+ Nico Patrick, C/1B, Argyle HS, 2019
Patrick is a projectable left-handed hitter with a strong lower half at 6-foot-2, 208-pounds. He has an open stance with early, fluid rhythm and a short stride. Hands work well through the zone with an inside-out path, high finish, and whip in the barrel. Does a nice job of dropping the head and staying inside the baseball and delivering the barrel with a loose finish, creates back spin in the middle of the field and has projectable gap power. Behind the plate, Patrick posted pop times of 2.12-2.19 with a 73 mph velocity from the crouch. Stands up to throw with average exchange and average accuracy. At first base, Patrick has quickish footwork with soft hands, average rhythm through the ball to throw from a high slot at 73 mph across the diamond.

+ Michael Riley, C, Brazoswood HS, 2020
5-foot-9, 155-pound frame. The right-handed hitter has a tall, open stance with his hands pre-set into a front arm bar with the barrel point toward the sky. Uses leg kick to stride to his front side as he slightly dives into the plate. Stiff rhythm with a 74 mph exit velocity off the tee. Behind the plate, Riley has average hands, clean exchange and in-line footwork. Throws from a high slot with effort at 68 mph from the crouch, with pop times ranging from 2.19-2.37.

+ Peyton Rusk, C/RHP, College Station HS, 2020
Rusk has a projectable frame with a strong lower half at 6-foot-1, 185-pounds. A two-way player and right-handed hitter, Rusk starts from a tall, open stance. Rolls inward pinching his knees together as he crouches down into a short stride. Hands trigger back with rhythm, creates good separation, simple lower half transfer provides leverage throughout his swing with good extension through contact. Excellent bat speed for his class at 87 mph, strong contact with line drive power in the gaps and more to come. Behind the plate, Rusk has quick feet, average hands and exchange. Threw 71 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging from 2.22-2.44.

+ Zachary Tilton, C, Midland Christian HS, 2018
5-foot-10, 150-pound, still developing frame. Tilton has a natural, smooth, left-handed swing and starts from a neutral stance. Relaxed, short stride as he loads his hands, balance throughout his swing, head stays still as he transfers his weight. Fluid hand path, slight lift, finishes the barrel. Made hard, loud contact and showed gap approach with more power to come as he continues to develop. Defensively, he has in line footwork with a longer, clean exchange. Threw 74 mph from the crouch, throws were on line with bag, but most came up short, pop times 2.22-2.33. Received well during the game, blocks with athleticism.

+ Mason Tomchesson, C, Klein Collins HS, 2019
5-foot-11, 170-pound, strong frame. The right-handed hitter has a balanced stance, loads early with a smooth leg-kick. Lands balanced, efficient lower half, smooth rhythm, loose hands, short path, some lift with a high finish. Average bat speed, line drive to gap type power with more to come. Behind the plate, Tomchesson posted pop times of 2.03-2.22, effort in the throw with a velocity from the crouch of 71 mph. He has a quick exchange and rushed footwork.

+ Christopher Wattinger, C, Bridgeland HS, 2020
Wattinger has a still developing frame at 5-foot-10, 155-pounds. The right-handed hitter starts from a tall, balanced stance. Simple swing, relaxed load, short stride, line drive approach, fast hands, and good extension through contact. Behind the plate, Wattinger has soft hands and is a solid receiver during games. In-line footwork and average exchange on throws to second base, posted pop times of 2.12-2.18 with a velocity from the crouch of 77 mph.


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