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Madison Preseason I.D.: Catcher Analysis


By Steve Nielsen
Illinois & Wisconsin Scouting Supervisor

Today marks the first in-depth look at all of the talent coming out of last month’s Madison Preseason I.D. at GRB Academy. In our initial positional breakdown, we’ll examine the day’s catchers.

The group demonstrated some advanced athleticism, highlighted by two catchers cracking the day’s top-five 60-yard times. Jackson Acker (Verona, 2021) recorded a 6.89 time while Nathan Stevens (Waunakee, 2019) logged a 6.90.

No surprises here, but Stevens predictably performed at a very high level all event long. The Waunakee junior is ranked as the class of 2019’s top catcher and may have helped entrench himself in that spot until further notice at the Madison event.

Connor Handel (Monona Grove, 2019) potentially elevated his stock within this junior class with a strong performance behind the plate. He matched Stevens in arm strength and narrowly trailed him in pop time, while looking threatening in the batter’s box, too.

For a closer look at each and every one of the day’s catchers in attendance, continue on below. Keep an eye out tomorrow and the rest of the week for further positional breakdowns coming out of our Madison preseason event.

Top 2019 Catchers

  1. Nathan Stevens, C/OF, Waunakee, 2019
    Arkansas commit. Ranked No. 2 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2019. 6-foot, 197-pound, left-handed hitting catcher and outfielder, athletically-built with present strength. Offensively, balanced setup, smooth load back, short stride, remains balanced throughout. Gap-to-gap hitter, quick twitch hands, natural lift in swing, present bat speed, fluid rhythm, 98 mph exit velocity. Ran a 6.90 laser-timed 60. Defensively, behind the plate, traditional catcher’s arm action, short and loose, over-the-top slot, throws carry at 81 mph out of the crouch. Fields position athletically, quick and fluid actions, pop times ranged 1.87-1.95. From the outfield, short, loose arm action, slot varies between over-the-top and high ¾, 92 mph.
  2. Connor Handel, C/3B, Monona Grove, 2019
    Ranked No. 43 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2019. 6-foot-1, 195-pound, lanky, athletic catcher and third baseman. Defensively, behind the plate, short, loose arm action, high ¾ slot, accurate with carry, 81 mph from the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times 1.94-2.08. On the infield, short, loose arm action, high ¾ slot, throws carry, 86 mph. Plays through the ball athletically, clean on exchanges, maintains body control. Ran a 7.07 laser-timed 60. Offensively, right-handed hitter, open setup, leg kick timing-trigger, maintains balance. Gap-to-gap type, natural lift in swing, fluid rhythm, 96 mph exit velocity.
  3. Sam Rogers, C/RHP, New Lisbon, 2019
    5-foot-10, 185-pound strong right-handed hitting two-way prospect. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ arm slot, accurate to the bag, 79 mph out of the crouch. Fields position with quick, fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, pop times ranged 2.07-2.11. Offensively, crouching, open setup, loads back, toe-tap stride, maintains good balance. Gap-to-gap hitter, level barrel path, fluid rhythm, present bat speed, 82 mph exit velocity. On the mound, high ¾ slot, short, loose arm action, quick arm speed. Drop and drive delivery, some effort, works on-line, lands square, finishes athletically. Fastball, mostly straight, 79-82, topped out at 83. Slider, 10/4 shape, flashed power break, 59-63. Changeup, near fastball arm speed, flashed sink, 66-73.
  4. Adam Juran, C, Sauk Prairie, 2019
    Ranked No. 23 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2019. 6-foot-1, 175-pound lanky catcher. Offensively, right-handed hitter, athletic, balanced setup, long stride, quick hands, maintains good balance. Level barrel path, positive approach, fluid rhythm, 83 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot,  75 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, pop times 2.00-2.10.Ran a 7.33 laser-timed 60.
  5. Ethan Toone, C, Brookfield East, 2019
    6-foot-2, 185-pound lanky catcher. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, smooth load, short leg kick, incorporates legs well, maintains good balance. Keeps it simple, quiet, athletic hands, line drive approach, level barrel path, fluid rhythm, 94 mph exit velocity. Ran a 6.96 laser-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, kept throws around bag, 79 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, pop times ranged 2.00-2.10.

Top 2020 Catchers

  1. Thomas Otto, C, Appleton North, 2020
    Currently ranked No. 14 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2020. 6-foot-1, 195-pound, athletic, wide shoulders, physical frame, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, slightly open, crouching setup, leg kick timing-trigger, maintains balance through contact. Power pull approach, uphill barrel path, extension through zone, fluid rhythm, 93 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, throws on target with carry, 75 mph out of the crouch. Fields position athletically, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times 2.00-2.05. Ran a 7.55 laser-timed 60.
  2. Jake Berg, C, Bay Port, 2020
    Currently ranked No. 12 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2020. 5-foot-10, 175-pound, strong, lanky, left-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced, open setup, short stride, maintains balance through contact. Pull approach, uphill barrel path, 81 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.34 laser-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ slot, kept throws around the bag, 76 mph from the crouch. Moves athletically behind the plate, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times ranged 1.97-2.01.
  3. Brice Peth, C, Ripon, 2020
    Currently ranked No. 29 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2020. 6-foot-1, 170-pound lanky, lean right-handed hitting catcher, room for continued physical development. Offensively, tall, slightly open setup, long leg lift stride. Line drive approach, loose hands, level barrel path, 84 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.34 laser-timed 60. Defensively, traditional catcher’s arm action, short, over-the-top slot, kept throws on target, 74 mph from the crouch, pop times 2.00-2.10.

Top 2021 Catchers

  1. Anthony Vivian, C/INF/RHP, Dodgeville, 2021
    5-foot-11, 185-pound strong, athletic multi-positional prospect. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ slot, accurate, some carry, 73 mph from the crouch, 75 mph across the infield. Plays through the ball, quick, fluid footwork behind the plate, clean on exchanges, pop times ranged 2.03-2.11. Offensively, balanced setup, short stride, maintains exceptional balance through contact. Gap-to-gap type hitter, level barrel path, strong hands, fluid rhythm, present bat speed, 88 mph exit velocity off a tee. On the mound, short, loose arm action, quick arm speed, high ¾ slot, regular effort. Athletic delivery, works on-line, lands closed, finishes athletically. Fastball, late sink, 78-79 mph, touching 80. Slider, 11/5 shape, late action, near fastball arm speed, 71-72. Changeup, near fastball arm speed, fade action, locates well, 68-71.
  2. Josh Caron, C/RHP, Sun Prairie, 2021
    5-foot-9, 160-pound, two-way prospect, lean, muscular build. On the mound, short, loose arm action, high ¾ slot, maintains balance, regular effort. Clean delivery, smooth, fluid motion, works on-line, finishes crossing over, stepping towards first. Fastball, slight run, 76-78. Curveball, near fastball arm speed, 12/6 shape, depth, gradual break, 57-60. Changeup, feel for, keeps arm speed, armside run and sink, 64-65. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, low leg kick stride, maintains godo balance. Line drive approach, athletic hands, level barrel path, extension through the zone, present bat speed, 83 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.63 laser-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ slot, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, 71 mph from the crouch, pop times 2.04-2.14.
  3. Jason Starr, C/RHP, Sun Prairie, 2021
    5-foot-11, 140-pound, lanky two-way prospect. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ slot, throws on target, some carry, 73 mph out of the crouch. Athletic setup, good feel for position, natural instincts, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, 2.11-2.22 pop times. Ran a 7.60 laser-timed 60. Offensively, right-handed, open setup, long leg kick timing-trigger, maintains balance. Long, level barrel path, line drive contact, 81 mph exit velocity off a tee. On the mound, short arm action, high ¾ slot, effort. Tall and fall delivery, works on-line, lands square, finishes athletically. Fastball, slight run, 75-77 mph. Slider, 11/5 shape, gradual break, 62-64. Changeup, fade action, 72-74.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Jonny Baumann, C, Living Word Lutheran, 2019
6-foot, 195-pound catcher. Offensively, tall setup, leg kick timing-trigger, maintains balance through contact. Short, level barrel path, flashed strength, 91 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.29 laser-timed 60. Defensively, long, loose arm action, over-the-top slot, 75 mph from the crouch, pop times 2.20-2.26.

Beau Blackdeer, C/OF, Deforest, 2019
5-foot-11, 180-pound, right-handed hitting catcher and outfielder. Offensively, balanced setup, leg kick timing-trigger, athletic hands, maintains balance through contact. Line drive approach, level barrel path, gains extension, fluid rhythm, present bat speed, 88 mph exit velocity. Defensively, long arm action, over-the-top slot, plays through the ball, clean on exchanges, 79 mph from the outfield, 71 out of the crouch. Pop times ranged 2.01-2.12. Ran a 7.76 laser-timed 60.

Charlie Bogue, C/INF, Mount Horeb, 2021
5-foot-9, 150-pound, right-handed hitting catcher and infielder. Offensively, balanced setup, low leg kick timing-trigger, maintains good balance through contact. Level barrel path, line drive approach, consistently square contact, 77 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ slot, hands work, fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, 78 mph across the infield, 68 mph from the crouch, pop times ranged 2.16-2.25. Ran a 7.95 laser-timed 60.

James D’Angelo, C, West Bend West, 2019
5-foot-7, 175-pound, left-handed hitting catcher with a strong lower half. Offensively, balanced setup, wrap load, short stride, maintains balance through contact.. Gap-to-gap type, short, uphill barrel path, 81 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, accurate on some, 70 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, 2.11-2.18 pop times. Ran a 7.50 laser-timed 60.   

Eli Davila, C, Oshkosh North, 2019
5-foot-7, 150-pound, right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, balanced, open setup, hands load back, maintains good balance through contact. Line drive approach, opposite field, level barrel path, 73 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.33 laser-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, 74 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, long at-times on exchanges, popped 2.07-2.18.


Matthew DePrey, C, Sun Prairie, 2020
Currently ranked No. 33 in Wisconsin's Class of 2020. 5-foot-11, 155-pound lanky, athletic catcher. Offensively, right-handed, balanced setup, hands start low, smooth load back, maintains balance through contact. Uphill barrel path, gains extension through zone, fluid rhythm, 81 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ arm slot, fluid footwork, 74 mph from the crouch, pop times between 2.08-2.15. Ran a 7.63 laser-timed 60.

Cameron Dupont, C, West De Pere, 2020
Currently ranked No. 16 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2020. 6-foot-2, 188-pound right-handed hitting, lanky, lean catcher. Offensively, open setup, drops hands on load, leg kick timing-trigger. Middle approach, loose hands, level barrel path, fluid rhythm, present bat speed, 88 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, low setup, short arm action, over-the-top slot, fluid footwork, clean exchanges, 78 mph from the crouch, pop times 2.08-2.14. Ran a 7.53 laser-timed 60.   

Mitchell Flett, C, Peshtigo, 2019
5-foot-8, 160-pound, right-handed hitting catcher. Defensively, short arm action, ¾ arm slot, accurate, 67 mph out of the crouch, popped 2.26-2.33. Ran a 7.08 laser-timed 60. Offensively, balanced setup, loads back, maintains balance, uphill barrel path, 75 mph exit velocity off a tee.

Vinnie Fonti, C, Stevens Point, 2020
5-foot-10, 165-pound, right-handed hitting catcher. Defensively, traditional catcher’s arm action, short, over-the-top, recoil at the end, 74 mph from the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean exchanges, 2.09-2.20. Offensively, balanced setup, wrap load, leg lift stride, pull approach, 77 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.74 laser-timed 60.

Trevor Gustafson, C, Webster, 2019
6-foot-2, 185-pound athletic right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, slightly open setup, hands load back, leg kick timing-trigger, line drive approach, level barrel path, 90 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.25 60. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, 74 mph out of the crouch. Fluid footwork, clean exchanges, pop times ranged 2.06-2.18.

Cameron Kokesh, C/INF, Waunakee, 2021
5-foot-10, 155-pound right-handed hitting catcher and infielder. Defensively, short arm action, high ¾ arm slot, 71 mph across the infield, 67 mph out of the crouch. On the infield, plays through the ball at times, fluid footwork, clean on exchanges. Pop times ranged, 2.36-2.44. Offensively, open setup, smooth load, short leg kick timing-trigger, maintains good balance. Line drive approach, short, level barrel path, fluid rhythm, 77 mph exit velocity off a tee. Ran an 8.10 laser-timed 60.    

Zach Schneider, C/2B, Appleton East, 2019
5-foot-7, 173-pound, right-handed catcher and infielder. Offensively, crouching open setup, leg lift stride, maintains balance. Pull approach, uphill barrel path, natural lift, fluid rhythm, 83 mph exit velocity. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, 73 mph out of the crouch, 79 mph across the infield. Fluid footwork, clean on exchanges, pop times 2.15-2.25. Ran a 7.33 60.

Troy Shephard, C, West Allis Hale, 2020
6-foot-1, 178-pound athletic right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, tall, open setup, toe-tap stride, maintains balance through contact. Uphill barrel path, fluid rhythm, 82 mph exit velocity. Ran a 7.51 laer-timed 60. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, fluid footwork, 67 mph from the crouch, pop times 2.22-2.34.

Sage Stellmacher, C, Markesan, 2021
6-foot, 160-pound right-handed hitting catcher. Offensively, narrow, slightly open setup, long stride, level barrel path, 75 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, clean exchanges, 67 mph from the crouch, pop times ranged 2.25-2.33. Ran a 7.77 laser-timed 60.

Trevor Walczak, C/INF/RHP, Sussex Hamilton, 2021
5-foot-10, 135-pound, right-handed hitting multi-positional prospect. On the mound, short arm action, over-the-top slot, regular effort. Tall and fall delivery, works on-line, lands square. Fastball sat 70-72, touched 73. Curveball, 11/5 shape, gradual break, 63-67. Changeup, flashed fade, 67-69. Offensively, tall, balanced setup, hands load back, short stride, maintains good balance through contact. Short, level barrel path, naturally produces backspin, 80 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, over-the-top slot, fluid footwork, 72 mph across the infield, 67 mph from the crouch, pop times ranged 2.42.-2.51. Ran a 8.24 laser-timed 60.  

Dane Weiland, C, Chippewa Falls, 2019
Ranked No. 74 in Wisconsin’s Class of 2019. 6-foot, 190-pound catcher. Defensively, short arm action, ¾ arm slot, 74 mph out of the crouch. Clean, fluid footwork, long at-times on exchanges, pop times ranged 2.00-2.13. Receives well, moves athletically. Ran a 7.29 laser-timed 60. Offensively, balanced setup, maintains balance, long drive approach, present bat speed, 91 mph exit velocity.

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