5 for Friday (Our weekly look at 5 baseball amateurs) this week 5 young catchers
Â Each week we bring you 5 amateurs to know that could be on big league diamonds in the future…today we bring you 5 catchers…Well, 4 catchers for sure and one that might end up putting on the tools of ignorance some day.
- Multi sport athlete in HS
- First Team All-State as a senior batting .583 withÂ 20 HR andÂ 70Â RBI, walking 62 times and stealing 16 bases
- Â He was also 4-0 on the mound with a 3.91 e.r.a and 28 K in 14.1 IP
- Also was solid in football, track, and hoops
- Freshman: 4-26, 0, 2, .154, 8/3
- Bethesda Big Train (Cal Ripken League) 32-105, 8, 30, .305, 18/11, 4-6 SB
- Sophomore: 58-230, 4, 25, .252/.328/.374/702, 51/21, 7-8 SB
- Bethesda Big Train: 49-134, 16, 53, .366, 28/26, 7-9 SB
From the Scout’s Eye with Don Olsen: Size and frame are ideal, good amount of size in the upper quads. Â He has a well developed upper body with strong forearms. Â Athletically he hasÂ someÂ fast twitch ability and good first step burst, good lateral agility. Â Mix bags who could play about any corner position on the field, but I see enough to work with that I give him a crack at behind the plate. Â He has theÂ athleticÂ ability to move behind the plate, see the catch and release potential. Â His armÂ strength is a touch higher than plus, with some refinements and improvedÂ receiving; he could be a serviceable backstop. Â At worst, his arm has the carry, he has the range, that any outfield position could be played, more logical in RF. Â At the plate, he has a bit of hand load, but with toe touch and bat speed it is a minor issue. Â If he could compact and maintain the bat speed, the contact could improve. Â He generates a lot of leverage, a touch of lift in the line drive swing, path and speed give a slightly higher than plus ceiling grade. Â He was always really potential, but I saw a greatly improve approach this summer, plate coverage and pitch selection. Â He started to limit the pull in the swing, taking power to all fields, taking that belt high and outside into RCF with pop has vaulted him for me and clearly the bat is borderline first round potential. Â Add that he “could” be coached up behind the back stop, his spring at MSU could vault him with some teams.
Slot: Late 1st Round – Compensatory 1st Round
He was named the #1 freshman prospect in So Cal as he hit .252 with 22 RBI that season. He really struggled with the bat as a junior hitting below .200. But he still was a part of the Under Armour All-Star Game at Wrigley Field.
From the Scout’s Eye with Don Olsen:Athletic frame with a touch more size, muscular development and comesÂ across similar to Royce Clayton.Â I think the biggestÂ asset to him is that he is an advance student to the game with high baseball IQ. Â He is notÂ the most straight line athlete out in the crowd, but his agility andÂ knowing where to sit, instincts played it up. Â His range worksÂ okay, good glove to pick it, arm has the carry, but excessive footworkÂ to make the throws makes me wonder how he will pick and throw as heÂ progresses higher up the ladder, especially to his right. Â The one bitÂ of help to his defensive ceiling and position is his first step,Â charge, quick release at those points to think he can stay at short.Â He has a bit deeper load, drops quickly into the zone, leaves him withÂ a touch longer swing. Â He does stay inside, good path with a touch ofÂ loft in it, decent weight transfer in lower half. Â In game, tends toÂ be a bit more pull, at his best when he can turn on it, can get caughtÂ with quality speed, quality break is some concern. Â Overall slightÂ concerns about contact, but quality hand speed is present, always aÂ point for potential. Frame to put on size, add the hand speed, powerÂ could increase down the road.
There were whispers over the summer that Chris was given a crack at catching. Â I did not catch him behind the plate at WWBA, but recent reports are what really stand out. Â The So Cal tune ups have seen Chris catch. Â The reports are clean footwork, compact catch and release. Â I bet it is compact when I hear 1.75 and 1.76 POP times. Â If he can work andÂ improveÂ behind the dish, it greatly increases his radar thisÂ spring. Â Value is tied to his bat, but adding the ability to catch couldÂ solidifyÂ the 2nd round grade. Â Any compaction with his bat, the POP times alone could vault him into a top 50 selection in June.
Slot: 2nd round
Committed to University of South Carolina
Committed to South Carolina when he was 14. Solid pop with a good catcher’s frame and personal best pop time of 1.82.
From the Scout’s Eye with Don Olsen:(from Bullpen Banter Good medium frame, mature body with lower and upper torso development, could continue to fill out into 220-225 pound range, so some projection left. Â Athletic and some fast twitch, not on par with some in the list, but makes up with it with clean and compact footwork, no wasted steps in catch and release. Â He has a strong arm with no fear of letting it go. Â POP at TOS was ~1.85 seconds and the efficient/compact approach sits around ~1.9 seconds. Â NiceÂ subtle side steps and quite feet, qualityÂ receiving and blockingÂ ability, showing solid framing skills with a smooth glove. Â Shoulder width stance, quite lower half and simply side step to get the weight transfer, rolled ankle extension. Â He gets his hips squared,Â althoughÂ I did see a bit of late release on quality speed. Ear hole hands, flat bat, does drift a bit back, but in an ideal slot. Â Good hand speed, the hands stay inside come through like a dart. Â Sound rotational swing, gets a great extension and everything out of it. Â Good smooth swing plane with a touch of loft to show dual threat potential, more contact than pop, but power could sit above average and nice gap stroke. Not a plodder for a catcher, good reactions and quick first step on the bases. Â He is a high quality prospect that has been on the radar for three years, so there is a lot for guys to digest and tend to get knit picky. Â Good overall blend of skills. Â Â Â Â Â
(Update: I was told the pop has hit a low of 1.82 in game. Â In the fall WWBA showcase, you could see a bit moreÂ developmentÂ in the lower half, and the power and sound off the bat was sounding a lot better. Â All things that can add helium to his value.)
Slot: Compensatory 1st Round
Committed to University of San Diego
As a junior he hit .388 with 4 HR, 34 RBI and 8 SB. he K’d 10 times and walked 19 in 80 at bats.
All state 1st team C as a sophomore. He played for the NW Kansas City Royals in the area code games.
From the Scout’s Eye with Don Olsen:He made one of the biggest prospect refinements in the last year. Â He was really out of sync in my first encounter at WWBA, October 2011 and was one of the biggest transformations into top shelf prospects this summer. Molded in the new breed catcher fashion, long and athletic frame, solidÂ developmentÂ in the upper quads, hips and rear. Â SoundÂ fundamentallyÂ catching, solidÂ receivingÂ skills, quite footwork in setup and smooth movements, more hop than slide step. Â Nice fast twitch with good transfer, solid feet with catch and release, overall athletic ability behind the dish. Â Seen a bit of toe drag prior to release that can take away energy. Â Having the toe drag and routinely POP sub ~1.9 seconds and best POP of ~ 1.83 at TOS, some refinements could tick it that number down and below ~1.8 seconds, overall plus-plus ability. Â He offers a wide stance at the plate with medium leg kick to get it going. Â Balanced with good weight transition, hands stay inside, above the ball, good control of the bat head, sound rotational swing for pedigree, crisp and compact swing. Â Some loft in it at times and can turn on anything thrown at him with pop. Â Solid plateÂ discipline that does not have the hero swing, pull everythingÂ tendency. Â Displays nice inside/outside approach, rides with the pitch, leads to an advanced approach at the plate. Â Sound plate coverage and shows power to all fields. Â I see dual threatÂ potentialÂ with power and contact ability down the line. Â Best combination of polish and ceiling bat behind the dish from the HS class.Â Â
Slot: Middle 1st Round
Committed to Clemson
From the Scout’s Eye with Don Olsen:
He has a High baseball IQ.Â Â Small frame, 5’10”, not much muscular development, slight upper torso, not much size but some development in the forearms/wrists, may have a touch of projection. Â PresentÂ strength impressive for size, real explosive, high quality athlete. Â Â He possesses some of the best defensiveÂ receivingÂ skills in the entire class, clean footwork, effortless actions, quick catch andÂ release. Â Good deal of fastÂ twitchÂ action in his defensive game Â with strong arm and good POP, best from me is 1.82 andÂ registersÂ routinely sub ~ 1.9. Â FastÂ twitchÂ movements show impressive hand speed, ball jumps off the bat for his size, due in part to that explosiveness in his game. Â Simple setup with a slight toe tap to get the hip turn started, gets lower half well involved, nice hip/torsoÂ separationÂ and good weight transfer for lack of lowerÂ development. Â He carries his hands high with almost no load. Â Hand path is inside and above barrel, good barrel awareness and controls the head through the zone, squares up to all fields, more of a line drive path and contact driven bat, some thump, and could have sneaky pop down the line.
(Update: He has gained a bit more size, adding more leverage into his swing, the sneaky power is starting to showcase in his game. Â Slowly move up draft boards with early showing this spring.)
Slot: 2nd RoundÂ – (Update Compensatory 1st to early 2nd)
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