Preseason All-State Games: Top Catchers


Brett Thorney
State Scouting Director

The Preseason All-State Games is one of Arizona's most highly anticipated events on the PBR Arizona showcase calendar. The invitation-only event displayed prospects from 2020-2023 grad classes this year and was held on Jan. 26th, at Arizona State in Tempe, AZ. Over 75 of players were represented.

As expected, this was a loaded event that yielded brand new prospects to keep an eye on as well as returning players that have started to establish themselves. We have released early analysis with our Quick Hits (Part 1), Quick Hits (Part 2)Statistical Analysis, and Positional Breakdowns

Today, we are taking a look at the Top Catchers that attended the event. One of the more talented groups on the day. There were catching prospects across all the different grad classes. Here is a look at the top catching prospects:

Derek Smith C / 3B / Horizon, AZ / 2022

Large 6-foot-2 180-pound build, long limbs with loose hips, high ceiling with plenty of room to add more strength in his athletic frame. Multi-sport athlete that was still in basketball season during this event. Hits from an athletic balanced base, controlling back leg through a small leg lift. Hands start shoulder height, loading to back foot with vertical barrel. Controlled gap to gap approach with hard contact at 87mph. Power potential as he gets stronger. Stays in control of his movements and moves quickly behind the plate. Wide stance and loose hips. Soft hands receiving with long limbs gave him the ability to get around pitches more efficiently. Arm will build up as the season moves forward. Currently, makes transfers deep with 2.0-2.16 pop times, getting tall in his follow through. 76mph arm strength. Should improve a ton as he transfers back onto the baseball field. Strong follow as a power-hitting catching prospect.

 

Caleb Herd C / OF / Cienega, AZ / 2022

Medium 5-foot-8 160-pound build, short limbs with strength in lower half. Wide based runner, 7.53 60-yard dash. Hits from squared base, rocking into back leg with small leg kick. Short to the baseball with average separation & rhythm. Quick out of the hitting zone. Solid contact to all fields, 82mph exit velocity. Low center of gravity with quick movements behind the plate. Low target. Elbow slightly above wrist when receiving, stabbing at baseball at times. Short whippy arm action with 1.86-1.90 pop times. 76 mph arm strength. Solid follow.

 

Ryan Spier C / Arcadia, AZ / 2022

Large 6-foot-1 180-pound build, proportional strength & athleticism. Ran a 7.31 60-yard dash with head swaying side to side some. Hits from an athletic setup with a squared base. Uses a small knee turn trigger to gather more energy in the back leg. Small separation of hands and forward movement. Level swing plane. Mid/pull approach with solid contact at 86mph exit velocity. Minimal extra movement behind plate. Relax’s glove before sticking the baseball. True crouch with quick transfers on the side of the body. Down-hill tilt to shoulders as he comes up to throw, creating one hops to 2B. Pop times of 1.99-2.16 with 76mph arm strength. Solid catching prospect to follow.

 

Henry Chabot C / 3B / Brophy, AZ / 2022

Large 5-foot-11 185-pound build, strong body with big legs. Starts from a strong medium base, shifting weight to back leg with small toe tap. Gets stuck on the backside at times. Natural strength throughout swing. Opened up front shoulder, turning barrel early. Pull side heavy approach with hard GB contact. Quick direct exchanges behind the plate. Popped up during pitch. Side shuffles to 2nd base with average direction, missing to SS side of the bag. Pop times of 1.9-2.1. Some natural arm strength at 76mph. On the mound, he showed short arm action from H3/4 slot with some quickness. Threw a flat FB at 80-82mph. Mixed in a sharp SL at 72-73 with inconsistent control.

 

Steven Stewart C / RHP / Ironwood, AZ / 2021

Large 6-foot 150-pound frame, Uncommitted, extra long frame with a ton of room to hold more strength, versatile athlete. Switch hitter. Showed similar approaches from both sides this time out. Changed right side from a toe tap to small knee turn leg lift. Showed ability to barrel up baseball from both sides. Right side had a little more pop to LF. Left side was clean but a little slower. Pull approach from both sides of the plate with 82mph exit velocity. Solid overall arm strength with some quickness to transfer & release. Long arms give him the ability to get around & underneath balls. Pop times of 1.90-2.10 with some natural whippy arm strength at 75mph.

 

Giovanni Melchione C / OF / Desert Ridge, AZ / 2023

Large 5-foot-11 182-pound build, proportional strength and some length to frame, athleticism improving. Was battling some back issues on the day. Ran a 8.26 60-yard dash. Hits from a squared base, lowering his body with bent knees. Uses forward move landing with foot and knee open. Turns barrel early creating a pull approach. Showed some power to the LF gap when he stayed through the baseball. Some stiffness to mobility & flexibility behind the plate. Some extra movement, swaying while receiving. 2.09-2.2 pop times with 68mph arm strength. Development should be followed.

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