Underclass Showcase: Catcher Analysis


By Illinois Staff

On Oct. 25, the PBR Illinois staff hosted its final event of the year: the Underclass Showcase. This event was open to all of the state’s prospects in its 2023, 2024, and 2025 graduating classes, and allowed us to end the 2020 showcase circuit with a bang.

Our staff was treated to a look at some of the brightest up-and-coming talents in the state, and we began our event breakdown in the days that followed, when we published instant analysis in the form of our Quick Hits and Statistical Analysis stories. 

It comes as no surprise to see sophomore Colin Barczi (Naperville Central, 2023) so high up this list. On multiple occasions throughout the summer and fall, Barczi continued to emerge as a follow in this 2023 class, underscored by solid looks at the PBR Fall Limited Series in Normal at the start of October. He backed that up at this event, where he took one of the day’s soundest rounds of batting practice, in a projectable 6-foot-1 frame.

Similarly projectable is Tyler Stack (Oswego, 2023), listed at an advanced, upside 6-foot-2, 175 pounds. He, too, is a high-follow member of the class, as he demonstrated premium athleticism at this event and there’s still plenty of room for Stack to improve as he matures at Oswego.

Continuing the theme, Andy Roman (Wheaton Academy, 2023) is another physical prospect, at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. His innate strength helped him produce some of the day’s hardest-hit contact from the right side, and it’s clear Roman has robust middle-of-the-order potential.

For full reports on these three, as well as the rest of the catchers at this event, continue reading on below.

TOP CATCHING PROSPECTS

1. Colin Barczi, Naperville Central (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/OF. A high-follow prospect in the Illinois' 2023 class.
Body: 6-1, 185-pounds. Lanky, high-waisted frame. Projects to add strength as he matures.
Hit: RHH. Tall setup, bat starts vertical, hands coil into a bat tip load, long stride to footstrike, controlled through contact.  Loose athletic hands with bat speed, uphill bat path with natural lift through contact, fluid gap-to-gap power. Easy juice off the barrel and consistently makes hard contact, average exit speed of 88.30 mph. Max distance of 335 feet with a max exit speed of 95.31 in BP, per TrackMan.
Power: 96 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 78 mph. Short and loose arm action, comes out of a high 3/4 window.
Defense: 2.05-2.16 pop times. Athletic lower half, flexible hips, starts tall some from the crouch, clean hand transfer to release, adept blocker.
Run: 6.91 runner in the 60. 

2. Tyler Stack, Oswego (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-2, 175-pounds. Lanky, long-levered frame. Projects.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, quiet pre-pitch hand rhythm, smooth load, patient leg lift trigger to footstrike. Loose wrists with bat speed, averaged 23.60 mph of hand speed, per Blast Motion. Long and uphill bat path, lifts through contact, gap-to-gap approach. Worked in a fluid rhythm throughout.
Power: 89 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 77 mph. Short and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot. Above-average arm speed and strength.
Defense: 1.94-2.04 pop times. Athletic stance, balanced base, quick hip turn from the chute, soft hands, smooth transfer funnels into a quick release.
Run: 7.03 runner in the 60. 

3. Andy Roman, Wheaton Academy (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 6-2, 185-pounds. Muscular, barrel-chested build. Proportional athleticism to pair.
Hit: RHH. Tall setup, hands start high over head, fluid pre-pitch rhythm, smooth bat tip load, leg kick timing trigger. Strong hands/wrists with bat speed, long bat path with an elevated attack angle, consistently hits the ball in the air, gap-to-gap approach. Advanced bat strength for age, noticeably loud contact off the barrel, middle-of-the-order profile. Recorded a max exit speed of 98.76 mph in BP, per TrackMan.
Power: 89 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph. INF - 82 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.08-2.19 pop times. Worked out behind the plate and at first base. Athletic out the crouch, flexible hips, loose actions, soft hands, fluid feet that work in line towards target, quick trigger to release. Steady hands on the infield with a quick double play feed at times.
Run: 7.67 runner in the 60. 

4. Mark Wagner, Neuqua Valley (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 5-10, 180-pounds. Strong lower half.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, fluid pre-pitch hand rhythm, smooth load, steady leg kick trigger.  Strong hands with bat speed, short and level bat path, elevates through contact. Loud contact off the barrel, flashed gap-to-gap pop with advanced raw power for age.
Power: 90 mph exit velocity from the tee. Max exit speed of 92.31 mph with a max fly ball distance of 334 feet.
Arm: RH. C - 70 mph. Short and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.09-2.19 pop times. Upright stance, flexible hips, feet gain ground towards the bag, athletic from the crouch. Soft and quiet hands that receive well, clean transfer to a quick trigger release.
Run: 8.15 runner in the 60.

T-5. Danny Kilmer, IMG Academy (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 6-0, 165-pounds. Projectable high-waisted frame.
Hit: LHH. Tall setup, narrow base, hands start high, minimal load, long stride to footstrike.  Loose fast hands and levers, level bat path, gap-to-gap approach, consistently hits in a fluid rhythm. Upside offensive profile.
Power: 84 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 69 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 window.
Defense: 2.37-2.58 pop times. Balanced lower half, tall posture at gather, feet shuffle in line, clean hand transfer, quick trigger at times.
Run: 7.75 runner in the 60.

T-5. Daniel Connelly, Mundelein (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-0, 160-pounds. Athletic, proportionally strong frame. 
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands start high, smooth load, leg kick into a long stride, stable lead leg block at footstrike.  Quick hands, long and uphill bat path, line drive approach. Swings with intent, ball jumps off the barrel, max exit speed of 91.63 mph with a max fly ball distance of 350 feet in BP, per TrackMan.
Power: 87 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short and quick arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.08-2.19 pop times. Flexible lower half, tall at gather, quick from the chute, clean hand transfer to release. Plays with bounce, confidence.
Run: Did not run at this event.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Charlie Bergin, Hinsdale Central (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 6-0, 180-pounds. Lanky frame, projects.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, slightly open base, some pre-pitch rhythm, hands start high and load back, quick leg lift trigger.  Short bat path, line drive approach, hits off front side at times.
Power: 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. Short and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.08-2.26 pop times. Balanced base, quick feet from the crouch, lower half works in line, clean hand transfer to a quick trigger release.
Run: 8.05 runner in the 60.

Matthew Carrano, St. Laurence (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: SS/C 
Body: 5-10, 170-pounds. Athletic frame that projects to add strength as he matures.
Hit: LHH. Balanced setup, quick pre-pitch bat waggle, smooth hand load, short stride.  Level bat path with some lift, line drive approach, pull-side tendency, repeats.
Power: 77 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 67 mph. INF - 67 mph. Short, over-the-top arm action.
Defense: 2.21-2.35 pop times. Worked out behind the plate and at first base. Steady actions from the crouch, some length to release. Defends with some pre-pitch rhythm on the infield, fluid feet, soft hands that work out front.
Run: 8.33 runner in the 60.

Michael Carrano, St. Laurence (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 5-11, 165-pounds. Proportional build, some strength in the lower half.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, open base, high hands, active pre-pitch bat waggle, smooth load, short stride to even.  Bat travels on a long and uphill path through the zone, line drive approach, consistently hits in rhythm.
Power: 87 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 70 mph. INF - 70 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot. Works more from an over-the-top angle from behind the plate.
Defense: 2.19-2.27 pop times. Worked out behind the plate and on the diamond. Wide stance, tall at gather, lower half works away from the bag, quick transfer to release. Active defender on the infield, hands play low to the ground and out front of body, some pack to release, plays through the baseball.
Run: 7.67 runner in the 60.

Charlie Chaffee, Marist (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/RHP
Body: 5-6, 160-pounds. Strong, well-proportioned frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, quiet pre-pitch actions, subtle backward hand load, short stride, controlled through contact.  Simple swing, long and uphill bat path, line drive approach.
Power: 82 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot. Arm plays accurate around the bag.
Defense: 2.11-2.26 pop times. Balanced base, quiet and controlled actions, soft hands, clean transfer to release.
Run: 7.70 runner in the 60. 

Ray Jesse, Lockport Township (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/1B
Body: 5-11, 165-pounds. Lanky, athletic frame that projects.
Hit: RHH. Tall stance, narrow base, steady pre-pitch rhythm, loads quick, toe-tap trigger.  Athletic hands, short and level bat path, stayed back up the middle.
Power: 83 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 76 mph. Arm plays with some length in the back, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.11-2.26 pop times. Balanced base, tall posture at gather, feet shuffles in line, clean hand transfer.
Run: 7.9 runner in the 60.

Tommy Korn, Crystal Lake Central (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 5-10, 170-pounds. Strong, athletic build.
Hit: RHH. Open stance, bat starts rested on back shoulder, smooth bat tip load as hands move back, leg lift trigger, controlled actions through contact.  Loose wrists, long and uphill bat path, gap-to-gap approach, some juice off the barrel. Max exit speed of 90.72 mph with a max fly ball distance of 328 feet, per TrackMan.
Power: 87 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. Compact arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.12-2.25 pop times. Balanced base, sinks back into hips some, quick feet stay in line with the bag, quick hand transfer to release.
Run: 7.71 runner in the 60.

Dennis Mandala, IC Catholic Prep (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-8, 130-pounds. Thin, high-waisted frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, weight starts shifted onto back leg, hands load back, minimal stride.  Long and uphill bat path.
Power: 79 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. Short arm stroke, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.18-2.32 pop times. Athletic stance, lower half gains ground from the crouch, quick transfer to release.
Run: 7.86 runner in the 60. 

Alijah Rainey, Homewood Flossmoor (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/3B
Body: 5-8, 195-pounds. Sturdy lower half.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands start at chest level and load back, leg lift timing trigger, controlled balance through contact.  Loose easy swing, short and level path, hands stay inside the baseball, line drive approach with a fluid rhythm throughout.
Power: 78 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 66 mph. INF - 67 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.11-2.33 pop times. Worked out as a catcher and infielder. Wide base behind the plate, lower half works away from target, tall at gather, quick transfer to release. Glove plays out front defensively, two-hand gather, corner infield profile.
Run: 7.75 runner in the 60.

Sean Ryniec, Downers Grove North (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/RHP
Body: 6-0, 160-pounds. Lean athletic frame that projects to add strength.
Hit: RHH. Slightly crouched open setup, smooth backward hand load, steady knee knock to even stride.  Loose athletic hands, uphill bat path, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 82 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short and loose arm stroke, comes out of a compact high 3/4 window.
Defense: 2.12-2.19 pop times. Balanced base, athletic lower half, feet shuffle in line to the bag, clean hand transfer to a quick release.
Run: 7.59 runner in the 60.

Nate Scialabba, Providence Catholic (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: 2B/C
Body: 5-10, 155-pounds. Athletic build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, open base, hands load back, quick leg lift timing trigger.  Short bat path, uphill attack angle at times, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 82 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. INF - 72 mph. Short arm circle, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.12-2.32 pop times. Worked out on the infield and behind the plate. Narrow stance from the crouch, lower half works away from the bag, quick trigger at times. On the infield, glove plays under center of body, two-hand gather to release.
Run: 7.36 runner in the 60. 

Zach Stuck, Aurora Central (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 6-0, 165-pounds. Thin build.
Hit: LHH. Open setup, slight knee bend, bat starts rested on back shoulder, back load, steady leg lift trigger.  Long and uphill bat path, some gap-to-gap contact.
Power: 78 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 68 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.32-2.44 pop times. Narrow stance, lower half works in line towards target.
Run: 7.2 runner in the 60. 

Mark Takasaki, Jacobs (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 6-0, 140-pounds. Thin, lanky frame.
Hit: RHH. Crouched setup, bat wraps and hands drop at load, steady leg lift timing trigger.  Long and uphill bat path, barrel head works underneath the baseball at times.
Power: 71 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 71 mph. Short and whippy arm action, slings it from a high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.37-2.50 pop times. Wide base, upright at gather, lower half works away from the bag.
Run: 7.74 runner in the 60.

Victor Zaragoza, St. Rita (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/2B
Body: 5-9, 175-pounds. Strong, well-proportioned frame. Broad-shouldered.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, bat rests vertical pre-pitch, minimal load, short stride.  Short and uphill bat path, gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 72 mph. Arm works from a short window, comes out of a high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.19-2.25 pop times. High stance with a narrow base, tall at gather, feet work in line to the bag, clean hand transfer, some length to release.
Run: 7.78 runner in the 60. 

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