Prep Baseball Report

Illiana Preseason I.D.: Catcher Analysis

By Illinois Scouting Staff

On Jan. 21, staff representing both PBR Illinois and PBR Indiana were on hand at the Ho-Chunk Sports and Expo Center in Chicago Heights, Ill., to evaluate close to the 60 prospects who made it out to our Illiana Preseason I.D. showcase.

We began our event coverage last week with our Quick Hits post and a Statistical Analysis, but today marks the start of our position-by-position breakdowns, beginning with the showcase’s group of catchers.

Six of the day’s catchers found their way into our rankings, including a pair of sophomores: Brother Rice’s Jeremiah Powell and Taft’s Brian Lensengrav. Powell excelled as one of the day’s most advanced defensive backstops while Lensengrav and his 6-foot-3 frame projects, and he was loose in the right-handed batter’s box.

Junior Matthew Murphy (Notre Dame) was arguably the best defensive catcher in attendance. He displayed big arm strength with agility behind the dish – and also showed us some power potential, too.

Continue on below for full reports on each of the 13 catchers from the group. And remember to check back tomorrow when we examine the day’s outfielders.


1. Matthew Murphy, C, Notre Dame, 2020
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher, solid build with strength. Strong arm out of the crouch (76 mph), plays short and high ¾ slot, played with accuracy and carry. Above average catching actions, blocks well, active and athletic. 2.04-2.15 pop times. 7.33 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, tall open setup, short stride to even. Path is long, slightly uphill, above average bat speed. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee.

2. Jeremiah Powell, C, Brother Rice, 2021
5-foot-10, 165-pound catcher, athletic frame. Moves well behind the plate, quick feet and exchange, pop times range 2.12-2.25, actions are smooth and efficient. Arm plays short out of a high ¾ slot, flashed carry, 75 mph out of the crouch. 7.31 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, athletic setup, short stride, slight dive. Front foot hitter, quick hands, handsy swing, path works level, around the baseball at times. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee.

3. Brian Lensegrav, C, Taft, 2021
6-foot-3, 175-pound catcher, lanky frame, thin projectable build. Right-handed hitter, balanced setup, short stride, quiet pre pitch. Path has slight lift, hands are loose, hits in rhythm. 76 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm plays loose, 70 mph out of the crouch, flashed accuracy. Clean exchange, athletic defender, showed soft hands, 2.19-2.29 pop times. 7.79 runner in the 60.

4. Zach McKenna, C/OF, Chesterton HS (IN), 2020
5-foot-11, 180 pound catcher/outfielder , athletic build. Right-handed hitter, balanced/athletic setup.  Loads back with a slight drop in the hands. Stride is short, above average use of the lower half. Good balance throughout the swing.  Showcased quick bat speed, short level path. Strong bat and works gap-to-gap. High exit velocity of 87 mph. Behind the dish showcased average hands with a clean exchange. Short, over-the-top arm action, 73 mph from the crouch. 2.12-2.27 pop times. Showcased natural feel in the outfield with average arm strength, 81 mph.  Ran 6.87 60.

5. Caleb Sjordal, C, Wheaton Warrenville South, 2020
6-foot, 190-pound catcher, solid build. Right-handed hitter, open stance, strides to even, lower half gets involved. Path is long and uphill, power potential, showed gap to gap approach, 77 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm is short and over the top, flashed accurate to target, 76 mph out of the crouch, showed carry. Blocked well, sets up low with low target, pop times ranged 2.19-2.30. 7.78 runner in the 60.

5. Drew Ruchim, C, Stevenson, 2020
5-foot-10, 180-pound catcher, athletic build with strength. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, crouched setup, short stride. Short level path, line drive approach, above average bat speed, occasional front foot hitter. 84 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm plays over the top, 69 mph out of the crouch. 2.25-2.37 pop times out of the crouch, active receiver, showed soft hands. 7.83 runner in the 60.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Jake Adamczewski, C, Lake Central HS (IN), 2021
5-foot-8, 140 pound catcher produced pop times of 2.36-2.44, 75 mph from the crouch. Long, siff arm action, tall set up. Offensively, hits from a slightly open setup. Hands drop during the load. Leg lift timing trigger, tendency to dive. Shows average bat speed, uphill swing path. Average balance throughout the swing. High exit velocity of 76 mph. 7.90 runner in the 60.

Karson Bailey, C, South Central HS (IN), 2020
5-foot-10, 160 pound catcher. Offensively hits from a tall setup. Loads back with a slight wrap. Toe tap timing trigger. Average bat speed, slight uphill swing path. Registered a high exit velocity of 78 mph. Behind the dish showed accuracy on his throws from an over-the-top slot, 72 mph from the crouch. Exchange has some length, stands upright on when throwing. Pop times of 2.33-2.37. 7.70 runner in the 60.

Peyton Gard, C, Lake Central HS (IN), 2022
5-foot-8, 170 pound receiver produced pop times of 2.22-2.43, 69 mph from the crouch. Short ¾ arm action. Offensively, hits from a slightly open setup. Stride is short. Partial use of his lower half. Shows some bat speed for age from a long, uphill swing path. High exit velocity of 82 mph. 7.91 runner in the 60.

Colin Horneman, C, Mount Carmel, 2022
5-foot-11, 140-pound catcher, lean build. Pop times posted at 2.25-2.43, low setup, exchanges through directionally at times. Arm action is short and high ¾, 71 mph out of the crouch. 7.80 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter, slightly crouched setup, balanced stance, short stride, good balance. Path is short and creates line drive contact, hits in rhythm. 77 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Carter South, C/RHP, Oswego East, 2022
5-foot-9, 125-pound two-way player, thin slender build. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, toe tap stride, average balance. Level path, some length, gap to gap type approach, occasional line drive contact. 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm plays short and over the top, 65 mph out of the crouch. Exchange has some length with occasional misdirection. Pop times ranged 2.52-2.79. 8.19 runner in the 60. On the mound works from a tall and fall delivery, lands square and stays on line. Arm action is long, high ¾ slot. Fastball is straight, showed feel for the zone, 71-72 mph, touched 73 mph. Curveball has slurve type action, 63-65 mph. Changeup sinks, 65-67 mph, showed feel.

Zach Starr, C, Bradley-Bourbonnais, 2021
6-foot-1, 195-pound catcher, large frame, solid build. Right-handed hitter, open stance, long stride to even, aggressive to contact, some effort. Path has length, flashed some hard contact. 80 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm action is short and firm, 69 mph out of the crouch. 2.26-2.36 pop times, deliberate footwork. 7.94 runner in the 60.

Jose Troche, C, Lincoln Park, 2020
6-foot, 205-pound catcher, large build. Right-handed hitter, open stance, short stride to even, average balance. Path is aggressive on uphill plane, some length, pull side power approach. 77 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively arm plays long from a high ¾ slot, 64 mph out of the crouch. 2.54-2.65 pop times. 8.69 runner in the 60.