Prep Baseball Report

PBR Midwest ProCase: Catcher Analysis

By Illinois Scouting Staff

A little over a month ago now, we hosted the Midwest ProCase in Joliet, an integral event along the hectic summer showcase circuit. Today, we begin our position-by-position breakdown of the ProCase, beginning with the backstops.

Nathan Stevens (Waunakee, WI, 2019; Arkansas commit) crammed in another outstanding performance in his jam-packed summer. At ProCase, Stevens put together one of the best rounds of batting practice, regardless of position, and displayed that trademark athleticism behind the dish that’s got his prospect arrow pointed straight up – now on a national level. His arm and quickness out of the chute will all play at the next level. He will need to improve his receiving skills, but if he does, Stevens could find himself mentioned in comparisons to a former left-handed hitting catcher from Wisconsin, Ben Rortvedt (Verona, 2016; 2nd Round, Twins)

Stevens’ travel ball teammate Drake Baldwin (Madison West, WI, 2019; Missouri State) generated some buzz for himself at the ProCase, too. The Madison-area catcher is a natural behind the plate and took a gap-to-gap approach from the left side, mixing in one of the best pop times and 60 yards dashes at the position.

Crossing the border south into Illinois, Casey Kmet (Saint Viator, 2019; Notre Dame) used his thick, compact, strong frame to produce some of the hardest contact among this group all while being an above-average runner, especially for his build.

For full reports on each of the catchers who attended the Midwest ProCase, continue reading below. If you missed the statistical analysis from the event, CLICK HERE. Check back tomorrow for a review of the day’s infielders.

TOP PROSPECTS (Listed Alphabetically)

Drake Baldwin, C/1B, Madison West (WI), 2019
Missouri State commit. 6-foot, 190-pound, left-handed hitting catcher, strong, durable build. Offensively, relaxed, open setup, rhythmic back load, knee to knee leg kick trigger, balance maintained throughout. Hands are strong and loose, short to the ball, gets extension through the hitting zone, comes off the bat hard, occasional top spin, goes with the pitch. Present bat speed, exit velocity topped 88 mph from a tee. Defensively, pop times ranged from 1.98-2.09. Natural/smooth instincts behind the plate, fleet footed, receives in rhythm, soft hands to quick and clean exchange, short/easy arm, over the top slot, clean release, accurate throws topped 77 mph from the crouch. Present foot speed, 6.95 runner in the 60.

Kiel Brenczewski, C/3B, Fishers (IN), 2019
Navy commit. 6-foot-2, 195-pound, right-handed hitting catcher/infielder, strength in frame carries to game play. At the plate, balanced setup, slight wrap load, short stride, maintains balance. Strong hands, long/level bat path, gets uphill, present bat speed, exit velocity topped 96 mph from a tee. Favored left/center gap in BP. Laced an opposite field line drive single in game, 4.72 time to first. Behind the plate, pop times ranged from 2.03-2.11. Agile blocks, arm plays long and loose, ball comes out of the easy, over the top slot, accurate throws carried 83 mph from the crouch. In the infield, profiles as a corner, stationary defender, hands work, throws topped 88 mph across the diamond. 7.22 runner in the 60.

Casey Kmet, C/3B, St. Viator (IL), 2019
University of Notre Dame commit. 5-foot-9, 195-pound, right-handed hitting catcher, thick frame with present lower half strength. Offensively, crouched, wide setup, minimal pre-pitch actions, keeps it short and simple. Static lower half, strong hands, quick wrists, gets the barrel through the zone, flashed hard pull side pop, quick bat speed, exit velocity topped 96 mph from a tee. 6.93 runner in the 60, 4.36 time to first. Fleet footed behind the plate, explodes out of the crouch, exchanges are quick and clean, short arm, over the top slot, throws topped 79 mph from the crouch. Pop times ranged from 2.00-2.08.

Tyler Snep, C/1B, Lake Zurich (IL), 2019
University of Iowa commit. 6-foot-2, 200-pound, left-handed hitting catcher, well-proportioned, athletic frame. Offensively, relaxed, even setup, slight back/drop load, short leg kick trigger, excellent balance throughout. Strength in swing, uphill path, keeps it short to the ball, hard contact, rhythmic actions, can create lift to the pull gap, exit velocity topped 89 mph from a tee. Behind the plate, pop times ranged from 2.00-2.07. Soft hands, receives in rhythm, transfers are quick and clean, short, over the top slot, throws topped 79 mph from the crouch. 7.47 runner in the 60.

Nathan Stevens, C/OF, Waunakee (WI), 2019
University of Arkansas commit. 6-foot, 197-pound, left-handed hitting catcher/outfielder, well-proportioned, live, athletic body. Offensively, relaxed, even setup, short load, smooth stride, excellent balance throughout. Strong hands, quick twitch ability, level path with extension through the hitting zone, repeatable hard contact, back spun balls to pull side gap, rhythm involved. Plus bat speed, exit velocity topped 93 mph from a tee. Lined an opposite field single in game, hard out of the box. From the outfield, gets behind it the ball, plays through with ease, windup exchange, short/clean, over the top slot, throws carried 89 mph to home. Behind the plate, pop times ranged from 1.98-2.08. Hands work, early out of the crouch, clean transfer, short arm, over the top slot, throws topped 78 mph to second. Did not run the 60.