Underclass Invitational: Catcher Analysis


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Underclass Invitational is one of Illinois’ most highly anticipated events on the PBR Illinois showcase calendar. The invitation-only event for the state’s top 2022 and 2023 prospects was held on Feb. 16, at The MAX in McCook, Ill. Over 110 of Illinois’ best freshman and sophomores represented themselves at the sold-out event last weekend.

As expected, this was an absolutely loaded event that yielded to us a brand new crop of underclass talent to follow as they continue maturing and developing at the high school level. Soon following the event we released early analysis with our Quick Hits and Statistical Analysis

Today we continue the roll-out with our position-by-position breakdown of the event, starting with the catchers.

A trio of Division I commits lead the way. Switch-hitting catcher Zander Buchan (Maine South, 2022) headlines the list thanks to an advanced left-handed swing, athletic defensive actions and a strong, true accurate arm from behind the plate. Buchan continues to solidify himself as one of the top catchers in the state and Midwest.

The top uncommitted prospect in this group was C/1B Will Plattner (Glenwood, 2022). Plattner has a strong, durable frames and took one of the top BP rounds of the day. Plattner has a repeatable swing with bat strength and made a lot of hard gap-to-gap contact. 

TOP CATCHING PROSPECTS

1. Zander Buchan, Maine South (IL), 2022 (South Carolina commit)
 Positional Profile: C High-level 2022 prospect.
Body: 5-foot-10, 180-pounds. Compact, strong frame, durable lower half.
Hit: SH. High-level left-handed swing. Balanced, athletic setup, smooth load and short leg-lift trigger.  Repeatable, simple swing, loose quick athletic hands, present bat speed, fluid rhythm and maintains balance throughout. Consistently on the barrel, extension through contact and works gap-to-gap.
Power: 100 mph exit velocity from the tee. Advanced bat strength and power potential.
Arm: RH. C - 80 mph. Short, clean arm action plays from an over-the-top slot; Throws play true and consistently on the bag.
Defense: 1.96-2.11 pop times. Clean, directional and repeatable out of the crouch. Natural catcher actions, soft strong hands, sticks pitches, gets underneath the low pitch, quiet sound blocks.
Run: 7.34 runner in the 60. 

2. Nate Voss, Marist (IL), 2022 (Michigan commit)
Positional Profile: C One of the top prospects in the Illinois' 2022 class.
Body: 5-foot-11, 180-pounds. Athletic, well-proportioned frame with strength throughout.
Hit: RHH. Athletic, confident look in the box. Balanced setup, smooth load and short leg-lift timing trigger.  Fluid rhythm, loose, quick athletic hands, fast bat, feel for the barrel and uses the big part of the field.
Power: 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Potential pull-side power.
Arm: RH. C - 76 mph. INF - 81 mph. Short, loose, clean arm, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 1.95-2.08 pop times. Worked out behind the plate and on the infield. Natural catcher actions but athletic enough to stick at third base. Behind the plate, easy athletic actions, never in a hurry. Clean and repeatable from the crouch. Squared flexible setup, soft, sure-hands, quiet receiver.
Run: 7.19 runner in the 60. 

3. TJ Schuyler, Antioch (IL), 2023 (Indiana commit)
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot-2, 170-pounds. Highly-athletic build, with more room for continued physical development.
Hit: RHH. Narrow, slightly open setup, smooth load, short leg-lift trigger and stays extremely balanced though contact. Fluid rhythm, easy effort, loose quick hands, whip through the zone. Short, direct path, highly-repeatable, line-drive mature approach for age.
Power: 84 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph. Short arm action, throws play with carry from a 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.10-2.15 pop times. Flexible hips, sits low in crouch, strong wrists, steady hands. Clean and athletic out of the crouch.
Run: 7.39 runner in the 60. 

4. Will Plattner, Glenwood (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot, 180-pounds. Strong, well-proportioned frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced, square setup, pre-pitch rhythm, smooth load and stays balanced throughout.  Compact swing, minimal wasted movement, quick strong hands, repeatable, short direct and level through the zone. Consistent, hard, line-drive contact and uses the middle of the field.
Power: 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ball jumps off the barrel.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. INF - 79 mph. Short, firm arm action plays over-the-top.
Defense: 2.01-2.10 pop times. Multi-positional profile; worked out behind the plate and at first base. Behind the plate, clean release, quick glove-to-hand, directional. Soft fundamentally sound blocks; deadens ball in front.
Run: 7.53 runner in the 60. 

5. Charlie Marisca, Grayslake Central (IL), 2022 (Missouri commit)
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot, 180-pounds. Athletic frame with lean muscle.
Hit: LHH. Balanced quiet setup, smooth load and leg-lift timing trigger.  Simple swing, stays balanced, lets the ball travel, quick bat, natural lift in swing and works gap-to-gap.
Power: 89 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 80 mph. Short, over-the-top arm action. Throws flashed carry.
Defense: 1.94-2.00 pop times. Athletic out of the chute, quick glove-to-hand, replaces feet and front shoulder stays closed.
Run: 7.18 runner in the 60. Above-average runner for position.

6. Ryan Bakes, Huntley (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-foot-9, 175-pounds. Athletic, wide-shouldered frame with strength throughout.
Hit: RHH. Balanced slightly open setup, short stride and minimal load. Easy effort, short uphill bat path, present bat speed, gap-to-gap approach, fluid rhythm and maintains balance throughout.
Power: 97 mph exit velocity from the tee. Power potential moving forward.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph. Short, quick arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.03-2.15 pop times. Advanced defensive actions. Square, flexible target, soft hands, quiet receiver, willing agile soft blocker; deadens the baseball. Clean out of the crouch, replaces feet, highly-repeatable.
Run: 7.16 runner in the 60. Advanced run time for position and age.

7. Bryce Nevils, Brother Rice (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot, 169-pounds. Long-levered, high-waisted, athletic, projectable frame.
Hit: RHH. Square slightly-crouched setup, smooth load and leg-kick timing trigger. Repeatable swing, advanced approach, uses the entire field, stays within himself. Loose hands, easy bat speed, creates whip, consistent hard line drive contact and balanced finish.
Power: 92 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 72 mph. Long draw out of the glove, plays true from an over-the-top slot.
Defense: 2.11-2.19 pop times. Light on his feet, clean and directional out of the chute, agile block. Soft hands, quiet receiver.
Run: 7.59 runner in the 60. 

8. Cooper Cohn, McHenry (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-foot-9, 160-pounds. Smaller, athletic, live-bodied frame.
Hit: RHH. Athletic, slightly open setup, smooth load, short stride and confident overall look in the box. Aggressive controlled swing, loose fast hands, present bat speed. Extension through the baseball, feel for the barrel and sprayed hard contact to all fields.
Power: 89 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph. INF - 83 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 1.93-2.05 pop times. Worked out on the infield and behind the plate. Future looks to be behind the plate. Athletic enough to stick at either spot. Behind the plate, ultra-quick actions for age; played too fast at times. Quick feet and comes out of the chute with effort. Soft hands, flexible, advanced receiver.
Run: 7.52 runner in the 60. 

9. Victor Izquierdo, Lockport (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot-1, 195-pounds. Athletic, strong, wide-shouldered frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, smooth deep load, short stride and utilizes lower half. Swings with intent, fast bat, flashed twitch, stays inside the baseball at times, uphill bat path and gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ball jumps off the barrel. Power potential.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. INF - 72 mph. Short, loose arm action, high 3/4 slot from behind the plate.
Defense: 2.07-2.08 pop times. Defensively, showed well at first base and behind the plate. Athletic feet and actions at first base. Plays with bounce, feel around the bag and sure hands. Continues to make strides behind the plate. Quick feet and glove-to-hand release. Flexible hips, low target and steady hands.
Run: 7.47 runner in the 60. 

10. Tony Pluta, St. Viator (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C Two-way potential.
Body: 5-foot-7, 146-pounds. Smaller, athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced slightly open setup, smooth load and short stride works back to even. Aggressive swing, loose hands, long bat path, extension through contact and gap-to-gap approach.
Power: 90 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 80 mph. Short, loose arm action, plays over-the-top. Throws carry and consistently on the second-base bag.
Defense: 2.00-2.07 pop times. Flexible, athletic actions and clean out of the chute, repeatable and directional. Soft hands, strong wrists.
Run: 7.3 runner in the 60. 

10. Brendan Summerhill, Whitney Young (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot-3, 175-pounds. Long-levered, high-waisted, projectable frame.
Hit: LHH. Quiet balanced wide setup, smooth load and maintains balance through contact.  Loose, athletic hands, generates bat speed with minimal effort. Repeatable swing, uphill path, occasional hard contact to the pull side.
Power: 91 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 76 mph. OF - 85 mph. Short arm action, plays from a high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.11-2.21 pop times. Worked out as an outfielder/catcher. In the outfield, gets behind the baseball, steady hands and clean release. Behind the plate, directional and repeatable out of the chute, sure-hands and active blocker.
Run: 6.95 runner in the 60. Well above-average for age and position.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Ivan Dahlberg, Minooka (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-foot-11, 200-pounds. Thick, strong frame.
Hit: LHH. Open crouched setup, long stride, aggressive swing.  Swings with intent, loose hands, extension through contact, looks to lift the baseball and finishes on backside.
Power: 92 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 69 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.25-2.35 pop times. Steady hands, directional out of the crouch.
Run: 7.64 runner in the 60. 

Nicholas Lacson, Barrington (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot, 165-pounds. Well-proportioned strength.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, smooth load and long stride. Aggressive swing, short direct path, elevated the baseball and worked gap-to-gap.
Power: 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.18-2.24 pop times. Flexible hips, quiet receiver, sure-hands; clean release out of the chute.
Run: 7.33 runner in the 60. 

Ryan Louthan, Joliet Catholic Academy (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-foot-10, 187-pounds. Strong, wide-shoulder build with strength in the lower half.
Hit: LHH. Balanced slightly closed and crouched setup; minimal load and short stride.  Simple swing, strong hands, natural lift in swing and pull-side approach.
Power: 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. Advanced bat strength.
Arm: RH. C - 79 mph. Short, firm arm action, over-the-top arm action.
Defense: 2.08-2.18 pop times. Squared setup, replaced feet, gains ground, clean release. Quiet receiver and agile blocker.
Run: 7.66 runner in the 60. 

Andy Roman, Wheaton Academy (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot-2, 185-pounds. Athletic, high-waisted build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced, slightly open setup, pre-pitch load and short stride.  Aggressive swing, long bat path, works uphill through the zone, elevates the baseball, flashed pop to the pull-side.
Power: 85 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 72 mph. Short arm action, plays over-the-top.
Defense: 2.11-2.19 pop times. Flexible hips, squared setup, active soft blocks and sure hands. Clean release, quick glove-to-hand, plays uphill with effort at times.
Run: 7.92 runner in the 60. 

Kyle Smith, Warren (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C
Body: 6-foot, 205-pounds. Compact frame with strong, lower half.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, smooth load, short stride and stays balanced throughout.  Quiet, repeatable swing, compact, loose hands and stays level through contact.
Power: 91 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. Short, over-the-top arm action.
Defense: 2.10-2.18 pop times. Directional and gains ground out of the crouch. Wide square base, quiet receiver, active blocker and steady hands.
Run: 7.61 runner in the 60. 

Mark Wagner, Neuqua Valley (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-foot-10, 185-pounds. Compact build. Thick lower half.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, deep loading action, leg-kick timing trigger. Aggressive swing, long bat path, extension through contact at times.
Power: 86 mph exit velocity from the tee.
Arm: RH. C - 70 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.15-2.27 pop times. Squared setup, clean release and steady hands.
Run: 8.37 runner in the 60. 

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