Underclass Trials: Catching Analysis

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Prep Baseball Report Underclass Trials held on June 12th at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium featured several top 2016 and 2017 catching prospects.  Brother Rice’s Josh Nowak led the way with his impressive switch-hitting ability, paired with solid catch-and-throw skills.  Matt Bunetta, a 2016 catcher from Plainfield Central, impressed with his physicality and all-around game, with a great feel for receiving behind the plate.

Here’s a look at all the catching prospects at the Underclass Trials.     

Top Catching Prospects

1. Josh Nowak, Brother Rice, C/MIF, 2016
5-foot-7, 160-pound switch-hitting catcher.  Left-handed swing produced more loft and power, while right-handed swing showed a contact orientated approached with a balanced level swing.  Exit velocity was 82 mph from the left side, and 81 mph from the right.  Hard-nosed approach showed solid hands in infield and behind the plate with an average, accurate arm from a high ¾ arm slot.  Pop times ranged from 2.06 to 2.17, and ran 7.51 seconds in the 60, 4.67 sec to first base.

2. Matt Bunetta, Plainfield Central, C/3B, 2016
5-foot-11, 180-pound athletic and strong catcher/3B impressed defensively and with the bat.  Behind the plate reeled off pop times between 2.08-2.19 seconds from a short over the top arm action with good carry to second.  Also showed soft hands receiving and quick feet sliding over to block.  Hits from an open stance with a short stride from gap-to-gap with some pop to his pull side.  Produced exit velocity up to 76 mph and also ran a 7.55 second 60-yard dash.

3. William McKenna, Mount Carmel, C/MIF, 2016
5-foot-9, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher with an advanced bat.  McKenna hits from a tall balanced setup, with a smooth load and above average bat speed.  Showed a fluid, line-drive stroke from gap-to-gap.  Defensively showed a strong, loose, accurate arm with solid carry across the diamond at 72 mph.  Fields position athletically, coming through the baseball.  From the crouch rattled off pop times between 2.11-2.18 with accuracy.  Ran a 7.43 60-yard dash.  McKenna is a 2016 to keep your eyes on both behind the plate and in the infield.

4. Tyler Frank, Lake Central (IN), C/OF 2017
6-foot-2, 170-pound lanky projectable catcher impressed with athleticism behind the plate and in running a 7.00 60-yard dash, the second best time for a 2017 at the Underclass Trials.  Defensively threw from a short over-the-top arm angle with some carry to second producing pop times between 2.11 and 2.18.  Also exhibited soft hands receiving and fluid footwork with a clean exchange down to second.  Hit from a balanced setup with a short stride and short uphill bat path with a slight drop in his hands during load, producing exit velocities up to 81 mph.

5. Jett Wedekind, Princeton, C, 2016
5-foot-10, 170-pound catcher impressed behind the plate with strong throwing arm producing the Underclass Trial’s top pop time at 2.01.  Shows quick feet on the transfer with a fluid exchange from glove to hand producing strong accurate throws consistently.  Also impressed in pitching portion by blocking several baseballs.  Hit from a closed setup moving hands backward in load with power/pull potential and above average bat speed.      

5. Luke Weller, Wauconda, C/MIF, 2016
5-foot-11, 170-pound lanky catcher impressed during batting practice with line drives from gap-to-gap.  Hit from a crouched open stance with loose hands producing 79 mph exit velocity.  Threw 2.35 down to second base with long arm action and some accuracy.  Also ran a 7.45 60-yard dash and 5.04 seconds from home to first.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)


Michael Bieterman, Timothy Christian, C, 2017
6-foot-1, 185-pound catcher showed some strength in swing.  Hits from balanced setup with a long, leg kick stride.  Loads hands back producing uphill swing with pop to pull side producing 78 mph exit velocity.  Threw 72 mph from the crouch producing pop times between 2.23-2.37 seconds.  Also ran a 7.72 second 60-yard dash.

Alejandro Carrillo, Grayslake North, C, 2016
5-foot-7, 175-pound catcher hits from a balanced set up with a short stride and long uphill path due to leaning back in his swing, but still produces solid contact .  Throws from a short over the top arm slot producing pop times between 2.22-2.42.

Anthony Lelli, South Elgin, C, 2017
5-foot-9, 145-pound right-handed hitting catcher hits from a narrow, crouched stance with a long stride diving towards home plate.  Threw 2.51-2.57 from home plate to second, 70 mph from the crouch.  Impressed running a 7.30 60-yard dash, average for his age group.  Also produced 76 mph exit velocity.

Robby McGaha, Stevenson, C/OF, 2016
6-foot-1, 170-pound athletic catcher that showed advanced approach at the plate in a solid round of batting practice.  Hits from an athletic open stance, loading hands back smoothly to produce the top exit velocity of the Underclass Trials at 88 mph.  Consistently hit the ball to right center letting the ball get deep.  Defensively reeled off pop times between 2.24-2.35, throwing 71 mph from the crouch.  Also ran a 7.16 60 yard dash.   

Tyler Novak, Huntley, C/3B, 2017
5-foot-9, 160-pound lanky right-handed hitting catcher with above average catch and throw skills for age group.  Threw 68 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging from 2.08-2.21 from a short over-the-top arm action.  Hits from a wide closed setup, with a long stride and a smooth minimal load.  Inside-out approach, producing 79 mph exit velocity.  Ran a 7.26 60-yard dash and 4.44 seconds to first base.

Peter Pigatti, Hinsdale Central, C/RHP, 2017
5-foot-8, 160-pound right-handed hitting catcher.  Impressed with pop times ranging from 2.05 to 2.32 down to second base with a quick exchange from a high ¾ arm slot.  Offensively, hits from a crouched balanced set-up with inside-out tendencies, and 75 mph exit velocity.  Tends to dive into the plate at times.  Ran 4.89 seconds from home to first and a 7.89 60-yard dash.

Jacob Ryan, Glenwood, C, 2017
5-foot-11, 175-pound catcher impressed during batting practice with power to his pull side producing 86 mph exit velocity.  Hits from a balanced setup with a short stride and leg kick.  Produced pop times to second base between 2.33-2.42 from a short arm action with accuracy. 

Robert Wade Haire, Anna-Jonesboro, Catcher, 2016
6-foot-2, 205-pound wide shouldered, athletic catcher.  Threw 68 mph from the crouch with pop times between 2.40-2.51 from high ¾ arm action.  Hits from a balanced, tall setup with a level swing showing some power to his pull side producing exit velocity up to 71 mph.  Also ran an 8.84 60-yard dash.

Mitchell Wasso, Lincoln-Way North, C/MIF, 2016
5-foot-10, 165-pound lanky C/MIF hits from a balanced setup with long stride and uphill bat plane producing 77 mph exit velocity.  Threw 67 mph from the crouch producing 2.25-2.57 pop times from a short, over-the-top arm action.  Also ran an 8.13 60-yard dash.

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