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2022 New England Procase Wrapup: Participants Find Hard Working Paying Off

Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/NW Scout

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2022 New England Procase Wrapup: Participants Find Hard Work Is Paying Off

DANBURY, Ct. - The opportunity to perform in front of pro scouts at Sunday’s New England Procase left those attending feeling good.

“The Procase was a great experience overall,” explained Jack Cropper, a junior at Norwood High School in Massachusetts and one of 87 players in attendance. “It was great to be invited with some of the best players in New England.”

Thomas Galusha, a University of Connecticut commit attending Salisbury School, is another that had a memorable time in a field of players committed to the likes of Tulane, South Florida, Houston, Wake Forest, Pepperdine, Notre Dame and Kansas State along with numerous other Division I colleges across the country.

“I thought the event was well run considering the amount of athletes and the limited space within the dome,” Galusha said. “I had a great time at the event talking to the seven other UConn commits there. It was nice to watch my future teammates play and to begin to build that relationship now.”

One of those future teammates is Gabriel Tirado, the 92nd-rated sophomore in the nation.

“Overall, the Procase was a great event with lots of talent from all across the New England region,” Tirado noted. “The Procase did a great job showcasing all aspects of the prospects well to the scouts in attendance.”

Jack Goodman, a Pepperdine signee, was pleased to be part of the event for the second year in a row.

“It was a great event as always,” the second-rated 2022 shortstop in New England said. “It was well run and it really gives you the opportunity to show what you’ve got.”

Another that came away in awe was Matthew Bucciero, a senior committed to Fairfield.

“It was really cool to be at an event with so many talented players,” Bucciero said. “Just watching other guys and seeing what they do and how they do it was a great experience.”


When nine of the 25 pitchers hit 90 miles per hour or better, you know it was a strong event. That was the case at the Procase held at the Danbury Sports Dome.

Cropper led the way, with the 5-11 180-pound junior right-handed pitcher hitting 94 with his fastball.

“Easy and fluid arm swing,” the PBR New England staff said on the website about the Northeastern commit.

“The highlight of the event for me was being able to pitch in front of scouts and coaches,” noted the 17-year-old. “What I can take away from the event is being able to look at some statistics and find things I can work in in the future.”

While the fourth-ranked New England junior RHP had the top velo, Tommy Turner of Coventry High School in Rhode Island was at 93 and Galusha reached 92. Like Cropper, finding ways to improve was a big learning experience to grasp from the Procase.

“One thing I know to take away from my performance is my command of my offspeed,” pointed out Galusha, the fourth-ranked 2023 RHP from Connecticut. “While I feel as if my changeup has gotten much better, it still needs a lot of work.”

Six others hit 90 or better on the gun, with Michael Simes of Wachusett, Ma., impressing with a 90 mph fastball along with the top spin on the pitch (2592).

“Big and long, the sky's the limit,” the PBR New England staff said about the 6-5 185-pound senior headed to UMass-Lowell.’

Among southpaws, Martin Zhang had the top fastball at 87.9 mph, while the 6-0 190-pound senior committed to Columbia also had one of the top spin rates for both fastball (2509 best, 2362 average) and slider (2722 best, 2671 average).


Although it is hard to ignore the quality of pitchers in attendance, there was also a solid group of catchers that turned a few heads.

Five of those throwing from behind the dish had a velocity better than 80, with Joel Strand leading the way at 81.

“I didn’t exactly perform up to how I wanted to but I still feel I did a good job,” the fifth-rated 2023 catcher in New England said. “I thought it was a great environment to be both in front of professional scouts and amongst some of the top talent in the northeast.

“My highlight was getting to catch my former teammate and Northeastern commit James Morice.We have been playing together at Baseball U CT since we were both 15 and I was glad to be his backstop at this event.”

The 6-2 230-pound uncommitted junior from Green Farms Academy in Connecticut who was one of eight with a pop time less than 2.0, also had an exit velocity of 99, while learning a valuable lesson.

“During my BP rounds I found I was really dropping my back shoulder,” Strand noted. “I think going forward I just need to keep it in perspective that this is still a fun game and that one showcase is not going to decide my future. I just need to have more fun.”.

The top two pop times came from Michael Toth, of Granby, Ma., and Jayden Novak, a sophomore from Hamden Hall, Ct. Novak, the number two ranked 2024 catcher in New England,  is headed to the College of Charleston while Toth, who drew raves from the New England staff after the event - “has ridiculous footwork behind the dish, impressive” - “ is a UMass-Amherst commit.

"I felt good with my throws from behind the plate," Novak related. "I knew I had to sacrifice velocity for pop time, so I had 1.88 pop with 80 velo rather than going for for 2.00 with 84-plus velo. So I felt pretty good about my performance, though I wasn't too happy about my hitting."

The 6-1 205-pounder had 97.2 max exit velo at the Procase, to go along with a 7.37 time in the 60..

"I wanted to project 100-plus, but overall I was happy with my spray and where I hit the ball," Novak said. "I was also happy with my 60, I dropped .2 of a second from the summer."


While Novak had some of the strongest numbers at the event, Gabriel Tirado was arguably the best 2024 participant with a solid showing across the board.

The top-ranked sophomore in New England not only had a 1.96 pop time to go along with 79 catcher velo, but the 5-9 205 pound 16-year-old from Loomis Chaffee High School also had an exit velocity of 103, tied for top honors with outfielder Cameron Maldonado, a senior from Camden Hall Country Day who is committed to Northeastern.

“My personal highlight of the event was my BP round,” pointed out Tirado, a University of Connecticut commit and the eighth-rated 2024 catcher in the nation who hit 103.4 exit velo with an average of 93.7. “That is a great improvement from the last time I participated in a PBR showcase. I just tried to stay loose, stay relaxed and have fun. It’s February and you aren’t in mid-season form, so you just had to try and be less tense and enjoy the moment.”

Even fellow players came away impressed with Tirado, one of four 2024 catchers participating in the Procase.

“One of the highlights for me was watching my fellow UConn baseball commits take batting practice,” Galusha said. “I really enjoyed watching Gabriel Tirado take his round and put up impressive exit velocities.”


Admittedly, it was a bit tense performing with scouts in attendance.

“I found it to be quite nerve-racking at first since the mass amount of scouts in attendance, yet I settled in well and adjusted accordingly, performing well and showcasing the best of my ability,” Tirado said.

It was the same for Bucciero, who along with his twin brother Daniel were participants from Ridgefield High School in Connecticut.

“It was definitely a surreal feeling, and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” related Bucciero, a 6-2 210-pound shortstop/outfielder. “I tried to just treat it like any other day, just trying to go out there and do my thing.”

Strand also had feelings about executing on such a big stage

“Performing in front of all the scouts was definitely a new experience,” the eighth-ranked uncommitted 2023 in New England pointed out. “I’m used to performing in front of colleges, however, there was a different feel when it was time to perform in front of pro scouts.”

The nerves improved as time went along according to Galusha.

“The scouts were more intimidating before I began my routine to throw,” Galusha said. “However, once I began to focus on myself and my routine I stopped noticing them. It was fun to think about who saw me play afterward.”

For others, it was about enjoying being a part of such a prestigious event.

“It was a great thing,” noted Goodman, an infielder from Medfield, Ma. “If you’re looking to take your game to the next level, that’s what you have to go through. Gaining the experience of having eyes on you while playing is always beneficial.”

David Castillo, a junior at Margarita Muniz Academy, concurred with Goodman.

“I loved performing in front of all the scouts,” explained Castillo, the top-rated 2023 shortstop in New England. “I like the spotlight when it comes to these events or baseball in general.”


The confidence displayed by Castillo stood out, as the 6-2 190-pounder showed well at the event with the best infield velocity of 93.

“A highlight for me was definitely fielding because it’s my favorite thing to do,” Castillo related..

In addition, the uncommitted 17-year-old “showed an excellent feel for hitting” according to the PBR New England staff, with a 96 exit velocity.

“Something I can take from my performance that can help me with my future are my stats because, for example, I didn’t do my best with my 60-yard dash time. I’ve gotten a way better time before, so I just know I’ve got to work harder this year than last year.”

Bucciero and Goodman are others that had big numbers while understanding it was a learning process as well.

“I felt in my hitting rounds I was a little tense and trying to lift balls instead of just working up the middle and hitting it where it’s pitched, so playing relaxed is something I can take from this,” noted Bucciero.

The 17-year-old was also solid with an 91 outfield velo, 84 infield velo and 6.97 time in the 60.

Goodman, back at the Procase for the second year, had a 102 exit velocity, 91 infield velo and a 6.75 time in the 60, the third fastest behind 6.64 from Gabe Pitts of Worcester Academy and 6.74 from Christopher Rotella of LaSalle Academy.

“For myself and a lot of the other guys who were with me at the Procase last year, it felt great to show that we’ve been working hard and improving our game,” explained the 6-1 180-pounder. “My performance this year showed me what a year of hard work can do. Even the other guys I know from last year, their numbers all went up, too. As boring and simple as it sounds, it helped me realize that if I truly put in the time and work hard, it will show.”


Improvement is also something that scouts notice.

“Right after my BP round the Brewers scout and I talked for a bit,” related Goodman. “He asked me what college I was going to and he told me I had a pretty swing. He was a nice guy. It meant a lot to me! It’s always a privilege to be able to talk to those guys.”

Bucciero also had contact with pro scouts.

“They wanted to introduce themselves to me and my family,” explained the versatile Bucciero. “They spoke positively of me, Fairfield U and (head) coach (Bill) Currier and told me they would be following me this spring. I was both humbled by the conversation and at the same time, felt pride in all of the hard work it’s taken to get to this point.”

Tirado was another that had interaction with scouts.

“We talked about my plans for the upcoming season and where I will be playing,” Tirado said. “We also talked about the importance of not beating yourself up at these mid-winter showcases and to take your numbers with a grain of salt as we are not in mid-season form.”

Even those that did not have conversations with scouts appreciated getting seen.

“No pro scouts made any direct contact with me, but they may have reached out to coach (Kevin) Huber from Salisbury School who was also there and will be my coach in the spring and the following year,” Galusha noted.

Said Castillo: “I don’t believe I was approached by any scout but still, just the fact that they saw me do the best I can was the best feeling. I will definitely be attending more upcoming events.”

Cropper was also thrilled to be able to show off his abilities.

“I didn’t talk with any scouts, but it was a great honor to perform in front of them,” the eighth-ranked 2023 in New England said.

Goodman summed it all up well.

“It was a great event with great people. Dennis (Healy) and Trevor (Brown) are the best!” Goodman said in reference to the PBR New England Directors of Scouting. “Everyone supports each other and it’s a loose and relaxed environment. I had a great time and I encourage people to come out to an event.”

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