Prospect Identification Showcase: Catcher Analysis

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director - Wisconsin

The Prospect Identification has brought us some of the best young talent in the state of Wisconsin. Today’s spotlight is on the catching group. Catching is a highly defensive position and we saw three of the better ones in their respective classes. Jared Nelson (Jefferson HS, 2015) showed the best defensive prowess displaying a prototypical catcher’s arm action working quickly and cleanly and staying on line to second base. Aaron Mack (Edgewood HS, Class of 2014) displayed an offensive presence from the left side with bat speed and pop. Jack Kinzer (Port Washington HS, 2016), one of the youngest catchers in the group looks to be a very projectable receiver that could end up being one of the top in his class.

Here’s a look at how the catchers broke down.

Top Catchers

1. Jared Nelson, Jefferson HS, C, Class of 2015
Athletic 5-foot-9, 150-pound catcher. High level catch and throw guy, active athletic feet coming out of the crouch, loose soft hands receiving the baseball, great athlete. Could be one of the top defensive catchers in his class. Arm works really well behind the plate, clean quick arm action, strong arm, shows carry; arm stays on line, 74 mph out of the crouch. 2.05-2.1 pop times. Offensively shows a balanced setup and uses short stride. Bat path is short, lacks extension. Tends to hit off of front foot, excess movement in feet, moderate balance throughout.

2. Aaron Mack, Edgewood HS, C, Class of 2014
Long athletic frame, advanced frame, 6-foot-1, 190-pound left handed hitting catcher. Defensively shows a quick transfer out of the crouch, good direction towards target, arm action hesitates at the top. Pop times range from 2.04-2.15, arm strength of 74 mph from behind the plate. Runs 4.26 home to first. Offensively hits from open stance, uses short stride. Makes hard contact, flashes pop to pull side, gap to gap style hitter, lacks some extension.

3. Jack Kinzer, Port Washington HS, C, Class of 2016
Athletic frame, 5-foot-10, 175-pound catcher. Could project as one of the top catchers in the Class of 2016. Athletic defensive actions, arm shows carry, stays on line well, 72 mph from the crouch, long transfer, pop times range from 2.19-2.3. Receives well, soft hands, quick feet, moves well laterally. Hits from the right side, open stance, smooth load, uses short stride to trigger. Bat path is short, shows extension, line drive hitter, hands work well, works the middle of the field well. Good approach, fluid rhythm. Very projectable receiver.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Sam Bartman, Kaukauna HS, C, Class of 2014
5-foot-10, 190-pound catcher, soft build. Pop times range from 2.29-2.4, shows arm strength of 73 mph from the crouch. Offensively hits from an open stance, short stride slight dives back to plate. Bat path lacks extension, short finish, stiffness in swing, 78 mph exit velocity from tee.

Ricky Bergstrom, Warren HS, C, Class of 2016
5-foot-9, 155-pound catcher. Offensively hits from a slightly closed stance, slightly dives with stride. Lower half is active. Bat path is level; wrists are highly involved in swing, some rollover, pull approach. Defensively lacks arm strength; pop times range 2.28-2.34, 68 mph from the crouch. Added footwork will improve pop times.

Asher Freybler, Onalaska HS, C/SS, Class of 2015
Strong build, developed lower half, 5-foot-9, 155-pounds. Offensively hits from a balanced, crouched stance. Uses smooth load and short stride. Strong swing, flashes hard contact, lunges, front foot hitter. Bat path is level, gets extension. Pop times range from 2.15-2.2, arm strength 73 mph, long arm action, some stiffness. Improved footwork will help defensively both behind the plate and in the field.

Dom Hillesheim, Menasha HS, C/OF, Class of 2014
5-foot-10, 175-pound multi-positional player. Shows athletic feet, 4.26 runner home to first. Pop times range 2.32-2.43, long stride coming out of the crouch. Arm action is short and loose behind the plate, 73 mph. In the outfield shows arm strength of 80 mph, aggressive crow hop, over the top arm action, produces some carry. Hits from a slightly closed stance, uses short stride. Flat bat path, aggressive bat, hits off of back side, line drive hitter.

Jordan Richardson, Menomonee Falls HS, C, Class of 2014
Athletic body, 6-foot, 180-pound catcher. Defensively shows athletic quick feet, lacks direction towards target. Throws from high ¾ arm slot, pop times range from 2.19-2.36, 73 mph from the crouch. Offensively hits from balanced setup, smooth load, leg kick trigger. Bat path is level, lacks timing and rhythm, moderate balance throughout.

Brady Stolzman, Xavier HS, C, Class of 2015
Average strong build, 5-foot-10, 192-pound catcher. Defensively arm works long and loose, over the top arm slot. Pop times range from 2.26-2.42, arm strength 69 mph from the crouch. Transfer is long, footwork needs improvement. Offensively shows promise, hits from balanced setup, uses short stride. Lower half works. Makes hard contact, flashes signs of power, bat speed present, 83 mph exit velocity.

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