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Norcal ProCase Spotlight: C Ryan Stafford


Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting


LINCOLN, CA. - Stafford, presently the 71st ranked 2021 in California (12th among C) can at times be overlooked as it relates to the other top catchers in the 2021. However, maybe that's not exactly fair to say because he's clearly been valued by the scouts who select the Athletics' Area Code Games team, appearing on the underclass roster in 2019 and again on the roster this summer. I got out to Folsom HS for one of the few games I scouted this spring. In that game, Stafford showed all the skills and talents that will keep him on the radar through his college years at Cal Poly. Let's dive into some of what makes Stafford a special player.

THE REPORT:

Body: 5-foot-10, 165-pounds. Having stood next to Stafford, that height seems a bit stretched but even taken at face value, clearly it's not physicality that he relies on. He's built more like a 2nd baseman than a catcher.

Hit: RH - Has outstanding hand-eye coordination and the ability to move the ball to all fields. There is some sneaky pop on the pull side and he's got the type of bat control to take an aggressive swing and stay on balance. The average of 15.9 (g) in rotational acceleration (courtesy of Blast Motion) indicates his ability to quickly accelerate his bat into the swing plane. Going forward, as a college player, he seems like a good bet to fill the 2-spot in the order. 

Power: If a pitcher sleeps on him and pitches Stafford like a player who doesn't have the ability to do damage, he can pay a price. The 97 mph exit velocity (courtesy of TrackMan, using wood) at the ProCase tells us that he's not only got bat speed but the ability to get the barrel in position to drive the ball with every bit that he physically possesses. Power isn't likely to be a significant part of his game beyond high school, but he will have enough juice to occasionally leave the yard.

Field: This is where Stafford excels. He's cat-quick behind the plate, utilizing that quickness both in blocking (very good lateral agility) and on steal attempts. He's an above average receiver as well. The lateral agility plays very well as it allows pitchers to bounce change-ups and breaking balls out of the zone with confidence. The quickness also comes into play on bunts and swinging bunts out in front of the plate. To get him out of the crouch from time to time, Stafford can man 3B, SS, or 2B.

Arm: C mph - 77 mph - POPs 1.93-2.09 - Quick release helps arm play up a bit more than the 77 mph, 3 of 4 pops were 2.03 or lower, there is some tailing/sink action at end of throws which can come from not only the slot but also the concentrated effort to sling it quickly. Given some technique adjustments in college and he's got a chance to develop a 50 arm with consistent 2.00 POPs.

Run: 7.20 - More quick than fast.

Summary: The name that comes to mind as a MLB comp is former all-star Jason Kendall. The similarities all hold up, undersized, athletic, multi-position versatility, offensive tools that play from helping to keep the line moving but also having the ability to be a run-producer, high level defense and enthusiasm for the game that is easy to see. Like just about any player who falls short of being the type of physical specimen desired at the professional level, Stafford likely will be made to constantly 'prove' he can play with the big boys and I'd certainly bet that he will always be up to the challenge.

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