Underclass Invitational Analysis: Catchers

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

PBR Georgia's first ever Underclass Invitational took place on Jan. 12 at Mike Cameron Baseball Academy in Stockbridge, GA. The event brought together some of the top 2022 and 2023 prospects in the state of Georgia for a pro-style workout. Today, we will be spending some time highlighting the best things we saw from Sunday in the form of our Quick Hits post.

We already took a look at the top statistical performers with leaderboards and full stats on every prospect in attendance in our Statistical Analysis. We followed our release of the stats by giving our instant reaction and thoughts from the day's events in the form of a Quick Hits story. today, we begin our complete analysis of the event with reports on all six catchers in attendance.

Our first look at Alabama commit C Sammy Leis (Denamrk, 2022) in a controlled environment was nothing short of spectacular. Leis is far ahead of his peers in his catching abilities and is only getting better and better. He very well may be the top defensive player at his position in the 2022 class. At the plate, he has strength and is starting to put things together. 

2023 C/3B Tyler Minnick (Mount Paran) has already been recognized in our rankings as the No. 17 prospect in his class and we had seen him at LakePoint in the past. His performance reaffirmed our original thoughts on his as one of the top players in his class. An offense first prospect, he has a power stroke at the plate and can presently elevate and drive the ball with considerable force, posting an 89 mph exit velocity. His defensive game is also one of the better in his class, where he showed all the traditional makings of a backstop. At 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, there is still more to come from his frame. 

Sammy Leis C / OF / Denmark, GA / 2022

Alabama commit. 6-foot-1, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher, projectable build, lanky, athletic frame, plenty of room to continue to add strength to frame. One of the top defensive catchers in the entire country in his class, and quite possibly out of any class. Defensively, traditional catcher’s arm action, arm works short and quick to an over-the-top slot, throws carry with true back spin, accurate, placing throws on the first base side of the bag consistently, 82 mph out of the crouch. Actions are fluid and quick, footwork and transfer abilities are extremely advanced, gets rid of the ball in a flash, pop times ranged 1.87-1.94, impressed making throws both coming out of the crouch and from his knees. Extremely flexible in his hips and ankles in the receiving position, soft hands, strong framer. Runners should take note that it will be nearly impossible to cleanly swipe a bag of this backstop. Offensively, is showing signs of starting to put it all together. Hits from a balanced position, good rhythm in hands, loads hands and weight back, leg lift stride, balanced at contact, has a tendency to finish on his back-side. Takes a predominantly line drive approach, squares the ball back up the middle, can get under pitches and elevate with some drive, 88 exit velocity off a tee.

Tyler Minnick C / 3B / Mount Paran Christian, GA / 2023

6-foot-2, 180-pound right-handed hitting catcher and third baseman, present strength throughout frame with the potential to add even more as he continues to physically develop. Offensively, slightly open setup, hands load back into an arm bar, short stride that tends to take him towards home plate, finishes on his back-side. Barrel path is long through the zone with whip, creates leverage, gets to the ball out front extending through contact, elevates the ball middle/pull, as he continues to mature projects to be a power gap-to-gap type hitter, 89 exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, arm works similarly on the infield and behind the plate, short and quick from from a mostly high ¾ slot, 78 across the infield and 76 out of the crouch. Plays through the ball on the infield with fluid, athletic footwork, clean on transfers, glove-hand is soft and quick, displays similar actions behind the plate, keeps his feet athletic, quick on transfers, pop times ranged 2.00-2.15.

McDonald McCommons C / RHP / Lake Oconee, GA / 2022

6-foot, 185-pound right-handed hitting utility man, athletically built, strength in frame, a true jack of all trades displaying the arm strength to play anywhere on the diamond. Offensively, open setup, hand load back deep, short stride, finishes over the plate. Takes a line drive approach, swing path is level through the zone, whippy bat speed, drives the ball back up the middle, 78 exit velocity. Defensively, similar arm actions on the infield and behind the plate, short with some loading on the back-side, whips through an over-the-top slot, 84 across the infield and 80 out of the crouch. From the outfield keep his arm speed while lengthening it out, 88 from the outfield. Plays through the ball athletically, keeps his feet under him and fields the ball out front, fluid footwork and transfers, pop times ranged 2.01-2.11. On the mound, arm works very short with little action on the back-side out of an over-the-top slot, quick arm speed. Tall and fall delivery, stays tall throughout, works on-line, lands square, finishes square to home. Fastball sat 81-83, touched 86,good angle on the pitch, arm-side run. Cutter, 78-79, tight sweeping action, will create weak contact with pitch. Curveball, 11/5 shape, still a developing pitch, 75. Changeup, 74-78, sinking action when down in the zone, has tendency to straighten out when up in the zone.

Nicholas Ford C / 1B / Blessed Trinity Catholic, GA / 2023

6-foot-1, 195-pound right-handed hitting catcher and first baseman, broad shoulders, lean strength, strong lower half, projects to put on a considerable amount of strength as he physically matures. Offensively, balanced setup, hands load back to an arm bar with some tension, balanced at contact. Swing path works uphill through the zone, creates leverage, looks to elevate and drive to the pull-side with power, present bat speed, 78 exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, behind the dish, arm works short to an over-the-top slot, accurate on throws with true back spin, 73 out of the crouch. Similar arm action at first base, 72 across the infield. Is active behind the plate, clean footwork, transfers can get long at-times, pop times ranged 2.12-2.22. On the infield, fields with a wide base, keeping body in front, clean with footwork and transfers.

Carson Burgamy C / 2B / River Ridge, GA / 2022

5-foot-9, 165-pound right-handed hitting catcher, sturdy build, strong lower half. Offensively, balanced setup, hands load back and up, short stride, good balanced through contact. Consistent in his approach, barrel works short to the zone in a level path, creates line drive contact, works the gaps, gets to the same hitting position consistently, loose and athletic hands, flicks the barrel, 73 exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, short arm action, ¾ slot, knows how to play the run on his throws, kept throws around the bag, 73 out of the crouch. Fluid and clean actions, keeps transfers short, competent receiver, solid framer, pop times ranged 2.10-2.19.

Eli Barrow C / 3B / Cedartown , GA / 2023

5-foot-9, 195-pound switch-hitting catcher, sturdy frame, strength in lower half. Offensively, open setup, reverse toe-tap stride, high hands load back into an armbar, drives lower half through contact, aggressive with hips. Elevates and drives the ball gap-to-gap, barrel path works uphill and long through the zone, whip-like hand speed, feeds off pitches high in the zone, 88 exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, arm action is short and quick to an over-the-top slot, 75 out of the crouch. Creates a boxy target behind the plate, quick footwork, clean on transfers, some length at-times, pop times ranged 2.15-2.25.

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