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Seven D-I Commits Headline C Group in Mesa

The catching depth at the Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament was very impressive, with many players showing high level abilities. Several of them have the necessary tools to stay at that premium position at higher levels.

Switch-Hitters

2017 C Justin Cooke

6-foot-2 and 195 pound Oklahoma commit 2017 Justin Cooke (Norman, OK) had an impressive batting practice session in which he handled the bat especially well right-handed. He added some impressive measurables in the form of 1.87 workout pop time and an exit velocity of 93 mph.

Furman commit 2017 MJ Sasapan (Marietta, GA) also received high all-around marks from scouts in Mesa. He plays with great energy and is a leader on the field. In nine trips to the plate through three games, he reached base five times including a triple.

Switch-hitter Beaux Escobar (Thompson’s Station, TN) earned top 10 honors among the class of 2018, click here to read more about him.

Well Rounded

2017 C Dylan Moon

2017 Dylan Moon (Canyon, TX) is a complete prospect with standout arm strength and catch & throw skills, as evidenced by a low workout pop time of 1.84. He sat well and showed good hands to receive along with quickness and agility to block. His tool has the look of an advanced one, with a loose and easy stroke seemingly built for line drives to the big part of the ballpark.

2017 Steven Kokoski (Fredonia, PA) was excellent in both the workouts and games. He showed an interesting combination of hitting ability and raw power in BP, reached 91 mph exit velocity, and got the barrel to the ball consistently in game at bats on his way to three hits. His workout pop times were as low as 1.85, he sat well to receive and was able to move from a crouch to block balls in the dirt.

Univ. of Pacific commit 2016 Joey Riherd (Diablo, CA) collected four hits in seven trips to the plate, and continued to progress defensively behind the plate following a position change last fall.

2016 Joe Kitlas (Yardley, PA) posted a low workout time of 1.93 and reached 95 mph exit velocity. His tools received high marks across the board, and he showed the ability to put them into play in game action, including a triple off the wall.

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Isaac Wersland (Cle Elum, WA) is quite a presence behind the plate. A talented overall athlete, he swings the bat with authority, is a solid defender with catch & throws skills to produce sub-2.0 throws.

Plus Defenders

2017 C Kyle Lovelace

Among those with most advanced skills behind the plate were Kyle Lovelace (Lufkin, TX), CJ Keckler (Gulfport, MS) and Kyle Harper (Houston, TX).

A Univ. of Houston commit, Lovelace is athletic, flexible and very natural behind the plate with a great feel for the game. He throws accurately with very little effort and can control the opposition’s running game.

Keckler showed polished receiving skills to go with arm strength, showed advanced ability to smother balls in the dirt in game action, and got down as as low as 1.91 in the workout.

Among the more twitchy athletes in Mesa, Harper ran in the 6.9 range and posted the lowest pop time of the event at 1.81 — marking the second time we’ve seen him that low. His defensive actions oozed quickness, and he added sure hands to receive for good measure.

Univ. of North Carolina commit Austin Bates (Ossining, NY) earned top 10 honors among the class of 2017, click here for his scouting report with video.

Big Bats

2017 C Beau Hanna

The biggest bat of all, at least in terms of exit velocity, was 2017 C Beau Hanna (Winder, GA) — a Kennesaw State commit. Through a combination of strength, bat speed and notable hand-eye coordination he produced exit velocity of 102.1 mph to lead all players in Mesa.

Among the more advanced tools in Mesa belonged to 2017 Justin Mazzone (Huntington Beach, CA). He is a mature hitter with very few holes in his approach, and offered a solid glove with usable catch & throw skills.

Another talented left-handed hitter, 2017 Garrett Maas (Plano, TX) once again showed a coordinated stroke with advanced hand-eye coordination and bat to ball skills.

To continue the left-handed hitting catcher theme, click here to read more about Branson Audette (Katy, TX). Audette earned top 10 honors in the class of 2016, and is scheduled to attend Wharton County Junior College in Texas.

Underclassmen On The Rise

2018 C Treet Williams

2018 Treet Williams (Tomball, TX) — a Dallas Baptist commit — made some noise live in games with 2 doubles and a single in 6 plate appearances. His left-handed stroke is short and quick, while we didn’t see his right-handed stroke at this event. He posted a low workout time of 2.02, and showed good overall awareness and feel for the game defensively.

An interesting athlete with a projectable 6-foot-2 and 174 pound frame, 2018 Lasith Narasinghe (Las Vegas, NV) offered a unique set of tools. He ran 7.09 in the 60 yard dash to offer proof of speed, and posted 91 mph exit velocity as evidence of strength to impact the ball. He sat well to receive and was able to move well to block, while his workout pop times checked in as low as 2.10.

Two other 2018 catchers with solid all-around tools who performed well in games were Zach Brown (Katy, TX) and Julio Cortez (Weston, FL). Brown had two singles, threw a 2.02 in the workout and recorded 85 mph exit velocity, while Cortez showed very intriguing skills and was on base in 4 of his 7 at bats.

With these and several others displaying the skills necessary to stick at a premium position, there was no shortage of catching at the UAPSAA last month.

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