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Missouri's best high school baseball players: Meet the state's top catchers

Some of the top catchers in Missouri prep baseball
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By Cody Thorn  

With about a month left in the baseball season in Missouri, we will start looking at some of the top players throughout the state. We'll start with the top catchers and move our way around the diamond.

There are hundreds of outstanding catchers in the Show-Me State, and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Tag us on Twitter @SBLiveMiz and let us know about other players worthy of fans’ attention. 

Jaret Nelson, Sr., Nixa

An all-state player last year, Nelson was hitting .500 with an on-base percentage higher than .600 going into play the week of April 18. He has hit two home runs, including a walk-off home run against St. Francis Borgia that kept his team’s undefeated streak alive. The Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College pledge also has 21 stolen bases. He ran a 6.73 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Indoor Showcase last year.

Jeremiah Cabuyaban, Sr., Liberty

A Drury College commit, he hit .304 last year with 27 RBIs for the Class 6 state champions. He started the season primarily playing designated hitter as he is coming off knee surgery. That surgery kept him from wrestling for the Blue Jays and their run to a third straight title on the mat. He was a third-place finisher at 285-pounds his junior year.

Gavin Siegfried, Sr., Staley

The backstop spent time this offseason working with Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Aaron Ashby in Kansas City. The two have a connection. Ashby was drafted out of Crowder College and Siegfried has signed with the Neosho junior college. Siegfried was also a team captain for the football team, playing linebacker.

Eli Marvin, Sr., East Carter

The Class 2 all-state catcher has a 1.85 pop time and an exit velocity at 94 miles per hour. He has signed to play at Division II Arkansas Tech, a preseason Top 25 team. He has three home runs this season, including dingers in back-to-back games.

Alex Wittenauer, Sr., Westminster Christian

Listed as a catcher/3B, Wittenauer has been behind the dish for the St. Louis private school this spring. He landed at Division II Truman State through his connections playing for the St. Louis Prospects in the summer. Wittenauer is a four-year member of the school’s baseball, football, soccer, basketball and swim teams.

Ryan Ulm, Sr., Fort Zumwalt West

The 6-foot-2 catcher has a pop time just a tick under 2 seconds and the right-handed hitter has a peak exit velocity at 94 miles per hour, according to Missouri Prep Baseball Report. A member of the Missouri Mariners in the summer, Ulm has signed with Division II Quincy University.

Luke Melton, Sr., Lindbergh

The Eastern Illinois signee was named to the Perfect Game Central Region honorable mention preseason list. Melton was behind the plate for Dane Bjorn’s 16-strikeout no-hitter on April 20. Melton can also play second base.

Gannon Grieb, Sr., Blue Springs South

One of two Blue Springs South catchers on the list, Grieb can play catcher and outfield and that versatility caught the eye of Truman State. He has the body build of a 1980s MLB catcher at 5-7, 165 pounds. Grieb has a 2.04 pop time from behind the plate.

William Zareh, Jr., Webster Groves 

The Missouri State pledge has intangibles that you like behind the plate, including an arm that can hurl the ball 89 miles per hour to second base in between a range of 1.92 to 2.01 seconds. His summer team, the Adidas Athletics, posted a video this spring showing a pop time of 1.71 seconds. The right-handed hitter's exit velocity at the plate went up nine miles per hour from 2021 to 2022, up to 96 mph.

Cole Chace, Jr., Blue Springs South

He has been a ballyhooed recruit before even playing a game as a freshman – though that season was called off due to COVID-19. He is ranked No. 22 in the Class of 2023 by Missouri Prep Baseball Report and has pledged to play at Indiana State. His arm strength has grown as he has, going from 73 miles per hour down to second base as a freshman to 79 mph last year. Chace has a recorded 94 miles per hour exit velocity on Trackman.

Wyatt Brockman, Jr., Marshfield

He committed to play at Missouri State before even playing a high school game, so Keith Guttin and the gang saw something they liked. Brockman is a switch-hitting catcher that is ranked No. 9 in the Class of 2023 by Missouri Prep Baseball Report and is given ‘9’ grade by Perfect Game, which means he has the potential for a top-10-round pick or D-I prospect. He's been on Perfect Game’s preseason underclassmen All-American team the past three years.

Baden Hackworth, Jr., Jackson

He has been on the national travel ball circuit since 2012 and was the Perfect Game Preseason Underclassmen All-American team for the Central Region. He is a versatile player who can play catcher, the corner infield spots and outfield. He has committed to play at St. Louis University.

Bo Jonas, So., Liberty North

He’s the No. 1-ranked prospect in the state in his class, according to Perfect Game and ranked No. 73 nationally. In only his second year in high school, he has already committed to Oklahoma. He plays for the Royals Scout Team during the summer, a team that last year featured Carter Jensen, a third-round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals. According to Prep Baseball Report, he is the No. 2 prospect in the 2024 class in Missouri and is No. 64 in the country.

Evan Damario, Fr., Rockhurst

The youngest player on the list, he is already a Division I recruit that is headed to the University of Missouri. He picked the Tigers before playing his first varsity game for the Kansas City Jesuit school. Last March, he had the fastest pop time (2.01 seconds) at the Perfect Game Mid-South Showcase and was on the WWBA 14U National Championship All-Tournament team. Not to mention, he has a fastball that is already 86 mph on the mound. He is ranked the No. 10 freshman in Missouri by Prep Baseball Report and four of the top 10 are headed to Columbia for college.

Nick Beech, Sr., Lee’s Summit

A first-team all-conference outfielder, Beech is behind the dish for the Tigers this spring. His calling card is his bat so his college position is up in the air. However, his college choice isn’t now, picking St. Charles Community College. He initially had committed to Division II Missouri Southern before picking the JUCO route.

Parker Griffith, Sr., Lee’s Summit West

The Titans backstop is headed to play Division II baseball at Northwest Missouri State. This past August, at the MoKan Top Prospect Games in Parkville, he had the second-fastest exit velocity off a tee at 94 miles per hour. He can also play first base.

Cole Martin, Sr., McDonald County

An all-stater last year, Martin is hitting. 481 with 26 hits, six doubles and three home runs through the week of April 18. A standout in the Big 8 Conference in Southwest Missouri, Martin plays summer ball across the border with Perfect Timing NWA in Arkansas. He is headed to Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas.

Colton Swalley, Sr., Northeast Nodaway

A player from one of the smallest schools on this list, Swalley is a diamond in the rough in Class 1. His squad is off to a 10-0 start and he is a big reason why. Through those 10 games, he has 14 hits, 14 RBIs, scored 19 times, has a .452 batting average and a .677 slugging percentage. His pop times are between 1.9 to 2.1 seconds.

Trey Fikes, Jr., South Pemiscot

An all-state pick last year, Fikes started this year listed on the Perfect Game Underclassmen All-American Team in the Central Region. At the Perfect Game 2021 Indoor National Showcase, he had top 10 times in pop time (1.95) and velocity (76) from behind the plate. His best pop time is 1.83 seconds and has a 94 mph exit velocity with the bat. He is currently uncommitted.

Malachi Antle, Jr., Licking

Midway through the season, the all-stater is hitting just under .400 for the Class 3 team that is 12-2 through April 19. Playing at a remote school, Antle is a little different than most players on this list as this is his second season of baseball this school year. In the fall, the Wildcats went 17-4 though MSHSAA doesn’t recognize fall baseball as a ‘championship’ sport. He has committed to play at State Fair Community College.

Tanner Duncan, Sr., Kennett

An all-stater on a state championship team last year, Duncan will play baseball at Arkansas State next spring. He is a rarity on this list as he is the only left-handed hitting catcher. He plays summer baseball for Sticks Baseball Halter – guided by former Kansas City Royals infielder Shane Halter. Duncan is ranked No. 31 in the Class of 2022 by Missouri Prep Baseball Report. His exit velocity is also the highest on the list at 100 mph.