When a program like NC State loses an all-time great catcher like Patrick Bailey, it’s fair to be skeptical how they plan on replacing such impressive offensive production. But the Wolfpack never feared regression... not when you have a bat and backstop like Luca Tresh waiting in the wings.
With Bailey on campus, Tresh was overshadowed a bit. He caught but once a week, DH’ing or being thrown into left field most of his days. But those close to the program knew what they had. Tresh appeared in the last 11 games of the season in 2020 after missing half of the truncated season due to injury. In those 11 contests he led the team with a .405 batting average. He hit three homers in his 42 at-bats.
At the time of writing this article, Tresh is hitting .464 this season with six bombs in just 28 at-bats. Suffice to say he’s off to a mammoth start. What’s more impressive, Tresh has thrown out three of the five would-be base-stealers who’ve tried his arm. He’s been one of the best players in the country early on.
At 6-foot, 200-pounds, Tresh has every bit the body of a big league catcher. Better still, Tresh doesn’t have any social media accounts. 80-grade intelligence, this kid.
The fact of the matter is you’d be hard-pressed to find much information about Tresh out there. He’s a silent leader who lets his play and attitude inside the dugout and clubhouse do the talking. Tresh doesn’t broadcast his successes. He lets them exist and breathe on their own.
Talking to scouts about him, they rave about the leadership, selflessness and makeup. He gets really high marks for his communications skills and his ability to lead a team through his actions. Tresh is regarded as a tireless worker who’s put in the hours necessary to get to the point he’s at today. Everything he’s achieved on the field has been earned. Pitchers love Tresh, and it’s easy to understand why.
Tresh has a big up-arrow next to his name and he’s surging higher and higher up boards. Polished college catchers are a popular demographic at the top of most drafts. But that really doesn’t matter. Tresh has the tools to match the helium.
Tools (Future Value)
As is evidenced by his slash line over the past couple seasons, Tresh is an accomplished hitter. He can hit. He employs a squatted, balanced, moderately wide setup with a simple load. There’s almost no stride to his swing. In fact, it’s more of a pick up-and-put down motion to get his body on-time. It’s the same type of moved used by Freddie Freeman. It certainly puts more pressure on your upper body to be in sync, but if you’re strong enough it can work.
Tresh comes from the Dante Bichette school of hitting. He’s got a similar loading mechanism to Bo Bichette. There’s a waggle “wizard flick” at the top that gets his barrel into the loaded position. It can be a divisive move inside the industry, but Tresh does such a good job of getting himself into a loaded position on-time that it works. When you’re as strong as Tresh, it’ll play.
Tresh can get a little pull-heavy too. He’ll shorten up with two strikes and work to use the whole field, but by and large he’s an ambush launch guy. This is certainly a guy who likes to eat heaters, but he’s also shown he can punish hanging off-speed pitches too. For a player of his archetype, Tresh doesn’t really expand outside the zone too much. There’s some swing-and-miss, but it’s not by way of self-destruction.
I’m pretty comfortable at this point saying Tresh has 60-grade raw power, but I’ll stop short of projecting all of that being usable at the next level. The bat speed is undeniable and the coil Tresh gets in his swing really lends well to driving the ball. He extends well and catches the ball out in front on a consistent basis, and there’s enough loft in his swing to project a guy that’ll hit for power at the next level.
The only concerns surrounding Tresh’s ability to drive the ball at the professional level may be the moving parts in his load/swing. He’s shown a fantastic ability to get everything on time and ready to uncoil against college arms, but I do wonder if that pattern will hold serve against premier big league arms with bigger and more deceptive stuff.
Tresh is an impressively smart player and he’s all business on the field. If there’s anybody who’s going to fight and adapt to the changes thrown his way, it’s Tresh. An above average power bat behind the plate is certainly nothing to scoff at.
Tresh is a below average runner, but he’s not a terrible athlete by any means. Most of the home-to-first times I’ve got for him are in the 4.30 second range. He’s a bit heavy-footed, but he’s not a lumbering guy by any means. His stride is low to the ground and wide, a la Marshawn Lynch carrying a football around the base paths.
While his top speed might not open many eyes, Tresh shows good burst out of the box and out of the crouch. He’s probably not going to steal you many bases at the next level, but there may be a handful in his future.
Tresh is certainly built of the big arm, big power typification. He’s got a ton of arm strength and a pretty quick transfer out of the stance. Arm action is short, clean and efficient. Pop times for Tresh regularly sit under the 2-second mark. Here’s a good example of the athleticism and arm strength. Gets low to handle a breaking ball low-and-away. Explodes out of the stance to grab a pop just north of 2 seconds. Pretty impressive considering the pitch location
There’s still some seasoning ahead for Tresh behind the plate, but unlike many of the other college catchers in this class, this guy will almost certainly stick back there.
Tresh has soft hands and good footwork behind the plate. He prides himself on his rapport with his pitchers, and does a very good job in-game of setting up in a quality position to receive the pitch. Tresh embodies the “student of the game” mantra and gets high marks from scouts on his leadership with his staff both pre-game and in-game.
As previously mentioned, Tresh has really shortened up all his actions behind the plate including his transfer since arriving on campus. He figures to be an above average defensive catcher at the next level.
Quality college catchers that can hit and profile to stick behind the plate at the next level generally don’t last long in the draft. Add in the plus raw power and you’ve got a bat that I think will be pretty popular come draft day. Personally, I don’t see Tresh making it out of the first day... 35 or so picks... but we’ll see what happens. He just really isn’t too dissimilar from Bailey a year ago.
Tresh hasn’t had the long track record behind the plate to buoy his stock higher and higher over his career. But now that Bailey is gone and he’s the star of the show, you certainly get the feeling with every passing weekend, his name will get more and more popular as we approach the MLB Draft.