Image credit: (Photo courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)
Luke Stevenson had one of the most productive seasons of any hitter in the country in 2023. The Wake Forest High School (Wake Forest, NC) product hit an eye-popping .512 and posted an equally impressive on-base percentage of .648. He slugged 11 doubles, 17 home runs, and drove in 58 runs in just 33 games played. Stevenson earned an invitation to the MLB Draft Combine, where he turned in a standout performance.
Per MLB Pipeline, Stevenson in batting practice hit 13 balls 95+ and his in-game exit velocity of 94.2 mph ranked ninth among all high schoolers. While he had played himself into a potential top-five round pick, Stevenson ultimately decided to take his talents to Chapel Hill.
At 6-foot-1, 210-pounds Stevenson has a prototypical catcher’s build. He is plenty physical with a thick lower half and strength in his wrists and forearms. In the box, Stevenson oozes comfortability and confidence. He has a low maintenance setup with his knees slightly bent, a medium-high handset, and a minimal load and stride. It is a direct, compact swing that is tailored to spray line drives all over the yard.
Stevenson has above average bat speed as well as an advanced feel for the barrel. Simply put, he is a hitter. While his hit tool grades out as plus, Stevenson has above average power to the pull side. For as tantalizing as Stevenson’s offensive profile is, he is also an outstanding defender behind the dish.
He is a great receiver who consistently works below the baseball and steals strikes. Stevenson moves well laterally and does an outstanding job of controlling balls in the dirt. He has excellent catch-and-throw skills with a plus arm to boot. His baseball IQ is fantastic and is never afraid to backpick an opposing baserunner.
Stevenson this fall has made his presence felt on both sides of the baseball for the Tar Heels. He has been one of their top performers offensively while showing off his defensive skill set. Coach Scott Forbes returns no catching from last year’s roster as Tomas Frick (.322/.408/.571) was drafted, Dylan King (.250/.438/.417) transferred to Central Florida, and Eric Grintz (.214/.389/.333) opted to use his last year of eligibility at High Point. At this point, Stevenson is on track to be the opening day starter at the position.
Catchers who can hit are always at a premium, and Stevenson fits the bill to a tee. He figures to be squarely in the mix for the ACC’s Freshman of the Year award and has freshman All-American upside. Stevenson this summer has signed to play for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League where he will face the best talent college baseball has to offer. As a draft-eligible sophomore in 2025, Stevenson has top-two round potential.