Top 5 Catching Prospects in Baseball
Friday August 17th, 2012
Codey Harrison (Lead MiLB Prospect Analyst) – The second installment of a 3-part series featuring the top 5 prospects from middle of the field positions. This week we are focusing on one of the hardest positions in all of baseball to find superstars at. One of the biggest reasons is that catchers take a lot longer to progress defensively than any other position in baseball. Bryce Harper who was known for being a catcher in high school was drafted as an outfielder by the Nationals so he could make it to the Major Leagues much faster. Being able to call a game behind the plate, and knowing the angles that are needed to block pitches in the dirt can take several years to master. The wear and tear on a catcher can be a vigorous one, as most catchers only catch 140 games an entire season even if they are healthy the entire season. With current catchers in MLB who are stars like Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Buster Posey, Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, and Miguel Montero, it’s time to take a look at the potential future catching stars who replace the current MLB All-Star catchers. Plus teams look to move star catchers from their primary position to save their bats and extend their careers in the process.
Travis d’Arnaud (Toronto Blue Jays AAA) - Travis d’Arnaud was the prize prospect along with RHP Kyle Drabek the Blue Jays acquired in the Roy Halladay trade. d’Arnaud was named the 2011 Eastern League best catcher by the leagues managers. For the position, d’Arnaud has plenty of future plus tools (Hit, Power, Arm, and Fielding), and is on pace to supplant current Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia by the start of the 2013 season. d’Arnaud is currently on the disabled list, but for the season with AAA Las Vegas he’s batting .333, .380 OBP, .595 SLG, with 16 home runs, and 52 RBIs. One of the very few things scouts are drawn away from d’Arnaud is his approach at the plate, as he is very aggressive having walked on 19 times, while striking out 59 times on the season.
Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees High A) - Sanchez has shown a great ability to hit since being signed as an international free agent in 2009. The 19-year old Sanchez is one of the reasons the Yankees were willing to trade prized catching prospect Jesus Montero last off-season. Gary Sanchez has been at two different levels this year combining to bat .291, .351 OBP, .487 SLG, to go along with 16 home runs, and 73 RBIs.
Yasmani Grandal (San Diego Padres MLB) - The only true knock scouts have had about Grandal his power, well that may have changed since his Big League promotion as Grandal has blasted 5 home runs in just 24 MLB games. The 23-year old Grandal acquired along with Edinson Volquez, Brad Boxberger and Yonder Alonso for Ace pitcher Matt Latos. In 56 games with AAA Tucson, Yasmani Grandal batted .335, .443 OBP, .521 SLG, with 6 home runs, and 35 RBIs. In his 24 games stint in the Bigs before being placed on the DL, Grandal batted .312, .349 OBP, .597 SLG, with 5 home runs, and 15 RBIs. Plenty to like here if you are a Padres fan.
Mike Zunino (Seattle Mariners AA) - The 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Mariners, Mike Zunino has already reached AA Jackson. The University of Florida product also won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top amateur player in 2012. Despite acquiring Jesus Montero in the offseason, the Mariners felt like Zunino would be a great addition as he profiles better defensively at catcher than Montero does. Zunino and the Mariners benefitted from the new CBA, which led to much more action in his signing year than most 1st rd picks in years past. So far as a pro Mike Zunino is batting a robust .381, .483 OBP, .729 SLG, with 10 home runs, and 36 RBIs. Mariners fans should be very excited as a 2013 debut is definitely possible for the heavy hitting Zunino.
Tommy Joseph (Philadelphia Phillies AA) - The key prospect that sent all-star outfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants is a quality return for the Phillies. Joseph, who just recently turned 21, was assigned to AA Reading. The right-handed hitting Joseph has seen his bat continue progress since being a second round pick in 2009 from Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. So far this season between AA Reading and Richmond, Joseph has batted .258, .317 OBP, .391 SLG, with 9 home runs, and 41 RBIs.
These are some of the highest profiled catching prospects in all of baseball. Only time will tell if they will become All-Stars… or busts. Join us next week as we rank the top-5 center field prospects in baseball. Exclusively on MLB reports.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Today’s article was prepared by Codey Harrison, MiLB Prospects Analyst. We would like your feedback, so please feel free to comment on the article below, and share in discussion with our readers. You can also follow Codey on Twitter (@ProspectsMLB)
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Posted on August 17, 2012, in On the Verge: MLB Prospects and tagged baseball, Brian McCann, bryce harper, catcher, Codey Harrison, edinson volquez, gary sanchez, hunter pence, joe mauer, Matt Latos, matt wieters, miguel montero, mike zunino, milb, mlb, mlb reports, New Yourk Yankees, philadelphia phillies, prospects, roy halladay, san diego padres, san francisco giants, seattle mariners, Tommy Joseph, Top 5, toronto blue jays, travis d'arnaud, yadier molina, yasmani grandal, yonder alonso. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.