Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Top 10 Catcher Prospects


Jesus Montero
Jesus MonteroPhoto from a blog post by Mike McCann

The 2011 catching class isn't as talented as it was in 2010 with the prospect graduation of Buster Posey and Carlos Santana, but last year's MLB draft brought in some fresh meat. I limited this list to just 10 (down from 15 last year) in the hopes that I may actually finish ranking all positions this year. An unanticipated consequence of this decision is that I'm leaving off a lot of good players and possibly pissing off Blue Jays fans for dissing both J.P. Arencibia and Travis d'Arnaud. It's important to note that these rankings are a snapshot in time and are subject to change. They are however an accurate representation of how I feel right now, so that's something.



1. Jesus Montero - Bats: R Throws: R - 6'4" 225 - NYY - 11.28.89. The Venezuelan born Montero ranked second on this list a year ago behind only Carlos Santana and right in front of NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey. While I have my doubts that Montero will catch in the major leagues, his bat should play anywhere. And by anywhere, let's be honest when we say we're talking about 1B or DH. Montero saw his K% rise from 13% to 20% in 2010 but I'm not alarmed given the fact that he was one of the younger players in the International League and he still posted an .870 OPS. He should get an opportunity to battle for the DH spot in NY in 2011 but when defensively challenged Jorge Posada is your number 1, I'd want a better defender than Montero as my #2.


Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

IL

AAA

123

453

66

131

34

3

21

75

0

46

91

.289

.353

.517



2. Wil Myers - Bats: R Throws: R - 6'3" 190 - KC - 12.10.90. In a leap of faith, I listed Myers as the #4 catcher heading into last season he didn't disappoint, but even I didn't anticipate a monster 2010 that would include a 15.6 BB%, 0.90 BB/K% and .935 OPS. Like Montero, the offensively minded Myers may be best suited for DH. The Royals have the best farm system in the league and Baseball America has ranked Myers as the #2 Royals prospect behind only Eric Hosmer. Myers was also named as the #4 prospect in the Carolina League and the #3 prospect in the Midwest League.


Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

MW

A-

68

242

42

70

19

1

10

45

10

48

55

.289

.408

.500

2010

CAR

A+

58

205

28

71

18

2

4

38

2

37

39

.346

.453

.512

2010

TOT

2 Lgs

126

447

70

141

37

3

14

83

12

85

94

.315

.429

.506



3. Wilin Rosario - Bats: R Throws: R- 5'11" 190 - COL - 2.23.89. Rosario was the #4 prospect in the AA Texas League where the managers voted him the best defensive catcher. In compiling this list, it's become alarming to me that there are surprisingly few catchers with offensive firepower and defensive skills to match. Rosario might be the exception as his .894 OPS would suggest.


Year

League

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

TEX

AA

73

297

42

77

13

1

19

52

1

21

57

.285

.342

.552


4. Yasmani Grandal - Bats: B Throws: R - 6'2" 215 - CIN. 11.8.88. Grandal and Devin Mesoraco were two of the top rated prep catchers in the 2007 draft and now the Reds have spent 1st round picks on both of them. Grandal slid to Boston in the 27th round that year but honored his college commitment to Miami (FL). He started as a freshman on an Omaha bound 2008 team that included fellow first rounders Yonder Alonso and Jemile Weeks. He came to his own in a 2010 All-American season and the Reds used the 12th overall pick on him. As a professional Grandal should produce a high OBP with above average power while providing above average defense behind the plate.


Year

League

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

ARI

RK

8

28

4

8

1

0

0

1

0

4

4

.286

.394

.321


5. Gary Sanchez - Bats: R Throws: R - 6'2" 195 - NYY - 12.2.92. A $3 million bonus baby of the 2009 International signing period, Sanchez draws comparisons to fellow "Pinstriper" Jesus Montero. While Sanchez' arm strength should make him better defensively than Montero, its his offense that gets your attention with his power as his best tool. Baseball America ranked Sanchez as the #1 prospect in the Gulf Coast League, and he could move up to the Low A South Atlantic league in 2011.


Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

GLF

RK

31

119

25

42

11

0

6

36

1

11

28

.353

.419

.597

2010

NYP

SS

16

54

8

15

2

0

2

7

1

3

16

.278

.333

.426

2010

TOT

2 Lgs

47

173

33

57

13

0

8

43

2

14

44

.329

.393

.543


6. Devin Mesoraco - Bats: R Throws: R - 6'1" 220 - CIN - 6.19.88. The 15th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Mesoraco has been a disappointment year after year. From 2007 to 2009 he didn't post an OPS over .710 but 2010 was his coming out party as he produced a mammoth .964 OPS through three levels. The #6 prospect in the Southern League and #5 prospect in the High A Carolina League will likely spend 2010 in AAA Louisville. He still strikes out at a near 20% clip so while I can't ignore his monster 2010, I'm still a little skeptical.


Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

CAR

A+

43

158

24

53

11

2

10

31

2

19

29

.335

.414

.620

2010

SOU

AA

56

187

42

55

11

3

13

31

1

18

37

.294

.363

.594

2010

IL

AAA

14

52

5

12

3

0

3

13

0

6

14

.231

.310

.462

2010

TOT

3 Lgs

113

397

71

120

25

5

26

75

3

43

80

.302

.377

.587


7. Derek Norris - Bats: R Throws: R - 6'0" 210 - WAS - 2.14.89. The #2 Nationals prospect behind only uber phenom Bryce Harper, Norris battled a broken hamate bone and a fastball to the noggin on his way to a disappointing 2010. Despite his struggles, his 22% BB% still led to an impressive .419 OBP. He's always had a problem with K's but last year's 31.5 K% was a career high.


Year

League

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

CAR

A+

94

298

67

125

19

0

12

49

6

89

94

.235

.419

.419



8. Tony Sanchez - Bats: R Throws R - 6'0" 215 - PIT - 5.20.88. Sanchez was limited to just 59 games last season thanks to a Brad Holt fastball to the head. The best defender on this list, Sanchez is a great bet to make the major leagues and have a productive career but his ceiling is limited. Despite his defensive prowess and above average arm strength, Sanchez only threw out 15% of base runners last season indicating that adjustments need to be made.


Year

League

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

FSL

A+

59

207

31

65

17

9

4

35

2

28

41

.314

.416

.454



9. Hank Conger - Bats: B Throws: R. 6'1" 220 - LAA. 1.29.88. I feel like Hank Conger has been one of the top Angles prospect since Wally Joyner broke into the league. That's probably not accurate though. In the past I've been both too low and too high on him, so I'm confident I have him just right this time. He gets on base, has power and has a shot to win AL rookie of the year in 2011.


Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

PCL

AAA

108

387

56

116

26

2

11

49

0

55

58

.300

.385

.463

2010

AL

MLB

13

29

2

5

1

1

0

5

0

5

9

.172

.294

.276

2010

TOT

2 Lgs

121

416

58

121

27

3

11

54

0

60

67

.291

.372




10. Justin O'Conner - Bats: R Throws: R- 6'0" 190 - TB - 3.31.92. Drafted by the Rays in the 1st round out of an Indiana HS (31st overall) last year, O'Conner was able to sign quickly enough to qualify as the #3 prospect in the Gulf Coast League according to Baseball America. I'm taking a Wil Myers like leap of faith that O'Connor will produce in 2011. While Myers he's not, O'Conner does have similar plus raw power. O'Conner is raw behind the plate having not caught full time until his senior year but the former pitcher/infielder has the arm strength and athleticism to become a plus defender.


Year

League

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2010

GCL

RK

48

161

18

34

13

0

3

29

1

18

46

.211

.301

.348



4 comments:

  1. Somewhat surprised that neither T. D'Arnaud nor Carlos Perez of the Jays made the list. Were they close?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes both were close as was J.P. Arencibia. No slight to the Jays catchers, this is just a deep catching group. Of the 3, I think Perez may have a breakout season and push himself to "Jays catcher of the future" status. (Baring a Rookie of the Year performance by Arencibia, which is a possibility). It's uncommon that an international signee like Perez possesses the plate discipline he does.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Were would Max Stassi rank among the catchers? Does he have a future of starting in the majors?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good question. I had Stassi ranked at #11 on this list (I did a top 15 last year) going into last year and while he received some consideration, I was ultimately turned off by his 141 strikeouts and his .690 OPS. Now that he's in the high potency Cal league, Stassi could put up huge numbers and emerge as a breakout prospect.

    Last year's top 15: http://www.prospectjunkies.com/2010/01/top-15-catchers.html

    ReplyDelete