2012 Top 10 Catcher Prospects

I kick off my third year of ranking prospects by position by once again starting with the catchers and some of these guys have been on the list each year, while others are new faces. Overall, I’d grade this catching class as average due to a lack in consistency. Two of the more exciting bats in the class, Montero and Sanchez, have little chance to stick at catcher, while some of the more exciting defenders have flawed offensive resumes because they’ve never met a pitch they haven’t swung at.



1. Jesus Montero – Bats: R Throws: R – 6’4″ 225 – SEA – 11.28.89. Signed: Venezuela 2006. Montero topped this list a year ago after being named second (behind Carlos Santana) in 2010. From a top 100 perspective, he landed at #3 in 2011 and #6 in 2010. After repeating AAA in 2011, the Yankees dealt Montero to Seattle in exchange for 2011 All-Star and All-Rookie Team selection RHP Michael Pineda. While I don’t think he’ll be a passable backstop at the next level, Montero’s bat has star potential and will earn him a full time role in 2012.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

IL

AAA

109

420

52

121

19

1

18

67

0

36

98

.288

.348

.467

2011

AL

MLB

18

61

9

20

4

0

4

12

0

7

17

.328

.406

.590

2. Devin Mesoraco – Bats: R Throws: R – 6’1″ 220 – CIN – 6.19.88. High School: Punxsutawney (PA) Drafted: 1st Round (15th Overall) 2007. I was squarely in the doubter camp following Mesoraco’s rebound 2010 season but a solid 2011 that culminated with a September call up has put those doubts to rest. While I still think it was not without risk and premature to deal Yasmani Grandal to San Diego, the path is clear for Mesoraco to get significant AB’s in Cincinnati this season sharing time with personal favorite Ryan Hanigan.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

IL

AAA

120

436

60

126

36

2

15

71

1

52

83

.289

.371

.484

2011

NL

MLB

18

53

5

9

3

0

2

6

0

3

10

.180

.226

.360

3. Yasmani Grandal – Bats: B Throws: R – 6’2″ 205 – SD. 11.8.88. College: Miami. Drafted: 1st Round (12th Overall) 2010 – Cincinnati. Grandal and Devin Mesoraco were two of the top rated prep catchers in the 2007 draft and the Reds 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) where he started as a freshman on an Omaha bound 2008 team that included fellow first rounders Yonder Alonso and Jemile Weeks. Grandal and Alonso (along with Brad Boxberger) were dealt to San Diego in exchange for Mat Latos. I’m higher on Grandal than most but I’m partial to switch hitting catchers. While his defense lags behind his offense at this stage, he did throw out 34% of would be basestealers last season.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

CAL

A+

56

206

47

61

14

0

10

40

0

41

57

.296

.410

.510

2011

SOU

AA

45

156

20

47

15

0

4

26

0

13

39

.301

.360

.474

2011

IL

AAA

4

12

2

6

2

0

0

2

0

5

1

.500

.667

1.33

2011

TOT

3 Lgs

105

374

69

114

31

0

14

68

0

59

97

.305

.401

.500

4. Travis d’Arnaud – Bats: R Throws: R. 6’2 195 – TOR – 2.10.89. High School: Lakewood (CA). Drafted: 1st Round Supplemental (37th Overall) 2007 – Philadelphia. I was a fool to leave him off this list last year. A better all-around skill set than J.P. Arencibia, d’Arnaud should be the Blue Jay’s catcher of the future. The Jays acquired him, along with Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor (since traded to Oakland for Brett Wallace) from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay 2009 trade. He’ll start the year in AAA Las Vegas but should finish in Toronto if they don’t deal him at the deadline if the Jays find themselves competing this season.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

EL

AA

114

424

72

132

33

1

21

78

4

33

100

.311

.371

.542

5. Gary Sanchez – Bats: R Throws: R – 6’2″ 220 – NYY – 12.2.92. Signed: Dominican Republic 2009. Though not close to contributing, Montero’s exit has seemingly crowned Sanchez as the catcher of the future in the Bronx. Like Montero however, Sanchez’ defense will make him a long shot to remain behind the dish. He has a strong arm but his receiving skills are primitive.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

SAL

A-

82

301

49

77

16

1

17

52

2

36

93

.256

.335

.485

6. Wilin Rosario – Bats: R Throws: R- 5’11” 195 – COL – 2.23.89. Signed: Dominican Republic 2006. There is almost nothing I enjoy more than catchers that love to show off their arms and Rosario does just that and for good reason. Defensive prowess and pop will be his calling cards at the next level but take a walk for crying out loud!

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

AA

TL

102

405

52

101

15

3

21

48

1

19

91

.249

.284

.457

2011

NL

MLB

16

54

6

11

3

1

3

8

0

2

20

.204

.228

.463

7. Blake Swilhart – BOS – Bats: B Throws: R – 6’1″ 175 – BOS – 4.3.92. High School: Rio Rancho (NM). Drafted: 1st Round (26th Overall). I already admitted that I’m a sucker for switch hitting catchers and Swilhart is no exception. He projects as a complete catcher though he has more to prove than anyone on this list. A ranking this high is an admitted leap of faith.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

8. Christian Bethancourt – Bats: R Throws: R – 6’2″ 195 – ATL – 9.2.91. Signed: Panama 2008. Still just 20 years old, Bethancourt is a veteran to this list, coming in at the #9 spot in 2010. His arm and athleticism make him a sure fire bet to stick at catcher but he’ll likely need to develop patience to realize his power potential at the plate.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

SAL

A-

54

221

25

67

10

3

4

33

6

8

27

.303

.323

.430

2011

CAR

A+

45

166

11

45

6

0

1

20

3

3

35

.271

.277

.325

2011

TOT

2 lgs

99

387

36

112

16

3

5

53

9

11

62

.289

.304

.385

9. Sebastian Valle – Bats: R Throws: R – 6’1″ 170 – PHI – 7.24.90. Signed: Mexico 2006. Like Bethancourt, Valle has always been one of the younger players at each level he’s played and therefore hasn’t put up the types of numbers that correlate with his scouting reports just yet. He has the type of quick hand that suggest he’ll hit for above average power while also giving you average to good skills behind the plate.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

FSL

A+

91

348

34

99

19

2

5

40

0

13

84

.284

.312

.394

10. Tommy Joseph – Bats: R Throws: R – 6’1″ 210 – SF – 1.16.91. High School: Scotsdale (AZ). Drafted: 2nd Round (2009). A sub par full season debut in 2010 both offensively and defensively prompted discussions of Joseph moving to 1B. While he did play some there last season, he also caught 91 games and threw out an impressive 37% of basestealers. His 2012 assignment is to take draw more walks. He won’t be in the hitter friendly California league this year so I expect a regression, however his 2011 improvements were more than just league induced. I was tempted to throw fellow Giants farmhand and 2011 Oregon State draftee Andrew Susac on this list instead of Joseph but since Susac has yet to debut, I’ll give Joseph the slight nod based on performance.

Year

LG

Level

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

K

AVE

OBP

SLG

2011

CAL

A+

127

560

80

139

33

2

22

95

1

29

102

.270

.317

.471

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2 thoughts on “2012 Top 10 Catcher Prospects

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