Ask BA: Are There More Good Catching Prospects Than Usual?
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Q: It seems as though there are more solid catching prospects than usual in the minors. I can easily name a dozen or so who seem to have bright futures. Do you agree that there seems to be a good minor league stock of catchers?
- Alex, Oxford, Miss.
A: Yes, I would agree this is a very good time for catching prospects. As of early July, there were six catchers ranked among our Top 100 prospects, and there are a significant number of catchers who aren't that far off the list. In addition to rising prospects like Danny Jansen (Blue Jays) and Ronaldo Hernandez (Rays) who climbed into the Top 100, there are also players like Miguel Amaya who are on the cusp (and is the latest addition to the Top 100).
In talking to scouts, there is no one overarching reason why there are a number of good catching prospects right now, but there are a couple aspects that I believe have helped buoy the catching ranks.
For one, it used to be unusual when a team decided to convert a middle infielder to catcher. It's more common now, which has helped bring a number of athletic players with solid bats behind the plate. That's how Hernandez ended up at catcher.
For another, the catcher profile has changed slightly. While a strong arm is still an asset, it's less important with stolen base attempts in decline. Often, teams prefer catchers who are strong receivers (to frame strikes for pitchers) and blockers (to prevent baserunners advancing on balls in the dirt).
Catching is still a difficult, taxing and tiring position, but right now we have a number of promising prospects who look capable of handling the defensive requirements while also being productive at the plate.