2012 Prospect Rankings Review: Catcher

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 30: Jesus Montero #63 of the Seattle Mariners slides in safely as Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins defends home plate during the sixth inning on August 30, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Over the next couple weeks, I will be taking a look back at how the players on our preseason and midseason positional prospect rankings performed, and whether or not they improved or worsened their stock during the season. Note that each of these reviews will not be new rankings, and will not discuss anyone not on the rankings at either point.

You can find our full preseason rankings here and our midseason rankings here.

The Graduates - Each of these players has surpassed the standard eligibility limits for prospect lists (130 AB in the Majors). For these players, all statistics are through Friday's games.

Jesus Montero (Mariners)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

1

Not Eligible

MLB

116

440

41

15

54

0

.264

.301

.405

After Montero was traded from the Yankees to the Mariners, we knew that Safeco Field might affect his offensive numbers. However, we were all very excited because the Mariners had made it known that they believed Montero would be serviceable enough behind the plate to stay eligible at catcher (which he did with 44 games there so far). Unfortunately, his performance so far has left a lot to be desired in terms of the catcher position, as he is currently ranked 15th by Yahoo in standard scoring formats. Looking into the numbers, the drop in walk rate (5.3% this year vs 7-8% in the minors) is a bit concerning, although his strikeout rate is slightly down from AAA (18.8% vs. 21.2%). He has the potential next season to be a post-hype sleeper, as he will likely be ranked outside of the top 10 at catcher, but could have the upside to give that level of performance.

Devin Mesoraco (Reds)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

2

Not Eligible

AAA/MLB

57

180

16

5

14

1

.205

.275

.339

It's a bit hard to judge exactly how Mesoraco did at this point. The Reds eased Mesoraco into the job very lightly, splitting a platoon with veteran backstop Ryan Hanigan for most of the season. It is concerning that he was demoted during the month of August, as the Reds decided they would rather have Dioner Navarro on the roster than Mesoraco. To me, his status as a fantasy catcher for next season is really up in the air, as the organization seems like they may not be comfortable with him taking over the full-time duties.

Yasmani Grandal (Padres)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

4

4

AAA/MLB

97

330

63

13

62

0

.306

.402

..503

Grandal started his season in Tucson for the Padres, but was up in the Majors in June. A strange call-up where he only played in 1 game and was only up for 3, Grandal returned to stay at the end of the month. He continues to show decent power for a catcher, especially given that he will play half of his games in Petco Park. It appears that despite that fact, Grandal should still hit for a decent average as well, and I would imagine that he will be in my top 10 catchers to start the season in 2013.

Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

6

2

AAA/MLB

107

397

57

9

46

1

.269

.354

.401

The power that Lavarnway showed in 2011 appears to have regressed some based on just 9 home runs so far between AAA and the Majors. However, looking at his HR/FB ratios tells us that he likely is better than this, as he hit just 8 percent of his flyballs for home runs so far this season. The Red Sox traded away Kelly Shoppach at least in part so that they could give more playing time to Lavarnway, and I believe he is the starting catcher at best, and the starting DH at worst for the team next season.

Derek Norris (Athletics)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

7

3

AAA/MLB

103

377

54

14

63

10

.241

.292

.419

I was able to see Norris first hand here in Sacramento this season, and I like what I saw from him while he was here. He was called up in mid-June, returned to Sacramento for a bit, and was called back up shortly after the Athletics traded Kurt Suzuki to the Nationals. Norris projects to provide decent power along with a decent batting average, but I wouldn't expect either to be elite or even above average for the position. He should still be right around the top 10 for catchers because of that power, and the fact that he will be the starting catcher in Oakland next year.

Wilin Rosario (Rockies)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

8

Not Eligible

MLB

95

311

51

23

58

3

.251

.295

.521

Rosario has been in a platoon for most of the season, splitting time with Ramon Hernandez. Even still, Rosario is still tied for second in the Majors this year with 23 home runs in just 94 games. His batting average has been a bit of a black hole at times, hitting .251 on the season. I think he could hit 30 home runs if he played closer to 120-125 games a season, but with Hernandez under contract for 2013, that may not happen.

Coming Soon to A Stadium Near You (AA and Above)

Travis d'Arnaud (Blue Jays)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

3

1

AAA

67

279

45

16

52

1

.333

.380

.595

d'Arnaud was having a very good season for AAA Las Vegas when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. As always, it is a bit hard to tell how much of the offensive stats are real with his being in the PCL, but he still profiles as a catcher who will provide a ton of offense. We will have a much better idea about his health should the Jays make a move on current starting catcher J.P. Arencibia.

Tommy Joseph (Giants/Phillies)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

9

11

AA

108

404

44

11

48

0

.257

.317

.399

Joseph was selected to be a part of the Futures Game as a member of the U.S. roster this year, and ended up being moved as a part of the Hunter Pence trade by the Giants. Joseph was realistically entirely blocked in San Francisco, with Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez already in the Majors, and another catching prospect (Andrew Susac) rapidly approaching from the lower levels. He becomes the top catching prospect in the Phillies system, but he seems like he will be right on the borderline of a top 10 catcher. He should provide some power at the position, but it may be at a cost of a decent batting average.

Christian Bethancourt (Braves)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

NR

5

AA

71

268

30

2

26

8

.243

.275

.291

Boy, talk about a missed ranking. Bethancourt was young for his level this season, just 20 years old at AA, but his bat really doesn't appear to be even remotely ready for that challenge. Bethancourt also missed time this season after being hit on the hand by a pitch, which you never want to see out of anyone who bats really. Bethancourt profiles as a plus defender, which is really good for his chances of staying behind the plate, but if he can't hit worth anything while doing so, his value to fantasy owners will be extremely minimal at best.

Low Level Prospects (High-A and Below)

Jorge Alfaro (Rangers)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

10

9

A

74

272

40

5

34

7

.261

.320

.430

Alfaro was coming off a very nice season with the Rangers' short season Low-A affiliate in Spokane in 2011, but missed time on two separate occasions this year due to hamstring injuries. He seems like he should receive an incomplete for his season this year, as he did show some nice power in a league not exactly known for being a hitters' paradise. However, there may be some concerns about whether or not he can stay behind the plate or not. He only threw out 15% of would-be baserunners this season, and it's a bit hard to judge from here if the reason he played 45 games at either 1B or DH is because of the injuries or his defensive skills. I think he'll be back in Low-A to start next year (where he won't turn 20 until June), but see a promotion by midseason if he shows improvement.

Gary Sanchez (Yankees)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

5

8

A/A+

116

435

65

18

85

15

.290

.344

.485

Sanchez fell out of favor somewhat as concerns about his makeup became a bit more public. The offensive performance at both levels was excellent this season, and seems likely to be at AA before the end of next season. He will be just 20 years old for the entirety of the 2013 season, so he will continue to be young for the level he is at regardless, and to me profiles as an excellent fantasy option long-term.

Blake Swihart (Red Sox)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

NR

6

A

92

344

44

7

53

6

.262

.307

.395

Swihart had a bit of an up-and-down year, starting out extremely slow (.178/.253/.274 in April), but finished up strong in August (.291/.339/.400). I'm not sure if we really learned anything new about Swihart this year though, and I'll be interested to see how he performs next season at High-A.

Austin Hedges (Padres)

Preseason Rank

Midseason Rank

Level

G

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

11

7

A

96

337

44

10

56

14

.279

.334

.451

The big concerns for Hedges coming into the season seemed to be about whether he would be able to hit or not. I can distinctly remember Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks discussing Hedges on one of their episodes, and the fact that Hedges may be ready for the Majors defensively right now. The fact that he hit so well in Low-A this year really leads me to bump his stock up quite a bit. There are no doubts really that he will stay behind the plate, but we may not learn a lot from him going to the Cal League next season.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Fake Teams

You must be a member of Fake Teams to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Fake Teams. You should read them.

Join Fake Teams

You must be a member of Fake Teams to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Fake Teams. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker