Not a prospect, but not a post-hype sleeper? We've found you a home.
As prospect writers, once a player gets 130 at-bats, 50 innings, or 45 pre-September active roster days, he more or less ceases to exist to us. Those numbers are completely arbitrary and capricious. They’re the standards for Rookie of the Year eligibility, and they sort of make sense for that award. For simplicity and ease, we use them too, and most of the time they work.
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I must confess: I am a bit of a catcher defensive metric agnostic. Or perhaps I am just a bit wary of defensive run values in general. I am not one to damper the Catchella spirit though, so I threw on a Come On Feel The Illinoise! T-shirt and pored over a very large spreadsheet of minor-league catcher defensive data to see how the stats match up with our scouting reports. Spoiler alert: It did make me think about the way I and others evaluate catcher defense from a scouting perspective.
I divided the subjects into a few tiers and all stats come from levels and seasons for which we have framing data.
A flashback to the high-school and college days of Archie Bradley, Eddie Butler, Austin Hedges, and many more top prospects.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold, and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
We continue by looking at select top prospects from National League West teams. Be sure to read Baseball Prospectus' features on each of these five teams:
A look at the young backstops working their way through the pipeline and what they might one day bring to your fantasy squad.
Ah, catching prospects. The sirens of the fantasy prospecting world. One look at those among the current crop of backstops who qualify as “fantasy relevant” will make any owner yearn for more talent and a deeper pool of names, which makes these minor leaguers even more attractive. After all, the average triple-slash line for all catchers in the majors was .245/.310/.344. How hard can it be for the next wave of catchers to top that?
The answer, of course, is very hard. The path to MLB catching stardom is fraught with more perils than the trek to any other position, and patience, above all else, is a virtue when courting young catching talent. Fast movers like Buster Posey are extreme outliers. Good overall players like Mike Zunino get overrated in fantasy circles. And offense-first names like Jesus Montero see their deficiencies ignored as we instead focus on the potential for future excellence.
Jason Cole catches up with the Padres' top prospect and shows him flashing his skills.
While in Arizona this spring, I caught up with Padres top prospect Austin Hedges to discuss the art of catching and his development as a player. The Southern California native was ranked the no. 1 prospect in the San Diego system and no. 19 in baseball by Baseball Prospectus this offseason. And in our recent look at the top glove tools, we named him the top defensive catcher in the minor leagues, citing his “tremendous footwork, a quick transfer from the glove to his throwing hand, a lightning-quick release and an arm that rated as one of the best in the minor leagues,” in addition to his excellent blocking, framing, and game-calling abilities.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
The Padres' top catching prospect is superb behind the plate, but will he hit?
With the 82nd overall pick in the 2011 draft, the San Diego Padres selected Austin Hedges, a catcher out of Junipero Serra Catholic HS in southern California. While the story of his rise through the minor leagues begins there, his path to the majors started much earlier.
Brett Kay is the head coach at Junipero Serra. Kay caught in 142 minor-league games, making it to High-A before his career came to a close in 2003. He wasn’t a big leaguer, but his experience made him an excellent instructor. In 2006, Kay had the chance to coach a promising young catcher. The kid was shy and skinny, but his athleticism and skillset were obvious. Austin Hedges was already showing the makings of a top prospect.