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May 17, 2010 2:27 pm
Catchers, high-polish arms, and an update on a certain former Royals third baseman.
Nevin Ashley, C, Rays (Double-A Montgomery)
A sixth-round pick in 2006, Ashley had garnered a reputation as a good organizational catcher who offers little with the bat, but who boasted well above-average defensive skills as well as excellent leadership skills. A career .262/.359/.379 hitter entering the year, Ashley began to make some noise with a .366/.405/.648 showing in the Arizona Fall League last year. He continues to build on that performance, going 12-for-21 in his last six games to up his Double-A line to .339/.397/.500 while playing errorless defense and gunning down six of 13 potential basestealers. This is not to blow up the guy; he's not going to suddenly show up on anybody's Top 11 lists, but scouts see real progress here, upgrading him to a future big leaguer, albeit of the backup variety. With the constant shortage of catching in the minors, even that's a nice find.