The Recent History of Catching Prospects, Part THREE
Here are catching prospects drafted in the top 50 picks from 1994 through 2007. Let’s see how they turned out, looking especially for players not mentioned in the first two sections.
Paul Konerko, Arizona HS: 1996 Grade B-; 1997 Grade A (converted to first base); 1998 Grade A. Konerko took some time to adjust to the majors but ended up having a very successful career.
Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech: Already covered in previous reports. Long and productive career.
Ramon Castro, Puerto Rico HS: First Puerto Rican ever drafted in the first round. 1996: Grade B-; 1997: Grade C; 1998 Grade C+; 1999 Grade C+; 2000 Grade C+. Castro is still hanging arond as a reserve due to his defense, but lack of offensive consistency prevented him from living up to first round status.
Mark Johnson, Georgia HS: Not rated in 1996 and 1997 due to weak performance. 1998: Grade C; 1999 Grade B-. Never put his offense together. Good plate discipline, but lack of power doomed him to reserve status.
Ben Davis, Pennsylvania HS: Top-rated prospect by many sources. 1997: Grade C-; 1998 Grade C+; 1999 Grade B. Good glove but bat never developed. I compared him to Jim Sundberg in the 1999 book.
Josh Paul, Vanderbilt. 1998: Grade C+; 1999 Grade C; 2000: Grade C; 2001: Grade C. I wrote a few times that Paul would have a long career as a reserve. Just didn’t get the bat going.
Jayson Werth, Illinois HS: Already covered in previous reports. Succeeded at another position.
Matt LeCroy, Clemson: Already covered. Good platoon player.
Eric Munson, USC: 2000 Grade B; 2001 Grade B-; 2002 Grade B; 2003 Grade B-. Munson wasn’t much of a gloveman and switched to first base quickly. He showed some power for the Tigers in 2003 and 2004, but did not come anywhere close to expectations.
Mike Tonis, Cal Berkeley: 2001 Grade C+; 2002 Grade B-; 2003 Grade C. Tonis had a good glove and some pop, but was quickly undone by injuries and out of baseball by 2005. Bust.
Dane Sardinha, Pepperdine: 2001: Grade B based on defensive rep; 2002: Grade C. The Reds spent $1.94 million and a major league contact to sign Sardinha, a Scott Boras client. He had a good glove but couldn’t hit.
Jared Abruzzo, Califonria HS: 2001: Grade C+; 2002 Grade C+; 2003: Grade C, cut from book for space reasons; 2004 Grade C; cut from book for space reasons. Abruzzo showed some power but substandard defense kept him from advancing and his bat wasn’t good enough to compensate.
Joe Mauer, Minnesota HS: Already covered. Excellent.
Jeff Mathis, Florida HS: Already covered. Not very good yet.
Kelly Shoppach, Baylor: Already covered. Solid player.
Joey Votto, Canada HS: 2003 Grade C+; 2004: Grade C (converted to first base); 2005 Grade B+; 2006 Grade C+; 2007 Grade B+; 2008 Grade A-. Votto converted to first base very quickly, so he was never really a prospect as a catcher.
Adam Donachie, Florida HS: 2004 Grade C; No grade in 2005 and 2006; 2007 Grade C after beign selected in Rule 5 draft. Donachie has a decent glove but just can’t hit.
Daric Barton, California HS: Already covered. New position, too early to tell.
Mitch Maier, Toledo: 2004: Grade B; 2005 Grade B-; 2006 Grade C+; 2007 Grade C+; 2008 Grade C. 2009 Grade C. Maier converted to third base then the outfield, so he was never really a prospect as a catcher. He runs remarkably well for a guy who caught in college though.
Neil Walker, Pennsylvania HS: Already covered. New position.
Jon Poterson, Arizona HS: Never made the book. Hit .207/.267/.326 in 215 games and is out of baseball. Huge bust.
Jeff Clement, USC: Already covered. Still uncertain.
Brandon Snyder, Virginia HS: Already covered. New position.
Max Sapp, Florida HS: 2007 Grade B based on scouting reports, but I also wrote that Sapp was “far from a sure thing.” 2008 Grade C. 2009 Grade C, cut from book for space reasons. He is still young enough to improve but I don’t like the way things look now.
Matt Wieters, Georgia Tech: Already covered. Best prospect in baseball. 2008: Grade A-; 2009: Grade A.
Travis d’Arnaud Callifornia HS: 2008 Grade C+; 2009 Grade B. A breakthrough candidate for 2009, watch him closely in full season ball.
Again, this is just the data. In Part Four, we will try and draw some conclusions from all this.