College Catchers for the 2012 Draft
There is a good chance that University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino will be the first position player drafted this June, but he's not the only college backstop who looks like an intriguing player going forward. Here is a look at some of the top college catchers available in the 2012 draft.
Josh Elander, C, Texas Christian University: Hitting .347/.456/.453 with 13 walks, 15 strikeouts in 75 at-bats thus far. Right-handed hitting junior, has caught just five of 25 stealers so far. Solid across-the-board tools with above-average power potential that he has yet to fully tap. Has the tools to be a good defender and good leadership skills, but is still refining his throwing mechanics. Possible supplemental-round pick, could end up in the back of the first round if he shows more power. VIDEO
Ronnie Freeman, C, Kennesaw State University: Hitting .337/.431/.457 with 13 walks, 18 strikeouts in 92 at-bats, has caught seven out of 21 stealers. Right-handed hitting junior, has the tools to be a single-digit pick, probably in the fourth to sixth round range. Might go a little earlier than expected due to positional scarcity.
Tyler Heineman, C, UCLA: Hitting .356/.442/.479 so far with eight walks, six strikeouts in 73 at-bats, has caught three of eight runners. Switch-hitting junior having a fine year and boosting his stock. Good defensive rep and he's hitting well. VIDEO.
Spencer Keiboom, C, Clemson University: Hitting .227/.312/.393 with eight walks, four strikeouts in 66 at-bats. Has caught four of 13 stealers. Right-handed hitting junior. Good defensive reputation and makes solid contact at the plate, but overall hitting performance hasn't been impressive this year. Great baseball name.
Chadd Krist, C, University of California: Hitting .308/.340/.418 with four walks, five strikeouts in 91 at-bats, has caught three of 12 runners. Senior. Drafted in the 13th round by the White Sox last year but did not sign, hoping a strong senior year will push him up the boards. Could be a late single-digit round pick for a team looking for a bargain. VIDEO
Josh Ludy, C, Baylor University: Hitting .311/.406/.411 with 10 walks, 20 strikeouts in 90 at-bats, has caught five of 14 runners. Right-handed hitting senior, good defensive reputation with a strong throwing arm. Has some contact issues with a longish swing, but will certainly get drafted. VIDEO.
Tom Murphy, C, University of Buffalo: Hitting .361/.462/.736 with six homers, 16 walks, 20 strikeouts in 72 at-bats. Has caught seven of 14 runners and has made just one error. Junior, a very intriguing power hitter from a northern school who has a good eye at the plate but also strikes out some. Runs well for a catcher and has defensive tools but needs more polish. Draft position will depend on how teams evaluate his chances to stick behind the plate, but I can't see him getting past the second round if he continues to hit well. VIDEO.
Pete O'Brien, C, University of Miami-Florida: Hitting .388/.486/.776 with eight homers, 15 walks, 17 strikeouts in 85 at-bats. Has caught eight of 23 runners. Senior, drafted in third round by Rockies last year but did not sign. Former Bethune-Cookman star, transferred to Hurricanes and got around the usual eligibility requirements due to illness of his mother. Rare switch-hitting power. Could get into supplemental round. VIDEO.
Dane Phillips, C, Oklahoma City University: Hitting .416/.500/.850 with 10 homers, 13 walks, 14 strikeouts in 113 at-bats. Has caught six of 11 runners. Left-handed hitting junior, started his career at Oklahoma State, tried to transfer to Arkansas but fell afoul of eligibility requirements, ended up at this NAIA school with a good program. Somewhat raw with the glove but has the tools, and power bat could get him into the third round. VIDEO.
Kevin Plawecki, C, Purdue University: Hitting .390/.467/.714 with eight walks and just two strikeouts in 77 at-bats. Has caught six of 17 runners and committed no errors. Right-handed hitting junior, top prospect in the Big 10 this year, good overall athlete. Note the extremely low strikeout rate so far this year, a very positive marker, especially with power. VIDEO
Max Rossiter, C, Arizona State University: Hitting .304/.381/.375 with six walks, seven strikeouts in 56 at-bats. Has caught just one of 17 runners. Right-handed hitting junior. Not much power production this year, current draft status is rather unclear.
Mike Zunino, C, University of Florida: Hitting .383/.444/.802 with nine homers, 12 walks, 13 strikeouts in 81 at-bats. Has caught four of 16 runners. Right-handed hitting junior. Consensus best catching prospect, featuring plus power, good plate discipline, combined with very strong defense and leadership skills. He'll strike out some and isn't going to hit for a hot batting average, but he should provide plenty of power, OBP, and defense. VIDEO