MLB 2012 Draft - College - Catchers

This is a pretty deep catching class (deeper than I initially thought it could be). There is some intriguing talent available without even mentioning the obvious names like Mike Zunino, who could go in the top five, or Peter O'Brien and Josh Elander, who should go in the first two or three rounds. Some of the players listed may not be playing catcher at present for their college teams, but I have included them here either because they have played the position in the past, or because they show the potential to do so in the future. Again, I should emphasize that these are my personal rankings, so like an umpire's interpretation of the strikezone, please allow for some human error.

1) Michael Zunino, C, 6`2 215, R/R, Florida, NCAA

(2012) 32(gp) 119(ab) .353/.407/.714 10(hr) 38(rbi) 13(2b) 14(bb) 24(so) 5(sb) 0(cs)

2(pb) 6(csb) 21(sba)

Zunino has the potential to be a very good everyday big league backstop. He has a solid, disciplined approach at the plate, a quick bat and solid pull power. He is likely to have a high strikeout rate at the next level, but his willingness to take a walk should help offset that somewhat. Zunino truly shines defensively. He moves well and does a good job of blocking balls in the dirt. Zunino’s arm is strong and accurate. He has good hands, and he's a natural leader who can run a pitching staff. VIDEO

2) Peter O`Brien, C, 6’5 225, R/R, Miami, NCAA

(2012) 32(gp) 115(ab) .357/.454/.696 10(hr) 36(rbi) 9(2b) 20(bb) 21(so) 1(sb) 2(cs)

5(pb) 8(csb) 15(sba)

Big physical backstop with a power bat and arm strength. A bit of swing and miss to his game, but he’s shown, at least this season, that he should be able to make enough contact to tap into his plus power. Defensively, O’Brien’s arm is average and, at times, during infield practice, it plays up, but not as much during games. His footwork needs to improve as well. In addition to his tools, his work ethic and leadership are considered a plus. Bilingual, speaks both English and Spanish fluently. VIDEO

3) Tom Murphy, C, 6’1 210, R/R, Buffalo, NCAA

(2012) 27(gp) 105(ab) .324/.432/.610 6(hr) 33(rbi) 10(2b) 1(3b) 21(bb) 27(so) 4(sb) 1(cs)

2(pb) 9(csb) 9(sba)

An athletic backstop, Murphy has nice speed for a catcher, running a 6.75 in the 60. He is a generally good receiver, and does a good job blocking balls behind the plate, but his defence could be more consistent overall. Murphy possesses a solid-average arm that routinely registers 1.9-second pop times to second base, though his throwing could use some refinement as the ball sails on him at times. At the plate he has a relatively short swing, and excellent raw power that could make him a 20-25 homerun threat at the next level. He does have some holes in his swing that will lead to quite a few strikeouts, but he does have a solid eye at the plate, and will take his fair share of walks. Scouts and managers alike rave about Murphy's work ethic.. VIDEO

4) Kevin Plawecki, C, 5’11 165, R/R, Purdue, NCAA

(2012) 29(gp) 110(ab) .373/.470/.618 3(hr) 26(rbi) 14(2b) 2(3b) 15(bb) 5(so)

3(pb) 6(csb) 12(sba)

Good combination of catch and throws skills and pure hitting ability. At the plate Plawecki has a short easy swing, and stay inside the ball well. Though his plate discipline is just average overall, he makes up for it by making an incredible amount of contact (he struck out just 21 times in his first two seasons at Purdue). Plawecki’s swing leads to a nice amount of line drives, but most of those line drives are singles rather than extra-base hits. He will hit for a relatively high average, but is unlikely to hit for very much power at the next level. Behind the plate, Plawecki is a standout defender having committed no errors, while displaying a plus throwing arm which he’s used to gun down 6 of 12 baserunners so far this season. Plawecki is a scrappy player whose hustle makes his solid tools play better. VIDEO

5) Josh Elander, C, 6’0 215, TCU, NCAA

(2012) 29(gp) 103(ab) .301/.410/.447 3(hr) 16(rbi) 4(2b) 1(3b) 16(bb) 18(so) 6(sb) 3(cs)

6(pb) 11(csb) 23(sba)

Elander is an athletic catcher with good offensive potential. Elander has shown good bat speed with an ability to spray line drives all over the field, but he has been primarily a singles hitter thus far in his career. Scouts have seen the power potential in Elander, but maybe his swing is too short for him to display it in games. He does have pretty good plate discipline, but he also strikes out too much, especially for a player who’s a singles hitter at this point. His defence is a work in progress, but he has a solid-average arm and moves fairly well behind the plate. He has very good instincts and is an intense competitor. Elander moves very well for his size and this should allow him to be very versatile in the field, if catching does not pan out. VIDEO

6) Dane Phillips, C/OF, 6’1 195, L/R, Arkansas, NCAA

(*2011*) 60(gp) 245(ab) .339/.391/.518 4(hr) 32(rbi) 16(2b) 8(3b) 20(bb) 52(so) 2(sb) 0(cs)

Phillips is one of the top pure hitters in college baseball. He has an easy left-handed swing with good bat speed, and the ability to spray the ball to all fields. There is some pop in his bat, and it’s not hard to envision him possibly hitting 15 homeruns a year as a pro. Phillips tested his metal in the wood bat Cape Cod League in 2011, and he garnered all-star honours while hitting .349 with 4 homeruns in only 124 at bats. The only question, for Phillips is what position he’ll ultimately play. During his sophomore season he played just 4 games behind the plate while starting 47 at DH. The reports on his defence from the Cape were encouraging, and if the NCAA will grant his transfer to Arkansas, he will get even more opportunity to show if he can remain at catcher. Regardless, it will be Phillips bat, that gets him drafted in June. VIDEO

7) Aaron Jones, C/OF, 6’1 195, R/R, Oregon, NCAA

(2012) 30(gp) 117(ab) .316/.390/.556 5(hr) 28(rbi) 9(2b) 2(3b) 15(bb) 24(so) 4(sb) 4(cs)

2(pb) 5(csb) 6(sba)

Draft eligible sophomore with a colorful personality. Jones is a solid hitter with very good power potential. He strikes out quite a bit (not uncommon for a power hitter), and probably won’t hit for a high average at the higher pro levels but overall his approach at the plate is solid, and he shows the willingness to take a walk. Defensively, Jones is very athletic with surprising speed for the catching position, which is understandable since he can also play the outfield. Behind the plate, he has good pure arm strength, but he needs to refine his transfer and release. His power bat and athleticism are his current calling cards, as his defense isn’t quite where it should be yet. VIDEO

8) Luke Maile, C/1B, 6’3 220, R/R, Kentucky, NCAA

(2012) 34(gp) 125(ab) .336/.448/.624 9(hr) 36(rbi) 9(2b) 19(bb) 14(so) 7(sb) 1(cs)

3pb 4(csb) 6(sba)

Big strong catcher with power to spare, Maile’s hit tool has come a long way in his three years with the Wild Cats. In the past he had a tendency to strikeout a lot, but he`s worked hard to shorten his swing, and improve his pitch recognition (he already has more walks (19) in 2012 than he did in all of 2011 (18), while projecting for 34 fewer strikeouts). Defensively, Maile still needs work. He has a strong arm, but his footwork and release could be improved, as could his blocking and receiving skills. He has all the tools to stay behind the plate but lacks extensive experience at the position. He’s played a lot of first base this spring while splitting time with Senior backstop Michael Williams. His above average speed and athleticism might enable to handle an outfield corner, where his above average power should profile. VIDEO

9) Brandon Miller, OF/C, 6'1 195, R/R, Samford, NCAA

(2012) 32(gp) 134(ab) .284/.357/.619 12(hr) 39(rbi) 9(2b) 15(bb) 28(so) 0(sb) 2(cs)

0(pb) 0(csb) 1(sba)

Very underrated among the catchers in this draft class, Miller has all the raw tools to be a standout prospect in his own right, with more consistency and polish. He’s very athletic (running a 6.96 in the 60), and shifts well behind the plate to block balls. He also has excellent raw arm strength, registering pop times of 1.93 on throws to second base. Offensively Miller is a confident hitter, with an aggressive approach. He strikes out a fair amount, and can be a bit of a streaky hitter, but he has impressive power, that already plays in games. At times Miller can be inconsistent, at the plate and behind it. He has a strong arm, but his accuracy wavers. He has nice defensive tools, but inconsistent footwork. Good bat speed, but an inconsistent setup. Good coaching might be able to iron out these flaws and unlock Miller’s full potential. VIDEO

10) Joe Hudson, C, 6’1 205, R/R, Notre Dame, NCAA

(2012) 30(gp) 102(ab) .382/.492/.598 4(hr) 25(rbi) 8(2b) 1(3b) 14(bb) 18(so) 3(sb) 0(cs)

5(pb) 9(csb) 16(sba)

Hudson is a very good defensive catcher with excellent catch and throw skills; showing good quickness behind the plate, and the arm strength to shut down an opposing team’s running game. Where Hudson has seen made the greatest strides has been at the plate. A career .245 hitter with 1 homerun and 20rbis heading into 2012, Hudson has already surpassed both his career homerun and RBI totals, and is doing a better job making contact, nearly doubling his career average at .400. Undrafted out of high school, Hudson has come a long way in turning himself into a good all-around catcher. At the very least, his defensive acumen will allow him to become a solid organizational catcher. VIDEO

11) Ronnie Freeman, C, 6’1 190, R/R, Kennesaw, NCAA

(2012) 34(gp) 131(ab) .321/.409/.435 3(hr) 37(rbi) 6(2b) 17(bb) 23(so)

1(pb) 9(csb) 25(sba)

Offensive catcher with an intriguing bat. Freeman has a nice line drive swing and is very good at making contact. He doesn’t strike out a lot, but his plate discipline needs work, as most of his walks come from opposing teams pitching around him. Other things that concern scouts about Freeman are his lack of extra-base hits, the weaker conference he plays in (the Big South), and the fact that his numbers are inflated by a high BABIP (.414). Freeman has some offensive tools, but one can’t be sure how good he is because of a lack of quality competition. Defensively, he has a good arm and moves pretty well behind the plate, but he’s still quite raw. His arm is inaccurate at times and he needs work blocking balls the dirt. He had 7 passed balls over 57 games in 2011, and caught only 36 per cent of base-stealers. Just like his offense, Freeman has some tools, but you can’t be sure he’ll ever be able to make the most of them.

12) Jonathan Walsh, C/OF, 6’3 211, S/R Texas, NCAA

(2012) 28(gp) 108(ab) .352/.398/.509 2(hr) 21(rbi) 7(2b) 2(3b) 8(bb) 16(so) 6(sb) 0(cs)

A big time sleeper; Walsh is strong and very athletic. For a guy his size, he runs an incredible 6.58. There is some question of whether he’s just too athletic to keep behind the plate, but his raw tools (arm strength, athleticism, and quickness) should be playable there, with some refinements. Walsh has seen limited playing time behind the plate in 2012, with sophomore backstop Jacob Felts getting the majority of the starts. Should a position switch become necessary, right field would be his most likely destination where his plus arm, plus power, and speed, should be a major asset. Often compared to Nationals’ outfielder Jayson Werth (another catcher turned outfielder), Walsh is a switch hitter with an advanced bat and an MLB approach already. He has good bat speed from both sides of the plate and makes hard line drive contact. He stays inside the ball and can drive the ball to all fields. VIDEO

13) Tyler Heineman, C, 5’11 205, S/R, UCLA, NCAA

(2012) 29(gp) 97(ab) .412/.516/.515 1(hr) 18(rbi) 5(2b) 1(3b) 15(bb) 7(so) 2(sb) 1(cs)

2(pb) 10(csb) 16(sba)

With the graduation of Steve Rodriguez to pro-ball, Heineman was finally given the reigns to the starting catcher position for the Bruins and has made the most of it. Not known as a flashy player, Heineman has built a reputation on his lights out defense. He has an excellent build for the position and moves very well behind the plate blocking balls. Heineman is a sound receiver and works well with pitchers. He also has a cannon for an arm, registering 1.85 pop times to second base during games. Offensively, Heineman is a contact hitter with an up-the-middle/opposite-field approach. His plate discipline is considered excellent, and he works deep counts, showing an ability to take walks and get on base. Power doesn’t figure to be a prominent part of his game going forward. Heineman is a breakout 2012 star based largely on an incredibly well-rounded skill set. His defense is big league quality as is, and his approach at the plate is top notch. VIDEO

14) Jacob Stallings, C, 6’5 222, R/R, North Carolina, NCAA

(2012) 32(gp) 123(ab) .317/.425/.404 2(hr) 23(rbi) 14(2b) 20(bb) 27(so) 2(sb) 0(cs)

3(pb) 12(csb) 16(sba)

On paper Stallings has everything you’d want in a young catching prospect: athleticism, above-average defensive upside, and potential with the bat. Stallings is considered a plus defender behind the plate, with a plus-plus arm and leadership characteristics that should be enough to take him to the big leagues as a backup catcher. The development of his bat will determine whether he could be something more, and so far this season, things are looking good on that front. Stallings has excellent raw power, and shows a willingness to take a walk. A Senior sign after not signing with reds as a 42-nd rounder last year, he almost certain to be taken much higher this year, particularly if the bat continues to improve. VIDEO

15) Chase Anselment, C, 6’1 200, L/R, Washington, NCAA

(2012) 21(gp) 55(ab) .345/.426/.491 2(hr) 9(rbi) 2(2b) 9(bb) 9(so) 0(sb) 1(cs)

2(pb) 1(csb) 9(sba)

Anselment has been on scouts’ radars since high school, when he was considered one of the top catching prospects in the nation. He started off his first year with the Huskies with a bang hitting .347 with 6 homeruns as a Freshman. He struggled some in 2011, with the introduction of the BBCOR bats, but looks to be back on track again this year. At his best, Anselment is a solid defensive catcher. He has great work ethic and is a leader behind the plate. While he has very good raw arm strength, he has not always done a great job throwing out runners during his college career. Offensively, he has big time raw power, and a very good hit tool. He generates excellent bat speed and can drive the ball to all fields. Anselment has very good pitch recognition and doesn’t strike out very much. VIDEO

16) Wade Wass, C , 6’0 205, R/R, Meridian, JUCO

(2012) 31(ip) 100(ab) .450/.586/.790 15(hr) 11(2b) 2(3b) 29(bb) 7(sb) 2(cs)

Very strong, solidly built athlete. Offensive minded catcher with serious bat speed and power potential. Keeps swing short, stays inside well for power guy, has some lift in swing, top spins the ball hard. Raw arm strength, young catching skills, hard worker on defense. Named best defensive catcher in the Northwoods League in 2011 thanks to a .994 fielding percentage while committing only 2 errors. Has all the tools to remain behind the plate long term, but it’s his high level bat that will be his ticket to the big leagues. Considered one of the top hitters in the nation. VIDEO

17) Jeremy Schaffer, C, 6’1 205, R/R, Tulane, NCAA

(2012) 31(gp) 116(ab) .336/.448/.552 6(hr) 26(rbi) 7(2b) 22(bb) 21(so) 3(sb) 0(cs)

0(pb)15(csb) 21(sba)

Schaffer is a strong offensive minded catcher with a solid bat, and a very good approach at the plate. He should be able to hit for above average power going forward, and he has good plate discipline. While Schaffer does have underrated athleticism and a solid average arm (throwing 84 from the mound) with a 1.9 average pop time to second base, he’ll pretty much have to make it on the strength of his bat, as he’s considered a fringy defender at this point, and as a 22-year-old Senior that doesn’t leave much time to work out the flaws.

18) Stefan Sabol, C/3B/OF, 6’2 205, R/R, Orange Coast, JUCO

(2012) 13(gp) 43(ab) .302/.455/.395 1(hr) 9(rbi) 1(2b) 12(bb) 10(so) 1(sb) 0(cs)

Very strong and athletic with 6.59 speed to go with good raw arm strength. Can play both outfield and catcher at a high level. At the plate he uses the whole field, and has big power potential. Also displays excellent plate discipline. Solid catch and throw skills defensively, with a 1.87 pop time. Throws are on a line and accurate, and he works hard behind plate, where he’s a plus blocker, and receiver. He’ll only be 20 at draft, which is good, because he is still very raw in all respects. Solid tools, results not there yet. Performance in the Cape Cod league showed promise as Sabol hit .299 in 77 at bats. Highly athletic talent with excellent bat speed; capable of playing any position, but 6.5 speed may be wasted behind plate. VIDEO

19) Bo Altobelli, C/INF, 6’0 180, R/R, Texas Tech, NCAA

(2012) 33(gp) 128(ab) .328/.392/.398 1(hr) 18(rbi) 6(2b) 11(bb) 13(so) 5(sb) 0(cs)

5(pb) 7(csb) 12(sba)

Altobelli is a solid defensive catcher with good catch and throw skills. His arm strength is above average and his throws have plenty of carry. He possesses above average athleticism and speed for the position, but is just too good behind the plate to move. At the plate he shows excellent patience and makes consistent contact, rarely striking out. He is short to the ball with good bat speed and barrel awareness, but probably won’t hit for a lot of power going forward. VIDEO

20) Phil Pohl, C, 6’0 195, R/R, Clemson, NCAA

(2012) 33(gp) 126(ab) .294/.372/.444 5(hr) 42(rbi) 4(2b) 10(bb) 19(so) 1(sb) 1(cs)

1(pb) 1(csb) 5(sba)

Pohl's defensive tools are solid but not plus but he plays above his tools. He has quick feet and is a solid receiver behind the plate with good blocking skills. Pohl has a quick release and an accurate arm registering pop times in the 1.87 range. Much like his defense, Pohl offense play above his raw tools and consistently hits the ball hard. Pohl has solid bat speed with good hands. His aggressive swing can get long at times, but he has the ability to get the bat head to the ball and squares it up. Pohl's strength is a plus for him at the plate and he's able to muscle the ball when his timing is off. An overachiever who plays a premium defensive position, he plays with a high energy hard-nosed approach to the game.

21) Josh Ludy, C, 5’10 210, R/R, Baylor University, NCAA

(2012) 33(gp) 122(ab) .328/.417/.459 2(hr) 34(rbi) 10(2b) 15(bb) 25(so) 1(sb) 1(cs)

2(pb) 6(csb) 12(sba)

A Senior catcher for the Bears, Ludy he has a thick build, with broad shoulders and massive foreams. Due to his size, he is not very athletic, and may have to move off the position at the next level. He shows poor lateral movement and struggles to block pitches, particularly breaking balls in the dirt. Ludy does show good arm strength, flashing pop times around 2.00-2.05, but he also struggles with accuracy at times. Despite his size and strength, he doesn’t drive the ball well due to an inability to make consistent contact. Ludy is a very patient hitter however, often working deep into counts and drawing an impressive number of walks. VIDEO

22) Trevor Brown, 3B/C, 6’2 195, R/R, UCLA, NCAA

(2012) 28(gp) 103(ab) .340/.392/.476 2(hr) 27(rbi) 6(2b) 1(3b) 8(bb) 14(so) 2(sb) 3(cs)

1(pb) 1(csb) 3(sba)

Athletic catcher, good all around skills. Lean athletic build, body projects well, very good bat speed at the plate, attacks the baseball, quick hands, short to the ball, good upside at the plate, quick release behind the plate, raw arm strength, solid receiver, great outfield tools, very strong arm, short quick arm action, plus arm, clean actions, short compact arm action on the mound, arm works well, good armside run on fastball, solid 10 to 4 curveball, strong student.VIDEO

23) James Stanfield, C, 5’10 190, L/R, Kansas, NCAA

(2012) 23(gp) 73(ab) .315/.375/.342 0(hr) 7(rbi) 2(2b) 5(bb) 10(so) 1(sb) 1(cs)

2(pb) 9(csb) 14(sba)

Converted infielder trying his hand behind the plate this spring. Athleticism in young catching prospects goes a long way, and converted infielders typically have it in spades. Above-average speed for a catcher. Stanfield is already an above-average defender who still has some of that untapped upside that comes with players new to the position. He possseses very good arm strength having been measured throwing 82 mph across the infield and 85 from the mound. A former pitcher in high school, Stanfield was said to `mix his pitches well`and `understand how to set up hitters`which should in theory make him an excellent game caller from behind the dish. He isn’t a world beater at the plate, but his mature approach to hitting and adequate pop make him a worthwhile follow, especially as a cheap mid-round senior sign option.

24) Joe Pavone, C, 6’0 210, R/R, Connecticut, NCAA

(2012) 30(gp) 106(ab) .292/.355/.425 2(hr) 18(rbi) 6(2b) 1(3b) 7(bb) 11(so) 3(sb) 1(cs)

6(pb) 10(csb) 24(sba)

An athletic catcher with a strong build, Pavone runs surprisingly well for his position. At the plate he has a bit of an inside-out swing, and shows the ability to go with the pitch the other way. He swing plane is rather flat, and he probably won’t hit for much power going forward, but he has excellent defensive reputation. Behind the plate Pavone shows good block and recover skills. He is a solid receiver with a quick exchange, registering pop times of 1.88. He profiles as defensive-first organizational catcher, capable of helping along young pitching prospects.

25) Jeff Kremer, C, 5’10 200, L/R, Duke, NCAA

(2012) 32(gp) 110(ab) .291/.412/.373 1(hr) 8(rbi) 4(2b) 1(3b) 16(bb) 19(so)

0(pb) 0(csb) 0(sba)

Good defensive catcher, with strong durable frame. Accurate throws to second with consistent pop times. He is still developing feel for receiving quality stuff and needs to continue to get repetitions. He works hard behind the plate and competes well. Duke’s leadoff hitter; shows excellent strike zone judgement, and a nice opposite field stroke. Kremer has decent bat speed, and handles low pitches well. He does a nice job of letting the ball travel and shows gap power. Also sees time at DH for Duke.

26) Chadd Krist, C, 5`11 199, R/R, California, NCAA

30gp 123ab .293/.326/.415 2hr 23rbi 9(2b) 6bb 9so 1sb 1cs 0pb 19sba 6csb

Very good defensive catcher, with some ability with the bat. Krist is an excellent receiver behind the plate with soft hands and quiet actions. He’s hard working and does a good job shifting to block balls. He’s quick with his transfers and has a consistently accurate throws, though his arm is just average overall. At the plate, Krist is a gap to gap hitter with good bat speed and an aggressive nature. He won’t hit for a lot of power, and doesn’t project much, but will contribute offensively. Krist has the defensive chops to play pro ball. He’s a backup catcher at best for now, but continued offensive improvement would make him an easy top ten round senior sign catching prospect in 2012. VIDEO

27) Michael Williams, C, 6’1 197, R/R, Kentucky, NCAA

(2012) 29(gp) 101(ab) .287/.385/.356 1(hr) 22(rbi) 4(2b) 13(bb) 20(so)

0(pb) 2(csb) 7(sba)

Top level defensive catcher with a good combination of durability, strength and quickness. Williams has a plus-plus arm that is strong and accurate. He posts consistent pop times of 1.84 to second base, with throws as fast as 81 mph, and will be able to shut down a team’s running game. Williams is very good at moving his feet, shifting and blocking balls in the dirt. He receives the ball easily and has good hands. Williams offence lags behind his defence, has the tools to hit (good bat speed, strong hands) but he is a little rotational in his swing, and tends to pull his head and front side off the ball. There is perhaps some hidden power waiting to surface but he will have to make the necessary adjustments to his swing to make harder more consistent contact. Williams has good base running instincts. He is a hustling, hardnosed type of player who should continue to improve. Regardless of what he does at the plate going forward, it will be his defense will carry him at the next level.

28) Richard Stock, C/DH, 6`2 185, L/R, Nebraska, NCAA

(2012) 30(gp) 115(ab) .357/.390/.478 1(hr) 26(rbi) 9(2b) 1(3b) 4(bb) 13(so) 1(sb) 1(cs)

1(pb) 0(csb) 0(sba)

Solid defense this spring, though it doesn’t appear that he has had much of an opportunity to show off behind the plate given Nebraska’s depth at catcher. Stock’s arm is one of the strongest in this catching class, registering 92 mph from the mound, with consistent pop times of 1.80-1.90. Can get a bit sloppy behind plate due to overreliance on his pure arm strength; not the quickest (7.29 – 60 time) or most athletic player. Stock has a solid hit tool and makes hard contact with above average raw power. Has elicited Fred McGriff comps with his setup and swing. Often unfairly graded down because of struggles of his older brother Robert, but he is a very good prospect in his own right. VIDEO

29) Elliot Stewart, C, 5’10 170, R/R, Cal-Poly, NCAA

(*2011*) 41(gp) 115(ab) .252/.302/.391 2(hr) 17(rbi) 10(2b) 8(bb) 20(so) 1(sb) 1(cs)

1(pb) 7(csb) 23(sba)

Strong defensive catcher with a quick/accurate arm, that has thrown 76 from the mound. Defensively he is a good receiver who sits well and presents a great target for pitchers to throw to. His actions are quiet and his hands are soft. Has made strides at plate with a short, low-maintenance swing, and good hands. Stewart is a contact type of hitter, and is willing to use the whole field. He has a patient approach at the plate and flashes good gap power. Stewart has more potential with the bat than he’s shown thus far with Poly-Tech. He was considered the second best catching prospect in the West Coast League in 2011, just behind Chase Anselment. VIDEO

30) Chad Morgan, C, 5`11 190, R/R, Virginia Tech, NCAA

(2012) 24(gp) 72(ab) .181/.267/.278 2(hr) 14(rbi) 1(2b) 8(bb) 13(so)

2(pb) 5(CSB) 28(sba)

Morgan is catching prospect with some really nice tools—when healthy. Redshirted his freshman season after Tommy John surgery (suffered in 2010) from which he’s only now fully recovered. At his best Morgan has some really good bat speed, and nice raw power. He doesn’t profile as the type of player who will hit for a high average, and has a propensity to the strikeout, but that is mitigated somewhat by his big time power potential and his solid batting eye at the plate, that allows him to take an acceptable amount of walks. Defensively, Morgan has a reputation as an above average defender who moves well behind the plate. With his arm problems now behind him, he is also exhibiting the plus arm strength he was known for in high school. VIDEO

31) Patrick Cantwell, C, 6’1 205, R/R, Stony Brook, NCAA

(2012) 28(gp) 95(ab) .263/.360/.358 0(hr) 11(rbi) 5(2b) 2(3b) 7(bb) 3(so) 3(sb) 2(cs)

1(pb) 3(csb) 7(sba)

Very athletic Senior backstop, with strong defensive skills. Hustling type of player, a real gamer who likes to get his uniform dirty. Strong throwing arm with a quick release and transfer allows him to gun down hitters at an excellent clip. At the plate, he’s a solid hitter, with a sound, fundamental hitting approach. Line drive swing plane right now, doesn’t hit for a whole lot of power. with Contact oriented approach, Cantwell is the type of player who doesn’t strike out a lot, but he doesn’t walk a lot either. On base percentage has been propped up somewhat by his propensity for taking one for the team, as he reached base via the hit-by-pitch 12 times last season. Value dependant on his ability to hit for average while providing reliable steady defense behind the dish. Put up solid numbers in the wood bat Cape Cod league, but off to a slow start with the bat in 2012. VIDEO

32) Stephen McGee, C, 6’3 185, R/R, Florida State, NCAA

(2012) 33(gp) 92(ab) .272/.500/.359 0(hr) 18(rbi) 8(2b) 35(bb) 15(so) 2(sb) 3(cs)

5(pb) 15(csb) 32(sba)

Good arm, good D, good bat. Stephen has a tall athletic build that projects well and he has the raw tools to improve quite a bit. At the plate Stephen hits with a line-drive swing plane and can drive the ball to any part of the field. He has solid bat speed and does a good job of keeping his hands inside the ball. Stephen has the athletic ability to improve quite a bit still at the plate. Behind the plate Stephen showed good athletic ability with a quick release and transfer. He has a strong arm, but was often very wild with his throws. Stephen is a player that should attract the attention of many high-level college programs.

33) Alex DeLeon, C, 6’1 220, R/R, Kansas, NCAA

(2012) 20(gp) 69(ab) .304/.393/.464 2(hr) 16(rbi) 5(2b) 9(bb) 11(so)

3(pb) 1(csb) 6(sba)

Poor defensively but possesses a very good hit tool with power potential. Deleon has a track record of hitting since his Sophomore year. Tends to strike out a lot, but has done a better job this year cutting down on the swing and misses.

34) Brett DeLoach, C, 6’0 190, R/R, Georgia, NCAA

(2012) 30(gp) 89(ab) .281/.387/.360 1(hr) 14(rbi) 4(2b) 13(bb) 12(so) 1(sb) 0(cs)

0(pb) 3(csb) 5(sba)

Serves as both catcher and DH for the Bulldogs. DeLoach has the tools, frame, and athleticism to catch at the next level, but lacks proper experience. In the end, his future defensive home might come down to matters of health. If his arm is sound, he should catch. If not, he’ll face the steep uphill battle of trying to hit enough to hold down a spot in either left field or first base. Arrested on dui charges in 2010, which may concern drafting teams. VIDEO

35) Max Rossiter, C, 5’11 185, R/R, Arizona State, NCAA

(2012) 24(gp) 78(ab) .295/.360/.385 1(hr) 10(rbi) 2(2b) 1(3b) 7(bb) 10(so)

2(pb) 3(csb) 21(sba)

Rossiter is considered an above average receiver behind the plate, and a solid defender, but his arm is considered just average to below, and he’s thrown out only 3 of 21 base stealers this spring. Rossiter shows flashes of power in BP, as well as good on-base ability, but his bat can be inconsistent at times, and the power is still mostly latent in games at this point.

36) Coley Crank, C, 6’0 210, R/R, Michigan, NCAA

(2012) 34(gp) 116(ab) .216/.331/.448 7(hr) 27(rbi) 6(2b) 17(bb) 24(so) 1(sb) 1(cs)

1(pb) 2(csb) 6(sba)

Crank has a strong and stocky physical build. He shows a combination of power and patience at the plate. However there are some holes in swing, as he will strike out a lot, and probably won’t hit for much average going forward. He hasn’t had a chance to start behind the plate much for Miami. Crank does have a good arm and with coaching could be a serviceable defensive catcher, particularly if he learns to speed up his transfer and improve his footwork. Crank provides the type of strong arm/power bat that is attractive at the catcher position but not much else. VIDEO

37) Spencer Kieboom, C, 6’0 220, R/R, Clemson, NCAA

(2012) 30(gp) 103(ab) .252/.344/.311 1(hr) 13(rbi) 3(2b) 15(bb) 7(so)

0(pb) 6(csb) 13(sba)

Kieboom is a gritty player, who does a little bit of everything, but nothing incredibly well. Offensively, he’s not an especially gifted hitter, but he battles every at bat, and has an excellent batting eye. He has a line drive swing and makes solid contact, spraying the ball all over the field with occasional gap power. Defensively, he moves pretty well behind the plate and is decent at blocking errant pitches, but his arm is fringe-average (although accurate) and he doesn’t release the ball very quickly. He’s a solid defensive catcher, nothing more. Profiles as a backup type at the next level.

38) Carlos Escobar Jr., C, 6’3 200, R/R, Nevada, NCAA

(2012) 29(gp) 93(ab) .237/.342/.398 2(hr) 21(rbi) 9(2b) 12(bb) 18(so) 2(sb) 1(cs)

3(pb) 13(csb) 18(sba)

Escobar is a defense-first catching prospect who is very inconsistent with the bat. Escobar has shown good bat speed and some nice raw power in the past, but holes in his swing have made him a frequent strikeout victim. He cut down his swing as a sophomore for Nevada, limiting the strikeouts but also reducing his solid raw power into gap power. His lone offensive breakout came in the Northwood’s Summer Collegiate League where he hit .345 with 16 doubles and 7 homers in 56 games. You don’t know what you’ll get offensively from Escobar, but he really shines defensively, leading his conference by throwing out 17 attempted base stealers, and picking off 6 runners. Escobar has a strong and accurate arm that has been an asset for him as a collegiate athlete. His motions behind the plate are solid as well. VIDEO

39) Nathan Orf, C, 5’9 155, R/R, Baylor, NCAA

(2012) 33(gp) 118(ab) .263/.406/.364 1(hr) 18(rbi) 5(2b) 2(3b) 14(bb) 15(so) 7(sb) 3(cs)

0(pb) 0(csb) 0(sba)

A junior transfer from Orf serves as the DH and leadoff hitter for the Bears. Has not seen very much time behind the plate for Baylor this spring, but has shown he could play there with his former team the Illinois-Chicago Flames. Orf has good bat speed, with a quick compact swing, that allows him to spray the ball all over the diamond. While Orf has some strength in his build, he is more of a line drive hitter and won’t hit for much power. He’s patient and has a good idea of what he’s doing at the plate. Defensively he has solid arm strength, and his throws are accurate for the most part. A solid receiver, he has soft hands and sets up well.

40) Braden Kline, C/OF, 6’1 175, R/R, Cincinnati, NCAA

(2012) 31(gp) 118(ab) .254/.305/.398 2(hr) 18(rbi) 9(2b) 1(3b) 8(bb) 26(so) 4(sb) 0(cs)

1(pb) 0(csb) 3(sba)

Last year the coaching staff asked Braden Kline, who came to UC as a catcher, to move to left field in order to get his bat in the lineup everyday and to fill a hole in the defense. That move paid off in a big way as he was named to the All Big East Third Team. Kline finished the season hitting .326 with 5 homeruns and 31 RBI. Despite having never played in the outfield before, he only had 2 errors on the year. He will return to the starting spot in left for his senior season.

41) Mike Lubanski, C/3B, 6’0 185 R/R, Wake Forest, NCAA

(*2010*) 28(gp) 63(ab) .175/.404/.302 1(hr) 7(rbi) 3(2b) 2(3b) 2(sb) 0(cs) 21(bb) 21(so)

The younger brother of former first round pick Chris, Mike Lubanski is a talented player in his own right, but one who for a number of reasons hasn’t had much opportunity to prove himself. Many expected Lubanski to have a big breakout in 2011, but he injured his shoulder in March, and missed the entire season. When healthy Lubanski has some nice tools. Defensively, he is known for calling a good game, and he blocks balls well. On stolen base attempts, he releases the ball very quickly with pretty good accuracy, although his arm is fringe-average. On offense Lubanski has a simple swing with good bat speed and leverage. He shows good power potential at the plate but a flaw in his swing leads to an abundance of strikeouts. He does show a very good batting eye at the plate that offsets the strikeouts somewhat, but he will have to show he can make more consistent contact to make use of his offensive tools. Right now Lubanski projects as a solid defensive catcher, but much is really unknown at this point because it remains to be seen whether he can recover from his shoulder injury enough to uncover that potential.

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