clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Recent History of Catching Prospects, PART THREE

New, 11 comments


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. Davis had a career mark of .237/.306/.366, +78 OPS. Sundberg finished at .248/.327/.348, +89 OPS, with much greater longevity.


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.


Jeff Winchester, Louisiana HS: Never made the majors. 2000: Grade C; 2001: Grade C, cut for space reasons. 2002: Grade C. Winchester had one good year in 2000, but otherwise he simply didn’t hit, undone by injuries and problems with strike zone judgment.

Gerald Laird, Washington state HS: Already covered. Good glove, will hang around a long time.


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.

Ryan Christianson, California HS: 2000 Grade B-; 2001 Grade C+; 2002 Grade B-; 2003 Grade C+. Christianson was considered a glove-first prospect, but his bat never developed, he had injuries, and never reached the majors.


Scott Heard, California HS: 2001: Grade B; 2002 Grade C+. Scouts always loved his glove, but doubts existed about his bat. He played great in rookie ball (hitting .345/.439/.529) and got the Grade B as a result, but he completely stopped hitting after that, and was out of baseball by 2004.  A huge bust.

David Parrish, University of Michigan: 2001 Grade C; 2002 Grade C. Scouts said the Yankees overdrafted him in the first round, and they were totally right. Parrish is still playing in the minors but just doesn’t have enough offensive skill or defensive ability to force his way to the majors. Bust.

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.

Rene Rivera, Puerto Rico: 2002: Grade C. Fell off the radar quickly due to failure to hit. Still young enough to pop up as a reserve catcher eventually.


Jeremy Brown, Alabama: Already covered. Bust.

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.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Florida HS: 2004 Grade C; 2005 Grade C+; 2006 Grade A-; 2007 Grade B. Salty’s minor league career was actually a bit erratic, and I’ve worried about Young Catcher Stagnation Syndrome with him. It is still unclear what position he will end up at long-term. In his major league career he is a .261/.327/.399 hitter with a +91 OPS, which is hardly impressive compared to his reputation. He is still very young however.

Javy Herrera, Tennessee: 2004 Grade C; 2005 Grade C. Another glove guy who hasn’t hit well and looks destined for backup work if he makes the majors at all.


Neil Walker, Pennsylvania HS: Already covered. New position.

Landon Powell, South Carolina: 2005: Grade B-; 2006 Grade C; 2007 Grade C; 2008 Grade C;    2009 Grade C. Obviously injury issues are the main problem here.

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.

Hang Conger, California HS: 2007 Grade B; 2008 Grade B+; 2009 Grade B. Injuries have been an issue, but the bat looks pretty good.


Matt Wieters, Georgia Tech: Already covered. Best prospect in baseball. 2008: Grade A-; 2009: Grade A.

Devin Mesoraco, Pennsylvania HS. 2008: Grade B;  2009 Grade C. Disappointing so far but still has time to rebound.

J.P. Arencibia, Tennessee. 2008: Grade C+; 2009 Grade B-. Glove better than expected, but strike zone problems are a serious concern.

Josh Donaldson, Auburn. 2008: Grade B, 2009 Grade C+. Traded after struggling in the Midwest League, bat revived in the Cal League, still some uncertainty here.

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.