The catchers of the 2015 MLB draft class aren't a strong suit but there is still some value here. There are a handful of solid all-around players and only one guy I see as a clear impact player, Chris Betts.
There is basic bio info on most of these guys at the bottom of the article.
Chris Betts is the best of the group. He has huge power potential and while his body type may not allow him to catch for his entire career, his bat should be enough to carry him. He has a strong arm and good actions behind the dish. I would consider him a better defensive catcher than someone like Kyle Schwarber with similar potential with the stick in a few years.
Wyatt Cross is the next best prep catcher. He is on the other end of the spectrum compared to Betts. Cross is more in the Austin Hedges mold, where he has a huge arm, good actions behind the dish and a questionable bat. He has some bat speed but his swing mechanics need work. There is potential for the bat to catch up, as he's a good athlete and hits the ball hard at times but his value is in the glove and arm.
Taylor Ward is a good hitting catcher. He has the frame you would want in a catcher and is a solid defender. At Fresno State, I don't get much opportunity to see him, so it's pretty much stat scouting and YouTube. I dug around and found a few more videos of him and I had him underrated in my top 300 list. He has a better bat than I thought. I'd like to see him more in game action but he's easily a top 3 round guy if not higher. With his pop and his above average defense, he could be a big league starter or a prototype backup down the line.
Jason Goldstein is the best all around catcher in the college class. His offense is based around hard contact up the middle, mostly singles, but he has the ability to punish mistakes. He is a square hitter and won't do anything fancy in any way but he is a durable, quality catcher. His arm and receiving are average. His speed is poor. He's not a Molina but he's close. He looks like a sure fire backup in the majors with potential to be an average regular if everything works out.
Nick Fortes makes hard contact all the time. He gets out on his front foot too early but he still has the strength to rip the ball. Defensively, he's not Wyatt Cross but he's not overly far behind. I am a little concerned about off the field stuff, though. I had him very high and thought he was a gamer who would play above his tools. I'm not confident in that now. Maybe I'm wrong.
Elih Marrero is the son of former big leaguer Eli Marrero. At 5'9", 190, he looks exactly like a catcher should look. He's a solid bodied receiver with good actions, a strong arm and quiet actions behind the plate. The more I see of him, the more I like him. At the plate, he has quick hands and a short, compact swing that he uses to hit balls to all fields. He looks like a well-balanced all around catching prospect.
Chris Cullen is a tall, 6'5", 200 LB catcher, so that tall of a guy isn't overly likely to stick but he has the tools to. He has a strong arm and is agile behind the plate but he's 6'5". Offensively, he has long levers and really gets into the ball when he hits it. He has a lot of offensive potential if it works out. Oddly enough, he's committed to South Carolina who just ran through a similar guy in Grayson Greiner. I'm usually not in favor of players going to school but he seems like a guy who could really do well in college. He may be a corner OF or a 1B down the line but the swing looks like he'll generate enough power to make that work if he needs to.
Garrett Wolforth recently reclassified to be in this class. He is over a year younger than Wyatt Cross. At this point I don't have all the draft ages compiled but he will be one of the youngest players in the draft. At this point, he is the youngest true prospect in the draft. He has an absolute rocket behind the dish. Offensively, he is very raw. He is a switch hitter but he needs work. He has potential at the plate and will need to focus on it as well as continuing to improve his defense. That arm is special and if catching doesn't work out, it's possible to see him as a convert to the mound at some point.
Lucas Herbert is a prep catcher that has shown solid catch and throw skills for years already. He has good actions behind the plate and a strong arm. At the plate he has a good swing but isn't an impact hitter at this point. He needs to gain strength to get to his ceiling there. He is committed to UCLA and they have a strong track record of having excellent defensive catchers. The bat is what needs to be watched with Herbert at this point and there is a chance he becomes a very good overall player.
Michael Benson possesses solid defensive actions and arm strength as well. He has quick feet and is agile behind the dish. His defensive skills are not at as good as the top guys on this list but should be good enough for him to stick. I prefer Benson's bat to some of the guys listed ahead of him currently but the fact he isn't as smooth defensively keeps him down the list a little more. UCLA seems like they want a catcher out of this class because Benson and Herbert are both committed. It will be interesting to see the dynamics this causes, if any, come draft time.
Michael Hickman is another prep catcher with a well-rounded overall package. He is quiet behind the plate receiving and has a strong arm. He will need plenty of work behind the plate and may not stick back there. He isn't fast, so he'd have to work on his defense wherever he plays, whether it's catcher, left or right field. He may even end up at 1B because he isn't fast. It all depends on reaction time and other things that will be decided and worked on well down the line if he doesn't stick behind the dish. At the plate, he has solid power potential. He could hit 20+ bombs with his power potential. He has to improve on his swing mechanics. The raw skills are there to be a very good player though. I've contemplated having him as high as the 90's and as low as the upper 200's. He is tough to get a handle on for me.
C.J. Saylor was known for his strong defense out of high school and little has changed. He has had some injury issues at San Diego State and redshirted his freshman year. He only played in 14 games last season, so there is minimal collegiate track record. While he has plenty of college eligibility remaining to improve his skills, college isn't a good place to hone his catching skills other than getting reps. They typically don't call games and are told what to do from the dugout instead of quarterbacking the team on the field by themselves. He did get 102 AB's this summer in the Northwoods league but he needs to have a good season to get any semblance of a good draft position.
Jameson Fisher is another college backstop but he plays at SE Louisiana and I have never seen a SE Louisiana game. Not one. I'd like to see Fisher play. He has good stats, excellent K/BB rates and some speed. He also had a solid year on the cape but I have yet to track any video of him down. I may be low on him. I'm not sure. I lack what I need to give him a full assessment. Along with that, he is out with torn labrum, so, there's that.
Francis Christy, Chris Chinea, R.J. Ybarra, Ronnie Healy and John Clay Reeves have all shown me more offense than defense and have shown strong hitting ability at times. None have shown it consistently enough or against high level pitching for me to have full confidence in them but they could move up if they do.
Some other names to mention are Casey Schroeder, Will Haynie, Anthony Hermlyn, Riley Smith, Korey Dunbar, Michael Curry, Ian Rice, Pat Mazeika, Cass Browm, Blake Baxendale and J.D. Crowe. Others may pop up as well but these are the guys I have on my radar at this point.
Bio Information: As I state often on my other site and occasionally here, I am one person doing all of this. There may be a few errors in schools, stats, heights, weights, commitments. I do my best but people seem to move and grow and change their minds some times. I can't stay on top of all of movements but I try. That and covering the entire country is an enormous undertaking. I do my best to do it but I can't keep up on all of it all the time. This is not my full time job.
|Wyatt Cross||HS||North Carolina||Left||Right||6'3"||190||CO|
|Taylor Ward||College||Fresno State||Right||Right||6'2"||185||CA|
|Elih Marrero||HS||Mississippi State||Both||Right||5'10"||175||FL|
|Christopher Cullen||HS||South Carolina||Right||Right||6'4"||197||GA|
|Garrett Wolforth||HS||Dallas Baptist||Both||Right||6'2"||185||TX|
|C.J. Saylor||College||San Diego State||Right||Right||5'10"||195||CA|
|Jameson Fisher||College||Southeastern Louisiana||Left||Right||6'2"||180||LA|
|Francis Christy||College||Central Arizona CC||Left||Right||6'2"||215||CA|
|Chris Chinea||College||Louisiana State||Right||Right||6'1"||205||FL|
|R.J. Ybarra||College||Arizona State||Right||Right||6'||195||CA|
|Korey Dunbar||College||North Carolina||Right||Right||6'1"||215||GA|
|Riley Smith||College||San Jacinto (Texas)||Right||Right||6'1"||180||NC|
|Ronnie Healy||College||Broward CC||Left||Right||5'11"||195||FL|
|John Clay Reeves||College||Rice||Right||Right||6'||198||LA|