Today's notes regarding the 2016 Arizona Fall League focuses on catchers.
Mitch Garver, C, Minnesota Twins (Surprise Saguaros): Minnesota Twins catching prospect Mitch Garver currently leads the Arizona Fall League with four home runs. Through 12 games overall he's hitting .244/.333/.556 with the four blasts, two doubles, six walks, and 12 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. A ninth round pick in 2013 from the University of New Mexico, Garver hit .270/.342/.422 with 30 doubles and 12 homers during the regular season in 434 at-bats split between Double-A and Triple-A. Garver has made considerable progress refining his defense, throwing out 50% of runners this year. At age 25 he's not a young prospect, but there are good skills to watch here.
Carson Kelly, C, St. Louis Cardinals (Glendale Desert Dogs): Cardinals catching prospect Carson Kelly is hitting .239/.339/.391 through 46 at-bats. That's not a great slash line but I do like the fact that he's drawn seven walks against just four strikeouts. Renowned for his defensive ability, Kelly has flashed good hitting ability at times but hasn't sustained it over the course of his career, though he did hit .289 this year between Double-A and Triple-A. His glove will keep him in the majors but he strikes me as the type of player who can still take an offensive step forward in his late 20s.
Jacob Nottingham, C, Milwaukee Brewers (Salt Lake Rafters):One of the biggest prospect disappointments of 2016 was Jacob Nottingham, who struggled at .234/.295/.347 in Double-A after a much stronger 2015 season. Alas, he's continued to struggle in Arizona, hitting a very similar .235/.245/.353 with a homer, but just one walk and 16 strikeouts in 51 at-bats. I thought he was a top catching prospect entering '16 but he's been overmatched by more advanced minor league pitching. He's still just 21 so it is too soon to give up, but expectations must certainly be dialed back until he shows better feel for the strike zone.
Jose Trevino, C, Texas Rangers (Surprise Saguaros):Texas Rangers catching prospect Jose Trevino is hitting just .204/.235/.388 in 49 at-bats. However, there's an interesting marker here with only two strikeouts on the docket. A sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Oral Roberts, Trevino threw out 48% of runners this year in High-A while making only two errors in 100 games behind the plate. A former infielder, he has developed into a very good defensive catcher. He hit .303/.342/.434 this year in High-A but that was in the Cal League at High Desert. At age 23 he's two years older than Kelly but like Carson, Trevino's glove will keep him in the picture long enough for his bat to (possibly) develop further. His ability to make contact is a plus.