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2016 MLB Draft: Chris Okey, C, Clemson University

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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Every year there are three particular flavors of catcher for the MLB draft. There are guys with excellent gloves but doubtful bats. There are backstops who can hit well but may not be able to stay behind the plate. These are the two most common varieties. The rarest species and the one that goes earliest on draft day is the complete catcher, the one who can do everything.

Clemson University catcher Chris Okey may be in the third category.

Okey was well-known to scouts as a high school player in Eustis, Florida, and on his own merits was seen as a third or fourth round talent for the 2013 draft. He was strongly committed to Clemson, however, so he fell to the 31st round, didn't sign with the San Diego Padres, and took a starting job as a freshman in 2014. He was mediocre with the bat (.248/.311/.350), but took a step forward as a hitter in 2015 (.315/.389/.545) and has continued that progress in 2016, hitting .330/.450/.577 with 12 homers, 44 walks, and 50 strikeouts in 227 at-bats.

Listed at 5-11, 195, Okey is a right-handed hitter born December 29, 1994. He's put on about 15 pounds since high school but it is strength weight and enables him to drive the ball more effectively than when he was younger. His bat speed isn't terrific by most accounts but he is a patient hitter with a good eye for the strike zone. His OBPs and SLGs should be reasonable, but don't expect batting championships.

On defense, Okey's physical tools are all considered average: average arm, average mobility, average quickness. However, his intangibles and catching instincts are considered excellent and help his physical tools play up behind the plate. There's no question about a position switch here; he'll stay behind the plate in pro ball and do a good job back there.

Overall scouting reports on Okey sound more like he's an okay player rather than a future star. That is true to a certain extent, however Okey doesn't have any serious weaknesses poised to drag his game down, either, and that is a key positive for his future. The general consensus is that Okey can hit .250 with some power and a decent OBP while providing solid defense. He's also proven he can hold up to the rigors of regular catching without loss of offensive production.

He's not Johnny Bench or Josh Gibson, but Okey could have a 15-year career and help his team win games with both bat and glove. Given the paucity of catchers who fit that profile, Okey should go in the top two rounds.


Video from Jesse Burkhart

Five minutes of highlight clips of Okey from JustBombsProductions.