clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2017 MLB Draft Profile: under the radar catchers

Millersville's Mitch Stoltzfus and Nova Southeastern's Michael Hernandez were the backstops in last year's Division II Baseball Championship series. This June, they hope to get their names called on the same day.

It's easy to dissect the top three rounds of the Major League Draft. Unlike other sports' drafts that last a few rounds, baseball's seemingly lasts months. It's fun to dig deep and see what they other division's of collegiate baseball have to offer.

Thus far in DII, Minor League Ball has profiled three pitchers:

Today we turn our attention to some hitters. It's probably better to clarify that. Today, we turn our attention to two of the premier defenders in the nation whom also swing a solid bat.

MITCH STOLTZFUS, MILLERSVILLE
Senior, Hit: R Throws: R, 6-foot -- 195 lbs.

Last season was one to remember for Stoltzfus. He led the Marauders to the championships behind a Second Team All-American season. He won Rawlings/ ABCA Division II Gold Glove honors by not committing an error in 301 chances and throwing out nearly 50 percent of attempted base runners. He also hit .414 with a team best 10 home runs. Not too shabby.

"I'm never satisfied with anything that I've done in the past," Stoltzfus said. "My freshman year, I felt I was a good enough hitter to play, but where I struggled, believe it or not was behind the plate.

"I went to a small high school. If I saw an 85 mile-per-hour pitch, that was fast to me. Now I come up here and I'm seeing 88 to 90 every day. The game sped up, my mind was all over the place. It took a lot of hard work. The mental side is what really put me over the top."

Offensively his numbers are down this season, but he is still solid both at and behind the plate. Yes, he's made an error this season -- a whopping two actually -- but he has sound receiving skills (just 10 passed balls in more than a season and a half) and a cannon with the ability to throw people out at high rates (throwing out nearly 60 percent this season).

While inconsistencies at the plate may make him a bit lower of a pick than some of the pitchers out there, in today's catcher market, Stoltzfus could get some mid-teen consideration.

(As always, I share my profiles from NCAA.com in case you are interested in further research. You can hear more from him and get some more analysis here: Mitch Stoltzfus has Millersville back in the hunt).

MICHAEL HERNANDEZ, NOVA SOUTHEASTERN
Senior, Hit: R Throw: R, 6-foot -- 200 lbs

Hernandez helped lead Nova Southeastern to the program's first national championship, defeating Millersville last season. Unlike his championship series foe, Hernandez is almost all defensive prowess. That hasn't stopped plenty a catcher from being drafted before him, nor has it meant they couldn't continue to develop at the next level.

Last season, Hernandez posted a .978 fielding percentage, committing just seven errors in 319 chances. He did allow 12 passed balls as well, but that is hardly a red flag for a collegiate catcher. He threw out 25 percent of his runners as well.

During his junior campaign he hit a very respectable .271 with seven home runs, nine doubles and 30 RBI. What plagues him is his strike out rates. He led the team in strikeouts (50) with just 16 walks.

Defensively he remains on par with last season, but the hitting has become a struggle. Again, it seems to be behind an inflated strikeout rate (34 in 77 at bats) while walking just seven times. While it's unfortunate to struggle in one's senior season, it's not an end all as the talent is still there. With Nova Southeastern still nationally ranked, plenty of eyes will be on Hernandez as June gets closer. He has time to right the ship and impressive the right people.

(Again, if you are interested in his interview, you can read more here.)