Top Baseball Prospects for 2013
Now updated for 2013's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
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this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best Catching Prospects for 2013
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
Travis D'Arnaud is one of the very top catching prospects in baseball today. Not to be confused with infielder Chase, Travis is an offensively gifted catcher who's ready for major league ball, at least from an offensive perspective: he slashed .333/.380/.595 last year at AAA Las Vegas, ticking off 16 homers in 67 games. A major prize in the sell-high trade of RA Dickey in December 2012, d'Arnaud also has above-average speed for a catcher to go along with a great eye for the strike zone. While his game-calling and defense aren't quite ready for prime time (yet), he'll be pushed along quickly. He should be hitting high in any Mets batting order in 2013, and for years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Travis d'Arnaud
SB 10 BA 23 SC 8 BP 15 SN ES 14 ML 6
Gary Sanchez is a very young but promising backstop from Austin, Texas with a tantalizing upside that should not be ignored. He's a big boy who could further grow into a Joe Mauer shape, and his bat comes from the same forest as the Minnesota superstar, if not quite the same tree. Unless he becomes part of a package used to upgrade Yankee pitching, he should be one of their top prospects for several more years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Gary Sanchez
SB 39 BA 57 SC 29 BP 47 SN ES 18 ML 36
Signed as a sixteen year old out of Panama back in 2008, catcher Christian Bethencourt is a toolsy ballplayer dripping with all-around talent. Competing with far-older players in 2009, the 17-year old showed flashes of power and above-average speed to complement his advanced bat control skills. In 2012, he slashed .243/.275/.291 at AA Mississippi while working primarily on his defense.
Since he's a catcher with the entire universe of game calling and defense to master, he's still a couple of years away, but he's such a shining star that he's a near-lock to rise through the prospect ranks every year before taking over in Atlanta. He's just that talented. If he settles in and looks strong in AA this year, he'll be starting in Atlanta next.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Bethancourt
SB 57 BA SC 65 BP 93 SN ES ML
He might sound like a designer of cheap neckties, but prospective Ranger catcher Jorge Alfaro has been making a name for himself in the damp northwest rather than the fashion outlets in airport shopping malls. A big strong right-handed bat, the still-teenaged Alfaro looks likely to stick behind the plate, where he exhibits a cannon arm of increasing accuracy. His game-calling skills are a long way off, but if that .320/.430/.750 Sally League line from 2012 is a real indicator of his potential, the Rangers will be content to wait it out.
Full Scouting Report for Jorge Alfaro
SB 58 BA SC BP 76 SN ES ML 88
The number one catching prospect in the system until Yasmani Grandal came to town, Austin Hedges is still a top prospect with a very high ceiling. Not quite as ready for the majors as Grandal was, Hedges is still barely out of high school. But he's valid: long-seen as a strong-armed defensive catcher, he slashed an unexpectedly-solid .279/.334/.451 in 96 A-level games in 2012, propelling him into the 'complete catcher' category. He's still a couple of years away.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Hedges
SB 70 BA 58 SC BP 19 SN ES 36 ML 73
A high-school catcher with a tantalizing power bat (15 homers in 27 games in his senior year), the double-named Tommy Joseph was scooped up by the Giants in 2009. In addition to his terrific raw power, Joseph displays a very strong throwing arm and shows signs of excellent leadership and discipline on the field. With the catcher's position in San Francisco locked up for the foreseeable future, the Giants found it easy (?) to part with Joseph at 2012's trade deadline, giving the Phillies a very obvious catcher of the future.
ToJo can also play a reasonable first base, and is athletic enough to learn third if necessary. He's still a bit away away from the big leagues, but he shows every sign of being well-equipped to get there in the near future. We expect to see him get everyday at-bats in 2014, with spot-duty possible before that.
Full Scouting Report for Tommy Joseph
SB 92 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A howitzer-armed high school catcher from Oklahoma, Jonathan Denney promises both offense and defense from the backstop position. Denney has the makings of real plus power coupled with great pitch recognition. A smart player, he has soft hands and great reflexes behind the plate, and seems capable of handling a pitching staff someday, too. That means he should stay at catcher, where he has the most value. Drafted in the third round of 2013's draft by the Red Sox, he's in the right system for the kind of player he seems to be.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Denney
SB 108 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A high-school catcher blessed with a B-movie monicker, Stryker Trahan was drafted by the Diamondbacks at the tail end of 2012's first round. While the final call is more than half a decade away, the early returns suggest that the tallish Trahan may be able to stick at catcher, as he possesses more than the usual strong arm requirement. If he shows aptitude for game-calling, he'll move quickly, but 'quickly' in this context still means 2016 or so.
Full Scouting Report for Stryker Trahan
SB 133 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A switch-hitting catcher of the type the Red Sox have kept on trying to develop for the last decade, Cleveland native Blake Swihart has the tools necessary to succeed in the big leagues, assuming his game-calling head can develop as expected. Already blessed with solid contact ability from either side of the plate, (.448/.492/.845 for Team USA two years ago) he's also showing a strong and accurate throwing arm already. If he has to move away from the plate, he could be a competent third baseman, since he doesn't really have the legs for the outfield, but if that happened he would drop a great deal in value, since there are many other young third basemen with similar offensive pop.
Full Scouting Report for Blake Swihart
SB 136 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A converted shortstop with a cannon arm and a terrific pop time, catcher Jake (JT) Realmuto was another part of Greensboro's A-level championship title in 2010. Untapped power and good speed (for a catcher) combine with a quickly-developing eye that should propel him to the majors one day. Realmuto is Miami's top catching prospect today, though he's still a year or two away from big-league baseball.
Full Scouting Report for JT Realmuto
SB 181 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The most-likely catcher of the future in Philadelphia, Mexican prospect Sebastian Valle is a young offensive dynamo with plus bat control and a powerful swing that should play at any level. Already holding his own against much older competitors, Valle is due to hit AA sometime in 2012. Give him another year or two to master the intricacies of handling a top-flight pitching staff, and he should be a fixture in Philly soon enough.
Full Scouting Report for Sebastian Valle
SB 211 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Another solid all-around young catching prospect from a draft class full of them, Ypsiliati native Coulter has the makings of real plus power and good bat control. Behind the plate, he's shown a strong arm and good reflexes, which means he might remain there, too.
Full Scouting Report for Clint Coulter
SB 233 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A college catcher with a short, powerful stroke at the plate, Mets prospect Kevin Plawecki is a throwback tough-guy catcher whose game is already quite advanced. Given a year or three to absorb the finer points of game-calling, he could blossom into a regular on a rebuilt Mets club of the near future.
Full Scouting Report for Kevin Plawecki
SB 245 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Sometime in the last decade or so, the Braves got very very good at identifying catchers. Victor Caratini, a product of the PR Baseball Academy, is another in the fast-growing line of top-notch backstops coming through Atlanta's system. A reliable defensive target, he's received a great deal of praise for his framing and blocking ability, and his arm, while not a full-bore cannon, is better than many MLB catchers already. At the plate, he's a viable switch-hitter, a disciplined and well-rounded talent who projects as a 10-20 home run guy in the future. (He hit .377 with six home runs and a .549 slugging percentage in 175 ABs with Miami Dade.) Should the Braves catcher pipeline get jammed up, as it may very well, Caratini is also a capable third baseman.
Full Scouting Report for Victor Caratini
SB 248 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A solidly-built catcher/third-base prospect from Kent, Washington, Reese McGuire doesn't quite deserve the Bryce Harper comparisons he sometimes inspires, but he's not all that far off, either. An offensive monster at a young age, he should enjoy the benefits of further physical development over the next couple of years, which means those towering homers will get even more awe-inspiring. Best of all, he gets that power from a short, quick stroke that doesn't look like any kind of all-or-nothing swing. Behind the plate, he looks very very good, definitely good enough to stick at catcher if his body plays along. He's very young and very raw, but there are few players from the 2013 draft class with a higher ceiling.
Full Scouting Report for Reese McGuire
SB 292 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A native of Miami, Jorge 'Tony' Sanchez is an offensive-minded catcher in the style of Matt Wieters (though with less power) or Buster Posey (but with less defensive prowess). He does show enough skill to stick at catcher, though, and his bat is legitimate. He's pretty much major league ready today, and we'll certainly see him in Pittsburgh this year.
Full Scouting Report for Tony Sanchez
SB 312 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An offensive dynamo who led the SCAC in almost every hitting category last season, Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell was plucked from the 2012 Draft's second round by the Athletics. He's advanced as a backstop, suggesting he could find a home in Oakland as early as 2015.
Full Scouting Report for Bruce Maxwell
SB 317 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An all-around athelete who could probably play any position (he's even pitched), Pittsburgh prospect Wyatt Mathisen will probably be groomed as a catcher in order to maximize his baseball smarts and cannon arm. Of course, there's nothing stopping the Pirates from developing him otherwise, so nothing will be certain here for another year or two. Whatever they do, they'll be getting a plus contact hitter who's shown more than a glimmer of power, too.
Full Scouting Report for Wyatt Mathisen
SB 318 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A switch-hitting catcher from Indianapolis, Tucker Barnhart is an all-around ballplayer with great raw tools and more than a small idea how to apply them to the game of baseball. Drafted out of high school by the Reds back in 2009, Barnhart has shown a quality batting eye and good patience at each level of play, slashing .278/.371/.409 last season at high-A Bakersfield and earning a promotion to AA at the end of the year. He's got a little pop, but with less than a dozen homers in three hundred pro games, he won't be winning any home run derbies. Behind the plate, he's a quality receiver with what looks to be a preternatural gift for keeping pitchers in the zone. While Devin Mesoraco has the Reds catcher-of-the-future award in hand for now, Barnhart could be in the running in another couple of years.
Full Scouting Report for Tucker Barnhart
SB 342 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A second-round pick after two years at Oregon State, catcher Andrew Susac is the most promising backstop in the San Francisco minor league system. Behind the plate, he's a quality receiver with a strong arm, and he's very likely to remain a catcher in the future. At-bat, he's a solid gap hitter with a whiff of possible power to come, even if he's a bit swing-and-missy at present. Despite the college experienced, he's still a couple of years away from MLB. The Giants, of course, have no need to rush him.
Full Scouting Report for Andrew Susac
SB 356 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013