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 12 BA 23 SC 8 BP 15 SN ES 14 ML 6
Originally drafted out of high school in 2009, Seattle proto-catcher Mike Zunino (son of ex-Yankee Greg) was still the best catcher available when 2012 rolled around, and Seattle moved quickly to snap up some Jesus insurance by selecting him third overall. Zunino is a power hitter with a bit of a propensity to strike out, but his plus bat speed suggests he could become a better impact hitter with coaching and experience. Behind the plate, he's a strong-armed and very high-quality defensive catcher with significant leadership and game-calling skills, making him a bit of a natural to grow up with Seattle's cadre of young, developing arms. Catchers generally take an extra year or three to really develop, but Seattle is pushing Zunino fast, which makes a Buster Posey-style early ascension not just possible, but probable. He'll take some swings in Safeco this season... and quite possibly more than a few.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Zunino
SB 31 BA 17 SC 30 BP 33 SN ES 15 ML 23
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 56 BA 57 SC 29 BP 47 SN ES 18 ML 36
A blooming catching prospect in a Marlin system that's light on catching prospects, California boy Rob Brantly probably won't be a superstar, but he's quality material behind the plate, and he's already showing a gift for learning on the job, a valuable skill in the 'everybody plays' environment of modern Miami.
He lucked his way onto the Marlin's roster in 2012, then earned a permanent place on his own merit with a nice .290/.372/.460 in 100 at-bats. While he's probably not quite that good, he's the best bet the team has right now and should open 2013 as the everyday catcher, a heck of an opportunity for the youngster. He's always shown a good eye at the plate and decent discipline in applying it, using his quick and compact swing to good effect in taking balls to their natural fields. He hasn't shown much power yet, but could be a more than capable gap hitter in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Rob Brantly
SB 82 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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 101 BA SC 65 BP 93 SN ES ML
Gattis, an offensive-minded catcher who won the South Atlantic League's batting title in 2011, looked just as good in 2012, embarrassing Carolina League pitching with a .385/.468/.821 line before being promoted to a more suitable level of play. He mashed 18 homers, combined. A big, strong hitter, he's not really ready for everyday work at Turner Field, but it's nice to see that the Braves do have offensively-practical prospects like Gattis and Christian Bethancourt in the pipe to replace Brian McCann when the time is right.
Full Scouting Report for Evan Gattis
SB 104 BA SC BP 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 113 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 115 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 120 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 171 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 200 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 221 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 258 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 282 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 295 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A howitzer-armed catcher from Oklahoma State, 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. Committed to Arkansas, he's nonetheless sought-after by a number of MLB ballclubs, and seems likely to skip college for baseball if his bonus offer is lucrative enough.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Denney
SB 302 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The younger brother of infielder Andrew, Austin Romine was a two way player in the Buster Posey fashion, acting as his high school closer as well as everyday catcher. As you might expect, he has one of the best cannons to second of any catcher in the minors today. At the plate he has doubles power and an easy swing, which looks projectable to 20-30 homer power someday. He's not really ready for Yankee Stadium yet, but he's a hard worker with enough raw talent to get there soon, and he's the most promising defender of the Yankee catching prospects.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Romine
SB 348 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 357 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 363 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 364 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013