2019 Top 40 Fantasy Catcher Prospects
Catcher is easily the most shallow fantasy position. As arguably the most important defensive position in baseball, catchers rarely boast impressive offensive profiles. Furthermore, due to the learning curve and physical toll, catcher prospects carry enormous risk and require patience. Only 5-6 catcher prospects deserve a roster spot in shallower leagues, but in deeper leagues identifying impact catchers is vital.
The prospect rankings schedule and a guide to fantasy tool grades can be found here. In addition, to see where the catchers below fall in the overall rankings, you can obtain access to the updated Top 600 Dynasty League Players with a small donation.
2019 Top 40 Fantasy Catcher Prospects
|Rank||Player||Primary Position||Secondary Position||Age||2018 Level||ETA|
|1||Francisco Mejia SD||C||OF||23.42||AAA, MLB||-|
|2||Joey Bart SF||C||-||22.29||AZL, NWL||2021|
|3||Danny Jansen TOR||C||-||23.95||AAA, MLB||-|
|4||Daulton Varsho ARI||C||-||22.74||AZL, A+||2020|
|5||Keibert Ruiz LAD||C||-||20.69||AA||2019|
|6||Zack Collins CHW||C||-||24.14||AA||2019|
|7||Ronaldo Hernandez TB||C||-||21.38||A||2021|
|8||Will Smith LAD||C||3B||24.00||AA, AAA||2019|
|9||Andrew Knizner STL||C||-||24.15||AA, AAA||2019|
|10||Sean Murphy OAK||C||-||24.47||AZL, AA, AAA||2019|
|11||William Contreras ATL||C||-||21.26||A, A+||2021|
|12||M.J. Melendez KC||C||-||20.33||A||2021|
|13||Austin Allen SD||C||1B||25.20||AA||2019|
|14||Willians Astudillo MIN||C||3B||27.46||AAA, MLB||-|
|15||Connor Wong LAD||C||2B||22.86||A+||2020|
|16||Miguel Amaya CHC||C||1B||20.05||A||2021|
|17||Bo Naylor CLE||C||3B||19.10||AZL||2022|
|18||Anthony Seigler NYY||C||-||19.77||GCL, APP||2022|
|19||Luis Campusano SD||C||1B||20.50||A||2021|
|20||Jake Rogers DET||C||-||23.94||AA||2019|
|21||Alex Jackson ATL||C||-||23.26||AA, AAA||2019|
|22||Eric Haase CLE||C||-||26.28||AAA, MLB||2019|
|23||Garrett Stubbs HOU||C||-||25.84||AAA||2019|
|24||Diego Cartaya LAD||C||-||17.56||N/A||2023|
|25||Tyler Stephenson CIN||C||-||22.62||A+||2020|
|26||Brett Cumberland BAL||C||-||23.76||A+, AA||2020|
|27||Francisco Alvarez NYM||C||-||17.36||N/A||2023|
|28||Ryan Jeffers MIN||C||-||21.82||APP, A||2021|
|29||Andy Yerzy ARI||C||1B||20.73||NWL||2022|
|30||Cal Raleigh SEA||C||-||22.34||NWL||2021|
|31||Meibrys Viloria KC||C||-||22.12||A+, MLB||-|
|32||Will Banfield MIA||C||-||19.36||GCL, A||2022|
|33||Josh Breaux NYY||C||-||21.48||GCL, NYP||2021|
|34||Payton Henry MIL||C||-||21.76||A||2021|
|35||Jose Rodriguez TEX||C||-||17.48||N/A||2024|
|36||Blake Hunt SD||C||-||20.38||NWL||2022|
|37||Hendrik Clementina CIN||C||-||21.78||A||2021|
|38||Antonio Gomez NYY||C||-||17.38||N/A||2024|
|39||Jacob Nottingham MIL||C||1B||23.99||AAA, MLB||2019|
|40||Aramis Garcia SF||C||1B||26.21||AA, AAA, MLB||2019|
1. Francisco Mejia, San Diego Padres
Francisco Mejia entered the year poised to make an impact in the majors. Unfortunately, the season started very slowly for Mejia in Triple-A. Through May 24th, he hit only .178/.236/.276, while splitting time between catcher and outfield. Talk of a quick promotion dwindled.
However, Mejia turned his season around. During June, he hit an incredible .455/.476/.717, including 8-straight multi-hit games to end the month. With a rehabilitated stock, the Indians traded Mejia to the Padres for Brad Hand shortly after the All-Star break. Upon his arrival in El Paso, he continued his hot hitting, slashing .328/.364/.582 with 7 home runs over 31 games. Following his abysmal start, Mejia hit a robust .357/.390/.581 from June to September!
In early September, the Padres finally promoted Mejia to the majors. There, he displayed impressive power, blasting 3 home runs over just 62 plate appearances, but otherwise struggled (.179/.258/.375). Next year, Mejia likely will share catching duties with Austin Hedges. During his career, Hedges has failed to provide much value for the Padres, with only 0.9 wins-above-replacement over 275 games. As such, he likely does not represent a legitimate threat to Mejia’s future playing time.
Mejia boasts a potentially plus (or better) fantasy hit tool. A pure hitter, he has elite bat control and makes tons of contact from both sides of the plate. On the downside, Mejia is an aggressive hitter, and can struggle with pitch selection. As such, he likely will require a lengthy adjustment period. In addition to the excellent hit tool, Mejia has above-average raw power, which plays to borderline-average in games. Ultimately, he is major league-ready, and immediately becomes one of the top fantasy catchers, regardless of format.
Peak Projection: .300/.350/.460, 10-15 home runs
2. Joey Bart, San Francisco Giants
In 2007, the fifth overall pick in the MLB Draft was a Georgia Tech catcher (Matt Wieters). This year, the second overall pick was a Georgia Tech catcher. Like Wieters, Joey Bart possesses a highly regarded bat with advanced defensive ability. During his junior season, he hit .359/.471/.632 with 16 home runs, displaying much improved patience and tapping into more of his enormous, plus raw power. Following the draft, Bart continued to mash in short season ball, hitting .298/.369/.613 with 13 home runs in the Northwest League.
A well-built 6’3″ and 220 pounds, Bart looks the part of a slugger. His strength and bat speed generate plus, all-fields power, and he is able to tap into most of his power in games. The biggest questions for Bart surround his hit tool. Entering the year, he was an aggressive hitter with significant contact issues. Although Bart made strides in plate discipline, he still has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. Between college (56 strikeouts) and his debut (47 strikeouts), he struck out in 20.6% of plate appearances. Given the quality of competition, Bart whiffed a ton. As he climbs the ladder, he likely will experience a spike in strikeouts and a dip in batting average. Regardless, Bart is a potential special fantasy catcher, with an average hit tool and above-average to plus power.
Peak Projection: .260/.330/.485, 25-30 home runs
3. Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays
Danny Jansen exploded onto the scene in 2017, hitting .323/.400/.484 and rocketing from High-A to Triple-A. This past year, he proved his breakout was no fluke. In fact, Jansen performed as the second best hitter in Triple-A International League. Consequently, the Blue Jays promoted him to the majors in mid-August. There, Jansen continued to impress, displaying some impressive power.
While Jansen failed to hit for as lofty of a batting average this year, he tapped into more power. This trend likely is due to a reversion in his batted ball profile. Prior to 2017, Jansen was a fly ball-heavy hitter, regularly topping 50% fly balls. Last year, he flipped the script, lowering his fly ball percentage by nearly 20% and increasing his ground ball percentage by over 15%. In turn, Jansen found more success on balls in play. This year, he reverted to his former fly ball-heavy approach, resulting in more game power while causing his batting average to fall. Nevertheless, Jansen continued to make progress at the plate, displaying exceptional plate discipline (66-to-53 strikeout-to-walk ratio) and improved power production (.195 ISO).
Peak Projection: .270/.360/.440, 15-20 home runs
4. Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks
Few catching prospects possess as much fantasy upside as Daulton Varsho. Indeed, he is a rare, potential five-category performer at catcher. What sets him apart from other catchers is his above-average-to-plus speed. Most importantly, Varsho is not afraid to run, stealing 26 bases over just 97 games, including the Arizona Fall League. At the plate, he has plus bat speed, and generates above-average raw power, which plays down in games due to a level swing plane.
Meanwhile, Varsho has quieted questions regarding his ability to stick at catcher. His athleticism provides excellent mobility and fluidity behind the plate. In addition, Varsho has made great strides with his receiving and pop-times.
Peak Projection: .275/.350/.450, 15-20 home runs, 10-15 stolen bases
5. Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers
Although 19-year-old Keibert Ruiz played only 38 games in High-A last year, he received an aggressive promotion to Double-A. In the Southern League, he was one of the youngest players, and understandably struggled at times. On the whole, however, Ruiz had a solid season. Despite his youth, he led the league in strikeout percentage (8%), and was among the league leaders in swinging strike percentage (6.8%). In addition, Ruiz continued to hit tons of line drives (24%) to all fields.
Ruiz has exceptional bat control and an uncanny feel to hit. As such, he utilizes an aggressive, high-contact approach. Moving forward, Ruiz should be more selective and look for pitches to drive. Additionally, he is a switch-hitter, but he struggles from the right-side, with just one career home run against left-handed pitching. From the left-side, Ruiz possesses the ability to impact the ball with borderline-average power.
Peak Projection: .285/.340/.435, 10-15 home runs
6. Zack Collins, Chicago White Sox
Zack Collins is the headliner of a catching-rich 2016 Draft, including Smith, Knizner, Murphy, and Rogers, among others. The tenth overall pick is the quintessential three-true-outcomes player. This year, he walked (19%) or struck out (29.8%) in nearly fifty percentage of plate appearances. Unfortunately, the third, and most desirable, outcome, home runs, is lagging behind the others. Nevertheless, Collins still possesses mammoth raw power. Indeed, he won the Double-A Southern League home run derby this year. If everything coalesces for him at the plate, he could develop into a dominant fantasy catcher, especially in on-base percentage leagues.
Meanwhile, concerns remain regarding whether Collins will actually remain at catcher long-term. Although he made incremental strides this year, he continues to struggle behind the plate, committing 9 errors and permitting 13 passed balls. Ultimately, Collins need only qualify at catcher in fantasy. In fact, an ideal outcome may only consist of 20 games/year behind the plate, with the rest at designated hitter or first base (see Evan Gattis).
Peak Projection: .240/.360/.460, 25-30 home runs
7. Ronaldo Hernandez, Tampa Bay Rays
This year, Ronaldo Hernandez built upon an impressive showing in the Appalachian League in 2017 (.332/.382/.507). In Low-A Midwest League, he was one of the top performers, hitting for both power and average. Hernandez takes big swings and taps into most of his above-average-to-plus raw power. Currently, his plus bat speed and advanced bat-to-ball skills mask some holes at the plate. Specifically, his aggressive, pull-heavy (55.6%) approach likely will require adjustment as he moves up the ladder. In fact, all 32 of his professional home runs are to the pull-side. Nonetheless, Hernandez is an exciting offensive talent with enough defensive promise to project as a catcher long-term.
Peak Projection: .270/.325/.470, 20-25 home runs
8. Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers
Prior to 2017, few predicted much power from Will Smith. A first round pick in the 2016 Draft on the strength of his defensive ability, he has proved his glove is not the only weapon in his arsenal. Last year, Smith experienced a power breakout (.216 ISO) due to an altered stride, and, this year, he showed the newfound power is no fluke. During a 41-game stretch in June and July, he blasted 15 home runs! Indeed, Smith led Double-A Texas League in home run-to-fly ball rate (25.3%). In addition to the power, he is trending toward a three-true-outcomes profile, as his late-count, selective approach leads to plenty of walks (10.6%) and strikeouts (27.7%).
Behind the plate, Smith remains an excellent defensive catcher. This year, however, he more heavily split his time between catcher and third base, likely due to the presence of Keibert Ruiz. Next year, Smith likely returns to Triple-A, and should be the first Dodgers catching prospect to debut.
Peak Projection: .250/.330/.440, 20-25 home runs
9. Andrew Knizner, St. Louis Cardinals
Laboring in the shadow of fellow Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly, Andrew Knizner spent most of the season in Double-A Texas League. There, he continued to impress, hitting .313/.365/.434 and limiting strikeouts (12.8%). Knizner employs a controlled, all-fields approach with a quick bat and excellent bat-to-ball ability. Although his offensive game focuses on making lots of low, hard contact, he has enough thump to punish mistakes.
While Knizner has surpassed Kelly at the plate, he continues to lag behind defensively. With that said, he has quelled doubts regarding his ability to stay behind the plate. Now, most believe he will develop into a borderline-average defender. Of course, Knizner remains thoroughly blocked for the next couple years, as the Cardinals have Yadier Molina under contract through 2020.
Peak Projection: .280/.330/.420, 10-15 home runs
10. Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics
Entering July, Sean Murphy was dominating Double-A Texas League. Given Jonathan Lucroy’s struggles in the majors, it was conceivable Murphy may have received a promotion down the stretch. Alas, a broken hamate bone sidelined him for most of July and August. Prior to and following the injury, Murphy enjoyed a strong season in Double-A, after struggling there the year before.
At the plate, Murphy has solid plate discipline, and balances a high-contact approach with gap-to-gap power. Due to a level swing plane, he likely will hit for less power than his above-average raw power portends. Meanwhile, as an above-average defensive catcher with a strong arm, Murphy is almost a lock to stick at catcher.
Peak Projection: .265/.330/.425, 10-15 home runs
11. William Contreras, Atlanta Braves
The younger brother of Willson Contreras, William shows strikingly similar promise at the plate. Like his brother, he possesses a quick bat and above-average raw power to all fields. In addition, Contreras exhibits solid plate discipline, despite an aggressive approach and occasional struggles with pitch recognition. As such, he suffers a fair bit of swing-and-miss (13.3% swinging strikes). Regardless, Contreras is adept at making hard, gap-to-gap contact, and could develop sizable game power with added leverage in his swing.
Peak Projection: .270/.340/.450, 15-20 home runs
12. M.J. Melendez, Kansas City Royals
A second round pick in the 2017 Draft, M.J. Melendez has quickly adapted to the rigors of professional ball. This year, he shined as one of the top prospects on a loaded Lexington team. With a lightning fast bat, Melendez generates huge exit velocities and potential plus or better raw power. Such power was on full display all season, as he amassed 54 extra base hits (.241 ISO) and an impressive 17.6% home run-to-fly ball rate. On the other hand, his hit tool is still developing, and he struggles with pitch recognition and significant swing-and-miss (30.3 K% and 18.7% SwStr%). However, most observers grade his future hit tool at 45/50, given his elite bat speed and feel to hit. In addition to his promising bat, Melendez is athletic with a strong arm, and exhibits cat-like mobility behind the plate.
Peak Projection: .255/.320/.465, 20-25 home runs
13. Austin Allen, San Diego Padres
From the 2017 All-Star Break to the 2018 All-Star Break, Austin Allen was a world-beater. During that time, he hit an incredible .307/.361/.570 with 32 home runs over 130 games. Much of his performance was legitimate, as he possesses plus raw power and a balanced approach. Furthermore, Allen is a better athlete than many believe, with good mobility and blocking ability. Unfortunately, he still is only a borderline-average defensive catcher, leading to increased playing time at first base. In addition, Allen has experienced some difficulty with left-handed pitching. Further, the arrival of Francisco Mejia by trade clouds his long-term prospects. Ultimately, Allen likely profiles as a strong-side platoon first baseman and backup catcher.
Peak Projection: .250/.310/.460, 20-25 home runs
14. Willians Astudillo, Minnesota Twins
Willians Astudillo struck out less times than Francisco Mejia this year (83) in his entire career (81)! Arguably, he is the most extreme contact hitter in professional baseball. The polar opposite of a three-true-outcomes hitter, Astudillo rarely walks (3%) or strikes out (4.2%). As such, he puts nearly everything in play, and is a career .306 hitter. This past season, Astudillo finally received a promotion to the majors at nearly 27 years old. In his debut, he excelled, showcasing his unorthodox high-contact approach and hitting for surprising pop. Moving forward, fantasy owners should heavily temper expectations. Astudillo is a poor athlete and defender with below-average power. The novelty likely will wear off fast. Additionally, Astudillo will battle for playing time as an utility infielder, likely ceding catching duties to Jason Castro and similarly impressive Mitch Garver.
Peak Projection: .285/.320/.415, 5-10 home runs
15. Connor Wong, Los Angeles Dodgers
Few players had a better start to the season than Connor Wong. Over his first 12 games, he hit .396/.463/.979 with 8 home runs! Thereafter, his performance understandably cooled, including a violent fall back to earth in May and June. Although he rebounded in the second half (.311/.392/.533), his final season line was actually comparable to the average hitter for Rancho Cucamonga (.274/.351/.474). Indeed, much of his production came at home (.325/.414/.620). Further, Wong often takes huge, long swings, leading to plenty of power (21.6% HR/FB) and swing-and-miss (32% K% and 17.5% SwStr%). Meanwhile, he is a distant third in the pecking order at catcher for the Dodgers. Given his athleticism, however, he is already receiving looks at second and third base.
Peak Projection: .245/.315/.420, 15-20 home runs
16. Miguel Amaya, Chicago Cubs
The youngest of the 2018 Low-A catching quadfecta (i.e., Hernandez, Contreras, and Melendez), Miguel Amaya has similar, although different, upside. Universally regarded as a potential plus defensive catcher, he is a near lock to remain at the position long-term. In addition, Amaya is beginning to show promise at the plate. A late season slump, likely simply due to exhaustion, lowered his overall line from a strong first half (.288/.365/.500). Amaya displays average-to-above raw power, with a patient approach to punish mistakes. Still very young, and developing, he currently is pull-heavy and struggles with offspeed away. All told, Amaya lacks the offensive upside of others in the quadfecta, but likely carries less long-term risk.
Peak Projection: .255/.325/.425, 15-20 home runs
17. Bo Naylor, Cleveland Indians
The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Bo (formerly, Noah) was similarly a first round pick, 29th overall in the 2018 Draft. The similarities do not end there, as Bo also has a comparable offensive profile to his older brother. Unlike Josh, however, Bo knows defense, with the athleticism and arm strength to profile at catcher or third base. In his debut, he impressed in the Arizona League, displaying a patient approach and progress behind the plate.
Peak Projection: .275/.350/.445, 15-20 home runs
18. Anthony Seigler, New York Yankees
Selected ahead of Bo Naylor in the 2018 Draft, Anthony Seigler has slightly less offensive upside. However, he is a potential above-average defender, with excellent athleticism, mobility, and arm strength. Interestingly, he is ambidextrous, a switch-hitter and switch-thrower! Of course, as a catcher, Seigler almost certainly will throw right-handed, but it shows his natural skill and potential from both sides of the plate. Speaking of, he exhibits advanced plate discipline and makes hard contact to all fields.
Peak Projection: .280/.350/.435, 10-15 home runs
19. Luis Campusano, San Diego Padres
The first catcher selected in the 2017 Draft, Luis Campusano rivals M.J. Melendez as the top catcher in the draft class. Like Melendez, he possesses plus raw power and bat speed. His swing plane, however, is far more linear, resulting in tons of ground balls (50.7%). In addition, Campusano is an aggressive, pull-heavy hitter, often resulting in sub-optimal contact. Regardless, his upside is as high, if not higher, than any of the catching quadfecta, above.
20. Jake Rogers, Detroit Tigers
A 2016 third round pick of the Houston Astros, Jake Rogers was one of three prospects acquired by the Tigers in the Justin Verlander trade. Widely-regarded as an elite defensive catcher, he is an excellent receiver and blocker with a quick, accurate release. In fact, this year, Rogers threw out an astounding 50 of 90 base stealers (55.6%)! Meanwhile, after a very slow start at the plate, with 0 extra base hits in his first 24 games (.161/.237/.161), he finished very strong. Over his last 60 games, Rogers blasted 14 home runs (.257/.347/.533). Although he is unlikely to hit for a high average, he has solid power and a high floor as a very likely major league contributor.
Peak Projection: .240/.330/.420, 15-20 home runs
The Best of the Rest
2019 Catcher Prospect Sleepers
The following prospects may rise significantly with strong showings in 2019. Each has immense upside, but each is also years away from the majors.
Andy Yerzy, Arizona Diamondbacks. A second round pick in 2016, Yerzy remains extremely raw, and has yet to reach full-season ball. However, he continues to impress at the plate against older competition, hitting .297/.382/.452 in the Northwest League. With above-average raw power and a patient approach, Yerzy has plenty of upside, although it is a open question whether he can stick at catcher long-term.
Payton Henry, Milwaukee Brewers. A sixth round pick in the 2016 Draft, Henry finally arrived in full-season ball this year. There, he held his own (.234/.327/.380), displaying above-average raw power and improved defense.
Blake Hunt, San Diego Padres. The Padres doubled down on catcher early in the 2017 Draft, selecting Hunt thirty picks after Luis Campusano. Although Hunt does not possess Campusano’s upside, he is already a well-regarded defender with an average hit tool and developing power.
Hendrik Clementina, Cincinnati Reds. Listed at a rotund 6’0″ and 250 pounds, Clementina is a big man with big power. This year, he torched the pitcher-friendly Midwest League through early June (.347/.424/.678), before slowing down to a final line of .268/.327/.497 with 18 home runs. Lacking much athleticism or arm strength, Clementina is a long-shot to remain at catcher.
Close to the Show: 40-Man Roster Catcher Prospects
Expect several of the following players to see time in the majors this year. Injuries or under-performance at the major league level could elevate several to starting jobs.
Eric Haase, Cleveland Indians. After launching 27 home runs in Double-A in 2017, Haase found less success this year in Triple-A (.236/.288/.443). Long prone to strikeouts, he amassed 149 (30.2%) between Triple-A and his brief debut, with an unsightly 17% swinging strike percentage. Still, Haase possesses huge raw power and, now, a far clearer path to long-term playing time following the trade of Francisco Mejia.
Meibrys Viloria, Kansas City Royals. Despite spending most of the season in High-A, Viloria briefly debuted this September. Of course, he is far from a finished product, and likely starts next year in Double-A. This year, a slow start found him hitting just .209/.317/.281 through June. Over his final two months, Viloria flashed his potential, hitting .321/.373/.457.
Jacob Nottingham, Milwaukee Brewers. Once a touted prospect, and the headliner in the 2016 Khris Davis trade, Nottingham has fallen from grace. Before injuries plagued his season, he showed some signs of life early this year, enjoying the favorable hitting conditions of Colorado Springs. Nevertheless, Nottingham remains a poor defender with a questionable hit tool.
Aramis Garcia, San Francisco Giants. Following Buster Posey’s hip surgery, Garcia made some noise over the final month of the season (.286/.308/.492). With above-average raw power, he could provide a serviceable handcuff for Posey early next year. As an aggressive, pull-heavy hitter lacking much bat speed, however, Garcia likely will be a drain in batting and on-base averages.
Close to the Show: High-A and Above Catcher Prospects
The road for prospects is long and winding. These prospects are one step closer, already reaching High-A, and in some cases, beyond.
Alex Jackson, Atlanta Braves. Three years after the Mariners drafted Jackson sixth overall in the 2014 Draft, they discarded him for two fringy pitchers and the Braves moved Jackson back to catcher. Since then, he flashed long-awaited promise last year, then promptly collapsed this year (.201/.286/.360). On the positive side, he still has enormous power, and he has made strides behind the plate. Update: The Braves added Jackson to the 40-man roster.
Garrett Stubbs, Houston Astros. A professional hitter, Stubbs continues to hit tons of line drives (26.3%), while exercising excellent plate discipline. In addition, he remains a phenomenal defender. With Max Stassi the likely starting catcher for the Astros next year, Stubbs may receive an opportunity. Without much power, though, his upside is modest. Update: The Astros added Stubbs to the 40-man roster.
Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds. A former first round pick, Stephenson is inching his way toward the upper minors. After two consecutive injury-shortened seasons, he was finally healthy this year and performed well in High-A (.250/.338/.392). Stephenson retains significant upside due to solid on-base ability and latent raw power.
Brett Cumberland, Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles acquired Cumberland from the Atlanta Braves as part of the package for Kevin Gausman. A poor man’s three-true-outcomes hitter, Cumberland walks (13.9%), strikes out (24.9%), and hits for some power (13.1% HR/FB). A borderline-average defender, he will need to improve at the plate to profile as a starting catcher.
2018 Draft Catcher Prospects
The 2018 Amateur Draft included many intriguing catching prospects, from raw high school teenagers to seasoned college bats. Here are the most interesting options.
Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins. A second round pick, Jeffers destroyed the Appalachian League (.422/.543/.578) and performed well in the more age-appropriate Midwest League (.288/.361/.446). A bat-first catcher, he is patient with above-average raw power, and could develop into a league-average hitter at peak.
Cal Raleigh, Seattle Mariners. Almost a carbon-copy of Jeffers, Raleigh fell to the third round and found similar success in his debut, lighting up the Northwest League (.288/.367/.534). Also a bat-first catcher, Raleigh sets himself apart as a switch-hitter, though a slightly worse defender.
Will Banfield, Miami Marlins. An advanced defensive catcher, Banfield has a plus arm and exhibits all the makings of an above-average fielder. At the plate, he boasts above-average raw power, but struggles with contact and pitch recognition.
Josh Breaux, New York Yankees. Pronounced “Bro,” as made abundantly clear by Nick Swisher, Breaux arguably has the most raw power of any catcher in the draft class, including Joey Bart. In addition to his power, he has a cannon of an arm, throwing as fast as 100 mph. Other than those loud tools, everything else is a work-in-progress.
2018 International Free Agent Catcher Prospects
Each summer, major league teams dive deep into the international market, signing 16- and 17-year-old prospects to million dollar bonuses. Like Miguel Cabrera, some of these young men become super stars.
Diego Cartaya, Los Angeles Dodgers. Regarded as one of the top international amateurs, Cartaya signed for $2.5 million. Most observers rave about his defensive ability and precocious baseball instincts. In addition, Cartaya already displays advanced plate discipline and a feel to hit with gap-to-gap, projectable power.
Francisco Alvarez, New York Mets. Surpassing Cartaya in signing bonus ($2.7 million), Alvarez may possess more offensive upside. At the plate, he has above-average raw power and an all-fields approach. In the field, however, Alvarez lags significantly behind Cartaya, with less arm strength and unrefined actions.
Jose Rodriguez, Texas Rangers. The Rangers doled out $2 million to sign Rodriguez, who profiles as a bat-first catcher. A lot of questions surround his ability to stick behind the plate, but he has as much offensive upside as Alvarez.
Antonio Gomez, New York Yankees. Arguably, Gomez possesses the loudest tool of any catching prospect, with a huge arm, generating pop-times below 1.8 seconds. Meanwhile, he has promising hitting ability and some developing power.