Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Thayron Liranzo

The catcher position in fantasy baseball has long been a black hole and a scourge on your lineup. Well, for the most part, the catcher position has been improving dramatically over the last two or three years. This is especially true for the minor league landscape as well. The quality of catching prospects has continuously crept upward and now we have an immensely talented group that can excel offensively at the top of the prospect spectrum, which can compete with most positions. Samuel Basallo put up a wRC+ in High-A that hasn’t been seen from an 18-year-old since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. There also is the 17-year-old phenom in San Diego, Ethan Salas, who could reach the major leagues within a year or two. A player that could make the most significant move this year, could be Thayron Liranzo though. He stands 6’3” and weighs 195 pounds according to Fangraphs. He might actually be a bit taller and heavier than those marks in reality. It is a very athletic frame, which aids in his ability to crush baseballs from both sides of the plate.

Liranzo was signed out of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic by the Dodgers in 2021. He began his career in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) that same season. He only played in 21 games, but managed to hit a respectable .250/.393/.353. The thing that stood out was his 14 walks to 20 strikeouts. The bat wasn’t spectacular in the DSL, but he was able to get on-base and take a walk at times. 

Starting in 2022, Liranzo made the move up to Rookie ball. There, he would go on to hit .237/.339/.487. His power started to shine in-game, as he launched eight home runs over 41 games. The hit tool was a bit lacking and the plate discipline mixed. He had a similar strikeout rate as he did in the DSL, coming in at 24.6%. He managed to walk at a 12.3% rate as well. His main issue was getting hits that were not of the  extra base variety. On the season, he had 20 extra base hits to 35 hits overall. It was a good power display, but that is why the average and on-base percentage was lacking. 

The real show began last season at Low-A ball for Liranzo. He played in 94 games and saw his plate appearances jump up to 418 on the season. He made the best of the added playing time, as he would hit a whopping .272/.400/.562. The power surge was on full display as well, seeing him crush 24 home runs, 24 doubles, and one triple, all in his 19-year-old season. He finished the year  rocking a .290 ISO and a .962 OPS. Pretty much any way you look at it, he had major success in 2023. To go further, his season really broke down into two halves. The first half came from the beginning of the season to June 13, where he missed a month with an apparent hand injury. He played in 50 games hitting .250/.370/.538, with 14 home runs, seven doubles, a wRC+ of 140, a 15.5% walk rate, and a whopping 30.6% strikeout rate. From his return on July 14th to the end of the season, he was on a much improved hot streak. He slugged .301/.429/.603, with 10 home runs, 17 doubles, a wRC+ of 172, a 17.8% walk rate, and a 23.0% strikeout rate. He was a star among stars at Low-A and if he wasn’t developing as a catcher, he probably would have seen a jump to High-A ball at some point. 

Overall, we may be looking at the next top power hitting prospect, if he continues his production with moving up levels. What is so enticing and worthy of the big dreams, is he just might have the offensive profile at catcher, similar to that of Adley Rutschman. A switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate, 20 plus home run potential in the big leagues, and great on-base skills with a good batting average. To get there, Liranzo needs to improve his contact and production as a right-handed hitter. He only managed to hit .213/.314/.493 versus left-handed pitching. Compared to .289/.422/.581 versus right-handed pitching. He was still able to hit home runs, walk, and get on-base as a right-handed hitter, but he just didn’t have the consistency in the rest of his at-bats. Hopefully, that is a clear focus for him heading into 2024, because if he can improve the right side to match his left, the sky isn’t even a limit for him. After his breakout season at Low-A, Liranzo has jumped up in many rankings and now may sit firmly around a top 100 prospect. I think this may even be too low for him right now, as the top level potential at a position lacking stardom, could see him fly up rankings in a very short manner of time. Very few catchers can match his potential for top tier power and great on-base skills. The bat carries a lot of his prospect value and he may need to move over to first base in future years, but right now, Liranzo might be the 3rd best catching prospect in baseball. If the home runs keep coming and he powers his way up to the majors like many are dreaming, we could have a top 50 prospect right in front of our eyes. 

The Author

Daniel Labude

Daniel Labude

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