Yankees Top Five Catching Prospects

peter o'brien2This isn’t a difficult list to make, but there are some really intriguing names on the list. Keep in mind Romine is not qualified because he played in the major leagues this year. He would probably rank fifth on this list if he was eligible. Catching has been an area of great depth for quite a while now, and this year is no exception.

1. Gary Sanchez -”the Sanchize” C, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds, RHB, 20 – .253/.324/.412/.736 line with 15 homeruns this year. He has all the power to be a top of the line backstop. If he can hit for average he will put it all together and be a star. His defensive game is catching up with his offensive game and there are not many more questions that he will be able to stick behind the dish. Highest Level: Double-A. Will start 2014 at: Double-A. Estimated arrival: 2015. Ceiling: All-star catcher, 30 homeruns annually, .300+ average. Floor: Bust. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Low/intermediate

2. J.R. Murphy – “Murph”: C, 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, RHB, 21 – His season line is .269/.347/.26/.774 with 12 homeruns in Double and Triple-A. He is a solid defensive backstop and can hit well for his position. He managed to hit for decent average and above average power this year, and there could be more where that came from. He has done a great job adjusting to each level, and has a great makeup. Highest Level: Triple-A. Will start 2014 at: Triple-A. Estimated arrival: 2014. Ceiling: Borderline all-star, 20 homeruns annually, .285 average. Floor: Backup catcher. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: intermediate.

3. Peter O’Brien – C, 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, 22 – His stat line this year was an impressive .291/.350/.544/.893 with 22 homeruns. Overall he easily had one of the best seasons of anyone in the system. He is a great hitter but has yet to find his niche in the field. It’s questionable at best whether or not he can stick behind the dish, however there’s a good change he plays a role similar to Evan Gattis. He could play third base, corner outfield, and catcher serviceably and serve as some serious right handed power in the Bronx in the meantime. Highest level: High-A. Will start 2014 at: High-A. Estimated arrival: 2016. Ceiling: 30 HR, .280 average, versatile yet below average fielder. Floor: Quadruple-A. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: low/intermediate

4. Luis Torrens – “Torr-nado” C, 6-foot-0, 171-pounds, RHB, 17 – It was not a dream year for Torrens with the bat. He his .241/.348/.299/.647 in his first year stateside as a 17 year old. He is ahead of the game defensively though and at just 17 he was the youngest player in the GCL last year. He’ll have to improve upon those numbers if he wants to get himself on the prospect radar, but he could easily follow in the footsteps of Miguel Andujar. Highest level: Rookie GCL. Will start 2014 at: Rookie GCL. Estimated arrival: 2019. Ceiling: All-star catcher, 20+ homeruns, .300+ average. Floor: bust. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Low.

5. Alvaro Noriega – C, 6-foot-0, 198-pounds, RHB – He’s just 18 years old but had a much better performance in the GCL than Torrens this year. His stat line was .295/.337/.389/.726 with one homerun and six doubles. His fielding is more average than anything else and will need to improve along with his bat to make it up the ladder. He is known as a hit first catcher so his bat will have to be even better than it was this year to keep his prospect status. Highest level: GCL. Will start 2014 at: Staten Island. Estimated arrival: 2018. Ceiling – Above average starting MLB catcher. Floor: Never reaches the prospect radar. Likelihood of reaching ceiling: Low.

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11 Responses to Yankees Top Five Catching Prospects

  1. The Dude says:

    Oh boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Yankees catchers such depth… Gary Sanchez Gary Sanchez…huh wait a second didn't you build up Jesus Montero like this as well?

    Please enlighten us on how a a guy who hit 13 HRs in 400 PAs in A ball at a .254 clip, and 2 in 110 in AA at a .250 clip somehow becomes an allstar catcher hitting 30 and .300 in 2 years AND three levels?

    Oh yeah..you'll say thats his ceiling..whats his basement? I've heard he can't catch OR hit curveballs.. so does he even achieve the same level of your hype-puppy Jesus?

    Wake up and grasp your level of blind hype.

    • gcorcoran says:

      Hey Dude, I think you're missing a lot of the point here. The whole point of a scouting report is to look at projection. Given his skill set and his ability to catch, the above is most certainly his ceiling. Statistically he could have been better this year but the fact remains that he has phenomenal power and he has progressed defensively to the point where he could actually end up being a plus defensive catcher. These are things that are in the scouting reports but often go overlooked.

      Also, the ceiling does not represent where he will be in two years. The ceiling represents what his yearly output will be in the prime of his career in a best case scenario. Do you comprehend that? The floor/basement is pretty obvious to me with any prospect. Even looking at the all powerful BA top 100, most of these players don't turn out to be stars. When you're looking at prospects the name of the game is different. It's not the same as predicting that Miguel Cabrera will hit 30 homeruns this year. You look at ceilings, floors, and projection. Projection is the hardest part because you're making a prediction and I would not get into that in this article because it would take too long. That type of analysis is for the prospect profiles. I hope that helps you understand better.

      Finally, I was not writing for this blog when Jesus Montero was in the prospect rankings. In fact when the Yankees traded him and everyone was in an uproar, I was actually more than okay with it because I didn't believe he could stick at catcher. So before you go attaching me to viewpoints that I never had you need to go back and research a bit.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        I continue to think the Montero trade was a steal. You take a C who cannot field his position and a 4A pitcher and swap them for 2 potential #2 or 3 starters. One cannot predict injuries with any reliability (though Pineda does have the dreaded upside down W mechanics) but this is the type of trade you make every time you get the chance.

  2. Bob Loblaw says:

    Once again, Murphy made it to the big leagues.

    • gcorcoran says:

      It was just a September call-up. He's still a prospect in my eyes. I don't take the September call-ups off my prospect lists until the following season.

  3. vavoom says:

    What about Valera?

    • Not the highest ceiling. He has been a backup so far in the minors so at best he's a backup in the majors unless something changes drastically in his prospect status. He's still just 21 so you never know.

  4. hosshalsey says:

    Garrison, This year. He Out Guns Em All !

    • I'm definitely excited to see what Garrison can do this year. He's superior defensively so he'll have a shot. Now that he has had a taste of professional baseball I'm curious to see what he can brings to the table next year.

  5. Weeks says:

    Excellent article. Going beyond your assessment above, what are your gut feelings about Murphy? As much as I like McCann, I'd really like to see the Yanks develop some of their own talent, and everything I've read about Murphy seems pretty good.

    Maybe the club could sign McCann and after the inevitable wear and tear starts to set in, move him around at 1B and DH and give Muprhy and eventually Sanchez a shot at the starting job? I like McCann's attitude most. That guy was born to be a Yankee.

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      Thank you. I like Murphy a lot. I think he has a higher floor than Gary Sanchez. His ceiling isn’t as vast. He is a solid defensive catcher, and he could hit for more power as he gets older and stronger. He may be a 20 HR a year catcher if things break right for him. My gut feeling is he will be a successful, starting catcher in the majors somewhere.