This 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.