Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Athletics News

Top farm systems: Catchers

@JimCallisMLB
June 23, 2020

At the outset of Spring Training, MLB Pipeline ranked all of the farm systems from 1-30. Those evaluations were based on a variety of factors, including potential impact talent, depth, proximity to the big leagues and balance between position players and pitchers as well as ceilings and floors. We're going

At the outset of Spring Training, MLB Pipeline ranked all of the farm systems from 1-30. Those evaluations were based on a variety of factors, including potential impact talent, depth, proximity to the big leagues and balance between position players and pitchers as well as ceilings and floors.

We're going to take a more specific look at each system, ranking them based on their talent at specific positions. We'll begin this week with catchers, and continue with corner infielders, middle infielders, outfielders, left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers. Depth is still a consideration, though we're leaning more toward the impact talent side of the spectrum on these.

Below are our top 10 rankings of the systems with the best catchers, with the top such prospect for each organization in parentheses. We're operating under the assumption that all players selected in the 2020 Draft will sign pro contracts.

1. Orioles (Adley Rutschman)
There's only one catcher among our Orioles Top 30 Prospects, but when he's the best catcher to come out of the Draft in the last three decades, that's enough for Baltimore to claim the top spot on this list. Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, combines Mark Teixeira offense with Gold Glove potential defense.

2. Giants (Joey Bart)
After using the No. 2 overall choice on Bart in 2018, the Giants doubled down on another first-round catcher from the Atlantic Coast Conference by taking Patrick Bailey at No. 13 in June. Bart offers three plus tools in his power, arm and defense, while Bailey could be solid in all three areas. Ricardo Genoves stands out with his work behind the plate and produced a career-high .804 OPS at age 20 last season.

• Best farm systems: Corner infielders | Middle infielders | Outfielders | Left-handed pitchers | Right-handed pitchers

3. Athletics (Sean Murphy)
Murphy not only has one of the strongest arms and some of best defensive skills among all prospects, but he also slugged .580 and made his big league debut in 2019. The A's spent the 26th overall pick in June on Tyler Soderstrom, who had one of the best all-around offensive games in this year's high school crop. Behind them, Oakland has Jonah Heim (a quality defender who made strides offensively last year) and Kyle McCann (who has some of the biggest power in the system and is improving behind the plate).

4. Braves (Shea Langeliers)
The No. 9 overall choice in the 2019 Draft, Langeliers was one of the best defensive catchers to come out of the college ranks in years and possesses at least solid raw power. William Contreras is also one of the game's better catching prospects with defense that ranks ahead of his offense. Alex Jackson, the No. 6 overall pick in 2014 by the Mariners, has raw power and arm strength. Logan Brown, a 35th-round selection from NCAA Division II Southern Indiana two years ago, is a defensive-minded sleeper.

5. Dodgers (Keibert Ruiz)
Ruiz has zoomed through the Dodgers system, reaching Triple-A at age 21 last year while showing the potential to be a solid performer on both sides of the ball. MLB Pipeline's top-rated prospect in the 2018 international class, Diego Cartaya has similar tools to Ruiz with perhaps more raw power and arm strength.

6. Yankees (Austin Wells)
Wells went 28th overall in the June draft because he was one of the top all-around offensive performers in the college class, though he may wind up as more of an outfielder than a catcher. Anthony Siegler, a 2018 first-rounder, is a rare switch-hitter and switch-pitcher who's very athletic for a backstop. Antonio Gomez (arm) and Josh Breaux (raw power) have tools that merit 70s on the 20-80 scouting scale, and Breaux also reached 100 mph as a McLennan (Texas) CC reliever.

7. Cubs (Miguel Amaya)
A participant in the last two SiriusXM Futures Games, Amaya spent 2019 in Class A Advanced at age 20 and projects as a .260 hitter with 15-20 homers per season and quality defense behind the plate. Last summer, the Cubs grabbed the best backstops in the high school (Ethan Hearn) and international (Ronnier Quintero) classes. They're similar players with intriguing raw power, with Hearn featuring a bit more arm strength and Quintero possessing better athleticism.

8. Rangers (Sam Huff)
One of the breakout prospects of 2019, Huff ranked second among Minor League catchers with 28 homers, earned MVP honors at the Futures Game and threw out 48 percent of basestealers. David Garcia is an advanced defender with soft hands, a strong arm and a quick release, and he began driving the ball more consistently last summer. Randy Florentino is a work in progress as a catcher but is improving defensively and has good bat-to-ball skills.

9. Cardinals (Ivan Herrera)
The Cardinals have two of the better yet underrated catching prospects in the Minors in Herrera, a gifted hitter with solid defensive ability, and Andrew Knizner, who has a similar bat and arm but is still polishing his receiving. Julio Rodriguez has a plus arm but a lower offensive ceiling.

10. Tigers (Dillon Dingler)
A second-round pick in June, Dingler is extremely athletic for a catcher (he played center field as an Ohio State freshman), owns well above-average arm strength and is starting to come into his own defensively. Jake Rogers, who was part of the 2017 Justin Verlander trade with the Astros and debuted in Detroit last summer, could be a Gold Glover if he hits enough to play regularly.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.