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2014 MLB Draft College Catcher Follow List (and Ranking)

Mark Zagunis and Max Pentecost are both exceptional athletes for the position. Heck, forget position: both are really good athletes full stop. The latter is the better bet to stick behind the plate as a pro – there are really no questions there – but the former has more present power, a more disciplined approach, and comparable defensive upside. Zagunis needs more work behind the plate, but the strides that he has made since enrolling at Virginia Tech have made me a believer that he’ll keep working to get there. The bat will play anywhere, but, man, it’ll look so much better if he’s an average or better backstop. More on Pentecost, the internet’s consensus top catching prospect from earlier…

You can’t really follow amateur ball and not love what JR C Max Pentecost brings to the table. Catchers who flash all five tools (none worse than average) who are assured to stick behind the plate long-term have that kind of effect on people. I’ve long posited a theory that there are two central types of amateur catching prospects: plus arm/plus power oversized (and often stiff) all-or-nothing players and well-rounded, athletic smaller framed players. Pentecost clearly falls more into the latter group than the former. He’s really athletic, runs well (and not just for a catcher, either!), and throws well. I’m lighter on the bat that most – though average hit tool and average raw power are nothing to dismiss, especially for a catcher – but that’s more of a product of me being not 100% ready to buy his outstanding run on the Cape this summer as the “real” Pentecost. If that power spike is real, and many smarter than me seem to have bought in, I could see Pentecost getting some warranted Jonathan Lucroy comps. That would make him a no-brainer first rounder, right?

Chris Harvey is a really difficult prospect to pin down, in no small part to the limited playing time he’s received through two full seasons at Vanderbilt. He’s different from the well-rounded, plus running (for the position) duo discussed in the preceding paragraph: Harvey’s game is built around power upside, arm strength, and brute strength, something he does not lack one bit in his 6-5, 220 pound frame. I’ve written a lot about those two main catcher archetypes over the years and this year’s class does not lack for each type. We have Zagunis, Pentecost, and Brett Austin on one side, and Harvey and Aramis Garcia on the other. These are imperfect categories, of course, as Zagunis has showed as much present power as any other 2014 college catcher (save Garcia) and Harvey is a really underrated athlete in his own right, but we’ve chosen our narrative so might as well run with it.

Grayson Greiner is easy to like on paper, especially if you like his defense as much as I do (more than most, I concede), but he’s one of those rare amateurs that it helps to watch up close and talk to those who’ve played with him to fully appreciate. He’s talented enough to eventually emerge as a starting caliber professional catcher, but, failing that, he’s still the kind of person you want on your 25-man roster in some capacity. I’ve heard but not seen firsthand the same things about Wayne Taylor. Both profile as high-floor backup backstops at minimum.

Riley Moore was a big prep favorite who has more than held his own collegiately so far. Bre’shon Kimbell is another former famous high school prospect who could move up boards with a big spring. Tyler Baker (compact frame but really good athleticism and one of college ball’s biggest performance jumps between year one and two portend good things to come) and Shane Zeile are converted infielders with ample defensive upside.

I mentioned this in an earlier post on catchers, but the ACC really is stacked this year. If you’re at an ACC game, chances are you are witnessing a future professional catcher. Zagunis, Boulware, and Austin are the most famous, but Garrett Kennedy (unheralded prospect who just keeps getting better) and Nate Irving (if you believe in his defensive tools as I do) bear watching.

Speaking solely about defense, I think there are very few players who may be asked to move out from the plate professionally. It’s hard to say if that’s because of a stronger than usual defensive bunch or due to my rankings weighing that side of the game more heavily than in years past. Zagunis could be moved to an outfield spot if a team wanted to get his bat to the bigs as quickly as possible, but I think that’s unlikely. Harvey and Greiner both have the size that may scare teams away (again, not likely as both players would lose most of their value at any other spot), and Gushue’s slow and steady defensive improvement may not have come quick enough for some teams to buy him as a pro catcher. Kimbell and Kevin Krause are rough around the edges but show promise, and Nate Causey and Wade Wass may be better as first basemen in the long run.

Connor Joe (if his defense holds up), Kyle Pollock (if his hit tool plays), and Chase Griffin (if he can tap into his big raw power) all could be big risers with big springs.

  1. Virginia Tech JR C/OF Mark Zagunis
  2. Florida International JR C Aramis Garcia
  3. Kennesaw State JR C Max Pentecost
  4. South Carolina JR C Grayson Greiner
  5. Vanderbilt C Chris Harvey
  6. Clemson JR C/OF Garrett Boulware
  7. North Carolina State JR C Brett Austin
  8. Arizona JR C Riley Moore
  9. Florida JR C Taylor Gushue
  10. Stanford JR C Wayne Taylor
  11. Florida JR C Braden Mattson
  12. Rice JR C John Clay Reeves
  13. Miami JR C Garrett Kennedy
  14. Louisiana Tech JR C/3B Bre’shon Kimbell
  15. Virginia JR C Nate Irving
  16. Stony Brook JR C/OF Kevin Krause
  17. Wichita State JR C Tyler Baker
  18. New Mexico JR C Alex Real
  19. UCLA JR C/3B Shane Zeile
  20. Arizona State JR C/1B Nate Causey
  21. Alabama rJR C/1B Wade Wass
  22. Texas SR C Jacob Felts
  23. Auburn SR C Blake Austin
  24. Mercer SR C Austin Barrett
  25. Michigan State JR C/1B Blaise Salter
  26. San Diego JR C/1B Connor Joe
  27. Louisiana-Lafayette rJR C/OF Mike Strentz
  28. Nebraska JR C Tanner Lubach
  29. Stetson JR C Garrett Russini
  30. Evansville JR C Kyle Pollock
  31. Texas-Arlington SR C Greg McCall
  32. Georgia Southern JR C Chase Griffin
  33. Kentucky rSO C Greg Fettes
  34. Pepperdine JR C Kolten Yamaguchi
  35. Florida State JR C Daniel De La Calle
  36. Alabama State JR C Richard Gonzalez
  37. Evansville SR C/1B Jake Mahon
  38. UNLV rSO C Scott Tomassetti
  39. Duke rJR C Mike Rosenfeld
  40. USC JR C Garrett Stubbs
  41. Washington State SR C/OF Collin Slaybaugh
  42. Illinois State SR C Mike Hollenbeck
  43. South Carolina rJR C/OF Patrick Harrington
  44. South Carolina Upstate SR C Luke Weber
  45. High Point JR C Josh Spano
  46. TCU rSO C Ryan Delso
  47. Xavier JR C Derek Hasenbeck
  48. North Dakota SR C Taylor Petersen
  49. Seattle rSR C/OF Ryan Somers
  50. North Dakota SR C Zack Trygstad
  51. Mississippi SR C Will Allen
  52. Wagner JR C Nick Dini
  53. Sam Houston State SR C Anthony Azar
  54. Eastern Michigan SR C/1B Adam Sonabend
  55. USC SR C/1B Jake Hernandez
  56. Michigan SR C Cole Martin
  57. Louisville SR C Kyle Gibson
  58. Kansas SR C/2B Kai’ana Eldredge
  59. Kansas State rSR C Blair DeBord
  60. UC Irvine JR C/SS Chris Rabago
  61. Middle Tennessee State JR C Michael Adkins
  62. Florida Atlantic SR C Levi Meyer
  63. Mississippi JR C Austin Knight
  64. Texas A&M SR C Troy Stein
  65. San Diego State rJR C Brad Haynal
  66. Missouri SR C Dylan Kelly
  67. Stanford SR C Brant Whiting
  68. UC Irvine rJR C Jerry McClanahan
  69. Columbia SR C Mike Fischer
  70. Bradley SR C Austin Jarvis
  71. Cal Poly SR C Chris Hoo
  72. Texas A&M JR C Mitchell Nau
  73. Mississippi State JR C Cody Walker
  74. Texas State rSR C Tyler Pearson
  75. Northwestern State JR C CJ Webster
  76. Louisiana-Lafayette JR C/3B Evan Powell
  77. Dartmouth JR C Matt MacDowell
  78. Sacred Heart SR C Dan Perez
  79. Arkansas SR C Jake Wise
  80. Wofford JR C Matt Ramsay
  81. UNC Wilmington SR C Drew Farber
  82. New Orleans SR C Brian Dixon
  83. Elon rSO C/RHP Michael Elefante
  84. Penn JR C Austin Bossart
  85. Delaware State SR C Mike Alexander
  86. Austin Peay State SR C PJ Torres
  87. Belmont JR C Matt Beaty
  88. Southern JR C/RHP Sam May
  89. Belmont JR C/INF Alec Diamond
  90. Belmont JR C Jamie Ritchie
  91. Eastern Kentucky SR C Sean Hagen
  92. Nebraska-Omaha JR C/OF Alex Mortensen
  93. Lehigh SR C Joe Abeln
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3 Comments

  1. Phil Ritchie says:

    I have to say that ranking Jamie Ritchie at 90 is a joke. Tonight vs. Tennessee Tech in conference play Ritchie went 4for5 with 4hits, HR 2, RBI’s 5, Double 1, and scored 3runs. He leads Belmont with 37 RBI’s, 57 hits.
    He has started 51of52games at catcher and Alec Diamond is his backup. Diamond has hardly played the position. Matt Beaty who you have down 87th has never caught at Belmont. He is our third baseman.

    Ritchie has tremendous athletic ability and certainly merits higher than 90. He played against Pentecost in high school where Pentecost went 0-5 and Pen., team ultimately lost on that occasion. Like Pentecost Ritchie is on the Johnny Bench watch list. He is one of the top 72 catchers in the nation. Number 90? I hardly think so. Ritchie has a number of MLB teams on his trail.

    He is and has flown under the radar but you would get a pleasant surprise if you watched him. 6foot 2ins and 200 lbs in weight. Excellent defensive skills behind the plate.

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Should have listened to you here. Good call. All the best to Jamie in his pro career…hope he keeps on hitting and makes me look even dumber!

  2. Lisa Duncan says:

    Trinidad State College
    Hitting

    1 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 2 20 22 23 24 4 5 6 7 8 9

    No. Name Yr Pos g ab r h 2b 3b hr rbi bb k sb cs avg obp slg

    17 Drake Duncan So C 47 143 32 51 18 4 5 39 10 36 13 4 .357 .434 .643

    Extended hitting
    1 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 2 20 22 23 24 4 5 6 7 8 9

    No. Name Yr Pos g hbp sf sh tb xbh hdp go fo go/fo pa
    17 Drake Duncan So C 47 14 6 2 92 27 – – – – 175
    Fielding
    1 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 2 20 22 23 24 4 5 6 7 8 9

    No. Name Yr Pos g tc po a e fpct dp sba rcs rcs% pb ci
    17 Drake Duncan So C 47 218 193 19 6 .972 – 20 9 .310 – –

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