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2016 MLB Draft – High School Catchers

Prep rankings are close to being finalized, but I’m trying to hang on to the last possible second to allow for any last minute pop-up guys ready to crash the party a place on the list. For now, a true follow list only of all the high school catchers that have caught my attention for one reason or another this draft cycle.

List is alphabetical, so obviously don’t infer anything from the rankings. It would be pretty cool if the rankings just so happened to be alphabetical, though. That would be some kind of coincidence.

Who am I missing? Did I mess up the spelling of a player’s name and/or botch his high school listing? And how stupid am I for daring to rank the J’s over the L’s? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or via email. The more the merrier even at this late stage.

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Before we get into a few words about the catchers below, a quick reminder about something I’ve noticed since following the draft with a little more of a discerning eye the last eight years. I can show my work to back it up — I’m happy to share the data if anybody is curious, but it’s late as I write this and I’m too lazy to dig it up preemptively (slightly less lazy AM EDIT: here’s some of it) — but this is one of my findings…

High school catchers remain one of the most consistently overrated prospect commodities leading up to the draft each year. Every year I expect a nice long run of prep catchers in the early going of the draft and every year I’m confused as the guys I like best have to sit and wait and wait and wait.

I love prep catchers. I think prep catchers can be a good investment because they can be shaped in important organization specific ways that isn’t a real consideration at other positions. But the simple fact remains: high school catchers don’t fare well on draft day. Only thirty-one high school catchers were drafted last year and only ten of that thirty-one could be talked into signing pro contracts. I’m giving you over twice that total amount on the list below. You can do the math from there. With that introduction having sufficiently dampened the mood, let’s talk 2016 high school catchers!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Herbert Iser is going to be a major draft day steal. He’s got some of the best all-around offensive game (power, approach, bat speed) of any catcher going. I like what I’ve seen of him defensively, but there are admittedly a few things to be worked on; in fact, the exact quote from my notes reads “impressed by glove, though not without some rough edges.” Ben Rortvedt has first round catcher tools; his defensive upside isn’t quite as high as Cooper Johnson’s – it’s close, but Johnson is in a league of his own – but his offensive edge more than makes up the difference. I’d say Rortvedt is the best bet of this group to be first off the board.

Mario Feliciano has huge power, a cannon for an arm, and legitimate questions about his ability to stick behind the plate. I err on the side of positivity when it comes to teenagers, but that’s a philosophy admittedly grounded more on silly youthful ideals than empirical evidence. In Feliciano’s case, there’s enough positive buzz that he can work his way to an average defensive future than not. His issues right now stem largely from inexperience at the position rather than inability to do the job. The fact that youth is firmly on his side – he’ll play his entire first full season at 18-years-old next year, assuming he signs – only adds to his appeal. Writing and then re-reading this paragraph alone has kind of sold me on Feliciano as a potential top three to five prep catcher in this class…and even that might be underselling him.

My extremely tentative top ten: Iser, Rortvedt, Debo, Johnson, Amditis, Feliciano, Sullivan, Smith, Yerzy, and Dillard. All-caps FAVORITES (not necessarily the “best” prospects, but guys I’d like to think I identified early on as showing traits that appealed to me specifically) include Iser, Amditis, Smith, and Handley. If I added FAVORITES this late in the game, I’d also throw Feliciano into the mix. Rortvedt would also be considered because he’s great, but I think the window to lay any claim to him is long gone. I also wasn’t sure where to sneak this in above, so I’ll say it here: after running my list by a few people who know things recently, the one name that was mentioned multiple times as being too low was Thomas Dillard. A Chris Okey comp was pretty popular for him. So there you go.

(Even though this is from December, there’s still some good — and relevant! — stuff here. Worth checking out for a little more background on the top guys and potential sleepers…)

C Adley Rutschman (Sherwood HS, Oregon)
C Alan Marrero (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
C Alberto Schmidt (Colegio Angel David, Puerto Rico)
C Andrew Millas (Belleville East HS, Illinois)
C Andrew Miller (Frisco HS, Texas)
C Andy Thomas (Murrieta Mesa HS, California)
C Andy Yerzy (York Mills Collegiate Institute, Ontario)
C Anthony Mulrine (St Thomas Aquinas HS, Florida)
C Austin Biggar (Parkview HS, Georgia)
C Beau Orlando (Cy-Fair HS, Texas)
C Ben Rortvedt (Verona Area HS, Wisconsin)
C Bradley Debo (Orange HS, North Carolina)
C Brandon Martorano (Christian Brothers Academy, New Jersey)
C Brian Wicker (Ponca City HS, Oklahoma)
C Christian Leonard (St. Thomas More HS, Louisiana)
C Cipriano Primicias (Michael Power-St. Joseph SS, Ontario)
C Cole Jackson (Sandy Creek HS, Georgia)
C Cooper Johnson (Carmel Catholic HS, Illinois)
C Dalton Hill (Dunbar HS, Kentucky)
C Darnell Domenech (International Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
C David Clawson (Dana Hills HS, California)
C Eric Ortiz (Colegio Católico San Juan Apostol, Puerto Rico)
C Ettenied Garcia (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
C Herbert Iser (Killian HS, Florida)
C Hunter Coleman (Midland HS, Texas)
C Hunter Oliver (Cleveland HS, Tennessee)
C Jacob Kalusniak (Francis Howell North HS, Missouri)
C Jacob Matheny (Westminster Christian Academy, Missouri)
C Jake Sullivan (Durant HS, Florida)
C Jared Herron (Trinity Prep HS, Florida)
C Jaxx Groshans (Magnolia HS, Texas)
C Keelyn Johnson (Pineville HS, Louisiana)
C Korey Lee (Vista HS, California)
C Kyle McCann (Lambert HS, Georgia)
C Luke Berryhill (River Ridge HS, California)
C Marshall Skinner (Cypress Ranch HS, Texas)
C Maverick Handley (Mullen HS, Colorado)
C Michael Amditis (Boca Raton Community HS, Florida)
C Michael Neustifter (Hebron HS, Texas)
C Mike Kilner (Padua Franciscan HS, Ohio)
C Nathan David Torres Soto (Puerto Rico)
C Nicholas Kahle (Chaminade Prep, California)
C Onix Vega (Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
C Paul Gozzo (Sheehan HS, Connecticut)
C Santino Miozzi (Lake Nona HS, Florida)
C Thomas Dillard (Oxford HS, Mississippi)
C Ty Friedrich (Lower Dauphin HS, Pennsylvania)
C Tyler Duvall (Lebanon HS, Ohio)
C Tyler Gordon (Simeon Career Academy, Illinois)
C Tyler Haselman (Liberty HS, Washington)
C Tyson Zanski (Grand Junction HS, Colorado)
C Zachary Humphreys (Midlothian HS, Texas)
C/1B Mario Feliciano (Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Puerto Rico)
C/1B Thomas Johns (Clay-Chalkville HS, Alabama)
C/2B Rankin Woley (The Westminster Schools, Georgia)
C/3B Drake Frix (Darlington HS, Georgia)
C/3B Max Guzman (St. Brendan HS, Florida)
C/3B Pedro Pages (Gulliver Schools, Florida)
C/3B Sam Huff (Arcadia HS, Arizona)
C/OF Blake Sabol (Aliso Niguel HS, California)
C/OF Logan Foster (Lincoln Southwest HS, Nebraska)
C/OF Marc Coffers (Barron Collier HS, Florida)
C/OF Ryan Orr (La Costa Canyon HS, California)
C/RHP Peyton Henry (Pleasant Grove HS, Utah)
C/RHP Sam Ferri (Notre Dame Prep, Illinois)
C/RHP Zack Smith (Eastern Wayne HS, North Carolina)

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