Next up in our 2021 top 10 Cleveland Guardians prospect series by position is catcher. We run this series of rankings every year as a way to get set up […]
Next up in our 2021 top 10 Cleveland Guardians prospect series by position is catcher.
We run this series of rankings every year as a way to get set up for the pre-season top prospect rankings. Justin Lada, Willie Hood and Joe Coblitz voted on the top 10 players at each position and 10 points were assigned to the top player at each position, nine for second, seven for third, and so on. In this series, 2B and SS are grouped into middle infield prospects, and 1B and 3B prospects are grouped into corner infield prospects. Starting pitchers are broken up by left and right handers. Outfielders are broken up by corner outfielders and center fielders.
Here are the 2021 top 10 Cleveland Guardians catching prospects.
`1. Bo Naylor
Outlook: Offensively, Cleveland’s top pick in 2018 struggled in his first taste of Double-A. His strikeouts ballooned and popped the ball up more. It looks like he tried to hit for mower power at Double-A, but he did walk more and stole 10 bases. He still threw out 30% of runners and had a solid defensive season. He’ll need to recover from a bad season offensively but the upsite is why he’s still ranked number on at the catching position.
2. Bryan Lavastida
Outlook: 2021 was a breakout season for Lavastida. The conversation to catcher continued to go well for him defensively, improving his framing and game calling. But the bat is where Lavastida took off, hitting for average, reaching base and adding some power.Long term upside is the main reason Naylor is still ahead of Lavastida here but Lavastida is the one on the 40 man roster right now and another strong season he is likely to move ahead in thepecking order.
3. Robert Lopez
Level: DSL Complex
Outlook: Lopez started his career in the Dominican at 17 after being an International Signing period 2021. Baseball America’s report on Lopez was a catch and throw catcher with line drive gap power. He drew a good amount of walks for a teenager that should stick behind the plate. Catching is a weak spot across baseball right now, especially in Cleveland right now.
4. Richard Paz
Level: ACL Indians
Outlook: Paz is already 20 and has yet to play a full season despite joining Cleveland in 2018. His father (also named Richard Paz) was playing in the Pirates farm system in 2001 when Richard was born, so he is from Altoona, PA, but grew up in Venezuela and was an international signing. His first good season was in 2021 with the ACL Indians when he hit .360/.445/.640 in 26 games, however this must be looked at cautiously due to his age and the insignificant number of games played. If he could jump two levels in 2022 and maintain success, he could be considered a reasonable back-up option someday, but he isn’t at this point.
5. Victor Planchart
Level: ACL Indians
Outlook: Like Paz, Planchart is yet to play beyond the ACL and is 20 years old already. His season was considerably less impressive, batting .276/.390/.506 and he is much less likely to advance two levels in 2022. He’s a switch hitter who is undersized and has shown a good eye at the plate.
6. Joe Donovan
Outlook: Cleveland signed Donovan as an undrafted free agent in 2020 out of Michigan. He’s a solid defensive backstop with good leadership qualities, a good eye at the plate and some pop. Pitchers seemed to enjoy working with him in 2021 at Lake County and it’s possible he’ll back up Naylor in Akron in 2022.
7. Micael Ramirez
Outlook: After four years, Ramirez finally got out of the complex leagues. He didn’t hit much when he got to Lynchburg but he managed to make a good amount of contact and drew walks. He also threw out eight of 18 would be base stealers, so despite his age, the contact skills and throwing arm at least make him interesting enough to keep an eye on as most catchers are late bloomers anyway.
8. Zac Fascia
Outlook: Fascia was a 2021 non-drafted free agent out of Purdue. He is another strong arm catcher with near sub 2.0 pop times. Fascia is another left handed hitting catching with patience and plate discipline but a below average bat overall. He’ll likely end up at Lynchburg or Lake County for most of 2022.
9. Seth Caddell
Outlook: Caddell caught Cleveland 2021 first rounder Gavin Williams at ECU. He too posts around 2.0 to sub-2.0 pop times. In 2020, Caddell was in the midst of a breakout season before COVID stopped it. He didn’t hit as much in 2021, but he walked more and showed more power at ECU. He didn’t do great in wood bat leagues previously but if he can find a way to translate some of his bat to pair with his glove in college, he could move up this list a year from now.
10. Emilio Tavares
Outlook: A 2019 international signing, Tavares has only played at the DSL level but drew plenty of walks in 2021 and threw out six of 21 would be base stealers. He’s got ideal size for a catcher but needs stateside experience soon.
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