Legends On Deck

Top Catching Prospects: National League Central

Catching Prospects of the National League Central

As we move right along taking a look at all the catching prospects throughout the major leagues, we are taking a closer look now at the National League Central.  If you missed any of the other lists that have been done so far, they can be found here:

[American League: East, Central, West]
[National League: East]

1. Chad Wallach, Cincinatti Reds – A fifth-round pick of the Miami Marlins, Wallach was traded to the Reds in the Matt Latos deal, and is the son of former major leaguer Tim Wallach.  He’s a line-drive hitter with gap power and has an excellent approach at the plate.  He has a 15% BB rate and just a 10% strikeout rate thus far in his career, and has fringe average power currently, but with the potential for more.  I project a .280/.340/.450 line with 13-18 home runs.  Defensively, Wallach at 6’3, is big for a catcher but he moves well.  He projects as an average receiver with an average arm.  Definitely a bat 1st prospect.  2015 outlook: possibly Advanced Single-A (he got into 19 games at this level as a Marlin) or he might start in Double-A.

2) Reese McGuire, Pittsburgh Pirates – McGuire is a line-drive hitter with fringe average power.  We can expect a .270/.330/.420 line with 10-14 home runs. Defensively McGuire is a plus receiver with a strong arm.  His glove is MLB ready now and he’s still in Single-A ball.  2015 outlook: Advanced Single-A

3) Victor Caratini, Chicago Cubs – A switch-hitting converted third baseman, Caratini was traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Cubs at the trade deadline.  A smooth line drive swing from both sides with fringe average power. He has .270/.330/.420 potential with 10-14 home runs. Defensively Caratini is a little raw behind the plate but projects as an average receiver with an average arm.

4) Elias Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates – Known as a glove-first prospect, Diaz had a great 2014 season offensively, with a .328/.378/.445 in 91 games at Double-A Altoona, and earned a late season promotion to Triple-A.  A closer look at the numbers reveals a .365 BABIP, (batting average on balls in play), with the average typically around .300.  The numbers were a bit inflated due to luck, but he still took a big step forward with the bat.  The question is if he can keep it up?  If he continues to hit like this he will project as a starter at the next level instead of a backup.  It was such a big jump offensively, so I’ll need to see it again.  2015 outlook:  Triple-A

5) Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds – A glove first prospect who projects as a fringe-average hitter, with below average power.  The numbers will likely look like this: .260/.300/.380 with six to 10 home runs.  Defensively he projects as a plus receiver with a plus arm, and could end up having a  long career as a backup catcher.  2015 outlook: Triple-A, MLB

Next up is top catching prospects in the National League West




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