Thinking About Catching Prospects (by Phil Goyette)
A common refrain you might hear among your dynasty and keeper league mates is that they “hate catching prospects”. You might ask yourself why? These are usually players who hit the ball hard and have a great baseball IQ and feel for the game. Shouldn’t they develop from great prospects into great players?
The difficulty is that learning the catching position for the MLB level is incredibly difficult. A catcher will have to spend as much, if not more, time learning the craft of calling the game, handling the pitching staff, pitch framing, blocking, controlling the running game, etc. etc. Often times this comes at the cost of development in other areas.
Ben Carsley of Baseball Prospectus did an in-depth study on past catching prospects this summer. He looked at 21 top catching prospects who have lost rookie eligibility since 2015, finding just 4 “reliable” fantasy performers: JT Realmuto, Gary Sanchez, Willson Contreras, and Kyle Schwarber (who obviously is no longer even catching). The rest is really a wasteland. So, when looking at catching prospects for your upcoming first-year player drafts, remember that you might wind up waiting 6 years for Joey Bart to become what Evan Gattis is now.