2020 MLB Prospect Power Rankings for Top 30 Catchers

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

2020 MLB Prospect Power Rankings for Top 30 Catchers

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Last month, we released our top 100 MLB prospects for the 2020 season, with Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco and Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert headlining the list.

    Now it's time to dive even deeper.

    In the weeks to come, we'll be counting down the top prospects at each position, and next up are the catchers.

    There were seven catchers included in our top 100 list and six more who received honorable mentions, so more than half of this list needed to be padded out with new names.

    Let's kick things off with 10 players who finished just outside the top 30 before diving into our rankings.

                   

    Catch up on our Prospect Power Rankings series: corner infielders, middle infielders

Next 10

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    MJ Melendez
    MJ MelendezCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    These 10 catcher prospects were part of our preliminary list, but they fell short of inclusion in the final list of 30:

    • Josh Breaux, NYY
    • Zack Collins, CWS
    • Antonio Gomez, NYY
    • Ethan Hearn, CHC
    • Jonah Heim, OAK
    • Blake Hunt, SD
    • MJ Melendez, KC
    • Jackson Miller, CIN
    • Israel Pineda, WAS
    • Anthony Seigler, NYY

Nos. 30-26

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    Jake Rogers
    Jake RogersPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    30. Korey Lee, Houston Astros (Age: 22)

    Lee hit .337/.416/.619 with 15 home runs during a breakout junior season at the University of California, and the Astros surprised more than a few people when they selected him No. 32 overall in the 2019 draft. He has the classic power/defense catcher profile with questions about his hit tool.

          

    29. Rafael Marchan, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 21)

    Relatively new to catching when he signed for $200,000 as part of the 2015 international free-agent class, Marchan is already a standout receiver with plus catch-and-throw skills. A switch-hitter with a line-drive approach, he has yet to homer in 846 career plate appearances. His glove will be his ticket to the big leagues.

            

    28. Cal Raleigh, Seattle Mariners (Age: 23)

    After posting an .820 OPS with 25 doubles and 29 home runs between High-A and Double-A last season, Raleigh looks like a potential steal as a third-round pick in the 2018 draft. He's also made significant strides defensively after entering pro ball as an offensive-minded prospect, giving him a starting-catcher profile if he continues on his current trajectory.

            

    27. Jake Rogers, Detroit Tigers (Age: 25)

    Rogers has been viewed as the catcher of the future in Detroit since he was acquired in 2017 via the Justin Verlander trade with Houston. With a rocket arm and stellar receiving skills, he's arguably the best defensive catching prospect in baseball. The question is his bat.

    He had an .845 OPS with 14 home runs in 76 games in the minors last season but batted an abysmal .125 with a 39.8 percent strikeout rate in 128 plate appearances in the majors. His glove gives him a high floor as a defensive-minded backup.

            

    26. Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota Twins (Age: 23)

    With a strong 6'4", 235-pound frame and 55-grade power, Jeffers has significant offensive upside. He's a .296/.383/.453 hitter with 21 home runs in 167 games since going in the second round of the 2018 draft, and he closed out 2019 at Double-A. He's also an advanced defender with a strong arm, and he went 2-for-3 with an RBI in his MLB debut on Thursday.

Nos. 25-21

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    Patrick Bailey
    Patrick BaileyBen McKeown/Associated Press

    25. Drew Romo, Colorado Rockies (Age: 18)

    The best defensive catcher among the 2020 prep class, Romo was selected No. 35 overall by a Rockies team in desperate need of a long-term answer behind the plate. He's more hit than power at this point and that will likely always be the case. Luckily, he won't need to hit a ton to be an everyday player thanks to his defensive profile.

           

    24. Austin Wells, New York Yankees (Age: 21)

    One of the most advanced college hitters in the 2020 draft class, Wells hit .357/.476/.560 with more walks (63) than strikeouts (57) during his two seasons at the University of Arizona while also starring in the Cape Cod League last summer. He'll never be more than an average defender and there are legitimate questions whether he'll stick behind the plate, but his bat will play just fine at first base or a corner outfield spot.

             

    23. Dillon Dingler, Detroit Tigers (Age: 21)

    A rare athlete for the catcher position, Dingler spent his freshman season at Ohio State playing center field. The 6'3", 210-pounder has a 50 grade or better in all six tools, and a .340/.404/.760 line with 10 extra-base hits in 14 games this spring vaulted him up draft board and into the second round. His defense is still a work in progress, but he has one of the most intriguing all-around profiles of any catching prospect.

           

    22. Gabriel Moreno, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 20)

    Signed for just $25,000 in 2016, the Venezuelan hit .280/.337/.485 with 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 52 RBI in 82 games in a breakout full-season debut. Moreno has the raw tools to be a two-way standout, and a strong follow-up performance could push him toward the top 10 on this list.

           

    21. Patrick Bailey, San Francisco Giants (Age: 21)

    Bailey was the first catcher off the board in the 2020 draft, going No. 17 overall to a Giants team that already has its catcher of the future in 23-year-old Joey Bart. The starting catcher for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team last summer, Bailey is a polished defensive backstop with good pop. He doesn't have the upside of Bart, but he has an extremely high floor and should be a valuable asset in some capacity.

Nos. 20-16

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    Andrew Knizner
    Andrew KniznerJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    20. Diego Cartaya, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 18)

    One of the most attractive international catching prospects in years, Cartaya landed a $2.5 million bonus in 2018. The Venezuelan has drawn comparisons to Salvador Perez with the requisite arm strength and power potential to offer that kind of upside. He made his stateside debut as a 17-year-old and hit .281/.343/.432 with 18 extra-base hits in 49 games while throwing out 32 percent of baserunners.

           

    19. Tyler Soderstrom, Oakland Athletics (Age: 18)

    The A's went way above slot to sign Soderstrom to a $3.3 million bonus as the No. 26 overall pick in the 2020 draft. One of the best pure hitters in the draft class, he has a 60-grade hit tool and the raw power to be a 20-homer threat in the majors. He has a long way to go behind the plate and a position change would expedite his arrival in the majors, but for now he's a catching prospect with huge offensive upside.

            

    18. Ronaldo Hernandez, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 22)

    A breakout 2018 season saw Hernandez hit .284/.339/.494 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI at Single-A in his full-season debut. His numbers regressed across the board last year in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, but he still has loud raw power and a cannon arm that helped him throw out 39 percent of base stealers.

            

    17. Andrew Knizner, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 25)

    A .303/.369/.461 hitter in four minor league seasons, including 83 games of action at Triple-A the past two years, Knizner has little left to prove in the minors. He's a solid defender with an advanced hit tool and playable gap power. Unfortunately, as long as Yadier Molina is still going strong, he's firmly blocked. His window in St. Louis is closing with fast-rising Ivan Herrera now looking like the catcher of the future.

          

    16. Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 21)

    With a 60-grade hit tool and excellent on-base skills, Kirk has an offensive profile that fits somewhere on an MLB roster. However, his 5'8", 265-pound frame offers little power potential and he's a mediocre defender at best. He's a bit confounding, but there's no ignoring a .315/.418/.500 line with more walks (89) than strikeouts (60) in 151 career games.

No. 15-11

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    Shea Langeliers
    Shea LangeliersJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    15. Mario Feliciano, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 21)

    Feliciano has a chance to be the long-term answer behind the plate for the Brewers after hitting .270/.323/.473 with 25 doubles, 19 home runs and 81 RBI in 119 games between High-A and Double-A last year. He's an improving defender with a strong arm, and he should have no trouble sticking behind the plate, albeit with an offensive-minded profile.

            

    14. Bo Naylor, Cleveland Indians (Age: 20)

    One of the best hitters in the 2018 draft, Naylor went No. 29 overall with the hope that his defensive game would catch up to his bat. He's a good athlete with a strong arm and that translates well behind the plate. The long-term question is whether it's worth watering down his offensive game with the physical toll of catching. He had a .734 OPS with 18 doubles, 10 triples and 11 home runs at Single-A in 2019.

            

    13. Ivan Herrera, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 20)

    After two impressive seasons in rookie ball, Herrera hit .284/.374/.405 with 10 doubles and nine home runs in 87 games between Single-A and High-A as a 19-year-old last season. Aside from his bottom-of-the-scale speed, he has a chance for above-average tools across the board, with an advanced approach at the plate and some sneaky pop. He's now the catcher of the future in St. Louis.

            

    12. William Contreras, Atlanta Braves (Age: 22)

    The younger brother of Cubs star Willson Contreras, William was signed for just $10,000 in 2015. The Venezuelan hit .285/.347/.436 with 24 doubles and 11 home runs during a breakout 2018 season, but he  struggled to duplicate that production last year, posting a .669 OPS in 110 games between High-A and Double-A. He has the tools to be a standout and he's still well ahead of the developmental curve, but there's work to be done.

        

    11. Shea Langeliers, Atlanta Braves (Age: 22)

    A strong junior season at Baylor pushed Langeliers into the first-round conversation and he wound up going No. 9 overall in the 2019 draft. Defense is the foundation of his game and it gives him a high floor, as he's close to MLB-ready with the glove right now. If his offensive game progresses as hoped, he has a chance to be an All-Star.

Nos. 10-6

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    Sam Huff
    Sam HuffCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    10. Miguel Amaya, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21)

    Amaya turned 21 years old in March and he already has played a full season at High-A, putting him well ahead of the developmental curve. He hit a respectable .235/.351/.402 with 24 doubles and 11 home runs in 99 games while also throwing out 35 percent of base stealers and continuing to show the raw tools to be a standout defender.

             

    9. Francisco Alvarez, New York Mets (Age: 18)

    One of last year's breakout performers at the rookie-ball level, Alvarez hit .312/.407/.510 with 10 doubles and seven home runs in 42 games in his pro debut. Inked to a $2.7 million bonus in 2018, MLB.com gave him a 60-grade hit tool, which, coupled with his intriguing raw power and solid all-around defensive skills, gives him a high ceiling.

            

    8. Tyler Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 24)

    The No. 11 overall pick and the first catcher taken in the 2015 draft, Stephenson has steadily climbed the ranks in the Cincinnati farm system. He hit .285/.372/.410 with 26 extra-base hits in 89 games at Double-A last season, and he slugged his first big league home run in his MLB debut on July 27. It's only a matter of time before he supplants Tucker Barnhart as the starter in Cincy.

            

    7. Sam Huff, Texas Rangers (Age: 22)

    After showing some intriguing power in his full-season debut, Huff took his game to another level last season, hitting .278/.335/.509 to raise his OPS more than 100 points while tallying 22 doubles, 28 home runs and 72 RBI in 127 games between Single-A and High-A. He also threw out an impressive 48 percent of base stealers, and even with some swing-and-miss to his game, his power/defense profile gives him starter upside.

             

    6. Luis Campusano, San Diego Padres (Age: 21)

    No catchers were drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft, making Campusano the first backstop off the board at No. 39 overall. He hit .325/.396/.509 with 31 doubles, 15 home runs and 81 RBI to win co-MVP honors in the California League last year and was enough for MLB.com to give his hit and power tools a 55 grade. He's a big part of a bright future in San Diego.

Nos. 5-1

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    Joey Bart
    Joey BartRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    5. Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 22)

    Ruiz announced himself to the prospect world in 2017 when he hit .316/.361/.452 with 33 extra-base hits in 101 games between Single-A and High-A at the age of 18. He was passed by 25-year-old Will Smith on the way to the majors, but a case can be made that he still has the higher ceiling of the two young backstops. He made a great first impression in the majors when he homered off Julio Teheran on Aug. 16 in his first at-bat.

             

    4. Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 24)

    With 55-grade speed that helped him swipe 21 bases at Double-A last year and the defensive versatility to also handle center field, Varsho is a unique prospect. Even if the 5'10", 205-pounder doesn't serve in a traditional starting catcher role, the .301/.378/.520 line he posted last season with 25 doubles and 18 home runs made it clear his bat will play anywhere.

         

    3. Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics (Age: 25)

    Murphy posted a 137 OPS+ with five doubles and four home runs in 60 plate appearances down the stretch last season to earn the starting catcher job in 2020. He had some trouble staying on the field in the minors, and avoiding injury will be key to reaching his full potential. Originally drafted for his rocket arm and advanced receiving skills, he has a chance to be a two-way standout and a true franchise catcher.

           

    2. Joey Bart, San Francisco Giants (Age: 23)

    Bart hit .359/.471/.632 with 16 home runs during his junior season at Georgia Tech while flashing Gold Glove upside, making him arguably the best collegiate catching prospect since Buster Posey was at Florida State in 2008. The Giants drafted him No. 2 overall in 2018 to serve as Posey's heir, and the future is now after he went 1-for-4 in his MLB debut on Thursday. He could be the future face of the franchise.

           

    1. Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 22)

    Switch-hitting catchers with 60-grade hit and power tools and Gold Glove defensive chops don't exactly grow on trees, so it was no surprise when the Orioles made Rutschman the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He hit .411/.575/.751 with 17 home runs and twice as many walks (76) as strikeouts (38) during his junior season at Oregon State. All signs point to superstardom.

             

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.

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