Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com’s resident prospect expert, made a list of his top 10 catcher prospects. Three teams had two or more players on the list, as the Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays all appear to have a deep future at the position. Here are some excerpts from Mayo on number seven Wilson Ramos and number eight Derek Norris:
“Ramos has a very good receiver who will only get better as he gets used to catching a big league staff. He threw out 50 percent of basestealers in the Minors last season. For now, he’s going to split time with (and learn from) Ivan Rodriguez, but the everyday job will be his before long.”
“He did bounce back with a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League, which should help him move up to Double-A. He’s got tremendous plate discipline and excellent power when he’s 100 percent. While he’s more of an offensive-minded catcher, he’s improved his defense considerably and has thrown out better than 40 percent of basestealers over the past two seasons. With a strong ’11, he could make things interesting with Ramos in Washington in ’12.”
Both of these players were likely to have ranked higher on this list last year than this year. Both struggled to their own degree in 2010, and both are looking for major bounce back seasons in 2011. Despite their regressions though, the fact that they are still on this list is a testament to how truly talented they are. Ramos has the glove and arm to possibly earn him a gold glove at the position in the future. For him, a year catching with Ivan Rodriguez, arguably the best defensive catcher of all time, will do him a world of good.
Norris on the other hand (no pun intended) had one of the least lucky seasons I’ve ever heard of. Despite it all, he still showed that he has raw power left in his arsenal, and that he can still get on base. Two major aspects a future MLB slugger needs to have. I don’t think he will stay at catcher going forward, however, his bat is way more valuable than his glove. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play first base some this year and eventually transition there full-time. If he does make the transition there, he should be MLB ready by the time Adam Laroche’s contract expires in 2012.