Preseason Top 10 Catcher Rankings Review: Zack Collins’ Stock On The Rise & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The minor league All Star games are starting to roll in, making this a good time to start taking a look back at our preseason rankings.  Whose value appears to be on the rise?  Whose value is plummeting?  Let’s take a look (all stats are through Friday):

 

1) Francisco Mejia – Cleveland Indians
Preseason Grade – A-
Current Grade – A

Not only does Mejia continue to hit (through Friday he was hitting .353 at Double-A), but he’s shown a little bit of a power surge with 25 extra base hits (15 doubles, 2 triples and 8 HR, leading to a .587 SLG).  He’s one of the best hitting prospects in the game, regardless of position, and at this point it wouldn’t be shocking to see him reach the Majors before ’17 is over.

 

2) Chance Sisco – Baltimore Orioles
Preseason Grade – B+
Current Grade – B-

He still has an awful lot to prove, despite hitting .275 over his first 200 AB at Triple-A.  We keep waiting for the power to develop, but it simply hasn’t (14 doubles and 3 HR).  Just to make matters worse, his strikeouts have gone up significantly (61 K) and it’s been consistent all season long (17 K over 60 AB in June).  Considering his 13.3% SwStr%, it’s fair to be concerned.  Sometimes it takes time for a player to adjust to Triple-A so be patient, but his stock is slipping.

 

3) Jorge Alfaro – Philadelphia Phillies
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – B-

There were high hopes for Alfaro, but the numbers have been slowing as the season has progressed.  After hitting .333 with 3 HR in April he slumped to .255 with 35 K in 94 AB in May.  Things haven’t gotten any better in June, hitting .197 with 2 HR over 61 AB.  He’s swinging and missing far too much (15.7% SwStr%) and has been driving the ball into the ground far too often (2.42 GO/AO).  This is his first taste of Triple-A so we’ll have to give him time to adjust, but he needs to show signs of improvement.

 

4) Tom Murphy – Colorado Rockies
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – Incomplete

Thus far we’ll have to give Murphy an incomplete, as he just recently returned from injury that cost him the first two and a half months of the season.  We’ll have to wait to reserve judgement, but we know what he is (he’ll provide power, but struggle with his average) and should fall into a platoon.

 

5) Zack Collins – Chicago White Sox
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – B+

The 2016 first round pick has shown plenty of power (10 HR) and an ability to draw walks (53 BB), but he’s hitting just .211 thanks to 75 K in his first 213 AB at High-A.  The walks do show a command of the strike zone and his 11.9% SwStr% is high, but not unreasonable.  Throw in that he’s thrown out 33 of 78 base stealers and the package is coming into picture.  There’s a lot to like in his first half, and the value is starting to rise.

 

6) Carson Kelly – St. Louis Cardinals
Preseason Grade – B-
Current Grade – B

The heir apparent to Yadier Molina, Kelly has continued to show a good approach (30 K vs. 25 BB over 186 AB) which has led to a solid average (.285).  He has hit 7 HR this season, though playing in the Pacific Coast League could help to explain that.  Still, it’s a strong profile for a catcher known for his defensive prowess.  It’s just a matter of when his opportunity comes.

 

7) Tomas Nido – New York Mets
Preseason Grade – B-
Current Grade – B-

This was an aggressive ranking for Nido, and after a pathetic April (.196 with 1 HR) it looked like a misguided one.  Of course he continued to make consistent contact (only 5 K) and that led to a big rebound in May (.313 with 2 HR).  Things have turned again in June (.232), but there’s no reason to push the panic button.  He’s maintained the contact development he showed in ’16, now we just have to wait and see if he’ll be able to tap into some of his power.

 

8) Ben Rortvedt – Minnesota Twins
Preseason Grade – B-
Current Grade – C

It hasn’t been a good start for the ’16 second round draft pick, hitting .192 with 1 HR over 156 AB.  He hasn’t struck out a ton (31 K), but he’s also added just 7 doubles and is driving the ball into the ground far too much (2.16 GO/AO).  He’s extremely young (19-years old) and needs time, so keep his name filed away, but this aggressive ranking in the preseason hasn’t panned out quite yet.

 

9) Tyler Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds
Preseason Grade – B-
Current Grade – B-

The 2015 first round pick has gotten off to a solid start, hitting .263 with 4 HR (as well as 14 doubles) over 232 AB at Single-A.  His 10.7% SwStr% is a solid mark, and it’s helped him to compile 46 K vs. 34 BB thus far.  That shows a solid approach, and after missing a lot of time in ’16 this is the type of strong start we needed to see.  There’s still upside, and his value appears to be on the rise.

 

10) Garrett Stubbs – Houston Astros
Preseason Grade – C+
Current Grade – C+

He hasn’t followed up his strong ’16, hitting .234 with 3 HR over 175 AB at Double-A.  Of course his 26 K vs. 24 BB is still attention worthy and he has stolen 5 bases.  The problem has more been about poor luck (.264 BABIP, despite a 21.2% line drive rate) than approach (his SwStr% is just 6.7%).  He still shows a J.T. Realmuto type skillset, with the ability to hit for a strong average while bringing 10/10 type upside.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see him turn up the production as the season progresses, and watch for his stock to rise if/when it does.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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