When you talk about the catchers in the system, eyes immediately shift to Henry Davis, justifiable seeing as he was the first overall pick last year and is one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
Davis has surely shown he was worthy of his draft status with the bat, blowing through Greensboro before hitting a home run in his first game with Altoona.
Endy Rodriguez, another top prospect in the system, also made waves last year in his first year in the Pirates system with his bat. The young backstop was among the league leaders in just about every offensive category in the then-named Low-A Southeast division.
Not usually brought up in the catcher category is Blake Sabol, but he’s forcing his way in the mix with his performance. Sabol’s play earned him most of the time behind the plate in Altoona while Carter Bins was there. Now in Henry Davis’ absence, Sabol has been the go-to guy.
More so than maybe any other position player on the field, the catcher position is relied on for their defensive play more than their bat. If they can chip in offensively, that’s a bonus, and that bonus is what we’ve seen out of a lot of the prospects in the system this year.
How’s the defense coming?
This year comes with added challenge for catchers and pitchers alike, with the ‘step-off’ rule limiting pickoff attempts, as well as larger bases to try and increase offense.
All of these could prove difficult for catchers trying to throw out would be base stealers. So, how have the Pirates catchers fared so far compared to last year?
|2022 CS%||2021 CS%||CS% +/-|
Jason Delay has come as advertised defensively, jumping over 30% from his mark a year ago. Endy Rodriguez and Abrahan Gutierrez have seen improvements in throwing out runners, although they have a small sample size due to not seeing as much time behind the plate with Henry Davis taking most of the time in April.
That’s going to start getting cleared up with Davis now in Greensboro and Rodriguez and Gutierrez left in Greensboro to split the catching duties.
Others have struggled, such as Taylor Davis, Blake Sabol, and Geovanny Planchart. With the latter, he’s adjusting to his first full season of professional baseball, and Sabol is playing the position at a rate he hasn’t done so yet in pro ball.
We are still just two months into the season, so these numbers can certainly go one way or another but with the rules being adjusted to try and help offenses, it’s encouraging to see some not being affected by it early on.
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THIS WEEKEND ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
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