Post Season Report Card–Catchers

All of a sudden plenty of depth at catcher and some significant decisions to make as to where players may fit it…

Lehigh Valley

Sebastian Valle, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2006; .253/.271/.428 in 388 AB’s between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 17HR 58RBI; .218/.232/.397 in 78 AB’s for Lehigh Valley; 4HR 19RBI; 3%bb/26%K rate in Reading; 3%bb/39%k rate in Lehigh Valley; Caught 100 games with 3 errors (.996); 11 passed balls; Threw out 28 of 107 baserunners (26%). Valle played well in Reading but I was a little surprised that he landed in Lehigh Valley so quickly.  Having now seen him quite a few times, what the critics say is accurate, he needs alot of work on his plate discipline.  That being said, a year during which Valle has stayed on track to make a major league debut in the 2014 season if not late next year. Grade: B-. 2013: Sharing time with Tommy Joseph in Lehigh Valley.  Notable that the first time Valle was scouted it was as a 3B years ago….

John Suomi, 31, Re-Signed as a free agent in 2012; .265/.311/.393 in 196 AB’s; 4HR 18RBI; 6%bb/14% k rates; .289 vs. LH, .263 vs. RH, .180 with RISP; .196 after August 1. Caught 35 games with 3 errors (.988); 7 passed balls; Threw out 6/32 (19%) of baserunners; Also played 7 games at 1B without an error. Suomi, who had been up and down the organization during the previous several years spent the entire season in Lehigh Valley and saw a decent amount of playing time with Erik Kratz spending several months in Philly.  Suomi has a very weak arm and therefore, won’t be a major leaguer but swings a good bat and calls a decent game.  Grade: B; 2013: If a “depth” catcher is needed at LV or Reading, he could be back.

Reading

Tommy Joseph, 21, Acquired from San Francisco in 2012; .257/.317/.399 in 404 AA AB’s; 11HR 48 RBI; 8%bb/22% k rates; Caught 74 games with 4 errors (.993); 11 passed balls; Threw out 21/52 (40%) baserunners; Also played 16 games at 1B with one error, (.993);  Overall Joseph had a good year but struggled at the plate with Reading,  That being said, Joseph is a top five prospect and a plus game caller with an excellent arm.  It will be interesting to see how the Phils choose to get Joseph and Valle at bats at the higher levels of the organization next year. Power numbers were down significantly this year after hitting 22 HR’s in High A in 2011.  Grade: B.  2013: Lehigh Valley, sharing catching duties with Valle, also getting AB’s at 1B and DH.

Steven Lerud, 27, Signed as a free agent in 2011; .235/.350/.304 in 120 AB’s; 0HR 7RBI; Caught 31 games with 1 error (.996); 1 passed ball; Threw out 15 of 43 base stealers (35%). Lerud is the example of “you never know what could happen”. AFter seeing limited time as the backup in Reading for most of the year, Lerud landed in Philly after injuried to Ruiz and Schneider, and the fact that the Phillies were leery to start the “options” clock ticking on Valle before he is near ready. Lerud is limited with the bat, but good defensively and could stick around as the Lehigh Valley or Reading backup next year. Grade: C+; 2013: Reading/Lehigh Valley

John Hill, 23, Phils 19th round pick in 2011; .129/.231/.149 in 101 AB’s between Lakewood, CLearwater and Reading; 0HR 8RBI; 13%bb/30%k rates.  Caught 32 games with 5 errors (.981); 3 passed balls; Threw out 13 of 39 baserunners (33%);  Hill was certainly less than productive in 2012, filling in when injuries hit between A and AA. Grade: D-; 2013:Hill has a plus arm and may get one more opportunity to prove himself in 2013.  No clue where.

Clearwater

Cameron Rupp, 23, Phils 3rd round pick in 2010; .267/.345/.424 in 344 AB’s; 10HR 49RBI; .275 vs. LH, .263 vs. RH, .273 with RISP; 10%bb/20%k rates; Hit .306 with 6HR post all star break. Caught 104 games with 8 errors (.992); 7 passed balls; Threw out 54 of 158 baserunners (34%); Rupp had a very good year, progressing nicely and taking it up a notch over the last couple months of the season.  Definitely has a catchers frame, I like Rupp alot.  Grade: B+; 2013: Reading.

Robert Stumpo, 25, Phils 33rd round pick in 2010; .250/.340/.328 in 180 AB’s between Lakewood, CLearwater and Reading; 1HR 24RBI; 12%bb/15%k rates. Caught 45 games with 6 errors (.982); 6 passed balls; Threw out 15 of 62 base stealers (24%); Also played 8 games at 1B with one error.  Stumpo was solid this year, floating around where needed. He doesnt project as a major leaguer but could help add depth in the middle levels of the organization. Grade: B-; 2013: Clearwater

Lakewood

Gabrial Lino, 19, Acquired from Baltimore in 2012; .222/.293/.352 in 338 AB’s; 7HR 32 RBI; 8%bb/26% k rates; .209 vs. LH, .236 vs. RH, .237 with RISP; Hit .309 since August 1.Caught 88 games with 18 errors (.975); 28 passed balls; Threw out 38/141 (29%) baserunners. Not a good year for Lino with the bat or the glove. The only above average category was the arm.  Grade: D; 2013: I would be very tempted to hold Lino back at Lakewood because of his age and wanting to see what, if anything, the Phils have in Ludy who was a fairly high pick out of college in 2012.

Josh Ludy, 22, Phils 8th round pick in 2012;.271/.365/.421 in 107 AB’s; 1HR 12RBI; 12%bb/16% k rates; .227 vs. LH, .302 vs. RH, .259 with RISP.  Caught 25 games with 3 errors (.980); 2 passed balls; Threw out 9/33 (27%) of baserunners. Grade: B, in limited action. 2013: Clearwater.

Williamsport

Logan Moore, 22, Phils 9th round pick in 2011; .233/.240/.302 in 215 AB’s between Lakewood and Williamsport; 1HR 22 RBI; 12%bb/23% k rates; Caught 65 games with 7 errors (.986); 16 passed balls; Threw out 25/100 (25%) baserunners; Moore hit just .177 in Lakewood before being sent back to WIlliamsport, and then did a serviceable job with the Cutters. Grade: C-; 2013: Lakewood or elsewhere

Chace Numata, 20, Phils 14th round pick in 2010; .235/.288/.319 in 166 AB’s; 2HR 23 RBI; 3SB; 7%bb/12% k rates; .103 vs. LH, .274 vs. RH, .188 with RISP; Caught 37 games with 5 errors (.983); 10 passed balls; Threw out 10/37 (21%) of baserunners; Hit .262 since August 1. I like Numata a bit, having watched him a few times but he had just an adequate season.  Grade: C; 2013: I think he will be in a battle with Logan Moore for a spot within the organization. I don’t know that the Phils will have room for both.

Kevin Quaranto, 24, Signed in 2010 as a free agent; .162/.279/.162 in 37 AB’s; 0HR 5RBI; 6 games at C with 2 errors and 1 passed ball; Threw out 0/8 (0%) baserunners; Also played 2 games at 1B and 1 game in the OF without an error. Grade: D in limited action.  2013: Numbers game…elsewhere.

GCL

Willians Austudillo, 19, Signed as a free agent in 2008; .318/.327/.419 in 148 AB’s; 0HR 21RBI; .341 vs. LH, .308 with RH, .294 with RISP; 1%bb/3%.  The 3% K rate is not a typo. Threw out 18/38 (47%) trying to steal; 4 passed balls; 1 error (.995);  Austudillo had an outstanding, eye opening year in the GCL.  He has only struck out 21 times in 716 AB’s between the Venezuelan League and GCL for 2009-present. Grade: A; 2013: Lakewood

Liam Bedford, 19, Signed as a free agent in 2011; .130/.200/.130 in 23 AB’s; 0HR 4RBI; Threw out 1 of 11 (8%) trying to steal. 6 passed balls; 0 errors.  An Australian product, Bedford didnt show much in very limited playing time.  Grade: D-; 2013: GCL or gone.

Chad Carman, 24, Phils 24th round pick in 2012; .306/.370/.429 in 49 AB’s; 0HR 4 RBI; .333 vs. LH, .297 vs. RH, .188 with RISP; 4%bb/8% k rate.  Threw out 9 of 24 (38%) trying to steal. 2 passed balls, 4 errors (.967). Carman played well but a 24 year old in the GCL should play well.  Depending what the organization actually saw as opposed to what I can speculate,  either Williamsport or Lakewood next year. Grade: B+.

Angel Chavarin, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2009; .206/.275/.302 in 63 AB’s; 1HR 4 RBI; .059 vs. LH, .261 vs. RH, 6%bb/24% k rates.   Grade: D. I would imagine the Phils have probably seen enough of Chavarin, this being the third season he has seen action in the GCL.

57 thoughts on “Post Season Report Card–Catchers

  1. Watching Logan Moore, I got the impression that he may be our best purely defensive catching prospect.

    Sebastian Valle, his ability to play 3B is immaterial with the bat he’s shown. If he doesn’t catch, he won’t merit an MLB job.

    1. Maybe the fact that Valle play 3rd is more relevant to how he gets enough abs while sharing duties with Joseph. That’s how I read it.

    2. Not sure Valle was ever a 3B. That might have been a reference to a Baseball America article a couple of years ago that was trying to picture our lineup in 5 years with no 3B prospect. Valle was a catcher on the Mexican junior team that was signed after an international tournament if I recall correctly. At least we have a better 3B pipeline now.

      1. Why are we talking about Valle at 3rd when you have Cody Asche more than likely being the starting 3rd basemen for Lehigh

        1. It was mentioned in the article as an aside. That is all. He is not a 3B and his defense is good enough for him to stay at catcher.

  2. Never really read about Willians Austudillo until now. Is this guy a top 30 prospect? Those numbers look great. What is this guys deal?

    1. First of all, it is Astudillo (the error is in the writeup above). Second of all, as noted below by Marfis, he is 20 and will be 21 in October. One walk and five strikeouts in 148 ABs in the GCL. So the strikeout numbers are good, but the walk numbers are terrible. As a result, hit .318 with a .327 OBP. No HRs, but 15 doubles suggests maybe power is coming. Sounds great defensively. I think that we will find out a lot next season if they move him up to Lakewood as suggested by Gregg. I don’t know how the stat guys view it, but I would rather have a guy who walks more even if he strikes out more, because a strikeout is just another way of making an out, but a walk puts you on base.

  3. Phillies have 3 legit catching prospects for the top two levels between Rupp, Joseph, and Valle. Will be interesting to see how they get enough PAs for all three; I would imagine Valle and Joseph are the higher priorities given their higher ceilings.

  4. Thanks for another great write up.

    Willians Austudillo’s K rate is impressive, but he walk rate might be crazier — once in 153 plate appearances..

  5. A “D” for Lino is a bit harsh, in my opinion. He’s only 19 and playing at Lakewood. Ok, so maybe I’d grade him a “C;” not much difference, but a little more forgiving. I still think he’s our 5th best C prospect, of an obviously deep group.

    1. Agree on Lino, I might give him a C+. Astudillo doesn’t offer a whole lot besides contact and probably won’t develop much power given his current height/weight. I’m not on his bandwagon at this point but he does merit keeping an eye on.

      1. Joseph
      2. Valle
      3. Rupp
      4. Lino
      5. Ludy
      6. Astudillo
      7. Numata

      1. I would probably rank them:
        1. Joseph – highest offensive ceiling
        2. Valle – Better D than Joseph but walks are a concern
        3. Rupp – Old for the level but made progress in 2nd half – backup most likely
        4. Lino – More ceiling than Rupp but more chance of failure
        5. Numata – Phillies rave about his D (and he is converted), also very young
        6. Moore – Pushed too fast in Lakewood but showed potential in Wport
        7. Gruillon – Hard to rank. Probably our 3rd best prospect ($575K bonus) but has not played yet
        8. Ludy – polished college catcher should move quickly but low ceiling
        9. Astudillo – Swings at everything and old for the level. CS % was good however

        1. When I did that I was thinking Astudillo was 19, so I’d move him below Numata on my list. I don’t like ranking guys who are 16 and never played stateside before so I’ll withhold ranking Gruillon. I’d probably put Moore ahead on Astudillo too.

  6. I am not sure on the value of Valle at this point but 17HR is good. He might be trade bait.
    I’d like to see Valle and Joseph split time at C but both need experience behind the plate and I’m not sure who is the primary. I’d start Valle more often early in the season, in case he get called up.

    Rupp at Reading with some vet as his backup. Lerud type might be a good choice if Phillies do not want to promote Valle to the show if Ruiz or Kratz are out.

    I could see Ludy/Lino at CLW, especially if Ludy has been a good influence on Lino. Maybe Moore and Ludy if Lino stays at LWD. I think Moore is now a backup minor leaguer.

    Would like to see Astudillo (if signed in 2008 he has to be older than 19, born 10/14/1991 on fangraphs) in LWD. Keep his bat at 1B/3B when not catching but a good hitting C is super valuable even if they ‘might not’ stay at C. Phillies need to do everything possible to keep him as a C prospect, if just to trade him. (I do not think Phillies consider him much of a prospect since he has moved so slowly despite great hitter numbers throughout his career.) Lino or Numata as his backup.
    Agree that it is likely Moore or Numata. Decision may depend or where Lino goes.

    Carman probably just WPT as vet guy with maybe a 2013 draftee. Could be extended Spring guy who goes to LWD if needed. Seems like a career minor leaguer who could float between teams.

    1. I agree with most of what you posted, but I’m not sure about a Valle/Joseph time share at C. The Phils place so much importance on defense/game calling at that position that I doubt they would do that if they identify those two guys as the best two C prospects. I think Rupp might be the odd man out if they’re all with the organization next year, backing up Joseph at AA and maybe playing some 1B.

    2. I disagree with the comment about the Carman. Been following him through college and he is a way better player than most give him credit for. He was a two time Gold Glove winner in the NAIA with only one error behind the plate in his last two college seasons. He is smart and handles pitchers well, especially when they are struggling. He has a way of playing up to whatever level he’s at because of his work ethic. Better keep an eye on him.

    1. He’s got to be in the discussion, but to rank him ahead of Lino right now seems a bit premature to me. I could easily see a case where he’s ahead of Ludy and Astudillo just on ceiling alone, based on scouting we have seen. Remember, he was called a top 20 INT signing by Ben Badler, but what does that equate to? A mid-second round pick maybe (hard to judge that, of course)? That’s a lot of dreaming on potential to put him ahead of a guy who BA called the #21 prospect in a major league farm system just one year ago.

      1. You bring up fair points, but dreaming on potential without the player playing yet didn’t stop some from ranking Tocci in the top 20 before the season started. The Phillies invested over 500G in Grullon, which tells me all I need to know about what they think of his potential. I’m dreaming on Lino also, but he was ranked #21 in a system that apparently fell off a cliff after the top 4-5 (and yes, I know Jordan knows the system), and was one of TWO players let go for Thome – in the last year of his deal, and possibly his career, with a bad back and who the Phillies were looking to move. My point being, how much did the Orioles value him? Don’t get me wrong, it was a great trade to get two players with potential, but aren’t you dreaming at least as much on Lino as I am on Grullon? I don’t begrudge anyone ranking Lino above Grullon right now, but I would keep Grullon at number four on potential alone.

        Which brings up a bigger point on these rankings that I’ve always wanted to ask. Shouldn’t the rankings be based on whether the Phillies would ultimately trade player X for player Y, regardless of where they are in the system? I wouldn’t trade Grullon for Lino, based solely on the Phillies over $500G investment.

        1. I’m with you on the theoretical prospect rankings scale of whether you might trade player x for player y, but are you assuming the investment the Phils made as part of the trade? That’s an organizational rationalization, whereas I don’t worry about that. The money proves the org likes him, (call it “bonus” points), and that plus scouting makes it clear this is a valued player, but the org would hold him because of the money they spent being an investment, and I don’t think that way when deciding who is a better big-league prospect. Not much of a distinction, I guess, but I don’t have to act like a front office and hold onto an “investment” when I am making this theoretical trade. If I’m Amaro, I would hold Grullon in a trade proposed to send us Lino, sure.

          Your points about the Baltimore system are valid. I don’t think Lino is going to be in the Phils top 30 on BA, (probably won’t be in my own top 30), but he might make some top 30 lists since he’s so young and at a premium position.

          So, the question is, would I trade Grullon for Lino, right now, based on big-league potential? Seeing how Lino’s bat responded to A ball the last month of the year, at his age? I think I would. I think he’s progressing and 3 years closer to the bigs than Grullon. So there’s some proximity there outweighing the scouting and the “bonus” points.

          It’s probably closer than I thought when I argued it the first time, but you didn’t quite convince me. But hey, neither of us called the other one a name, so that’s good.

          1. Agree about the name calling – nice to debate in a respectful manner.

            I’m confused about your “investment” logic. To clarify: I mention the 500G investment in Grullon as an indication of the value the organization has placed on the player (ie that he’s really, really good, and that’s why they paid him that). I would have no problem trading Grullon for Lino if I thought Lino was the better player, even though I’ve already given Grullon the 500G. That’s a sunk cost. The money’s already gone. Why wouldn’t you trade him if you thought you were getting a better player in Lino? I just think the Phillies think more of Grullon because they gave him that kind of scratch. That, and because Sal Agostinelli told them to. I think Agostinelli is a wizard. If Sal tells them to spend that kind of money on a player, I’m going with that player, even though I haven’t seen him (Tocci, Domingo Santana, Franklyn Vargas, etc.).

            I see value and potential in Lino’s numbers and age relative to being in Lo A, but I don’t rank him higher than Grullon because he’s playing higher up the chain. I don’t agree when people put the Hyatt’s and the Jiwan James’ in their top 30’s, even though the organization hasn’t even protected them on their 40. Again, that shows me what the org thinks. I’d rather put a Walding, who I hadn’t seen yet, because they gave him 800G. That also shows me what the org thinks.

            1. The logic I thought you were using was one of an org protecting an investment as part of the “value” of a player. I guess you and I are on the same page there. I think Amaro would value a player a bit more than he might otherwise because of the money they just sunk into him. To you and I, in evaluating the player, that money’s gone.

              I’ll say this about proximity – if people use it as a tool of valuation, I think it should only be used as proof that a man is capable of completing a level of the org. I look at Lino, and I see a guy who has already been promoted, seemingly on merit, to low-A, and could possibly be promoted to high-A this off-season. If he was a guy I didn’t think had talent based on scouting and stats at age vs. level, I wouldn’t much care…I valued Hyatt at #21 last year based on how well he did at AA. I was actually surprised he did as well as he did. And I don’t think my valuation of him was because of “proximity”, per se. It was because of performance and durability related to proximity. So there’s that.

              Grullon has a long way to go to the bigs. He has yet to show anything in professional leagues. I am willing to value him above guys like Ludy and Astudillo based on scouting and the fact that he was valued by the org enough to give him a big pile of money. But from what I have read about Lino, and from his results, streaky as they are in small samples, I still like him more right now because he’s progressing through the minors under age.

            2. Grullon has much more value than Lino. Think of Lino as a low dollar Valle signing. He has added value by progressing a few levels, but nowhere near the type of value the team places in a $575K signing. The team thinks enough of him to pay him in the same neighborhood as Cozens.

              Ranking him is tough because we have not seen him play. But we do have evidence of what the Phillies think of him. This would be like saying that Watson is not one of our top 20 prospects. On talent he is probably top 5. Since he has not played a lot it is tough to put him above players that have. But it still does not take away from his talent. It is not as if he has done anything to tell us he was not worth his draft status and bonus.

            3. So Andy, let me ask you, and I won’t hold you to this, but if you were looking at a LA catcher they signed this year at Grullon’s age, about what would be a bonus amount you would call about a fair prospect match for Lino right now? Meaning if Grullon was only good enough to sign for $100k-200k, would you maybe think Lino was the same or better. $50-100k (if we even would get that bonus amount reported)? Just curious if that’s a thing that you, with your better understanding of the LA market, might be willing to at least quantify in the abstract at lower bonus levels, or if it’s just that $575k is so large and the scouting we’ve seen so clear on Grullon’s upside, (which it is), that it’s an extraordinarily easy choice to place him ahead of a guy like Lino right now.

            4. Lino seems to be more like a $150K-$200K player in terms of bonus value now. He has done some good things to elevate his status a little. But he has not done enough to say he is as valuable as a 2nd round pick. I guess my position with Grullon is that $575K sets his rough value until we have more info to prove that is wrong. When Hewitt started hitting .180 we knew he was probably not worth his bonus value.

            5. I would argue that $575K in the LA market does not equal a second round pick in the Amateur draft. The two markets are completely different, mostly because in the LA market a player can negotiate with every team and not just the one that drafted him, so the money won’t compare. I would guess $575K to be closer to a 3rd or 4th round pick. Regardless, does anybody know how much Lino received as a bonus?

              More to the point, The failure rate for 16 year old LA signings is fairly high, regardless of how good their scouting reports look. Until this guy starts playing some games, I (and this is my opinion) can’t rank him higher than Lino who has shown some development and held his own as a 19 year-old in Low-A. Assuming Gruillon plays next year as a 17 year old in the GCL and then as an 18 year old in Williamsport, he would also get to Lakewood at age 19. If can put up something similar to Lino’s .832 GCL OPS (in albeit a small sample) then I’ll be more impressed.

              I just need more data at this point than scouting reports. Something from instructs (I believe he is on the IL roster) that shows Gruillon has promise. That’s not to say that I won’t rank him high in the spring (I had Tocci at 22 this year without him having played any ‘real’ games) however at this point it still seems too early.

            6. Seems like this does not take into account various factors that alter the landscape, such as the enormous inflation that has occurred in Latin American signings (the how-you-gonna-keep-‘em-down-on-the-canefield syndrome). I don’t offhand know all the info on Lino- I but I would say he will turn 20 this offseason- so I would say he signed some 4 years back at 16. I don’t know what Lino signed for when he signed. Or, to put it another way, what would Lino get today? And does what Lino has gained in value override the potential of a 16 year old , who just might turn out to be a trainwreck.

            7. I tried to find a bonus $ for Lino, but could not after maybe 3 different google searches plus BA. He didn’t sign in July, waited until December 09, even though he was 16 in May of that year and likely eligible to sign. Could be any number of factors that would necessitate him waiting, but so probably he wasn’t a very hot commodity. Can’t say for sure.

            8. andyb illustrates my point with the Watson example. Jonathan Mayo has ranked Watson two slots higher than Pettibone. Don’t yet know if Mayo is right, just pointing out that he’s applying the same principle we’re talking about.

            9. That’s true. It is easier with Watson because it’s easier to get a read on his competition level and such. But the point stands.

            10. It’s not that I throw proximity completely out the window. I still had Rupp ranked ahead of Grullon (for now). I just think Grullon will eventually pass even Valle. Who knows? Lino could. I just don’t feel as sure. To me, that’s part of the fun of projecting : reading meaning into the org’s actions – even without a sample size. I’d rather go out on a limb for upside.

              That’s what I meant about the Hyatt ranking. Even though his numbers were great (albeit 25/26 yrs. old in AA), the org left him out there for any team to grab for $25K, even though he was high on the chain. That says something to me about how they value his talent. (BTW, I’m a fan of Hyatt from a personal standpoint. Seems like a great guy in interviews. Hope he makes it.). I doubt I would put Cloyd in my top 30 (also hope he makes it). I’d probably rank a JC Ramirez higher, in spite of his being viewed as a disappointment, based purely on upside. Same with Ervis Manzanillo (depending on the severity of his injury).

              Anyway, this is what makes the world go round. Pleasure chatting with ya.

        2. This debate highlights what I see as a real difficulty in “fans” making these kind of evaluations. Actually, not just fans, but even other front offices. Here is data which may seem irrelevant but IMO isn’t. Well, reference to data, anyway, and sorry I can’t find a link. But looking at big contracts for free agents and free agent eligible players, players signed by their current team do MUCH BETTER (in terms of value) than players who sign with another organization. The organization just knows much much more about it’s own players than do outsiders. So knowing how a team values it’s own prospects is potentially very valuable information.

          The problem IMO is that it is very hard to get that information. I’m not sure looking at the team’s investment in the player tells you that much.

  7. I hope Valle and Joseph aren’t put at the same level next year. Both guys need to be seeing a regular workload at catcher. Neither has the bat to be much of a prospect at a different position.

  8. Rupp is , indeed , 23 with a birthdate on September 28, then he is 24.
    Astudillo is , however, now 20 according to sources and will turn 21 on October 12.

    Don’t see any need for this catching every day thing for Valle and Joseph. Even if they alternate every game that’s around 70 games each. Getting most all the AB’s is essential, however, and they should alternate at another position also. 70 games a season, they won’t forget how, and they might learn better on the every other day plan. Catching takes a toll and the beating day after day can reduce offensive output. Offense is the key, they can develop defensive adequacy on the every other day plan.

    Astudillo- 1st season in VSL- mostly a DH. 2nd season- some C, some 1B and 3B, 3rd season- mostly 3B, some C, 1B,2B, rarely SS. Then to GCL- mostly C.

  9. The grades assigned to the players seem a little “off”, in category. At the beginning of the series, it was explained that the players would be graded based on the expectations for that specific player. With that, it is surprising that Sebastian Valle’s season could be considered a B-. Valle didn’t have a good season, and he fell below many observers expectations, especially offensively.
    Also, with the grading based on expectations of the individual players, “age to level” did not seem to figure into the equation at all. Astudillo and Lino being the obvious examples of skewed expectations. Lino didn’t have great numbers, but what was expected of a guy (just turned 19) playing catcher, who was in GCL last year?

    1. Everyone but Joseph and, believe it or not, Lino (who is said to have a huge upside), is probably trade bait. If you followed the press carefully, it became clear over time how much the team hated getting rid of d’Arnaud and how much they wanted him back. They understand the value of a good catcher who can hit. Joseph has all the makings of that type of player – this was only his age 20 year, so he has plenty of time to get everything together. I would be positively shocked if they traded Joseph and, if for some reason, he does get traded, it will either be for another catcher or a superstar type player (Justin Upton?) but on the whole, I see him staying put. Valle is all but gone as far as I can tell.

      1. Valle could be an attractive marketing addition for Arizona with their large Mexican following. And Trahan is at least 3/4 years away. In a package Valle could sweeten the pot.

  10. Man, people putting Astudillo above Lino are really letting the former’s numbers drive their rankings. What do you think Lino would have done in the GCL? Those players are the *same age*.

    Also agree with the poster above who expects Rupp to be the backup/DH/occasional 1st baseman among the three “advanced” catchers. Valle and Joseph both need to start every day. Rupp’s ceiling is probably a backup, and he’s basically already there.

    1. Actually, Lino is younger than Astudillo, not the same age. But I agree with your point. Astudillo’s numbers aren’t impressive by any stretch of the imagination, for a 20 year old.

  11. I have seen Valle many times at many levels. I have seen Joseph twice. I saw Lino right after the trade. I consider all three prospects. Without a dought Lino has the best arm and fastest release. He was being cockey the game we saw because he held the ball and then threw a lazer right on the bag. One of those moments you remember for a lifetime. Valle has his problems with being over aggressive but, I think he is the best hitter in this group. Joseph has shown me nothing. He looked lost after the trade and I wrote it of to new surroundings. But he never hit for the rest of the year. That is alarming. Lino for such a big strong guy doesn’t have a good aproach. I hope someone teaches him a short stroke swing because he needs to make more contact and I think the power will come. I don’t judge players by stats alone. I have to see them and use my experience to try to project. These three with the right coaching could develope and give us a solid catching core for a long time in my opinion.

  12. The top 3 guys will all catch every day somewhere and Joseph gets top priority, meaning he has to lose the AAA job. Rupp has to “win” the AA job. My guess is Joseph plays at AAA, Valle plays at AA, and Rupp plays at A+. In a perfect world Valle and Rupp would probably be a level higher, but its more important to play every day and get the AB’s. The only reason they moved Valle to AAA was to ease Joseph into the org with pitchers he was familiar facing and easing the transition.

    1. If Rupp was younger I would agree, but I think he has to be moved up. He’ll be 24 next year and probably will have to be protected on the 40 man soon, so we need to find some things out about him.

  13. Hope they don’t trade Valle coming off a down-ish season until they build his value more. Young, quality catching is just so valuable. Unless it was for a young, starting caliber player (Leonys Martin, plus maybe a player farther down the ladder?). Texas could be a good destination. Also big Mexican fan base, and he would be perfect to develop behind Soto. And yes, I’d rather have Olt. I just don’t know who you’d have to add to get him.

  14. joseph did nothing to prove he should jump over valle. the only thing joseph did was get scout sopion that he is better, he hasnt proved it yet.

  15. I think that if Valle doesn’t get traded, which is a strong possibility but not a sure thing, we’ll see Valle, Joseph, Rupp, and Lino all start next year where they ended this year. None of them showed enough with the bat to earn an automatic promotion and all of them need lots of playing time. If I was a betting man however, I could see Valle and may going for a guy like Choo.

    1. I disagree. Rupp’s .770 OPS is pretty good in that league. 20th overall among qualifying players and 2nd among catchers. He’s definitely earned a promotion. It’s unfortunate for him that there’s a logjam but I think, given his age, his development might be better served moving up to Reading even if he can’t catch all the time. Obviously there’s no ideal situation if all 3 guys (him plus Valle and Joseph) are still here.

      For that reason, I expect one of them will be traded this offseason.

      1. Agree. Rupp has to move up. Wouldn’t mind him catching less, actually. He’s already developed defensively, and he’s caught a lot between college and pro. Save some wear on him.

  16. I agree, I also could see all of the top four catchers staying with the teams they ended the season with. It should be a given that Chooch and Kratz will be with the Phil’s. No real urgency to promote anyone.

  17. The idea that Valle would be valued by teams with Mexican fan bases is crazy. No one is breaking down doors to sign Miguel Ojeda. The Fernando Valenzuela phenomenon isn’t happening again.

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