Overviewing Reading’s Roster – Catchers

It’s great to be here writing for Phuture Phillies! I’m joecull, and as could be assumed, I’ll be writing for Phuture Phillies. My work will mainly pertain to the Reading Fightin’ Phils (And no, I’m not a fan of the name). Without further ado, lets analyze Reading’s catching situation.

Sebastian Valle- By now, we all know about Valle’s plate discipline, or lack thereof. Last year, he hit .253/.271/.428 with 17 homers and 58 RBI in 388 at-bats between Reading and Lehigh Valley. If he was in Lehigh Valley last year, why is he back in Reading? The answers are quite simple. He was simply dominated in AAA last year, in no small part thanks to his lack of plate discipline. Valle walked 2 times in 80 plate appearances and struck out 31 times. That’s a 15.5 K/BB ratio, which is pretty ugly. It’s safe to say that he wasn’t ready for AAA. Also, Tommy Joseph’s emergence plays a role in Valle’s return to Reading. Acquired in last year’s Hunter Pence trade, Joseph is a better hitter than Valle with more plate discipline.

With Cameron Rupp, another promising catcher, in Reading, where does Valle fit in? Chances are that Rupp and Valle will split time at catcher, with one of them moving to the DH spot. Also, Valle took reps in left field during Spring Training, so the outfield’s always an option for Valle, who has a good arm.

Next up is the aforementioned Cameron Rupp, who’s a pretty decent athlete for a catcher. Formerly a linebacker recruit before solely committing to baseball, he has a linebacker’s size (6’1″, 240 lbs.).

Last year, Rupp stayed in Clearwater, hitting .267/.345/.424 with 10 homers and 49 RBI in 344 at-bats. Unlike Valle, Rupp doesn’t have plate discipline issues, as evidenced by his .345 OBP. He’s the type of player who’s a jack of all trades and a master of none. Perhaps the best part of the game is his arm, as evidenced by his CS% of 34% last year.

To get constant at-bats this year, like Valle, he’ll have to spend some time at DH. It wouldn’t be surprising for one of the two promising pitching prospects to seperate himself from the other, gaining the majority of the playing time at catcher. Who that catcher will be is yet to be decided.

Last but not least is John Suomi. Suomi, 32, batted .265/.311/.393 with 4 homers and 29 RBI last year in 196 at-bats at Lehigh Valley. There’s really not much to see here, with Suomi being the stereotype of organizational depth. Granted, organizational depth is important, but at the same time, organizational depth is organizational depth.

Suomi won’t get much playing time at catcher with Rupp and Valle ahead of him on the depth chart. In a pinch, Suomi can play first base, so he may receive a very rare start or two there.

Given all of the catching talent and depth in Reading, there will be problems getting everybody constant at-bats. With all being said, that’s a pretty good problem to have. Here’s to a good season of MiLB baseball!

21 thoughts on “Overviewing Reading’s Roster – Catchers

  1. Welcome Joe! Glad to have you with the site. I’m sure we’ll all look forward to your thoughts on the R-Phils.

  2. Welcome Joe! Catching was the Phillies weakness for a while. After D’arnaud was traded, we had Valle as the only catching prospect and he was years away. Now they have some catching depth and some would say strength. A lot of that depth is in the higher levels of the organization. Joseph and Valle could be caled up in a pinch. I think Rupp will become a solid backup in the big leagues and could be a #1 catcher for some lower level teams. Then there are guys like Lino, Numata and some of those recent signings from Latin America. There are enough guys who could become pieces in a mid-season trade or work their way to the top of the mountain.

    1. Thanks! Like Rupp, I think Valle will end up being a backup unless he suddenly gains better plate discipline. Catching is one of the few positions of depth in the Phillies organization.

  3. Joe nice to have you on here, don’t know how many or if you saw him pitch yet, what is your take on colvin?? ty

    1. Colvin definitely has the stuff to be a good pitcher, but it seemed as if he lacked confidence. He was nibbling at the zone, ending in him giving up a lot of walks and runs.

  4. Welcome on board Joe…….will you be able to have any ‘face-to-face sit-down’ time with Manager Dusty Wathan or GM Scott Hinsicker for general prospect talk?

  5. Welcome Joe!! But quick question… .Did Tommy Joseph really emerge..? or did he just show up? I mean this like was he handed the future catcher spot, or has he earned it with play? haven’t really been impressed with him and his fielding thus far.

    1. Not necessarily emerged, but Valle de-emerged. I’ve been somewhat impressed by his raw power potential. Last year in Reading, he cranked a 400+ ft. long ball into center field.

  6. ” It wouldn’t be surprising for one of the two promising pitching prospects to seperate himself from the other, gaining the majority of the playing time at catcher.”

    I assume you mean catching prospects.

  7. Thanks for the post Joe and, Welcome!

    I think a heavily underrated and hard to evaluate part of catching is game calling. Do you have any insight into the ability of any of the catching prospects to do so? Also, is that a skill that can be taught? Is it even possible to evaluate at the Minor League level with so many different pitchers working on different things?

    1. Statistically, the best stat to judge game-calling by is CERA (catching ERA). Those stats aren’t available for MiLB players, but if I recall, Reading’s pitching improved once Joseph came and Valle went to LV. This may have been because of the arrivals of Martin and Morgan, but Joseph has been commended for being a leader before.

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