Traditionally Top 30 season begins with the Reader Top 30 right after New Years, to prime us for discussing the system as a whole, we are going to take a walk through the positional groups in the system. The goal is to look at where they rank with regards to each other, how they profile going forward, and how they fit into the system as a whole. I will try to post one of these every couple of days starting with Catchers, and then proceeding through the other positional groups (Corner Infield, Middle Infield, Corner Outfield, Center Field, RH Starting Pitchers, LH Starting Pitchers, and Relievers). I am not James, nor am I a scout so I will be focusing on initiating the discussion rather than creating the narrative.
Additionally this will focus on “prospects” avoiding players who are organizational filler or minor league free agents. If I have missed someone you think deserves to be on this list let me know and they will be added.
To start, if you have not read it all already, here is gregg’s positional recap of catchers.
Going into 2012 catcher was a relatively weak group in the system, but the trade acquisitions of Gabriel Lino and Tommy Joseph and the continued success of Cameron Rupp, catcher can be considered one of the strengths of the Phillies system. There are plenty of interesting prospects in the low minors but there are some log jams at the top. The big question is where all of the catchers will play and how many of them will still be in the system.
Sebastion Valle (22): Valle ended the year in AAA after starting in AA, he held his own but he still has not corrected problems with his contact ability and plate discipline. Valle is a good defensive catcher and has the ability to be above average behind the plate. He has plus raw power but he has not been able to consistently tap into it.
Tommy Joseph (21): Joseph was acquired from the Giants at the deadline. Joseph has plus to plus plus power and a good approach at the plate but he can struggle to make consistent contact. Joseph has made huge improvements behind the plate where he has a plus arm, he still struggles to block balls in the dirt. Joseph did not perform well in the AFL with illness slowing him down, with a slight bounce back at the end of the season.
Cameron Rupp (24): Rupp was a 3rd round pick in 2010, he has moved up a level a year with small improvements each year. Rupp may not have any plus tools, but he has no true weaknesses. For a player who can stick behind the plate that is profile that could be a borderline regular or above average back up even if there are no improvements. Rupp ended in Clearwater, and will need to move up a level so it remains to be seen how he fits with Joseph and Valle.
Gabriel Lino (19): Lino was acquired from Baltimore along with Kyle Simon in exchange for Jim Thome. Lino like Joseph and Valle has plus power and a really good arm behind the plate. Lino has well above average approach at the plate for his age, but he struggles too make good contact when he swings. Behind the plate Lino has the tools to be very good but eh struggles with footwork and blocking balls in the dirt. Lino is only 19 so another year in Low-A would not hurt his development if the ABs are there.
Josh Ludy (22): An 8th round pick in 2012 Ludy was assigned directly to Lakewood, he hit very well in his limited action. The tools profile as a back up catcher, and he will likely advance to Clearwater next year.
Logan Moore (22): Moore, a 9th round pick in 2011, has drawn rave reviews for his defense. However, his bat was not good in 2011 in his time split between Lakewood and Williamsport. If Moore never hits he could have a long career as a minor league catcher, if he is able to put together anything at the plate he could be a major league back up on defense alone. He could be pushed to Clearwater if the Phillies have given up on his offense as there may be a hole there if Lino is held back.
Chace Numata (20): Numata was very raw when the Phillies took him in the 14th round in 2010. His hitting improved over the course of the year but he was not spectacular. Numata will likely have to have a big year in 2013 in order to stay in the organization.
Willians Astudillo (21): Astudillo surprised with the numbers he achieved in the GCL. However, what makes him successful will not be sustainable at higher levels,. Astudillo puts everything in play and he does not draw walks or strike out. If he keeps up his good contact skills while being more selective against better pitchers he could be a very good prospect. 2013 will be a large test of how his skills translate.
Deivi Grullon (16): Grullon was one of the Phillies big money Latin America signings. Grullon profiles as a defense first catcher, with a plus arm that is improving and an advanced ability to block pitches in the dirt. Grullon has shown gap power but his swing can get long. Physically Grullon is a Carlos Ruiz clone, Ruiz was a low money middle infield signing who blossomed late in his career so Grullon will have to take a different path.
Some Questions Facing this Group:
Where will everyone play?
Is Valle, Joseph, or Rupp the Phillies catcher of the future?
Will any of the raw catchers in the low minors break out as a top catching prospect going forward?