50 in 50: Andrew Susac

Draft : : Top Prospects
Allan Simpson        
Published: Saturday, May 07, 2011

Andrew Susac
C / Oregon State

Bats-Throws:        R-R
Height/Weight:     6-1/190
Hometown:           Roseville, Calif.
Prev. Drafted:      Phillies ’09 (16)
Birthdate:            March 22, 1990

SCOUTING PROFILE: Susac is draft-eligible as a sophomore because he turned 21 in March. Even though he has much less experience in college than most of his peers, Susac has clearly established himself as the best all-round catching prospect in the 2011 college class with his combination of a strong, durable frame, natural athleticism, solid catch-and-throw skills and improving offensive tools. Not only did Susac arrive at Oregon State at 19, but he ended up sharing the catching duties with Parker Berberet as a freshman. He pressed at the plate under the weight of heightened expectations, and hit a modest .260-2-13. Susac clearly won the Beavers starting job this spring, but was forced to turn the catching duties back over to Berberet on April 11, when he had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand and faced the prospects of sitting out the rest of the 2011 college season. Until his untimely injury, sustained while swinging a bat, Susac was enjoying a breakout campaign at the plate for the Beavers, hitting a team-high .364 in 26 games. Even as he missed his next 16 games, he still stood among team leaders in homers (4), RBIs (25) and walks (21) in early May. Susac had made significant strides in all areas of his game this spring, but his improvement at the plate was especially noteworthy, and west-coast cross-checkers had quickly identified he and Utah’s C.J. Cron as the best college bats in that part of the country for this year’s draft. With his combination of superior raw arm strength and power, Susac had separated himself from all other catchers and it’s unclear how much his injury will impact his draft status. He was initially projected to go off the board in the latter half of the first round. Though his college career has been comprised to a degree as both a freshman and sophomore—first by inconsistent production, second by injury—Susac made significant headway in summer ball the last two years. As a graduating high-school senior in 2009, he stepped in as the regular catcher for Corvallis of the West Coast League, and stood out for the advanced way that he handled the league’s most-talented pitching staff. The case had already been made that Susac was among the top defenders in the spring in a very deep group of elite prep catchers in the 2009 draft class, and he graded out above-average in every area playing against college talent in the WCL. He was an unusually polished receiver for his age with soft hands, quick feet, compact release and throwing stroke that produced tag throws in the 1.85-second area consistently. Susac was a little overmatched at the plate for Corvallis as he batted just .209 with two homers, but scouts weren’t overly concerned and quickly pointed to his solid track record as a hitter at the prep level. At Jesuit High in northern California, Susac had nine Division-I signees as teammates, and yet topped the team in average (.455), homers (7) and RBIs (31). Susac was taken in the 16th round of the 2009 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, and unquestionably would have gone considerably higher had he not emphatically told scouts that he was intent on playing that summer in the West Coast League, and ultimately attending Oregon State. The Phillies monitored him closely all summer and made a belated, though concerted run at him, offering him a reported $850,000, but Susac stuck to his guns and went unsigned. Last summer in the Cape Cod League, Susac reaffirmed his standing as a catcher with significant offensive potential as he hit. 290-5-15 for Falmouth and led the league with a .500 slugging average. While Susac does virtually everything well on both sides of the ball, he still needs to shore up subtle aspects of his game. His superior arm strength is considered his best weapon on defense, while his receiving skills are his weakest. Susac has excellent raw bat speed and the ball explodes off his bat with authority when he squares it up, but he still needs to refine a somewhat unconventional approach to hitting. He has a hip-glide to his front side that occasionally leaves him looking off balance at point of contact. Susac is solidly put-together and has a physical presence on the field with his strength and stature. His only obvious drawback is his lack of speed.

Projected Draft Position: Late first round/compensation round.

--ALLAN SIMPSON

Perfect Game Events Attended

2007 World Wood Bat Association 17-and-under National Championship
2007 Underclass National Showcase
2007 Underclass California Showcase
2008 National Showcase
2008 AFLAC All-American Classic
2008 WWBA 18-and-under World Championship (Jupiter, Fla.)

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