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Friday, August 14, 2009

East Coast Professional Showcase - Top 5 Catching Prospects

Anup Sinha        

TOP-5 CATCHING PROSPECTS

LAKELAND, Fla.--While most all of the catchers at the ECPBS will receive pro attention going into the 2010 draft, there doesn’t seem to be any who are destined for the first two rounds. It’s a trend apparent around the country following a 2009 draft that was loaded with high-end prep backstops.

It should also be kept in mind that the best catcher in Lakeland might not be a catcher, yet. It’s become more and more in vogue to take a shortstop without plus speed and make him a catcher because many of them have the soft hands and plus arm-strength for the position. A survey of big league catchers reveals a number of infield conversions, including the Giants’ Bengie Molina and the Dodgers’ Russell Martin.

Below are the Top-5 Pro Catching Prospects at the ECPBS last week. Rankings are based on the evaluations of both myself and fellow PG scout Cliff Pastornicky. The listed heights and weights are as measured by the Major League Scouting Bureau.

1. Matt Roberts, Graham HS, NC 5-11, 187 R/R

The live-bodied Roberts produced with his righthanded bat and also showed the potential to become a solid big league receiver. He pop-timed right at 2.0 seconds in the game. Though Roberts lacks a standout plus tool, he’s steady across the board and has the potential to play other positions. Roberts is verbally committed to North Carolina.

2. Case Nixon, Hillcrest HS, AL 6-1, 184 R/R

The athletically framed 6-1 Nixon showed good agility and footwork behind the plate and a present average MLB arm. Nixon has some length to his swing, but a smooth stroke and a chance to grow into some power. He’s committed verbally to Alabama.

3. Pat Leyland, Bishop Canevin HS, PA 6-2, 198 R/R

Leyland has power upside with a strong righthanded swing and good extension. He shows a fair amount of catch-and-throw ability to boot. The son of Tigers manager Jim Leyland, he has a very good presence behind the plate.

4. Shane Rowland, Tampa Catholic HS, FL 5-8, 168 S/R

Rowland shows quick feet behind the plate and threw average pops (2.0 seconds) during game action. Lack of size limits his projection, but he swings with authority from both sides and has a mature approach. The all-around ability is very solid.

5. Greg Brodzinski, Bishop Eustace Prep HS, NJ 6-0, 206 R/R

The strongly built Brodzinski takes an aggressive hack and hit with power to all fields. His throwing arm-strength is a touch below-average, but a quick release gives it a chance to work at the highest level. With the requisite sweat and repetition, he can become an average MLB receiver as well.

Check back for the next article which will highlight the top corner infield prospects (1B/3B) from the ECPBS.

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