Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top 5 White Sox Catcher Prospects

Josh Phegley (WhiteSox.com)
This list, only five players, took me hours to make.  Catcher may be the weakest/thinnest position in the entire White Sox system.  Only the top two have really proven anything in the minors and the third has barely played.  Agree or disagree?  Comment below.

1. Josh Phegley - Opinions seem to be unanimous that Phegley is the top catcher in the White Sox system.  The 24-year has spent four years in the minors after being drafted 38th overall in 2009 out of Indiana University.  Phegley improved on his 2011 campaign and batted .266/.306/.373 last year while driving in 48 RBIs in 102 games.  Another positive sign is Phegley has reduced his strikeout percentage through the years and different levels.  However, his BB% in 2012 was the lowest of his career.  Also, Phegley lacks power as he has only hit 8 homers in 124 games in his AAA career.

Phegley is pretty good defensively.  Last year, he had a CS% (caught stealing) of 46% which helped him earn a MiLB Gold Glove last year.

If Hahn and the White Sox don't sign A.J. Pierzynski or another catcher, Phegley could be the backup next year.

2. Kevan Smith - Also 24-years old, Smith was taken in the 7th round in 2011 out of Pitt.  In 2011, Smith absolutely dominated rookie ball, batting .355/.448/.626 combined with Great Falls and Bristol.  Last year, he came back down to Earth, but still batted .281/.338/.434 in A and A+ ball.  Defensively, Smith had a CS% of 33% last year.  He was named a South Atlantic League All-Star last year.  While those rookie league numbers are impressive, he was 23 years old at the time.  He is still somewhat old for A+ ball.

3. Sammy Ayala - There is really no reason besides faith to put Ayala here.  Despite being drafted in the 500s in 2012 by the White Sox, Baseball America listed him as a top 200 prospect.  Ayala, 18, is obviously very raw.  Hopefully, Baseball America is right and Ayala can become a solid prospect in the future.

4. Martin Medina - Medina plays a little bit of everything.  Last year, he played first, third, and DH, but spent most of his time (54 games) at catcher.  With Kanny last year, he batted .252/.318/.332 and had a CS% of 40%.  Medina had a high strikeout percentage in 2012 at 23.7%.

5. Miguel Gonzalez - This last spot was truly a toss up (was going to go with Michael Blake for awhile).  While Gonzalez has struggled recently batting, he has been named Baseball America's 
best defensive catcher for the past four years.  He is also three years younger than Blake which gives him the nod over him.

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