Astros MiLB Position Review: Catcher
Now that the season is over and the MiLB awards have been handed out, we will review each position in the minor league system. This week we will start with catcher where there were some great performances and a breakout prospect.
Stubbs was drafted out of USC just last season. He was known as a great defender but has really made good strides with the bat. He got off to a nice start in Lancaster but continued his hot hitting in Corpus and actually improved in every category slashing .325/.401/.517 over 31 AA games. He also stole 15 bases and does a great job making contact. He has definitely established himself as the best catching prospect in the Astros system. Stubbs hit .412 with 2 2B, 2 RBI in four playoff games for the Hooks. Overall he threw out 51% of base stealers in 2016.
2016 Stats: 86 G, .304 BA/.391 OBP/.469 SLG, 22 2B, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 15 SB, 43 BB/48 SO
Ritchie was selected by the Astros in the 14th round of the 2014 draft. He has posted great on base percentages throughout his career and this season was no different. On the season he had a .389 OBP and now has a MiLB career OBP of .417. He played in 61 games at catcher throwing out 34% of base stealers. Ritchie will need his bat to carry him and should be in Corpus next season.
2016 Stats: 99 G, .276 BA/.389 OBP/.395 SLG, 20 2B, 7 HR, 57 RBI, 58 BB/83 SO
Robinson was drafted just this season by the Astros in the 21st round. The defensive first catcher had a great showing in rookie ball hitting .275 with a .753 OPS. While he only threw out 29% of base stealers, he is a very good receiver. He showed off a little power with 13 doubles in 45 games for the ValleyCats.
2016 Stats: 45 G, .275 BA/.359 OBP/.394 SLG, 13 2B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 19 BB/48 SO
THE REST OF THE PACK
Stassi, acquired from the A’s in the Jed Lowrie trade, had a breakout 2013 season in which he hit 20 2B and 17 HR in 76 games for Corpus Christi. Many expected big things for him moving forward. He followed that season hitting just .231 over 254 AAA games. He has spent some time in Houston but has struggled to hit in AAA.
2016 Stats: 69 G, .230 BA/.294 OBP/.374 SLG, 12 2B, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 20 BB/65 SO
The Astros drafted Heineman in 2012 and he had a fantastic 2013 season where he hit .286 with 13 HR and 71 RBI. While he hasn’t been able to duplicate this success fully, he has had some solid seasons. This year in AAA he hit .259 but had a .344 OBP with just 44 K in 73 games. He threw out 33% of base stealers.
2016 Stats: 73 G, .259 BA/.344 OBP/.351 SLG, 9 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 26 BB/44 SO
Rogers was a 3rd round selection by the Astros in the 2016 draft. Coming out of college Rogers was known as one of the best defensive catchers in the draft, but the bat was a bit behind. He started this season with Tri-City hitting .253 with 2 HR, 12 RBI in 25 games. He was promoted to full season Quad Cities where he hit just .208 in 21 games, though he threw out 50% of runners with Quad Cities.
2016 Stats: 46 G, .233 BA/.341 OBP/.377 SLG, 10 2B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 21 BB/43 SO
Garrett Stubbs has clearly made his case to be the best catching prospect in the Astros system. After splitting time between A+/AA in 2016, he will most likely start next season back in AA. With another good season, he could be a call-up to the Astros in 2017. The Astros spent a high pick on Jake Rogers and it appears he will start with Quad Cities. His defense is second to none but if he can get the offense going, his stock will blow up. The Astros also saw some good short season performances from Ruben Castro and Gabriel Bracamonte and both should be in full season ball next year.
This isn’t the strongest position in the Astros system but it has definitely taken a step forward from 2015. The emergence of Garrett Stubbs, the recent selections of Jake Rogers and Chuckie Robinson, and guys like Tyler Heineman have added nice depth in the Astros system.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**