Houston Astros Top Three Catching Prospects For 2017
Now that 2017 is here, it is time to start looking at the top three prospects at each position as we lead up to the Astros top 30 prospect list. This week I will get things going with the catcher position.
1. Garrett Stubbs (AA)
Stubbs was drafted by the Astros out of USC in 2015. He was known as a great defender but has really made good strides with the bat. In 2015, he played in 36 games hitting .263 with an insane 21 BB/5 SO ratio. Stubbs started the 2016 season with Lancaster and got off to a nice start slashing .305/.399/.473 in the first half of the season. Stubbs was eventually promoted to Corpus Christi where he continued his hot hitting and actually improved in every category slashing .325/.401/.517 over 31 AA games. On the season he stole 15 bases and only struck out 48 times in 86 games. He has definitely established himself as the best catching prospect in the Astros system. Stubbs also 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
2. Jake Rogers (A)
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 little behind the glove. After the draft he was assigned to Tri-City where he hit.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. If he makes strides with the bat in 2017, he will quickly rise up the prospect lists as he is one of the best defensive catchers in the MiLB.
2016 Stats: 46 G, .233 BA/.341 OBP/.377 SLG, 10 2B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 21 BB/43 SO
3. Tyler Heineman (AAA)
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. Heineman doesn’t have a tool that jumps out at you but he does a good job making contact and is a switch hitter. In 129 career AAA games, Heineman is hitting .265 with 19 2B, 6 HR, 39 RBI and 37 BB/59 SO.
2016 Stats: 73 G, .259 BA/.344 OBP/.351 SLG, 9 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 26 BB/44 SO
Jamie Ritchie (A+) – 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. He is a solid receiver but scouts have noted his arm as average.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**