Astros MiLB Position Review: Catcher
Now that the season is over we will review each position in the minor league system. This week we will start with catcher position where there was a breakout performer in the system.
Robinson was drafted by the Astros in the 21st round of the 2016 draft and has played well so far in his MiLB career. After hitting .275 in rookie ball, Robinson started the 2017 season with the Quad Cities River Bandits. The 22 year-old hit .274 with 15 HR, 77 RBI in 108 games helping the River Bandits to the Midwest League Championship. He also posted a respectable 41% caught stealing rate. He was a solid contributor all season long and established himself as a legit prospect in the Astros sytem. You can read more on Robinson here.
2017 Stats: 108 G, .274 BA/.330 OBP/.463 SLG, 32 2B, 15 HR, 77 RBI, 7 SB, 31 BB/98 SO
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. After a couple of down years, Stassi was able to find his power stroke in 2017 slugging .473 for Fresno in 73 games. His play was good enough that he earned a call-up and helped contribute to the playoff run down the stretch.
2017 Stats: 76 G, .272 BA/.393 OBP/.500 SLG, 15 2B, 14 HR, 37 RBI, 41 BB/70 SO
Rogers was traded to the Tigers as part of the Justin Verlander trade but his 2017 season was good enough that I feel he deserved a mention here. Known as a great defender, he showed off his bat in 2017 slugging 18 homers in 110 games with a .824 OPS.
2017 Stats: 110 G, .263 BA/.352 OBP/.472 SLG, 25 2B, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 53 BB/100 SO (w/Astros)
THE REST OF THE PACK
Stubbs was one of the breakout prospects in 2016 hitting .304 over two levels. He started the 2017 season with Corpus and missed some time early with a hamstring injury. He came back strong in April but struggled to get his BA up in the following months. He still posted an exceptional walk to strikeout ratio despite the low BA in AA (32 BB/44 SO). He was eventually promoted to AAA where he finished out the season
2017 Stats: 98 G, .232 BA/.328 OBP/.321 SLG, 18 2B, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 43 BB/59 SO
Papierski was drafted by the Astros this summer in the 9th round out of LSU. He showed some power and a good walk to strikeout ratio at LSU despite a low BA. This trend continued with the Tri-City ValleyCats this year as he hit just .198 but had 5 HR and 30 BB/29 K in 37 games.
2017 Stats: 37 G, .198 BA/.377 OBP/.380 SLG, 5 2B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 30 BB/29 SO
The Astros traded probably their best defensive catcher in the minors this season, Jake Rogers, but still have depth at the position. Stubbs is an athletic receiver and should start out in AAA. Robinson showed great signs with the bat and it will be fun to see how he produces as he continues to move up the through the system. The Astros also drafted a young catcher, Nathan Perry, this year so he will be a guy to watch in 2018.
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**