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Old 03-14-2013, 06:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do Catchers bust less?

Reading an article on Mike Zunino on ESPN I had this thought - is it just me or, barring injury, do catchers bust at a far lower rate than other "superstar" prospects? The ones that come up touted as hitters and receivers - all of them at least turn out quality. I mean people talk about how disappointing Matt Wieters has been, but even he is going to make some All Star squads. You look at infielders, outfielders - tons of guys are touted as great hitting prospects, great in the field, everything... and they bust at such a high rate.

Catchers? Far fewer are obviously touted as potential stars - but once we've identified them, they almost always wind up satisfying us with the quality of player they develop into. Is it just that there's some sort of work ethic associated with being behind the plate? What is it that keeps them from busting like other position players? Do we simply fail to recognize them until they're obviously going to be stars?
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Do Catchers bust less?

We can look at catchers drafted in the first round until 2009 since 4 years is enough to determine whether a high pick is a bust.

2009 - #4. Tony Sanchez
2008 - #5. Buster Posey #6. Kyle Skipworth
2007 - #5. Matt Wieters 15. Devin Mesoraco 21. J. P. Arencibia
2006 - #23. Maxwell Sapp #25. Hank Conger
2005 - #3. Jeff Clement #13. Brandon Snyder
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Do Catchers bust less?

Too early to pass judgment on Skipworth and Sanchez... I'd argue the same for Mesoraco.

So we're looking at Arencibia, Wieters, Posey, Sapp, Conger, Clement, Snyder...

If I had to name "Next Big Thing" candidates I'd go with: Skipworth, Mesoraco, Arencibia, Wieters, Posey, Clement - the others may have been reaches or were chosen based on signability.

Out of those 7: Wieters and Posey are proven. Mesoraco and Arencibia both still have major potential. Clement is confusing, definitely a misjudgment somewhere. Leaves us with Skipworth - who looks like a bust.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Do Catchers bust less?

I think part of the phenomenon is that the catcher spot is the new shortstop. Which is to say that traditionally baseball teams were willing to live with guys like Omar Vizquel or Mark Belanger at SS because it was viewed as a purely defensive position (and even back to the early days of the sport when you look at HoFers like Rabbit Maranville) and guys like Ernie Banks and Honus Wagner derived part of their value from being ferocious hitters in addition to being acceptable defenders. But teams would always settle for a SS that could field no matter how badly he hit. These days that's the C spot. If a backstop can manage his pitchers and give the team solid defense, he can hit like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and still have a job.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Do Catchers bust less?

There have been many catcher prospects who were highly rated at one time and then busted.

Ben Petrick
Daric Barton
Jeff Mathis
AJ Hinch
Angel Pena
John Buck
Dioner Novarro
Guillermo Quiroz

Other ones I can't think of right now.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Do Catchers bust less?

A lot of names being brought up are guys that were highly regarded and considered likely starters and MAYBE All Stars. I'm mostly referring to the "next big thing" level names.
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