Draft Preview: High School Catchers

Once again, thanks to TT for doing these previews leading up to the draft!  A job well done! - BK

Let’s continue our look at the 2009 MLB Draft by checking out high school catchers. Unlike its college counterpart, this is a deep and talented class. Keep in mind that much can change before June and that high school stats can be difficult and inaccurate. Here’s a gander:

Max Stassi – Yuba City (Calif.) HS

Stassi certainly has the bloodlines. His great-uncle Myril Hoag played 12 years with the Yankees, alongside some guy named Ruth. Stassi’s brother plays at Nevada-Reno, while his dad, grandfather and another uncle played pro ball. Somewhat undersized at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, Stassi is an excellent hitter, posting a line of 15-45-.471. His bat speed is at least average. A UCLA recruit, Stassi is known as a baseball rat. He is an honor student and is very driven. A take-charge player, Stassi runs well for a catcher and has endeared himself to scouts with his makeup.

Wil Myers – Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C.

Myers is a solid hitter, but at 6-3, 190 he might grow out of the tools of ignorance. Myers’ versatility could allow for that, as he is a fine third baseman. He also has played first base, shortstop and pitches, where his 87 m.p.h. fastball shows off his throwing arm. Myers, a South Carolina recruit, is aggressive at the plate. He has 8 home runs and a .647 batting average. He is expected to be a difficult sign.

Luke Bailey – Troup HS, LaGrange, GA.

Bailey had Tommy John surgery earlier this month, clouding his draft status. Bailey has grown from 6-foot, 175 last season to more than 200 pounds. A tough kid – he played with a broken rib for several games last year – Bailey is fearless and shows strong leadership skills. Bailey hit 13-61-.505 and recorded times ranging from 1.83 to 2.07 in throwing to second. Bat speed is a bit of a question and he tends to swing and miss while trying to hit home runs. He is athletic and is an Auburn recruit.

Austin Maddox – Eagle’s View Academy, Jacksonville, Fla.

 A 6-3, 225-pounder, Maddox has touched 91 off the mound. He could be a two-way player at Florida. Maddox put up a line of 12-67-.515 last season. He sometimes tends to have too much uppercut in his swing. An honor student, Maddox is thick yet agile, although he might have to watch his weight. Maddox has one of the stronger arms in the nation and can hit a ball a long way. He strikes out quite a bit, too, but has excellent bat speed.

Geno Escalante – Rodriguez HS, Fairfield (CA)

Very intelligent, Escalante signed with Cal State-Fullerton. His strengths are defense and his arm, as he batted just .308 as a junior after hitting .411 as a sophomore. He lacks power. Escalante was a standout running back, but baseball is his future.

Andrew Susac – Jesuit HS, Roseville, Calif.

 The only switch-hitter among the top 10 – everyone else hits right-handed – Susac is 6-1, 190 and is known for his intelligence. Susac could be tough to sign away from Oregon State. A former bat boy for the St. Louis Cardinals, Susac’s confidence has grown considerably from last year. He has outstanding makeup to go with a line of 6-33-.475. Exceedingly polite, Susac hits strong pitching well.

Michael Zunino – Mariner HS, Cape Coral, Fla.

We might have a winner, here. Zunino’s dad Greg has been a Reds scout for 22 years. His godfather, though, works in the front office of the Chicago Cubs. A defensive standout, Zunino is a Florida recruit. Zunino added 20 pounds and now is 6-foot, 185. He also plays third base and the outfield. Zunino has above average speed for a catcher and has impressive power and a plus arm.

Cameron Garfield – Murrieta Valley HS, Murrieta, Calif.

 Garfield’s pop time to second base consistently sits at 1.88 seconds. He features a powerful bat and improved his stock considerably over last season. A University of San Diego recruit, Garfield can throw, block, catch and hit. He has earned comparisons to Jason Kendall with more power. Garfield has 7 home runs and a .444 batting average. The Marlins have shown a lot of interest. Garfield figures to be at least average in every area.

Tucker Barnhart – Brownsburg (Ind.) HS

Barnhart is listed anywhere from 5-9 to 5-11 and 170 pounds, meaning he’ll need to bulk up to handle the rigors of pro ball behind the plate. He also plays second base. A Georgia Tech signee, Barnhart’s pop time to second base is an impressive 1.76 seconds. His catch-and-throw abilities are among the best in the draft, particularly his exchange. A strong student, Barnhart is a line drive hitter who posted a line of 10-39-.417. He also plays third base and could be even better as an infielder than as a catcher.

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