Beau Taylor was the first catcher selected by the Oakland A's in the 2011 draft. He was picked in the fifth round and was the team's fourth pick overall. If Taylor signs with Oakland, he will be leaving behind a strong legacy at the University of Central Florida.
"He had an incredible three-year career here as a starting catcher for us at UCF. There is no question in my mind that he is the complete package from a catching standpoint and offensively, he's obviously a left-handed hitting bat," Central Florida head baseball coach Terry Rooney said.
"I think without question he is considered one of the top catchers in all of college baseball this past year."
In three years with the Golden Eagles, Taylor batted .337. He hit .335 as a freshman, .354 as a sophomore and .325 with 47 RBIs this year as a junior. He was a Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and a member of the Johnny Bench Award watch list this season.
Although not exclusively a catcher in high school, Taylor took to the position quickly in college. He worked tirelessly with UCF catchers coach Cliff Godwin, according to Rooney. Taylor committed only one error in 2011.
"The improvements Beau made every year were just incredible. It just goes to show the work ethic that's the type of character Beau has. He's going to be a terrific pro," Rooney said.
"He did a great job this past year handling our pitching staff. That was the greatest area of improvement that Beau had this year. Up until then, he had been more focused on learning the position and trying to get the physical side of catching down. I think in his third year of college he has basically mastered all of that with a focus on the other things like working with pitchers and controlling the running game. He did a great job with all of that."
Taylor's strongest asset, according to Rooney, is his bat. He had a 26-game hitting streak that began at the end of his sophomore year and carried over into his junior season and he set a career-high this year with 75 hits.
"The strength of what Beau has done, he's hit for three years. I think he has a chance to be an offensive left-handed hitting catcher in the major leagues," Rooney said.
"That bat is his strength. Offensively, he has a knack of barreling the baseball up regardless of who he is facing or what kind of pitcher it is."
As a left-handed hitter, Taylor will be a rarity amongst the A's minor league catching corps. Only Mitch Canham, who the A's signed as a minor league free agent this season, is a left-handed hitting catcher among the A's full-season catchers currently (Midland catcher Petey Paramore is a switch-hitter; the rest are right-handed hitters). Taylor is expected to sign and will likely make his pro debut with short-season Vermont. The New York-Penn League opens on June 17.