Prospect Profile: Casey Myers, C

It isn't often that a backup catcher receives much attention, especially when that backup catcher is playing in Double-A. It also isn't often that a backup catcher (at any level) can stake claim to a .352 batting average and a 906 OPS. Casey Myers is the proud owner of both of those gaudy number and he is making a push at being thought of as more than a backup catcher. We take a look at the Midland backstop to see what his future may hold within the Oakland A's organization.

Like many prospects in the A's chain, Casey Myers comes from a baseball family. His father Clint was a catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals in the mid-1970s and his brother Cory was a first round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999. Myers starred at Arizona State University where he was twice a finalist for the Johnny Bench National Catcher of the Year award and was the National Defensive Player of the Year in 2000. Myers also made his mark in the classroom, where his hard work landed him on numerous Academic All-American lists.

The cerebral Myers joined the A's organization in 2001 as a 9th round draft pick. After a stint in short-season A Vancouver in 2001, Myers was sent to High-A Modesto. His stay in Modesto would extend longer than expected, as Myers was a member of the Little A's from 2002 through 2004. He would finally earn a promotion to AA late in the season in 2004 after hitting .319 with a .408 OBP in 63 games for Modesto. However, he only saw action in 10 games for the Rockhounds.

Myers began this season in Midland behind Jeremy Brown and Jed Morris on the catching depth chart and quickly found playing time was hard to come by. When he did get into games, it was often as a pinch-hitter and occasionally as a first baseman. However, Myers was productive whenever he got the chance to play and in June his playing time increased. Since June, Myers has been a regular member of the Rockhounds' line-up, often hitting in the middle of the order.

Morris has been sent back to A-Stockton, so Myers has been sharing catching duties with Brown and has seen time at first and as the team's DH. The former ASU star has been one of the Rockhounds' best hitters over the past few months. In 40 games for Midland, Myers is hitting .352 with a .510 SLG and a .396 OBP. He has clubbed five homers (one every 29 at-bats) and he has driven in 27 runs.

Thus far Myers' career in the A's chain has been that of an organizational player. He has never received regular playing time and hasn't been moved at rate that would indicate that the A's think that Myers will be an everyday catcher at the major league level. However, his offensive production for A-Modesto last year and AA-Midland this season bares notice. Myers is a solid defensive back-stop. He isn't very athletic behind the plate, but he receives the ball well and sets up a good target. He doesn't have a strong arm, but he has a quick release which allows him to throw out a decent number of runners. In his start behind the plate on Thursday, Myers threw out two San Antonio base-stealers in the Rockhounds' 6-2 win.

Myers is an intelligent catcher and a good game-caller with a reputation for working well with young pitchers. Although he is 26, Myers does not have a lot of mileage on his legs and could have some value as a back-up catcher/ pinch-hitter in the Adam Melhuse mold for the A's over the next few seasons.

At the very least, by next season, Myers seems like a good candidate to fill Mike Rose's old role in AAA-Sacramento. Rose was a veteran catcher with the River Cats in 2003 and 2004 and he served as insurance against injuries for the A's major league catchers while helping the A's AAA pitching prospects develop. Rose was 27 before he got his first taste of life in the major leagues and was 28 before getting any regular playing time in the big leagues. Myers could have a similar career path if he continues to hit at this torrid pace.

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