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2017 IBI Top 75 Prospects: #33 Logan Ice

The 2017 countdown continues with a switch-hitting catcher who the Indians believe has a chance to be a standout defensive catcher and has an interesting offensive profile as well...

33. Logan Ice - Catcher

Born: 05/27/1995 – Height: 5’10” – Weight: 195 – Bats: Switch – Throws: Right

Facts & Info: The Indians selected Ice in the 2nd round of the 2016 Draft as a competitive balance pick out of Oregon State University, and signed him for $850,000. As a college junior in 2016, he led the team in walks (37), slugging percentage (.563) and on-base percentage (.432), and ranked second on the team in both RBI and home runs. He threw out 44% (19-of-43) of base stealers last season and committed just four errors on his way to being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which recognizes the top catcher in the NCAA.

Offense: Ice brings an interesting offensive profile as he switch hits and shows a very good approach at the plate where he is patient and controls his at bats well. He is not someone who does anything exceptionally well offensively, but he is one of those guys who just checks off all the boxes and is pretty solid across the board.  While he has a more natural swing from the left side, he shows the ability to hit from both sides of the plate with a nice, short swing and good overall feel for hitting. One of the things that drew the Indians to him out of the draft is how he shows the ability to make consistent contact and has such a good understanding of how to work the zone extremely well, and also how he just battles pitchers when he is at the plate. His bat made some big strides last season in college, particularly in the power department where he still grades out a tick below average. He hit just 3 home runs in his freshman and sophomore seasons combined (.029 ISO in 2014 and .154 ISO in 2015), but last season more than doubled his career home run total with 7 homers as a junior and a nice .253 isolated power percentage. The addition of more power to his game added another dimension to his offensive profile and caught the interest of the Indians where they believe he could have average or slightly better than average power down the road.

Defense: What really stands out about Ice is his defensive ability, and was the skill that really attracted the Indians to him. He combines a good amount of athleticism and agility to move around well behind the plate and is a strong receiver, blocker and commander. He does some things defensively that the Indians really like, such as how he is such an advanced pitch framer, that they believe he has a chance to be elite defensively. When you watch him catch he just has a really good ability to frame strikes and to block pitches and do all of the things teams look for from a catcher. He has good catch-and-throw skills where he shows a slightly above average arm that plays up because of a quick transfer and the accuracy he gets on his throws. Finally, there is the leadership component in terms of his advanced game-calling abilities, how he works with pitchers, understands their deliveries and so on.

Speed & Intangibles: Ice has a strong build with a compact frame and some good athleticism that should allow him to be durable and also provides the agility needed to be a good backstop. His run tool is below average and he’s not much of a factor on the bases. He has the plus makeup, strong work ethic, good communication skills and excellent leadership qualities needed from a catcher. 

Focus: Ice had a rough pro debut at Short-A Mahoning Valley last season. While the approach was there (14.9 BB%), he had a hard time making consistent contact (.198 AVG) and struck out at a good clip (24.7 K%). The Indians believe that he was worn down a little bit from catching nonstop in college for two years as he played summer ball in 2014 and 2015 so never had any down time, and it just caught up with him in his transition to the pro game. Maintaining his stamina, energy and strength is something they are working with him on since the demands of the pro game are great with catching every day for six months straight. They are really working with him in his strength and conditioning program to build a stronger foundation so that he can recover quicker and better handle the rigors of the season so his performance is not impacted. The Indians expect that he will have a renewed energy this spring and into the season and that the swing will be a lot better as a result, which in turn should see his offensive production get back to expected levels. They have not yet identified anything significant with his swing they want to address, so will continue to observe him early this season before implementing any changes. He’s already pretty good defensively, so they just want him to fine tune everything and work on his communication with his pitchers – particularly the Latin American arms and those from other countries as he’s never had to really work with pitchers who don’t speak English.

Future: Going into the draft last year the Indians felt that one of their biggest weaknesses in the farm system was the lack of catching depth and high end catching prospects. They feel they took some significant steps to address that need with the selection of Ice and others. His selection was not a sexy one as he has no true standout tool, but they really like his well-rounded game defensively and believe he has a chance to be very good behind the plate. When you add the ability to hit from both sides of the plate, some above average plate discipline skills and some developing power, well, you have a very interesting Major League catching prospect. Because he is so advanced defensively and with his approach at the plate, he is someone who could move quickly through the system provided he is improving and the performance is satisfactory. He’s not the best catching prospect in the system, but if he has a strong year he could really solidify his standing as the second best one behind Francisco Mejia, and set the table for a rapid ascent up through the system and potentially someday team up with Mejia as the duo behind the plate that eventually replaces Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez in Cleveland. He should open the season at Low-A Lake County.

Ranking History: None

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