Tool Time: Top Defensive Catchers

There may be no more important position on the diamond defensively than catcher. Managing the game, dropping down the call, calming the pitching staff, giving advice, framing pitches and saving runs are part of every pitch thrown. The following San Diego Padres prospects stake their claim as the best at plying their trade.

Luis Martinez

The complete package behind the dish. A bilingual catcher, he is able to communicate effectively with all of his pitchers. He is adept at calling games, works diligently at blocking balls and has quick feet.

Martinez snared 44-of-121 – 36.4 percent – would be base stealers at Low-A Fort Wayne – even better considering several members of the staff were not very good at holding runners.

Emmanuel Quiles

Raw in terms of catching, Quiles is still learning how to call games and setup hitters. His blocking improved this season, but he still has to learn how to catch errant balls and keep the rock in front of him.

Speedy Quiles is just that. His footwork and balance give him a boost coming out of his stance to catch would be base stealers. He threw out 41.5 percent of runners attempting thievery.

Jose Lobaton

If pure arm is talked about, sans the footwork, Lobaton would be king of them all. His ability to backpick guys at first base was the best in the system. From his knees, he could fire back to first base to catch runners leaning or scuffling to get back.

Lobaton has progressed nicely in the game calling and pitch sequencing aspect of backstop position and is adept at blocking balls and keeping them in front of him. His footwork could use work to catch up with his lightning arm.

Robert Lara

Another bilingual backstop, Lara conqured a tough role playing in the desert heat. Squatting in Arizona for a summer is no easy task and Lara handled himself well in all aspects of the game.

The backstop has a quick exchange from glove to hand and an accurate arm. Lara caught 32.8 percent of potential base stealers, gunning down 22-in-67 attempts.

Ali Solis

He doesn't get the credit he deserves for his catch and throw ability. Solis has improved vastly in his ability to peg runners trying to advance, catching 36.5 percent on 23-of-63 attempts.

Solis has also improved in his ability to alter pitch sequences and help his pitching staff out when they are in a rut. His leadership skills are evident in how he works diligently with the staff.

Honorable Mention:

Adam Zornes

Known for his defensive ability coming out of the draft, Zornes is a leader on and off the field.

Clint Naylor

Praised for his ability to frame balls and work with a staff, Naylor is a consummate professional behind the dish.

Mitch Canham

He needs help in throwing out runners but has improved at blocking balls and no one can question his leadership skills.

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