Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in
the 33rd round of the 2007 draft.
B: L T: R / Height: 6', 0" / Weight: 210
2007 Team/League: Gulf Coast Phillies (GCL) 12 G
Williamsport Crosscutters (NY-Penn) 3 G
Positions Played in 2007: catcher - 12 games
School: LaSalle University
Batting and Power: Prall is much more of a get-on-base type of hitter than a straight power hitter. He had some exposure to wood bats prior to being drafted, but showed absolutely no power when he didn't have the benefit of a metal bat and that's likely to be the story with Prall throughout his career. That's not to say that he won't put the bat on the ball and occasionally launch a long ball; after all, he finished his career at LaSalle as the school's number two all-time hits producer and always put up strong on-base percentages.
Baserunning and Speed: Hey, the guy's a catcher. There's not much speed to be put to use here and his baserunning instincts aren't the greatest, but that's something that can be developed a little in the minors.
Defense: As many teams have started to do, the Phillies are constantly looking for catchers who can simply catch the ball, block the ball when it's in the dirt and throw some runners out on the bases. Prall does all of that very well and is comfortable in working with pitchers to get the most out of them and know what to have them throw in certain spots. This is where Prall will make his living and he's got great natural instincts and a nice, solid build for behind the plate.
Projection: After struggling at the plate and hitting just a combined .114 in his first pro season, Prall will obviously need work. He's unlikely to see a full-season league this year, unless the Phillies need a warm body to put behind the plate at Lakewood at some point. He could even be back in the Gulf Coast League if the Phillies really decide that he will need a very slow track. While they're not looking for a lot of offense out of him, .114 simply isn't going to get it done. Keep in mind though, that there is some natural talent there and as he adjusts, he's likely to show enough offense to keep himself around.
ETA: Don't count on Rich Prall being in Philadelphia for a while. It's going to be a slow track for him, but he's a 33rd round pick and nobody is expecting instant stardom for him, so patience is definitely called for.
Comparison: The easy comparison is to former Phillie Todd Pratt. They're both left-handed hitters and are both the type of player that can find a way to help a club. Prall will likely be a better defensive catcher than Pratt was, but it remains to be seen where his offense will wind up in comparison to Pratt, who was a career .251 hitter and hit 49 home runs in just over 1600 Major League at bats.
Rich Prall's career stats