RC's Top 60 - The Catchers
Despite the loss of Wil Myers to the outfield, the catching ranks in the Royals' organization is still relatively strong, and certainly better than it was just 12 months ago. Myers' departure from the position anoints Salvador Perez as the system's top catching prospect, but the 20-year-old backstop isn't resting on his laurels. Perez has wowed observers this spring with his defensive acumen, and his offensive skills draw comparisons to that of long time big leaguer Sandy Alomar, Jr. In short, Perez looks like a future big league starting catcher, an asset the Royals have long lacked.
Behind Perez lies perhaps the biggest controversy on RC's list. We aggressively ranked Kevin David ahead of Manny Pina and Lucas May, two catchers who will very likely see big league action in 2011. According to our reports, David was one of the best players at instructs last fall, and he draws rave reviews from organizational personnel. The 2010 19th rounder out of Oklahoma State is someone to watch closely this season.
Of course, Kiel Thibault also once drew similar praise, and he was gone within two seasons. David hit just .279 during his senior season at Oklahoma State, and he followed that up by hitting .277 with two home runs and 16 RBIs in 130 at bats for Idaho Falls. Those weren't overwhelmingly good numbers, but they are certainly something to build upon. Because he shows potential with both his bat and his glove, David ranks slightly higher than Pina and May, who are both largely one-dimensional players. Among the three, David is the only one who could project as a big league starting catcher, provided his bat comes along as hoped.
While Pina is a very advanced receiver with excellent catch-and-throw skills, we haven't heard great things about his ability to work with pitchers, and it is difficult to project his offense as being anything better than below average. Meanwhile, Lucas May's defensive deficiencies seem to limit him to a role as a backup catcher in the big leagues.
Jin-Ho Shin and Jose Bonilla both made the Top 60 list in 2010, but their respective performances last season bumped both off this year's edition. Shin was close, on the basis of the raw potential that prompted the Royals to hand him a high six-figure signing bonus, but his AZL line of .152/.280/.200 in 125 at bats last year was simply dreadful. Shin was a young player making his American debut, so it's important to keep those numbers in the proper context, but he will likely need a rebound this season to remain in the organization's plans. Bonilla, meanwhile, appears to have stalled in Low-A. The 22-year-old backstop his just .239/.344/.338 during his second tour of the Midwest League in 2010.
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