Overview of Catcher Prospects

As a whole, the catching in the New York Yankees organization may be one of the stronger points of a now weakened minor league system. The group is loaded with talented young ballplayers which includes the overall gem of the entire Yankee system. This young man is Dioner Navarro. Navarro has flashed some tremendous skills in his time in the Yankee farm system, that include not only his hitting but his fantastic defensive ability as well.

Along with Jon-Mark Sprowl and Omar Fuentes, Navarro has been invited to the big league spring training camp in 2004. Dioner Navarro may be the heir apparent to Jorge Posada in the not to distant future. He could easily be a superstar in the big leagues and has already drawn comparisons to Pudge Rodriguez by earning the nickname "Pudgito." Other top catching prospects such as Jon-Mark Sprowl, and Edison De Los Santos also project to possibly be solid major league catchers in the future.

Columbus Clippers - With Michel Hernandez off to Boston, it will open up the starting catchers role in Columbus for the 2004 season and that hole could be filled with a broad range of players.

Player (Position)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

David Parrish (C)

25

(.231, 1, 15)

Since joining the Yankee farm system out of the University of Michigan, Parrish has shown little to no signs of being a future big league player. Has never hit more than 1 home run in a season and his highest season average was only .253.

Omar Fuentes (C)

24

(.236, 5, 27)

Also received an invite to the Yankees spring training camp for the second straight season but is not expected to make the team. Fuentes is a decent all around catcher that could make a solid backup for any team in a couple years. (Stats with Trenton)

Trenton Thunder - Dioner Navarro may not be moving on to Columbus until late in the 2004 season, making the starting job not quite as wide open for a players such as Omir Santos, Alejandro Fernandez, or Doug Boone.

Player (Position)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Omir Santos (C)

23

(.235, 2, 30)

Santos has had an up and down career in the Yankee organization and it is difficult to tell which Omir Santos will show up in 2004. The man who in 2002 hit .289 with 7 home runs with Staten Island or the player who hit .235 in 2003.

Alejandro Fernandez (C)

23

(.242, 1, 9)

A player that started out promisingly in the organization but has since dropped off. Needs to work on his patience at the plate and must cut down on strikeouts. Will likely be the backup or third string catcher. (Stats with Tampa)

Doug Boone (C)

25

(.281, 1, 12)

Boone is a vastly improving player and has continued to work on his weaknesses. Needs to improve his power and production numbers, but is still a decent defensive catcher that for the most part is fundamentally sound.

Dioner Navarro (C)

20

(.321, 7, 65)

Navarro is already on the fast track to the big leagues. He has a cannon for an arm and is a great backstop. Not a huge power threat but is a good gap hitter. Could be in the majors in the next couple of years. Could be promoted to Columbus late in the 2004 season, but the Yankees have no reason to rush one of their few bright spots in the farm system. He is only 19 years old and there is more than enough time for him to get to the majors.

Tampa Yankees - It seems that the starting catcher for this team in 2004 will in all likelihood be newly acquired Jon-Mark Sprowl. Sprowl was acquired mid-season last year in the Raul Mondesi trade and was fantastic while playing out the rest of the season for Battle Creek. It will be a fight between he and Tom Rojas for the job. Of the two, Sprowl projects to be the better player and will likely get the starting job. Another player that could make a run at the job would be Sandy Madera.

Player (Position)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Jon-Mark Sprowl (C)

24

(.402,  1, 20)

Sprowl also hit .296 in the Arizona organization before being traded. Hits for a good average and is a solid defender. He has a legitimate shot at making the majors if he continues to improve his defense and develop as a hitter. (Stats with Battle Creek)

Tom Rojas (C)

22

(.291, 1, 6)

Rojas is still a very young catcher that is getting better all the time. It is unlikely that he will Sprowl on board, but could still have a shot at becoming a solid catcher with some more minor league seasoning.

Sandy Madera (C)

24

(.299, 5, 23)&

Sandy Madera has proven himself to be a fairly solid catcher since coming over from the Oakland organization. Has improved greatly as hitter and has shown decent power but must improve his patience at the plate. Needs to cut down somewhat on strikeouts. In his time in the organization, Madera has also shown signs of becoming a decent backstop as well. (Stats with Battle Creek)

Battle Creek Yankees - It seems that unless one of the catchers from last years team does not get promoted, that Battle Creek will likely be receiving two catchers from Staten Island that hit .232 and .157 respectively. The two catchers are Luis Robles and Carlos Rosario.

Player (Position)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Luis Robles (C)

22

(.232, 1, 12)

Luis Robles split time with Carlos Rosario in Staten Island last season along with Troy Caradonna. Even with his lowly .232 average, Robles was the most productive catcher on the roster. However, he still must improve to compete for the starting spot at the next level. Must learn to draw more walks and raise his on base percentage.

Carlos Rosario (C)

20

(.157, 3, 16)

Unless there is drastic change it statistics for Rosario in 2004, it doesn't seem as if he is going anywhere in his career. To go along with his awful .157BA, he only had a .185 OBP. Must improve a great deal before he is considered a top catcher in the organization.

Staten Island Yankees - After spending a 2003 season with three catchers in which none hit higher than .232, it seems that their luck may change in 2004. If nothing changes, they will likely be receiving 2003 Gulf Coast Yankees catchers, Edinson De Los Santos and Luis Romero. Santos is a highly touted catching prospect despite his low level in the organization. A returning member of the 2003 Staten Island team will probably be Troy Caradonna who struggled mightily for them last season but could be able to turn it around in the upcoming year. Out of the three, look for Santos to be taking the starting catchers role for the Staten Island Yankees in 2004. However, Romero or even Caradonna have the potential and the talent to take the job as well.

Player (Repertoire)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Edinson De Los Santos (C)

20

(.258, 2, 11)

Last season with the Gulf Coast Yankees, De Los Santos split the catching duties with Luis Romero. However, of the two players, De Los Santos showed more promise as a hitter. Displayed good production numbers but must work on patience and cut down on strikeouts.

Luis Romero (C)

20

(.216, 0, 8)

At the plate in 2003, Romero did not show the skills at the plate that scouts feel that he does have, but he did flash some tremendous defensive ability. Is solid behind the which will always work to his advantage, but still needs to improve his hitting to respectability.

Troy Caradonna (C)

23

(.071, 0, 0)

Troy Caradonna did not play nearly the amount of time that it takes to get a gage on a players talent. He had only 14 at bats over the entire season and it remains to be seen what kind of ballplayer he actually is.

GCL Yankees - At this point in time it is still a wide open race for the catchers role, but it is assumed that it will be filled by members of the Yankee draft class of 2003. However, there could possibly be a few catchers that move in from the Dominican Summer League as well.

Player (Repertoire)

Age

Stats (AVG - HR - RBI)

Comments

Joe Larman (C)

19

N/A (High School)

Larman was selected by the Yankees in the 31st round of the 2003 draft right out of high school. He has been said to be a solid catcher but it remains to be seen if he can compete at a higher level of play.

Blake Murphy (C)

19

N/A (High School)

Murphy is considered much more as a hitting catcher than anything else. He was selected in 37th round by the Yankees in 2003. His defense seems to need a lot of work and might eventually be in line for a position change.

Mike Muscato (C)

20

N/A (Community College)

Muscato impressed Yankee scouts enough to get a draft even while playing for a little known community college called Glendale. However, it doesn't seem that Muscato is going to a star in the farm system by any means. At the absolute most he could be the backup catcher for the Gulf Coast Yankees in 2004.




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