Mets catching prospect Josh Thole, appeared in todays 7-2 loss to the Tigers and singled in his only at-bat. If you haven’t heard of Thole before, get used to hearing his name.
Adam Rubin recently wrote:
Thole, now 22, is the Mets’ best catching prospect, a title he did not have last spring. He was not even a full-time catcher then. But Thole, after a breakout season at Class A St. Lucie and a superb showing in the Arizona Fall League, received an invitation to major league camp. His improvement and work ethic, cultivated at Rakers’s barn, has impressed team officials so much that they have begun factoring him into their long-term plans. Francisco Pena, the son of Tony Pena, has the pedigree, but at 19 is not as advanced as Thole.
“We’re going to spend a lot of time and effort on developing a catcher, and this is the guy who’s ahead of everyone,” said Tony Bernazard, the team’s vice president for development.
In 2008, Thole had an all-star year for St. Lucie, hitting .300/.382/.427 in 347 at bats.
He also became the top Mets catcher prospect by the end of the year. He has a strong arm, and has impressed scouts with how quickly he has learned his craft as a catcher.
Thole has always shown a good eye at the plate and great patience. He had 133 walks and 131 strikeouts in his minor league career.
Baseball America recently wrote,
He has excellent bat-to-ball skills, as the 21-year-old lefthanded hitter struck out last year only 38 times (nine percent of his 402 plate appearances). Thole also became a full-time catcher, the position he played in high school and dabbled in sparingly in his previous three pro seasons. Scouts have concerns about Thole’s defense and his below-average power. Thole hit only hit five home runs in 2008, but that’s an improvement from the goose egg he posted in that category in ’07. He’ll likely start this season in Double-A and play all year at age 22 as a relatively under-the-radar prospect.
He reminds me a little of Paul Lo Duca as a hitter; a great eye at the plate, little power, and high average potential.