Mets To Bring Up Phenom Catcher Josh Thole
In an exclusive to Daily News, Adam Rubin is reporting that the Mets are expected to promote catcher Josh Thole among their September call-ups.
Catcher Josh Thole, reliever Eddie Kunz and first baseman/outfielder Nick Evans are expected to highlight the call-ups when rosters expand in September, the Daily News has learned.
On Thursday, I wrote extensively on Josh Thole and even suggested that he might be a better prospect than Fernando Martinez and Wilmer Flores based on what he has accomplished in the last three years. I wrote,
There is one player who has been grabbing my attention for a couple of years now, and that is catcher Josh Thole who has yet to crack the Mets Top 10, but I bet he gets in come November. I asked Brian Moritz, the beat writer for Binghamton, about Josh Thole back in June.
JD - What’s the story on Josh Thole? Is he the catcher of the future for the Mets and do you care to make any comparisons so we can get an idea of what to expect?
BM – Thole’s having a great, great season so far. He’s as good a hitter here as Murphy was last year, and you know my feelings on Murphy. He doesn’t have the power that Murphy did, but he’s just as good an average hitter. His defense is coming along – he’s getting better both calling the games and making the throws to second. Plus he’s got a fantastic attitude – total team-first guy, very positive attitude. I’m not good at comparisons, but just know that Thole’s going to be a very good player for a long time.
Deciding who a top prospect is can be so speculative with a lot of guess work, hunches and not much else. I on the other hand, consider myself to be a numbers guy. If you got a top prospect, show me his numbers and prove it to me. Don’t start telling me he’s got a cannon for an arm and runs like a deer. None of that matters if you can’t get it altogether and begin to compile some impressive numbers.
I included Thole in our Mets Merized Top 10 back in November and wrote,
10. Josh Thole - Thole has an enthusiasm for the game that makes him a quick study and able to adapt at each level. He does not have any prodigious power numbers to boast of, but he gets better each year and he could be counted on for 20-25 homeruns a season in time. He is not afraid to get his uniform dirty and has shown an ability to be a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. He had a solid year at Port St. Lucie, batting .300 and earning an All Star nod at catcher.
Also, in response to a mailbag question in May I wrote,
As for Thole, he was recently converted to catcher a little over a year ago and has a way to go in refining his defensive skills before making the jump to the Majors, however he’s a quick study and has impressed. His bat has been explosive so far in AA, batting a blistering .370. In 2008, Thole had an all-star year for St. Lucie, hitting .300/.382/.427 in 347 at bats. Thole has always shown a good eye at the plate and great patience. He has 133 walks and 131 strikeouts in his minor league career. He may still be a year away, but the Mets believe in him and he looks like a keeper to me. Baseball America ranks him at 23 among Mets prospects, but I suspect he’ll soon be in the top ten if he’s not already.
Josh Thole is currently hitting .332 in 362 at-bats, and had a three-hit game for Double-A Binghamton on Friday.
I’m looking forward to see how Thole responds to the jump. I’m not sure he could join Omir Santos as the Mets catchers for the 2010 season just yet. But I am intrigued by the thought of it.
I’ve always likened Thole to a young Paul Lo Duca as a hitter. His power has been non-existent as of yet, but it will develop.
It’s interesting to note that in his last 800 at-bats (approx), Thole has six homeruns, but held a .430 slugging percentage with a .318 batting average. In comparison, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, also came up with no power and had just six homers with a .320 average and a .432 slugging percentage in his last 800 at-bats. Like Mauer, Thole has good speed and great first step burst which helps him to leg out a few hits. Thole has eight stolen bases this season.
His promotion continues to give us reasons to keep watching the games and getting a glimpse into the future. If Thole continues to hit like he has in his last two minor league seasons, he may very well win himself a spot on the 2010 roster or at the very least, a real chance to win a job in spring training.
As a lefthanded hitter, he could be an excellent platoon partner for Santos and together they could form a very productive tandem at the plate.
It might be time to start thinking about a nickname for him, how about Holy Thole…
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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