Mets Minors: Top 5 Catcher Prospects

tomas nido

We have voted for the Top 5 Mets catcher prospects here at MMO/MMN. This is the second position we’ve ranked after doing so with shortstops previously.

In the higher levels (Triple-A & Double-A) the Mets didn’t have a big catching prospect on their roster. In the lower levels their are a few catchers that stand out, but overall it’s a very thin position in the minor league system.

This year in the draft the Mets drafted three catchers, one of the three signed with the Mets. It was the Mets 13th round pick Dan Rizzie who played with the Cyclones about being drafted. In the last four drafts the highest drafted catcher was Tyler Moore in 2014. He was drafted in the sixth round and played for the Columbia Fireflies last season.

#5 Carlos Sanchez

Ht: 6’0”   Wt: 210 lb   B/T: R/R    Age: 6/6/96 (20)

2016 Level: GCL Mets

Stats: 38 games, 142 AB, 16 runs, 45 hits, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 12 BB, 23 K, 2 SB (1 CS) .317/.382/.444

The 20-year old Venezuelan had a very good season with the bat in 2016 hitting 317 for the year. If he had enough at bats that would have been in third in the Gulf Coast League.

He played 16 of his 38 games behind the plate. He is seen as a first baseman/catcher in the minors. As a catcher he allowed six stolen bases, while throwing out seven trying to steal. His arm indicates that he could stay at the catching position.

He also showed some power as 14 of his 45 hits were for extra bases. It was Sanchez first season stateside having played three seasons in the DSL. In the DSL, Sanchez batted .233/.300/.302 over 507 at bats.

We have to see if he can keep up hitting like this season in the next couple of years before we have him higher in the list. I expect him to play in Kingsport or possibly even Brooklyn next year in his second season in the states.

#4 Juan Uriarte

Ht: 6’3”   Wt: 180 lb   B/T: R/R    Age: 9/17/96 (19)

2016 Level: GCL Mets

Stats: 37 games, 123 AB, 9 runs, 29 hits, 5 doubles, 0 triples, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 7 BB, 29 K, 3 SB (0 CS) .236/.304/.301

Uriarte just turned 19 in September and played his first season stateside. He split time with Sanchez as the GCL Mets catcher in 2016. It was a tough season offensively for the young catcher hitting just .236 in 37 games with the GCL Mets.

Uriarte caught 40% would-be base stealers as he allowed 37 stolen bases and threw out 25 of them. In 282.1 innings behind the plate he did not make a single error and he allowed four passed balls.

Uriarte had a solid hitting season in his first pro year in 2015. He batted .267/.374/.395 with eleven doubles, one triple and three home runs between the two DSL Mets squads. I expect him to play in Kingsport next season as their starting catcher in his third pro season.

patrick mazeika

#3 Patrick Mazeika

Ht: 6’3”   Wt: 210 lb     B/T: L/R    Age: 10/14/93 (23)

2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies

Stats: 70 games, 239 AB, 34 runs, 73 hits, 14 doubles, 0 triples, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 38 BB, 39 K, 2 SB (0 CS) .305/.414/.402

Another solid season for the 23-year old Mazeika, who was drafted out of the same university as Jacob deGrom (Stetson University). Mazeika played all of his games as a catcher, but could end up at first base. There is a lot of doubt that Mazeika can stay at catcher because of his build. He is a tall guy that has trouble moving behind the plate. Mazeika threw out just 29% would-be base stealers and allowed 56 stolen bases in 2016.

He hit for less power this season, but it was still a successful hitting season for Mazeika. He started the season hitting just .244 in the first half then rebounded in the second half hitting .342.

Mazeika is an interesting prospect as he hits for a high average and gets on base. He doesn’t strikeout with only 65 in 465 career at-bats. If he could improve defensively and stick at catcher he will have good long-term value. If he has to move to first the lack of power is something to be concerned about.

I expect Mazeika to become the St. Lucie Mets everyday catcher in 2017.

#2 Ali Sanchez

Ht: 6’1”   Wt: 200 lb   B/T: R/R    Age: 1/20/97 (19)

2016 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 46 games, 171 AB, 15 runs, 37 hits, 10 doubles, 0 triples, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 10 BB, 26 K, 2 SB (0 CS) .216/.260/.275

The 19-year old Sanchez was the every day catcher for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2016. Sanchez had a hard time in the batters box hitting just .216/.260/.275 and is a career .264/.335/.326 hitter in three career seasons.

Why is he ranked second by us then? It’s his amazing defensive skills and his potential. He played in a tough hitters league in the NYPL. At the moment Sanchez is mostly a singles hitter, though he should provide more power when he gets older.

His main skill is his defense. Sanchez moves well behind the plate, works good with the pitchers and has great mechanics on his throws. His arm is not the strongest, yet he was still able to get 48% of the would-be base stealers in 2016.

A great defensive catcher who we think will develop solid offensive skills. I expect to see Sanchez as the starting Fireflies catcher in 2017 and hope to see an improvement in his hitting to go with his stellar defense.

#1 Tomas Nido

Ht: 6’0”   Wt: 205 lb   B/T: R/R    Age: 4/12/94 (22)

2016 Level: St. Lucie Mets

Stats: 90 games, 344 AB, 38 runs, 110 hits, 23 doubles, 2 triples, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 19 BB, 42 K, 0 SB (1 CS) .320/.357/.459

It was a break out season in every way for the 22-year old Nido. He was rewarded with the Mets adding him to the 40-man roster to protect him for the Rule 5 draft last week.

Nido was the Florida State League batting champion hitting .320, beating out his closest competitor by 15 points.

Nido had career highs in almost every main category. When the Mets drafted Nido he was seen as a power bat, but he has developed into a hitter with a level swing and low strikeout numbers to with that power.

On the defensive side, Nido had a great season as well. Nido has worked hard on his throwing and it paid dividends. Before this season he had trouble throwing out base stealers. He had a career high 25% in 2014 before improving this season to 42%, a major improvement.

The Mets needed a catching prospect to step up and Nido that just that this season. He will be the Binghamton Mets catcher and I look forward to see him develop more in 2017.

Honorable Mention:

Another catcher who got a vote for the Top 5 was Brandon Brosher. He played for the Cyclones this season and struggled batting just .183/.287/.324. Brosher does provide some pop from the right side as he hit six home runs in 145 at-bats.

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