This started as a list of the top five hitting catchers in the Sally and grew to six because there were six worthy candidates: Aramis Garcia (Augusta), Dom Nunez (Asheville), Jose Trevino (Hickory), Chase Vallot (Lexington), Yermin Mercedes (Delmarva) and Arturo Rodriguez (Greensboro) were all at least worthy of mention and I didn’t want to leave anyone off of the list.
(Edit) This is growing pretty big so I’ll break this into two articles. Up first is Garcia, Nunez and Trevino and tomorrow or the next day I’ll be back with Vallot, Mercedes and Rodriguez.
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Aramis Garcia, Augusta (Giants) Age 22, 6’2″ 220 lbs, Bats and throws Right.
Garcia was the Giants 2nd rd pick in 2014. He was known for having a good bat and a big arm. He has above average bat speed and some lift, he hits to all fields but definitely favors his pull side and all of his over the fence power is to his pull side. His swing gets a little long and his strikeouts are a tad high at 24% but not out of site. Garcia had a .194 ISO in Augusta and his power is legit. The potential is there for .260 15-20 HR’s over a full season of at bats. As far as catchers in A Ball go he’s relatively low risk. Here’s a video of Aramis Garcia’s BP. Courtesy of David Lee of the Augusta Chronicle.
Dom Nunez, Asheville (Rockies) Age 20, listed at 6′ 175 (I’d guess he’s ten lbs heavier than that), bats left and throws right.
I was tempted to put the (new) Nunez first on this list as I’m a big believer in the adjustment he made at the dish this season. He was struggling. The first couple of months the average hovered around .220. He had a level swing and his game was sharp grounders and low line drives to his pull side. Dom’s grounders to 2nd base burned a path at McCormick field and he had a .44 ISO on June 1st.
Coming out of the All-Star break in late June Nunez incorporated some lift in his swing and everything took off. Charles Wallace one of the more knowledgeable participants at minor league ball said he had lift in his swing last year too, so maybe he was trying something new in Asheville this Spring and returned to his previous approach. He’s got good bat speed and great contact skills so with the added lift everything started jumping off of his bat. He’s hit all 9 of his home runs since June 25th. Nunez had a .302 ISO in July and it’s .146 so far in August. He’s using more of the field now, but all but one of his home runs have been to his pull side, and McCormick is friendly to lefties. I did watch him hit one 400+ in Greenville and a couple of others that easily cleared the fence in Asheville. I think he can be a 275+ hitter with 15-20 HR’s in a neutral environment. He’s young and there’s risk here, but he might make my projection look silly. Not a great view of the swing but here’s a view of a recent home run from Nunez courtesy of minor league baseball.
Jose Trevino, Hickory (Rangers) Age 22, 5’11”, 195 lbs, bats and throws right.
Trevino is an aggressive hitter with the fastest bat on this list. He peppers the ball to all fields, but all of his over the fence power to this point has been to his pull side. His swing gets a little long but Trevino has decent contact rate. With his bat speed and barrel control the more balls he gets in the air the better, so if he cuts down on the 46% ground ball rate his .167 ISO could soar. He could benefit by being more selective working his way into better counts.
You can’t teach bat speed and Torino has it in spades. We could be getting a 250+ hitter with 17-22 home runs. Here we get a pretty good look at Trevino’s swing as he’s hitting a bomb, courtesy of Victor Trevino
Three talented backstops, I didn’t rate the defense as this is a fantasy article but all 3 show enough skill to stay behind the plate. I’ll be back back soon with part two of the article soon.