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2023 MLB Draft preview: Catchers

Taking a closer look at the catcher position for the upcoming 2023 MLB Draft

Syndication: The Corpus Christi Caller Times Angela Piazza/Caller-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

The MLB Draft is right around the corner which means the rumor mill is swirling. At Battery Power we will be breaking down each position in the lead up to the draft and for this article we are going to review the crop of catching prospects this year. It’s not as deep as some other position groups as it seems like it rarely is but that’s not to say there isn’t some talent that could be had in the first few rounds. We will review the likelihood the Atlanta Braves select a catcher early in the draft and some names that we should keep an eye on.

Why the Braves might pick a catcher early

I understand that traditionally teams don’t pick based on positional need in the MLB Draft, but organizationally the Braves are really shallow when it comes to the catcher. There are just two in the team's top 30 prospect list on The highest ranked being Drake Baldwin, a third-round selection last season who doesn’t exactly have a high ceiling nor has he gotten off to a good start last year. The second being Tyler Tolve who barely has an MLB ceiling. I do understand they have Sean Murphy locked up thru 2028 but traditionally catchers do take longer to develop so the length of that contract isn’t as pertinent as it would be with other positions.

Additionally, this is not a class that is exactly rich in catching prospects. If they were to talk away from rounds one and two without a catcher, it is difficult to envision them finding one with an MLB ceiling.

Why the Braves won’t pick a catcher early

If the top two catchers in the class are off of the board come the 24th pick, which is rather likely, there isn’t exactly one that warrants being picked that high. Sure, they could reach on one in the next tier, but this is a class that is very deep with positional players. As a result, it is likely that one or two position players slip to the 24th pick who normally wouldn’t be available at that spot. For those reasons it’s difficult to see the Braves walking away with a catcher in round one.

Early round targets

Blake Mitchell

It is difficult to envision Mitchell lasting all the way to pick 24, but he is a high school catcher which will put some teams off. Despite being just 18, Mitchell already has a decorated background having won gold with Team USA at the u18 World Cup in addition to winning Gatorade player of the year in Texas in his junior year of high school. He has plus tools in both hitting and power as well having an absolute cannon for an arm.

Ralphy Velazquez

There are some present questions as to whether or not Velazquez will move out from behind the dish down the road, but as things currently stand, he is a catching prospect. Velazquez makes his money as a player on the offensive side of the game as a left-handed bat who has the potential to both hit for average and power at the big-league level. There is some risk in drafting a catcher whose future is likely tied to his bat, but there’s enough there offensively to warrant a high selection from the Braves.

Cole Carrigg

Like Velazquez, there is some question as to where Carrigg fits positionally in the pro levels. The soon to be former San Diego State Aztec wowed scouts at the MLB combine, logging multiple throws of 100+ MPH from both the outfield and shortstop. But Carrigg made a noteworthy quote at the combine which addressed at least some of those questions saying, “but for me, I’ve always been a catcher at heart, and that’s where I want to be.” He was an outfielder for SDSU this season which does raise some concerns about how ready he will be to catch at the pro level, but the talent and athleticism is there.

Michael Carico

There are a lot of areas of concern when it comes to Carico. He has a bit of an injury track record which includes a torn labrum and a broken bone in his wrist, he’s not a very good athlete and he struggled offensively against better competition. Three things that traditionally cause teams to stay away from prospects. But here’s the kicker, he’s a year removed from hitting .406 with an OBP of .559 which led all Division 1 players and he hit 21 homers that season from the left side. The fact that he is a left-handed swinging catcher with at least some history of performing at a high level for a D1 program will cause a team to take a flyer on him in one of the earlier rounds.

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