Detroit Tigers Weekly MLB Draft Report: Catchers

Florida State Seminoles catcher Matheu Nelson catches a pitch.
Florida State Seminoles catcher Matheu Nelson catches a pitch. /

The Detroit Tigers Weekly Draft Report continues to strain the definition of the word weekly, but we return nonetheless with an examination of this year’s catcher crop.

The typical MLB draft sees about seven catchers drafted in the top 100 picks. Right now the 2021 draft appears to be a bit deeper than usual, but it probably won’t challenge the 2016 draft (11 catchers in the top 100) as the deepest group of backstops of the last decade.

Before we get into the list, feel free to check in with earlier updates here: College Preview, High School Preview, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4&5, Week 6, Week 7, Top 5

Detroit Tigers MLB Draft – Top College Catching Options

The Detroit Tigers used a top-40 pick on catcher Dillon Dingler last year, and their young backstop is already looking pretty good, but that doesn’t mean they’d shy away from taking another catcher early. Here are the top options from this year’s college class:

Henry Davis – We’ve written about Davis in nearly every update this year, as he has been one of the most consistent performers in college baseball all season. He has a chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average game power, and while he’s still a little raw defensively, he has a plus-plus arm. He’s a legitimate option for the Tigers.

Adrian Del Castillo – Del Castillo came into the season as a potential top-five pick, but he doesn’t project to be more than average on defense, and he just hasn’t done enough damage with the bat. He’s still likely to go in the top 20.

Matheu Nelson – Few players on the planet have been hotter than Nelson over the last month. He now leads all of college baseball in slugging percentage and home runs, and he’s a decent defender who is adept at blocking balls and shows above-average arm strength. He could end up going in the first round if a team thinks they can help improve his receiving.

Luca Tresh – Tresh got off to an amazing start this season, with seven home runs in his first eight games. He has cooled off considerably in the last month, with just one home run, but he’s still a potentially average defensive catcher with a plus arm and plus raw power, so there’s a good chance he lands in the first round.

Hunter Goodman – Goodman has always been known for his plus power potential, but his big leg kick and steep swing path are reminiscent of Jake Rogers, and he has had some strikeout issues. He’s doing a better job of drawing walks this year, but he can’t fall back on his defensive tools like Rogers. Goodman does have an above-average arm, but he’s raw in every other area, and he may eventually move to left field.

Detroit Tigers MLB Draft – Secondary College Catching Options

It’s certainly possible the Detroit Tigers use one of their first three picks on a catcher, but we view it as unlikely. That said, Detroit almost always takes at least one catcher in the first ten rounds, so above you see a few players who might be options later.

Nathan Hickey is one of the top hitters among catchers this season, but there are serious doubts about his ability to stay behind the plate. Hickey is a decent athlete, but his below-average hands may limit him to left field. Few teams look at Wes Clarke as a catcher in pro ball, but his plus power should still get him drafted in the middle rounds. C.J. Rodriguez and Casey Opitz are both strong defenders with plenty of experience catching premium arms, but neither of them show the sort of offensive impact to be anything more than a backup in pro ball. The Cubs took Hendrie in the 10th round out of junior college in 2019. He’s a converted outfielder and still a bit raw behind the plate, but his athleticism and production this year could get him drafted in the top five rounds.

Detroit Tigers MLB Draft – High School Catching Options

High-school catching remains one of the riskiest draft demographics, and high-school stats are hard to find (and typically useless), but there are still a handful of names worth talking about here.

Harry Ford – Ford is one of the most athletic catchers in recent draft memory, boasting plus running ability to go along with an above-average arm and above-average power potential. He may be best served moving to another position, but he could be extremely valuable if he sticks behind the dish.

Joe Mack – Mack’s tools aren’t quite as loud as Ford’s, but he’s got power potential, a strong arm, and a good chance to stay behind the plate.

Carter Jensen – Jensen is generally considered the best pure hitter among the high-school catcher crop, and he has a knack for hitting the ball hard. He’s still growing into his power, and he remains a bit raw defensively, but he has a good chance to go in the first three rounds.

Ian Moller – Moller was one of the stars of the early showcase circuit, but he has fallen down boards a bit because his tools are more average than plus. He and Jensen are both committed to LSU, and Moller seems more likely to end up in Baton Rouge.

Kevin Bazzell – Former Detroit Tigers pitchers Jake Thompson and Drew VerHagen also went to Bazzell’s high school (Rockwall-Heath), and the young Texan is a solid athlete who shows the power potential and arm strength to get drafted in the first ten rounds.

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