2005 Organizational Depth Chart Review: Catchers

It’s time for the annual minor league organizational depth chart review to begin! We’re going to be covering the catchers this time.

How do I choose who to profile? The criteria are thus: Must have had the majority of their games at the position profiled (rosters taken from the Minor League Baseball website). I also will only choose no more than five players, those that spent the most time at said position. I will note who I have left out. For those that are utility men and deserve to be profiled but might not have as many games started at a specific position to justify being put in the top five, they will be placed in the position they played the most. This is not meant to be a top prospects review! This is meant to give people recognition for the seasons they had regardless of age or if they are still with the organization (although comments about their future with the Red Sox will be said). Also, last year, I profiled the major league club along with the minor league club. That is changing this year as I will profile the major league positions individually from this review.

Sources used: TheBaseballCube.com, BaseballAmerica.com, SoxProspects.com, MinorLeagueBaseball.com, respective team websites
[[PAWTUCKET RED SOX – AAA INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE]] Kelly Shoppach – Shoppach hopefully won’t be with us much longer. It’s kind of sad to deal away someone of his talent at such a coveted position, but we’ve got Jason Varitek. Hopefully his successor won’t make us rue dealing Shoppach. He had 15 AB in the majors, where he did nothing of note. For Pawtucket, he was a regular masher, hitting .253/.352/507. It looks like his high-average days are behind him, but he clubbed 26 HR to go along with 75 RBI. He also struck out 116 times in only 371 AB, so he’s very hit or miss. He’s got great defensive tools, but he’s just finished his age 25 season and his value is dwindling. The best time to deal him would have been all the All-Star break. If we do not trade him this off-season, expect him to take over for Doug Mirabelli in 2007. If we’re not trading him now, what’s the point in July?
Jeff Bailey– Bailey just finished his age 26 season with the PawSox. He split time with the Double-A affiliate of the Red Sox and the PawSox. For the PawSox, he showed surprising power, hitting for a .495 OPS and 6 HR in 95 AB. Alas, his downfall his is batting average, which was at .253 with a .317 OBP, not major league caliber. He can also play outfield and catcher. He’s got potential to just barely crack the majors – maybe for a cup of coffee. The low OBP in AAA is probably a fluke, as he hit .250/.381/.462 for Portland. He’s a prolific swinger, striking out a lot.
[[PORTLAND SEA DOGS – AA EASTERN LEAGUE]] Alberto Concepcion – He exhibits good defensive skills, but not excellent pitch-calling skills. He’s got speed, and low power. He can play third, and played 101 games for Portland this past year, hitting .249/.316/.368. It’s hard to see Concepcion become anything but a minor league lifer, but his defense might still get him some majors time – but he has yet to realize his offensive power that he saw in 2004, when in Single-A he hit .281/.364/.402 – but that was as a 23-year old.
Jim Buckley – He saw minor time in AAA – spent the majority in Portland. In 129 AB, he hit .194/.295/.326. He clearly has no future, but the 26 year-old has great leadership. He was a personal favorite of Jonathan Papelbon while Papelbon made his home in Portland.
[[WILMINGTON BLUE ROCKS – HIGH A FLORIDA LEAGUE]] Clinton Chauncey – Chauncey hit for a miserable .144/.208/.216 line in 97 AB, before being released.
Dustin Brown – Brown jumped between the GCL Red Sox and Blue Rocks this year. He saw minimal time for the GCL team, but for Wilmington he hit .256/.348/.420 in 219 AB. The 23-year old does not project, and also strikes out – 59 K. It’s becoming abundantly clear that Theo drafted with a disregard for strikeouts. As long as they get on base, it’s acceptable, so Brown should stick around.
Jeffrey Ontiveros – His claim to fame this past year was pitching 1.1 innings. He’s not the next great converted catcher though, as he was hit for a 6.75 ERA. On the offensive side, he hit .251/.366/.446 – as a 25 year old still stuck in A-ball should do.
Johnathan De Vries – The 23-year old had what could be termed a breakthrough year. Last year I said that “The Red Sox enticed him to sign out of high-school and forego LSU. After dissapointing the Red Sox in 2002 and 2003 (but was good in minimal action in 2001 for the GCL) he got a promotion to Augusta to play full-time. He hit .257/.351/.371 and seems to be finally developing to what the Red Sox had hoped he would develop to.” He continued that development, hitting .283/.400/.478 and if he keeps hitting to this level, perhaps we’ve got another backstop on our hands. He’s expected to start in Portland in 2006.
[[GREENVILLE DRIVE – MID A SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE]] John Otness – Otness had a very solid season for Greenville and can go home happy after a .331/.398/.469 line. Otness should move up the ladder to Wilmington, and had 25 doubles to go along with 12 HR. His power is holding steady at all levels, but he vaulted his batting average high. The 23-year old may yet have a future ahead of him.
Salvador Paniagua – A .243/.276/.386 doesn’t excite many people. The 22-year old struck out 91 times in 267 AB.
[[LOWELL SPINNERS – LOW A NEW YORK PENN LEAGUE]] Mike Leonard – He hit .300/.375/.386 in 70 AB for Lowell. This was an improvement from 2004, when he had a .601 OPS for the GCL Red Sox. The 23-year old certainly doesn’t project to be anything, as he’s been a backup catcher now twice in a row.
Patrick Perry – An excellent hitter for N. Colorado college in 2004, Perry has yet to translate this to the professional ranks. In 2005, he bounced between Lowell and Greenville. For Lowell, he had a .538 OPS, and for Greenville he had a .621 OPS. Clearly, he has a long way to go offensively, but if he busts out next year in his age-23 season, he still has promise.
Ricardo Sanchez – The 22-year old barely existed this season in our system. Pay him no attention. He hit .213/.351/.362 for the GCL team, and only had 5 AB for Lowell.
Mitch Stachowsky – Stachowsky went from Lowell, to Greenville, to Pawtucket. Not bad, except he can’t hit. Injuries to other catchers played a part in him seeing time in Pawtucket. For Lowell and Greenville, where he got 115 AB apiece, he hit .226/.299/.435 (Lowell) and .165/.302/.365. Yet, at 21 … with his batting eye, he still has a shot. Keep an eye out.
Mark Wagner – The 21-year old has good pitch-calling skills with a good arm. For Lowell, he hit .203/.309/.261, but the youngster still has time to improve. He had an .893 OPS his final year in college which was also 2005, for UC-Irvine.
[[GCL RED SOX – ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE]] Jonathan Egan – Egan dissapointed in his first go-round with the Red Sox. Of course, the 19-year old was just drafted (second round lest you forget) so he has time. The former high-schooler has allayed defensive concerns and hit .222/.340/.294, so his batting eye is there – it’s just a matter if everything else will develop. He’ll probably split duties at C and DH next year for Lowell.
Jesus Garcia – At a young 19, Garcia saw 106 AB for this team. He hit .264/.322/.368 and has very good tools. He could develop into a solid catcher, and his .920 OPS for VSL last year bodes for success. He’ll start somewhere next year, probably Lowell, as his potential is too good to ignore.
Other than Kelly Shoppach, there’s not much to whet our appetite here. Unfortunately, we’re supposed to be trading Shoppach. That doesn’t bode well for our depth. We have some possibles (Egan, Garcia, De Vries) here in the minor league system, but they’re all years away. We’re going to have to pray for no injuries to Mirabelli and Varitek should we deal Shoppach. It’s clear enough that the fruits of our minor league system are elsewhere. We’ll continue the coverage of the minor leagues at a later date….

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