2019: Top 5 Catching Prospects

Welcome to top prospect month at Pinstriped Prospects.  Throughout this month we will be bringing you the top five prospects at each position, leading up to the release of our top 100 Yankees prospects list.

The Yankees were once known for having tremendous depth at the catching position, having Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, John Ryan Murphy, and more in their system with guys like Francisco Cervelli in the major leagues.

However, entering the 2018 season the Yankees had a glaring weakness at several positions, one of them being behind the plate.  The Yankees made a strong effort to address that weakness with the number of catchers they drafted and signed via international free agency.  That means a significant portion of that depth is located at the lower levels of the farm system.

New York Yankees catcher Anthony Seigler (11) throws to first base during a Florida Instructional League game against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 12, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)

Anthony Seigler

Anthony Seigler is undoubtedly the top catching prospect currently in the Yankees system after being drafted in the first round with the 23rd overall pick in 2017.  The unique, switch-hitting, switch-pitching prospect joined the Yankees out of Cartersville High School, signing for just over $2.8 million before reporting to Tampa to begin his professional career.

He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Yankees on June 18, just two days shy of his 19th birthday.  He went on to hit .333/.429/.472 over 12 games in the GCL with two doubles, a home run, and four RBIs, walking six times.  On July 31, he was promoted to the Pulaski Yankees where he appeared in another 12 games, hitting .209/.340/.233 with a double, five RBIs and eight walks.  He was shut down due to concussion protocol after being lifted from the August 16 game early.

Seigler is a plus defender behind the plate and a solid hitter from both sides.  Behind the plate, his arm rates as a plus asset, combined with his athleticism make him a threat for opposing runners.  At the plate, he makes consistent contact with solid bat speed. He has average speed, making him faster than most catchers out there and shows good instincts while on the bases.

Antonio Gomez

The Yankees signed Antonio Gomez as part of their international free agent signees in 2018.  He was considered one of the top catchers in the class, ranking as the 13th best prospect available by MLB Pipeline.

He is durable and strong, profiling as a potential everyday catcher as he moves through the minor league system.  His arm strength projects as being above-average, and he has demonstrated solid receiving skills behind the plate.

Donny Sands

Donny Sands was originally drafted by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2015 draft as a third baseman.  After that season he began to put the work in to move behind the plate.

In his first season with the Yankees in 2015 he hit .309/.395/.361 in 55 games between the GCL and the Charleston RiverDogs.  After moving to catcher, he returned to the GCL to start the 2016 season, while also spending time in Pulaski.  Between both levels, he hit 286/.328/.375.

Sands returned to Charleston to start the 2017 season, hitting .269/.323/.350 before being promoted to Tampa.  In 17 games with the Tampa Yankees, he hit .305/.353/.484.

The 2018 season did not start well for Sands; he suffered an arm injury in spring training that cost in the first part of the season, not getting back into game action until June.  After a brief three games in the GCL, he returned to the Florida State League.  In total he appeared in just 28 games this past season, hitting .272/.333/.326 with five doubles and seven home runs.

He has an above-average arm behind the plate and has drawn praise from many Yankees coaches for how he took to the position and became a solid defensive catcher.  At the plate, he is a solid hitter but lacks in-game power.

Saul Torres (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Saul Torres

Initially signed by the Yankees on July 2, 2016, Saul Torres is a backstop with a lot of potential that has yet to show in game action.  The young catcher made his professional debut in 2016 with the DSL Yankees where he hit just .154/.203/.215 in 19 games.

In 2017 he was promoted to Rookie-level Pulaski where he hit .174/.230/.309 in 46 games with six doubles, six home runs, and 23 RBIs.

His 2018 season was his worst season yet, appearing in just 26 games between the GCL Yankees and the Pulaski Yankees.  Overall, he hit just .125/.172/.193 with three doubles and a home run.

Torres is a hard worker, showing excellent work ethic, hustle, and passion for the game.  He has the potential to be a plus defender behind the plate, showing the ability already to read the ball.  He blocks the ball well and has good hands but needs to work on his pitch framing.

Josh Breaux (Robert M. Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects)

Josh Breaux

In the second round of the 2018 draft, the Yankees selected catcher Josh Breaux out of McLennan Community College in Texas.

After signing, he reported to Tampa to start his professional career with a brief three-game cameo in the GCL.  He hit .125/.222/.125 in eight at-bats before being promoted to Staten Island.

In 27 games with the Staten Island Yankees, he hit .280/.295/.370 with nine doubles and 13 RBIs.  He missed some time due to a hamstring injury.

Growing up, Breaux was primarily an infielder but moved to catcher.  He possesses a plus throwing arm and runs well.  At the plate, he has plus raw power and an aggressive approach at the plate.

Defense is his weakness, though he as a plus throwing arm and good flexibility he struggled with Staten Island, allowing five passed balls in 21 games along with four errors.  Because he is below average defensively as a catcher and he has good speed, there Is a strong chance he is moved from behind the plate.  Left field and first base would be the two top options for him to move to if the Yankees decide to go that route as he continues to develop as a professional baseball player.