|Age||Likely 2015 Level||Top 50|
A couple of years ago there was a good argument that catcher was the deepest position in the Phillies system. Now with only 3 prospects in the Top 50, it has fallen on hard times without anything to show for it. At the major league level Carlos Ruiz continues to defy the aging curve and puts up productive seasons, but that will not last forever. The best catching prospect in the system has only a couple of full season games to his name. The consequence has been that the Phillies have been rumored to covet a top catching prospect in a deal for Cole Hamels. However, the last catcher they acquired in a trade, Tommy Joseph, looms as a stark reminder of how uncertain catching prospects can be.
Best Prospect: Deivi Grullon
Grullon may not be the best hitting catcher in the organization, but his glove is very special. Grullon caught more games than any 18 year old in the minors last year and was third in games caught among those under 19 years old. The workload took a toll on his offense, but he was sharp defensively all year. Grullon seemingly takes offense to all men on base and will backpick and attempt to throw out any runner that as much as flinches. He has the arm to follow through on his threats, and he seemingly had a pick off every other game in Williamsport. At the plate he is a bit overmatched right now, and he really struggles with off speed pitches. There is enough pop and contact that he could hit at the bottom of a major league lineup someday. His defense could make him a very valuable player.
2015 Impact: Cameron Rupp
Rupp has fallen from favor after his tools have failed to improve over the past two seasons. However, he is major league ready and can do enough things right to be a capable backup. He will be competing for the backup job this spring against the non-roster invitees, but the spot is far from guaranteed. Rupp likely sticks around as an up and down catcher until he is out of minor league options (he has 2 more remaining)
Sleeper: Jesus Posso
Posso was a well-kept secret on the GCL team this year as he continued his transition behind the plate (he was primarily a third baseman in the DSL). But the young catcher shows the potential for plus defense and has a surprising amount of pop in his bat. He is also a vocal leader on and off the field, and already shows the ability to call a game and handle a pitching staff. Another full year behind the plate could see his stock begin to rise up the system.
Player of Interest: Tommy Joseph
On raw talent alone, Joseph should be a top 10-15 prospect in the Phillies system. But health and holes in his game have caused his stock to plummet. Joseph has had concussions ruin his past two seasons, but 2014 also saw him injure his wrist leading to surgery at the end of the year. Joseph mashed to start the year so maybe there is still talent here. Joseph will get off to late start in 2015, and there is no guarantee to whether he can actually play catcher long term. Anything the Phillies get from Joseph at this point will be a nice bonus.