To continue our preparations for the 2020 MLB Draft, here’s a closer look at three catcher prospects who are potential first round picks for the Milwaukee Brewers.
In our most recent mock draft, we had the Milwaukee Brewers selecting Kevin Parada, a high school catcher from California in the second round. But if the Brewers decide to get a catcher in the first round, who are the candidates?
There are three catchers that could make sense with the 20th overall selection in this year’s draft for the Brewers.
Patrick Bailey, C, NC State
MLB Pipeline ranks Patrick Bailey as their No. 17 prospect heading into the draft. The first thing that stands out about him is that he’s a switch hitter with pop. In his freshman season, Bailey knocked 13 home runs, an NC State record for a freshman.
He has the tools to be a solid catcher in the big leagues and should hit enough to be starter. Bailey’s defensive tools are his strongest. He has a very good throwing arm and is viewed by some as the best “catch-and-throw” prospect in this draft class.
He has all the skills necessary to stick behind the dish, but it’s the development of his bat that will determine his future.
Bailey draws walks at a solid clip and although he won’t hit for a high average, he consistently makes contact and has power that can continue to develop. If his offense continues to progress, he can be a big league starter for many years. If his bat stalls out, he’s a likely big league backup.
Either way, Bailey’s floor has him as a future big leaguer.
Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock (CA) HS
Tyler Soderstrom is kind of the opposite of Patrick Bailey. Where Bailey’s defense is his strength and his bat is the question mark, Soderstrom’s bat is his strength and his defense is the question mark.
A left handed hitter, Soderstrom is Pipeline’s No. 19 prospect and the top high school catching prospect in the Draft.
He has a 60-grade hit tool, which is well above average, and plenty of raw power that he will refine as he matures and develops. If his defense allows him to stick behind the plate, Soderstrom could be one of the best offensive catchers in the league. If not, he’s likely to move to third base or the corner outfield, where his bat would still play, but he might not be an elite-level player at those positions.
Soderstrom is committed to play at UCLA, and the Brewers would have to sign him away from that commitment.
It’s going to take some time to develop his defensive skills and whichever team that drafts him will need to be patient with that. But if his bat continues to play up, it’s going to be difficult to keep him down in the minor leagues until his defense is passable at the position.
Under the leadership of David Stearns and Tod Johnson, the Brewers seem to draft the bat skills first and figure out the defensive position later. They did so with Keston Hiura, Brice Turang, Nick Kahle, and Thomas Dillard as early draft picks over the past few years. Soderstrom fits the same kind of mold as a bat-first, defense-second type of draft pick.
Dillon Dingler, C, Ohio State
Dillon Dingler has been rising up draft boards this spring and has pushed himself into first round consideration. Dingler is a well rounded catching prospect, with his best tool being his 65-grade arm strength. MLB Pipeline ranks Dingler as the No. 25 prospect in this class.
Standing at 6’3″ and 210 pounds, Dingler actually has pretty good speed, especially for a catcher. He’s athletic, mobile, and should stick as a catcher in the future.
Dingler has continuously improved every year in college. His freshman year, he hit .244/.332/.369 with four home runs, 17 RBIs, 21 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 176 ABs. In his sophomore year, Dingler hit .291/.392/.424 with three home runs, 19 RBIs, 27 walks, and 23 strikeouts in 165 ABs.
Then in his junior year in 2020, Dingler was hitting .340/.404/.760 with five home runs, 14 RBIs, four walks, and seven strikeouts in just 50 ABs before the season shut down. Of his 17 hits this year, 10 went for extra bases.
Obviously, it would’ve been nice to see if Dingler could’ve kept up those offensive numbers over a whole spring season, but there was still plenty to draw from in his performance.
Scouts also rave about Dingler’s character and he was named a 2019 and 2020 team captain for Ohio State.
If the Milwaukee Brewers decide to go with a catcher in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, odds are it’s going to be one of these three players.