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Billy, we don't need another catcher

We are just over a month away from the 2016 amateur draft. How does the Angels system-wide catching depth look?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

A catcher??  That's who the Angels pick up in round 1 of the 2015 amateur draft?   There is no question the Angels farm system is thin, but where are we most in need? Hint: It's not behind the plate.  Let's take a look at catching depth around the Angels organization.


Geovany Soto, 33
Soto has done a great job for the Halos so far this season, but it's quite possibly he doesn't last past 2016.  Do we still need him?  Probably not.  Depending on how 2016 goes, he's not a bad option to keep (and also assuming he doesn't cost more than his current 2.8 million.  The Angels have a lot of money freeing up at the end of this season, and I don't see why we couldn't free up another 2.8 million here as well.  I wouldn't be completely opposed to keeping him for another year or two, but then what happens to Jett Bandy who is MLB ready?

Carlos Perez, 25
Perez has been struggling at the plate so far in 2016, but he has been hot behind the plate.  He's probably not much more than a mid 200's hitter with limited power, but has a lot of future potential to the organization, and is known as a defensive catcher first anyway.  Perez is known as a pitch framer, but so far in his MLB career he gets more negative calls than positive (-21 last year and -9 so far this year).


Jett Bandy, 26 (next in line)
Bandy is MLB-ready and will probably get the September call up (or sooner if something happens).  This 31st round draft pick could be a pleasant surprise for the organization and would already be on the major league team if not for the signing of Soto.  Bandy even has a stronger arm than Perez and keep base runners honest.  Most scouts see him as a backup catcher and not a starter, but i'm a bit more optimistic.  Bandy hit an amazing .464 in spring training this year and threw out 40% of base stealers.

Juan Graterol, 27
Graterol was signed this past off season, likley just for minor league depth.  He probably doesn't have a long future with the Angels and has bounced around the minors for almost 10 years, despite being only 27.


Stephen McGee, 25
McGee, who was drafted in the 9th round in 2013, has only a .233 career average in the minors.  Another defensive first catcher (there is a trend here), McGee is known as a smart catcher with a great game-calling ability.  It's not unrealistic to see him end up in Salt Lake before the season is over (he played 8 games in Salt Lake in 2015).

Wade Wass, 24
We have in Wass, an undrafted, possibly diamond-in-the-rough who can hit with some pop.  Wass hit .261 with 11 HR in 307 AB in A ball last year, but he struck out a very high 90 times, so he's going to have to get that more under control if he wants to keep advancing.

Adv A

Michael Strentz, 24
Strentz has a lot of catcher in line before him, and has to compete with Ward as well who may pass him up.  He's one of the better hitting catchers deep in the system, but he's already playing backup to newly drafted Ward, so his options in the organization may be limited.

Taylor Ward, 22
Youngest and freshest of the bunch, Ward was a first round pick in 2015 and had a fantastic first season in the minors with a .348 AVG in 201 AB.  So far in 2016, he's struggling a bit with a .232 AVG, but he's known as a hugely defensive catcher with good plate discipline (lots of walks).

Bandy, Bemboom, Graterol, McGee, Ward, and Wass were all invited to spring training this year, though some of them barely saw any playing time at all.  It's pretty clear that Jett Bandy would be next in line for a regular gig with the Angels, and behind him probably comes McGee, Wass, or Bemboom - depending on how 2016 shakes out.

The Angels hedged their bets on Ward as their first round pick in 2015, but he's still a few years out.

Not mentioned are 4 more catchers the Angels have stashed away in the minors: Anthony Bemboom (26, AA), Joe Briceno (23, Adv A), Angel Genao (23, A), and Tanner Lubach (23, A) which make 12 catchers total - so no, we certainly don't need another catcher in the first few rounds of the 2016 draft.