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MLB draft 2019: Angels farm depth report - Catchers

Jack Kruger - the Catcher of the future??

MLB: Los Angeles Angels-Workouts Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB draft is less than 2weeks away, so we’ll be taking look at the Angels farm system. Where are they strong? Where are they weak? And of course, we need to start with the most important position - Catcher. Amirite???

Seriously though, more catchers isn’t really bad thing and the Angels have a severe lack of catching depth throughout the system.

Also of note, is that it’s hard to find framing data, etc. from minor league catchers so most of the info below is based on scouting reports, batting, and caught stealing rates.

Big League Guys

Jonathan Lucroy, 33
B-T: R-R
Contract: 1 year / 3.35 Million

Kevan Smith, 31
B-T: R-R
Contract: 1 year / $573K

Dustin Garneau, 32
B-T: R-R
Contract: N/A

With 89 games of big league experience, Garneau is around for times when Smith or Lucroy get injured (as is currently the case with Smith).

Major League Ready:

Jose Briceno, 25
Drafted: Signed as an International free agent in 2008 by the Rockies
B-T: R-R
Current Level: AAA
MLB ETA: Been there, done that

Briceno was an organizational All Star for Colorado back in 2014 and of course got a taste of the big leagues last year, logging 117 ABs with the Angels. He had a 44% caught stealing rate with the big league club last year

Probably Major League Some Day:

Roberto Pena, 27
Drafted: 7th Round, 2010 (Astros)
B-T: R-R
Current Level: AAA
MLB ETA: 2019?

The Angels picked up Pena as a free agent this past off season. Mostly for depth since their system is a bit weak on catchers at the moment. He has a 43% caught stealing rate over his minor league career.

Jack Kruger, 23
Drafted: 20th round, 2016
B-T: R-R
Current Level: AA
MLB ETA: 2020

Kruger is really the best catching prospect in the system that would be ready in the next few years. He’s been a solid hitting catcher in his career, though is only hitting .218 in 2019. Throwing out runners hasn’t been his forte, however, and he has a mediocre 26% caught stealing rate through 202 games. Kruger is also known a good in-game psychologist which is key to handling a pitching staff.

Julian Leon, 22
Drafted: International free agent in 2012 (LAD)
B-T: R-R
Current Level: AA

Leon hasn’t hit since the Angels picked him up from the Dodgers. He draws his share of walks though, and has more walks (17) than hits (9) this season. In 2018 he walked 46 times to 47 hits. He’s been solid enough behind the plate with 33% CS rate in 2018 and 37% in 2019.

Maybe Major League Some day:

Mario Sanjur, 23
Drafted: Signed as an International free agent in 2012 by the Tigers
B-T: R-R
Current Level: AAA
MLB ETA: Late 2019
The Angels must have seen something in Sanjur who didn’t play much last year and hasn’t been past High A. He moved up to Salt Lake when Garneau got called up.

MLB Backup/Depth as Ceiling:

Harrison Wenson, 23
Drafted: 24th round, 2017
B-T: R-R
Current Level: A

When drafted, Wenson was known for his power and defense behind the plate, as well as strong leadership skills. He has a career 37% caught stealing rate but only a .184 AVG with a .313 OBP. In 58 games for Burlington last year he only hit .114 so his bat is going to have to get a bit stronger for him to progress.

Keinner Pina, 22
Drafted: International free agent in 2013
B-T: R-R
Current Level: A+

Pena has had a remarkable caught stealing rate that has hovered right around 50% the past two season. He’s not a real strong hitter but has been holding his own. After spending 4 seasons in rookie ball he’s finally starting to move up the ladder.