The MLB Draft is fast approaching and our position preview series continues with a look at some of the top catchers in this year’s draft class that could interest the Cleveland Indians.
There are some very interesting catching prospects this year. The best of the bunch, Joey Bart, will not be on the board when the Cleveland Indians make their first selection. Bart is reportedly in consideration to go first overall to the Tigers. But there are others that could interest the team.
The Indians are not short on catching talent whatsoever. Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez are signed for the next several years, Francisco Mejia is one of the top prospects in baseball, Eric Haase is performing well and isn’t far away from the big leagues, and Logan Ice was an early pick not too long ago in 2016.
But none of that matters for the Cleveland Indians when it comes to the MLB Draft. It is a best player available approach and if it’s a catcher that is on the top of their board when the 29th pick comes around, that’s who they’ll pick.
There are three high school catchers that could be in consideration for the Indians on Monday, June 4th.
Noah Naylor, C, St. Joan of Arc (Ont.) HS
Naylor is a powerful player. He has a power bat and a power throwing arm from behind the plate, giving him a high ceiling as a big league player. he’s a smart hitter and will hit for a decent batting average. MLB Pipeline ranks Naylor as their 28th best prospect, right in the range for the Cleveland Indians first selection.
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Naylor’s receiving skills are behind his bat, similar to the spot Francisco Mejia finds himself in. But Naylor has been making improvements in that area all spring and that should give teams more confidence in his ability to stick behind the plate.
A left handed hitter, Naylor is committed to Texas A&M should he decide to go to college. But if he’s a first round pick, it’s a good bet that he will sign.
Will Banfield, C, Brookwood (GA) HS
Banfield is another player that could go near the end of the first round, although he’s known more for his defense whereas Naylor is known for his offense. Banfield hasn’t done much with the bat so far this spring and that could knock down his stock. He was once considered a mid first round pick but now could be a late first round or early second rounder.
He has a commitment to Vanderbilt, so Banfield has a strong fallback option if his draft stock falls farther. But with his defensive ability and 70-grade throwing arm, Banfield has a high floor. He has plenty of raw power, but tapping into it may be easier said than done.
Banfield is considered a great character guy and his leadership ability is valuable, even though you can’t measure it in statistics. He could take some time to develop that bat. MLB Pipeline ranks Banfield as the 35th overall draft prospect.
Anthony Siegler, C, Cartersville (GA) HS
Another Georgia prep backstop will go off the board early here in the draft. Siegler is ambidextrous. He can switch hit AND switch-throw. I would draft him just for that. He can throw from both sides off the mound, so Siegler has that as a backup plan if worst comes to worst.
Even though Siegler is MLB Pipeline’s 47th ranked prospect, they view him as a late first round pick
"His ambidextrousness shouldn’t overshadow the fact that he’s one of the best all-around catchers in the Draft. He could be the first high school backstop selected, perhaps even in the late first round."
That puts Siegler right in the window for the Cleveland Indians, who have two picks late in the first round at 29 and 35 overall, plus the 41st overall pick in the Competitive Balance Round A.
He’s solid defensively, solid offensively, and can throw and hit from either side. That makes Siegler one of the more interesting prospects in the entire draft class. He’s committed to the University of Florida, but he should be signable if the Tribe can get him in the first round.
This year’s MLB Draft class is full of amazing talent and these three catchers are no different. Getting any one of these three in the first round would be a solid selection.