Back in early April, we took a look at a few catcher prospects that you should have had on your radar, both as long-term keeper prospects and potential 2012 call-ups in case something went awry on the major league level. We’re a little more than a month past that first look and while none of them have set foot in the big leagues just yet, different aspects of their situations have changed and a re-visit seemed like a good idea. Are they any closer to a shot in the majors, and if so, how long before we see them?
Travis D’Arnaud, TOR — With the month of April that J.P. Arencibia had, it was no wonder that the d’Arnaud buzz started to heat up. When he was acquired in the Roy Halladay deal, he was expected to be the Jays’ catcher of the future and if Arencibia was going to pull a one-hit wonder, then why not bring up the kid? He posted a slash line of .282/.354/.424 with two home runs and while those numbers weren’t exactly mind-blowing, they were certainly better than what JPA was doing. But then the calendar flipped to May and both players started to improve their game. The d’Arnaud talk got a little quieter and as the month progressed and d’Arnaud hit the ball harder, so did Arencibia. In fact, from May 14th through May 19th, both men smacked four home runs, including a two-homer game from each of them on the 18th. Arencibia’s average has now climbed nearly 60 points in the month and with the recent promotion of Yan Gomes, who is capable of playing behind the dish, along with the club’s desire to keep him up and get him at-bats, it would seem that the plan to keep d’Arnaud down in Triple-A for the season is still very much in full swing.
Yasmani Grandal, SD — As Nick Hundley’s struggles continue the path to the majors becomes that much easier for Grandal. While he has been working extra to improve his defensive skills, Grandal has also shown exceptional skills with the bat and his plate discipline. He’s posted a slash line of .317/.430/.512 with a 19:15 K:BB ratio and has maintained a solid .179 ISO which coincides with his previous years’ marks. The Padres don’t have much else going on behind the plate with John Baker as the back-up, so if things don’t turn around quickly for Hundley, there’s a good chance we start seeing the team prepare to make the transition.
Ryan Lavarnway, BOS — When last we visited this situation, we talked of Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s suspect glove and Kelly Shoppach’s shortcomings with respect to anything but mashing lefties. Lavarnway just need to hone his skills behind the plate and continue hitting well enough to keep the parent club watching on a daily basis. But with Salty hitting well, Shoppach holding on as a solid back-up, and Lavarnway’s power not yet on display this season, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency for a promotion. Both his walk and strikeout rates look good, but until that ISO gets back to where it used to be and stops sitting below .100 like it is, the only thing that’s going to earn him a call-up is a major injury on the big league level.
Austin Romine, NYY — back problems have kept him out all season long.