|Stuart Turner has,|
according to Baseball
Reference, thrown out
35 percent of base
stealers in the minors.
But he simply has not hit as a pro. His defensive chops will likely get him to the major leagues anyway, but he brings Drew Butera to mind: Good receiver, not good enough with the bat to be a regular. Still, virtually every list you'll find as Turner as the best catching prospect in the organization.
He spent last summer in Double A Chattanooga, and so one would expect that he's ticketed for Triple A Rochester. Problem: One would also expect that John Hicks and Juan Centeno, the duo I discussed in part one, will be in Rochester. I doubt there's playing time for all three.
Then there's Carlos Paulino, who split 2015 between Rochester and Chattanooga. Paulino's arm really stood out to me last week when I watched the catchers during infield and pitcher fielding drills; his throws made a audibly louder snap than anybody else's when they hit the infielder's glove.
stealing is 31
There's a lot more to catcher defense than arm strength, of course; pitch-calling, pitch framing, pitch blocking. I'm hardly expert enough to evaluate Paulino's skills in those areas, or Turner's either. But I do see them running into a numbers crunch. There's four guys ahead of them at the next two steps up from Chattanooga, and, as I'll discuss in part three, two pushing up the ladder right behind them.
Minor league teams often carry three catchers, and the Twins may have that in mind for their high-level farm clubs. Presumably Turner will be the playing time priority. But I doubt he's ever going to hit enough to make a genuine impact on the major league team.