Tony Wolters Developing into a solid Catcher
Once a part of a middle infield logjam, Tony Wolters now finds himself with a clear path to the Majors as the Indians’s prime catching prospect. The Indians decided to switch Wolters before the 2013 season to the backstop to try to take advantage of his athleticism and sense of familiarity with the position (he played some catcher in high school).
Early reports are even more positive than the Indians could have hoped for. Wolters already had the arm for the position, and threw out 30 percent of base-stealers and continually improved on his receiving skills overall throughout the season. Wolters always had the work ethic that many believed would help him succeed in the transition, and it certainly showed.
Offensively Wolters also showed the progress that was expected of him as he repeated High-A. After a somewhat disappointing 2012, Wolters almost doubled his walk rate–from 6.7 percent to 12.1 percent–but he also seemed to lose his power stroke. Wolters’ ISO dropped from .144 to 0.76, but overall had an improved season offensively finishing with a .277/.369/.353 triple slash.
Wolters won’t need power to succeed as a catcher, as many teams are just happy to have a guy that has picked up a bat before if he has quality receiving skills. What Wolters will need most is to continually improve from behind the plate, not next to it.
A quality eye and smooth batting stroke will make Wolters more than capable of holding a job as an everyday catcher in the Majors. He may not be an All-Star, but he won’t be a liability.
Wolters can be the guy who pushes Carlos Santana to full-time 1B/DH duties, giving the Indians one of the better catching duos in baseball when combined with Yan Gomes, if Cleveland doesn’t have one of the best already.