2013 TigsTools: Best Defensive Catcher

McCann is very good behind the dish

The Tigers are already blessed with a strong defensive catcher at the Major League level, and they have several more on the way from the minor leagues. Check inside to find out who could pair with Alex Avila to form a deadly defensive duo!

Best Defensive Catcher
1. James McCann
2. Luis Sanz
3. Austin Green
4. Tim Remes
5. Elys Escobar

McCann drew praise as one of the draft's best defensive catchers when the Tigers selected him a couple of years ago, and he has proven that report correct during his minor league tenure. Durable and strong behind the plate, McCann blocks well, has good catch-and-throw skills, a strong arm and is a very good leader on the field. He is also praised for his more intangible efforts of handling pitchers, calling a quality game and his receiving ability has earned high marks over the last year. McCann has the potential to be a plus defender at the games highest level.

Luis Sanz may have a very limited Major League profile, but he will stick around in the minor leagues for an extended time because of his defensive capabilities. Sanz is a quality defender in every respect and he has earned high marks from his pitchers in the past. The same can be said for Tim Remes in spite of his limited track record in the organization.

Drafted in the 13th round last summer, Green quickly stood out as one of the better defensive catchers in the Tigers lower minor leagues. He impressed coaches and scouts in the New York-Penn League with his receiving ability and showed strong potential as a thrower.

Placing 16-year old Elys Escobar this high on the list may be aggressive, but with the Tigers lacking depth among quality defensive backstops, his advanced defensive skills and overall defensive potential deserve a spot on this list. Escobar has a chance to be a top-flight defender in every respect and fans could see that quickly once he makes his stateside debut.

Honorable Mention
Ben Pickar
Sandy Rodriguez

Pickar's defensive development has been slower than some expected when he was drafted, but he did begin to show improvement behind the plate in 2013. Pickar's movements were stiff and slow during his debut season but he began to block better and his catch-and-throw mechanics became more consistent as the season went on. Sandy Rodriguez may still be in the Dominican Summer League, but his reputation as a defender is growing. If he gets some time on a US roster in 2014, he could jump onto this list.

Projection Kings
Jheyser Asuaje
Franklin Navarro
Arvicent Perez

All three of these Latin American backstops have varying degrees of defensive potential. Navarro likely carries the highest defensive ceiling of the trio, but he also may require the most work. Asuaje is a relative unknown in prospect circles, but the Tigers like his defensive potential and he already shows average arm strength at a young age.

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