Last week, I started a new series where I examine the Braves’ future by position. I began with starting pitchers, an area where the Braves have a multitude of options, which is necessary, considering how volatile pitching prospects can be. Today, we move to catchers. A year ago, this was viewed as a position of weakness for the organization. Now, the Braves have a few backstops that could be ready to take the reins in the near future.
Major League Level
The Braves have a platoon of Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers at the top, but neither is likely in the team’s long-term plans. d’Arnaud is under contract through 2021 after signing a two-year deal this offseason. Perhaps they re-sign him when his contract his up, but the Braves have a couple of young prospects that should be about ready by then. Flowers’ contract is up at the end of this season, and even if he does have a bounce-back 2020, he’ll likely only receive another one-year deal this offseason.
Alex Jackson had some brief MLB experience last year, appearing in four games and going 0 for 13 at the plate. However, he was a stud in AAA, smashing 28 bombs in just 85 games. Jackson’s never going to hit for average, but his power cannot be taught. If he can cut down on the strikeouts a bit, he will likely carve out an excellent MLB career for himself. He’s the Braves emergency catcher if d’Arnaud or Flowers goes down and will be the next prospect to receive a chance with the major-league club.
William Contreras, brother of Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, hasn’t posted fantastic numbers in the minors. Last year, between Florida and Missippi, he hit .255 with 6 homers in 110 games. However, swings like these have scouts believing he could be like his brother one day.
Many people viewed him as the future at the catcher position for the Braves, but with Shea Langiliers now in the fold; he has some worthy competition.
The Braves have a couple of guys to watch for at these levels, but the one with the best chance of being the starting catcher in five years on this entire list is Shea Langilers. Langiliers was the ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Baylor. He struggled a bit with the bat last year in his first taste of pro-ball but picked it up at the end of the season. That’s also not why he was drafted. Langiliers is an elite defensive catching prospect, and if there were multiple injuries during this shortened season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves used him. He can already hold his own behind the plate.
Logan Brown is also on the 60-man taxi squad, but he’s a longshot to be one of the catchers on the Braves’ roster in five years. The 23-year-old had some success in Rome last season, hitting .301, but scuffled a bit once they moved him up to Florida.