- Full name Kevin Forrest Cash
- Born 12/06/1977 in Tampa, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Florida State
- Debut 09/06/2002
Organization Prospect Rankings
Cash remains one of the best defensive backstops in the minors. The former corner infielder has natural actions and tools to thrive behind the plate: plus arm, good footwork, soft hands and leadership ability. He rivals Guillermo Quiroz as the organization's best defensive catcher, and he led Triple-A International League regulars by throwing out 50 percent of basestealers last year. However, Quiroz has passed him on the organization's depth chart because of the gains he made at the plate in 2003, progress Cash didn't match. His plate discipline and home run power slipped. His aggressive approach, which had served him well earlier in his career, was further exposed in a 34-game big league trial, when he failed to post even a .400 on-base plus slugging percentage. Pitchers realized they didn't have to throw him strikes to get him out, so they didn't. The Blue Jays say Cash pressured himself too much and was focused on learning to work with Toronto's pitchers. Cash projects as a .260 hitter with 10-15 homers at best, and he'll need to get stronger and improve his conditioning to avoid tiring late in the season, when his bat tends to slow.
Cash's tale is one of the best in baseball. An average corner infielder at Florida State, he caught the Blue Jays' attention working as an emergency catcher in the Cape Cod League in 1999. He capped his rapid rise--2002 was just his second full season behind the plate--with a short stint in Toronto. Even in a one-game trial in the Cape, Cash showed the skills defensively that have made him one of the best catching prospects in the game. He has supreme catch-and-throw skills, throwing out 43 percent of minor league basestealers in 2002. He also shook off a bruised right hand to show solid power. He projects to hit 15-25 homers annually in the majors, and was leading the Double-A Southern League in RBIs when he was promoted. Cash never has been a great hitter. Even at Florida State, his best average was .319. He can be too pull-conscious and lost command of the strike zone after his promotion to Triple-A. He needs a better two-strike approach and more patience. Cash's defensive prowess allows the Jays to move Josh Phelps to DH or first base and Jayson Werth to the outfield. Cash will start 2003 back at Syracuse but is in line for a midseason promotion.
Former scouting director Tim Wilken was in the Cape Cod League watching the Falmouth Commodores when the club ran out of catchers. A corner infielder at Florida State, Cash volunteered to go behind the plate and was a natural. He had never caught but threw out two basestealers, and Wilken signed him shortly thereafter. In a system bursting with catching prospects, Cash has the best catch-and-throw skills despite having the least experience. With a plus arm, excellent footwork and a quick release, Cash shuts down running games. He led the Florida State League by nailing 56 percent of basestealers in 2001. He also has power, leading Dunedin in home runs and slugging (.453), and uses the whole field offensively. Cash doesn't have the offensive ceiling of either Werth or Phelps because he doesn't have as much over-the-fence power. He's learning the nuances of calling a game and handling a staff. His inexperience showed, with 12 errors and 18 passed balls. The Blue Jays are overloaded with catchers, and Ricciardi has shown he's not afraid to make moves. If he remains with the organization, Cash will start 2002 in Double-A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Cash sits at the other end of the catching spectrum from Victor Martinez. He easily ranked as the league's best defensive catcher, throwing out 50 percent of basestealers, the best of any regular backstop. With the catch-and-throw part of his game mastered, Cash worked successfully to improve his game-calling and relationships. "I love him behind the plate," Richmond manager Pat Kelly said. "He's a solid receiver with a great throwing arm. But Cash will go as far as his bat takes him. I think he'll hit." Malave said Cash, who spent the second half of 2002 in Syracuse, has made great strides as a hitter over the last year. Always a free swinger, Cash initially struggled learning the Blue Jays' philosophy of plate discipline at first, taking more pitches than needed and falling behind in counts. He has learned to put the ball in play more, to use the whole field and to be patient without compromising his aggressiveness.
The SL had a lot of catching talent in 2002, with Cash joining Olivo and Hill as backstops who project as everyday big leaguers. Cash never caught before signing with the Blue Jays as a nondrafted free agent, but he since has forced Josh Phelps and Jayson Werth to other positions. Using a strong arm, quick release and solid footwork, Cash can shut down the running game. He erased 41 percent of basestealers in the SL, then upped that mark to 46 percent in Triple-A. Cash isn't one-dimensional, either. He set career highs this year with 33 doubles and 18 homers between his two minor league stops, and he knows the strike zone.