- Full name Andrew John Susac
- Born 03/22/1990 in Roseville, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Oregon State
- Debut 05/22/2014
Drafted in the 2nd round (86th overall) by the San Francisco Giants in 2011 (signed for $1,100,000).
View Draft ReportSusac gets mixed reviews from scouts in the Northwest this spring, but scouting directors saw him at his best last summer and catching is at even more of a premium than usual this year, so he could still be a first-rounder. He broke the hamate bone in his left wrist midway through the season but was back in game action a month later, even getting back behind the plate. During the layoff, Susac still threw regularly and did drills to improve his footwork behind the plate. He has above-average arm strength and can shut down a running game. He needs to improve his receiving skills, as his hands can get a little stiff, but he's a good athlete who blocks well. Susac has a good approach at the plate, which Beavers coaches attribute to him seeing quality stuff from their pitchers day in and day out. He has more power than a pure feel for hitting. He uses a high leg kick as part of his load, which can disrupt his timing and rhythm at times, but when he's in sync he shows above-average pop, mostly to his pull side. His success on the Cape carried over to this season and helped his confidence behind the plate.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Coming out of high school, Susac was viewed as a catch-and-throw backstop with a questionable bat. His freshman year at Oregon State in 2010 didn't change that report, as one coach described him as one of the easiest outs in the Pacific-12 Conference. But he went to the Cape Cod League that summer, gained confidence and led the Cape in slugging. That carried over into a standout sophomore year, cut short by a hamate injury. By the time he entered the 2011 draft as an eligible sophomore, scouts believed his bat was ahead of his defense. Susac again reversed the report by struggling at the plate in his 2012 pro debut while showing off an impressive arm. He gunned down Billy Hamilton five times in the California League (in 21 attempts). His bat caught up to the glove again in 2013, and after a strong start at Triple-A Fresno in 2014, he was a surprise callup to San Francisco when a concussion sidelined Hector Sanchez. He impressed enough to earn a spot on the postseason roster. In another organization, Susac would likely be pencilled in as a big league-ready everyday catcher. Because he plays for the Giants and Buster Posey isn't going anywhere, his best hope in the short term is to serve as an overqualified backup. Susac has shortened his once lengthy swing to spray more line drives. It has paid off in improved quality contact rates and hasn't really diminished his power. He projects as .250-.260 hitter with a chance to hit 15-20 home runs. He drives the ball to the opposite-field power alley with some loft and carry. His understanding of the strike zone allows him to draw plenty of walks, adding significantly to his offensive value. His plus arm regularly turns in 1.9-second pop times on throws to second base thanks to a quick release, though his arm strength seemed to taper off a little as the season wore on in 2014. Susac still is refining the rest of his work behind the plate. His pitch-calling needs to continue to improve. He's nimble enough to block pitches in the dirt and his athleticism is apparent, but he needs to quiet his hands a little more when receiving, for his pitch-framing numbers were below-average in his big league debut. Susac's development gives the Giants the option of considering moving Posey's premium bat to first base at some point in the future. Until that happens, Susac will battle Sanchez for the backup catcher spot, with Susac likely having the edge because of his better bat. Opposing teams' scouts see Susac as an everyday catcher in his own right, making him a valuable trade chip. But if the Giants want to shift Posey to a less-demanding position, Susac gives them that option.
A hamate fracture in his wrist ended Susac's college career a month before the 2011 draft and probably caused him to slide to the second round. The Giants were excited to take him, signing for an over-slot $1.1 million bonus, feeling that his bat would be ready long before his receiving skills were. It turned out Susac was challenged in both areas in a humbling debut at high Class A San Jose in 2012. He got back on track at Double-A Richmond in 2013 before a thumb injury took him out of action. Susac has above-average raw power, and his natural stroke gives him more power to right-center field than anywhere else. He made adjustments to keep his swing from getting too long, and he made harder, more consistent contact. Susac still is learning to pull the ball with authority as he gains experience, and his patient approach helps. He led the Arizona Fall League with a .507 on-base percentage. He also earned plaudits for the progress he made with game-calling. Susac has all the tools to be an above-average defensive catcher, including a quick release and strong arm. He threw out 40 percent of Eastern League basestealers in 2013. Scouts, however, point out that Susac still has plenty of work to do when it comes to receiving and blocking. His bat remains his ticket to the big leagues and his AFL performance opened eyes. Susac will begin 2014 at Triple-A Fresno, and one day he might move Buster Posey to a less-stressful position.
The Giants expected more from Susac in his 2012 pro debut, and he might be asked to repeat high Class A as a result. But all the tools are still there for the Sacramento native, who might have been a first-round pick if not for a hamate fracture that ended his college career a month before the draft. Susac has quick feet, and he's an athletic receiver with good flexibility, through his hips and arm are slightly above average. But his focus wavered behind the plate (as evidenced by his California League-high 14 errors), and he has a lot to learn about calling a game. He is still refining his technique, which is apparent when his throws are off target. Still, he managed to throw out Reds speedster Billy Hamilton twice in one game, and his 32 percent caught-stealing rate was second-best among Cal League regulars. Susac had a tough year at the plate, striking out in 28 percent of his at-bats, and had to smooth out a high leg kick that kept him from staying back on breaking pitches. His adjustments helped him hit .333 in August and he showed flashes of the plus power that earned him an over-slot $1.1 million bonus as a second-round pick in 2011. Even with his struggles, San Francisco still felt confident enough about Susac that it was willing to sacrifice catching prospect Tommy Joseph to get Hunter Pence from the Phillies. Susac now ranks as the best catcher in the system.
Susac wrote a paper in grade school about how his dream job would be to play for the Giants. By the time he was a standout at Sacramento's Jesuit High, the feeling was mutual. He was set on attending Oregon State, so San Francisco didn't get him until 2011. Considered the top college catcher available and a potential first-rounder, he lasted 86 picks after he fractured the hamate bone in his left wrist and floated a big price tag. He signed for $1.1 million--just $16,000 less than first-rounder Joe Panik. Employing a high leg kick, Susac has plus power and generates the kinds of backspun home runs that keep carrying until they clear the fence. But he tends to turn out his hips as he loads and jumps at the ball, which will lead to strikeouts on breaking pitches until he makes adjustments. Susac profiles as a solid defensive catcher with above-average arm strength. He's athletic for a catcher, with quick feet and average speed. Though he signed at the Aug. 15 deadline and hasn't made his pro debut, Susac likely firmed up an assignment to high Class A with an impressive stint in instructional league. With plenty of catching in the system ahead of him, there's no need to put Susac on the fast track. His performance may force the issue anyway.
Minor League Top Prospects
One of the bigger catching double threats at Triple-A this season, Susac projects as a solid catch-and-throw receiver with power, and he began easing Buster Posey's load behind the plate in August. By starting Susac at catcher three times a week, the Giants were able to keep Posey's bat in the lineup at first base. The Giants consider Susac a workhorse behind the plate and believe in his continued improvement defensively. He gunned down 36 percent of PCL basestealers with a good arm that is capable of keeping runners close. One rival evaluator said Susac does a good job of catching the ball soft and keeping it close to his body. At bat, Susac has a short swing that helps him generate solid-average power to right-center field more than any other part of the field. That swing and approach combine with good plate discipline to make him at least an average hitter. "He has a high ceiling," Fresno manager Bob Mariano said. "He can definitely be a starting catcher in the majors, and I see him as an RBI guy."
Top 100 Rankings
Background: Susac wrote a paper in grade school about how his dream job would be to play for the Giants. By the time he was a standout at Sacramento's Jesuit High, the feeling was mutual. He spurned the Phillies as a 16th-round pick out of high school because he was set on attending Oregon State. Considered the top college catcher available and a potential first-rounder, he lasted 86 picks after he fractured the hamate bone in his left wrist and floated a big price tag. He signed for $1.1 million--just $16,000 less than first-rounder Joe Panik. Scouting Report: Employing a high leg kick, Susac has plus power and generates the kinds of backspun home runs that keep carrying until they clear the fence. But he tends to turn out his hips as he loads and jumps at the ball, which will lead to strikeouts on breaking pitches until he makes adjustments. Susac profiles as a solid defensive catcher with above-average arm strength. He's athletic for a catcher, with quick feet and average speed. The Future: Though he signed at the Aug. 15 deadline and hasn't made his pro debut, Susac likely firmed up an assignment to high Class A with an impressive stint in instructional league. With plenty of catching in the system ahead of him, there's no need to put Susac on the fast track. His performance may force the issue anyway.