- Full name Anthony John Wolters
- Born 06/09/1992 in Chula Vista, CA
- Profile Ht.: 5'10" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Rancho Buena Vista
- Debut 04/05/2016
Drafted in the 3rd round (87th overall) by the Cleveland Guardians in 2010 (signed for $1,350,000).
View Draft ReportWolters, a San Diego recruit, was the MVP of the 2009 Aflac All-American game at Petco Park in San Diego, an impressive accomplishment considering the field was filled with elite prospects such as Jameson Taillon and Bryce Harper. Undersized (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) for any position on the field except the middle infield, Wolters almost certainly will shift to second base as a pro. He is a sensational defensive player, displaying remarkable playmaking ability, fluid actions and quick hands. Wolters has enough arm for shortstop, but his below-average speed and range make him a better fit on the right side of the infield. He's smart with strong leadership qualities and baseball instincts. Wolters' batting stance and hitting style are unique. He begins with the bat in a straight up and down posture, his hands placed near his right hip. His wide, spread-out stance in his lower half gives Wolters a bit of a Gateway Arch look. As a pitch approaches, Wolters moves his hands into a launch position and then lets the bat fly, using a pronounced sweeping upper-cut. At times, he appears to release his top hand off the bat a fraction too quickly, in effect swinging with one hand. While his swing and set-up are not traditional, it is hard to quibble with the results. He is a patient and savvy hitter, showing a knack for extending pitch counts as he waits for the ball he wants to attack. Wolters projects as an average to slightly above-average hitter with slightly below-average power.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Wolters has become one of the more unique prospects in the minors as a player who can catch one day and play middle infield the next. Drafted as a shortstop in the third round in 2010, he signed for $1.35 million, but his career outlook changed drastically in 2013 when he shifted behind the plate. A good athlete with a compact frame, he has soft hands and a quick transfer on throws that helps his average arm play up, and he caught 47 percent of basestealers in 2014. The Indians have told Wolters he can always go back to the infield, and he continues to see intermittent action at shortstop and second base, but he has embraced catching. Putting in so much time on defense has understandably taken away from Wolters' offense. His simple lefthanded swing can get long at times, but he has a feel for the barrel and good strength for his size. He joined the 40-man roster in November to keep him out of the Rule 5 draft. A return to Double-A Akron or move to Triple-A Columbus should be in play for 2015.
Wolters made a strong impression on Indians manager Terry Francona when he got to play in a few big league spring training games in 2013. Francona noted the then-second baseman Wolters' feel for hitting and physical similarity to Tigers catcher Alex Avila. Given Cleveland's surplus of middle infield prospects, the team decided to have Wolters make the move behind the plate. The recipient of a $1.35 million bonus in 2010, Wolters benefitted from working with Sandy Alomar Jr. in spring training and with high Class A Carolina manager Dave Wallace, another former catcher. Predictably, the transition wasn't easy, and scouts outside the organization were skeptical of his future, but the Indians believed by the end of the season that he played an acceptable catcher at the minor league level. Wolters is a good athlete who has quick hands and a strong arm that plays up thanks to a quick transfer. He still has much to learn, but he's embraced the move and the Indians love his work ethic and leadership qualities. He's a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter who does a good job of controlling the strike zone. He'll run into some home runs but has below-average power. His profile as a lefty-hitting catcher would give him great value and reduces demands on his bat. He'll start 2014 at Double-A Akron.
Cleveland handed out four seven-figure bonuses in the 2010 draft, and only one of those recipients appears on this Top 30. First-rounder Drew Pomeranz went to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, while second-rounder LeVon Washington and eighth-rounder Alex Lavisky haven't hit. That leaves Wolters, who signed for $1.35 million in the third round. Wolters didn't get his batting average get past .200 until May 22, but he rebounded to hit .291/.344/.474 in 64 games in the second half. He's a solid hitter who's at his best when he works the middle of the field and drives the ball into the gaps. He struggles when his front side flies open and can get into free-swinging mode, but he learned to manage his plate appearances better as the season progressed. Wolters broke his hamate bone in spring training in 2011, an injury that required surgery and sapped his power. He showed more pop in 2012 and has the potential to hit 10-15 homers annually in his prime. His above-average arm and clean hands fit at shortstop, but his fringy speed limits his range. Wolters could be an offensive-oriented second baseman, though he may be better suited as a backup. He'll advance to Double-A in 2013.
Wolters signed for $1.35 million as a third-round pick in 2010, but an injury delayed what would have been his first full pro season. He broke the hamate bone in his right hand during spring training and required surgery. After reporting to Mahoning Valley in June, he led the New York-Penn League with 50 runs. Wolters shows a good feel for working the count with an advanced hitting approach. He makes consistent contact and is at his best when he works the ball back up the middle. While the hamate injury sapped some of his pop, he likely will top out with below-average power and be more of a gap hitter. Wolters is adept on the basepaths, but has fringy speed and isn't quite the threat his 19 steals in 69 games last summer might suggest. He has excellent hands and a strong, accurate arm, and he shows some flair at shortstop. Though he has made strides with his reads and footwork, some scouts think his lack of range ultimately may lead him to second base. He can be more aggressive instead of waiting for the ball to come to him. Wolters will get the chance to remain at shortstop, but he might have a hard time getting time there at Lake County in 2012. Cleveland also could send superior defenders Francisco Lindor and Ronnie Rodriguez there.
Wolters had an accomplished amateur career, winning MVP honors at the 2009 Aflac All-American Game as a Southern California high school standout. He lasted 87 picks in the 2010 draft, then turned down a San Diego commitment to sign in August for $1.35 million, the highest bonus of any third-round pick. Wolters has an intriguing combination of athleticism and feel for the game. He's an instinctive player on both sides of the ball, showing a polished approach at the plate with the patience to work counts. He has an unusual hitting style, using a wide stance and holding his hands low before launching an uppercut swing, at times releasing his top hand too quickly. He has the offensive upside to hit at the top of the order, spraying liners to all fields with the potential for 10-15 homers per season. A fringe-average runner, Wolters has the tools to play up the middle. Though he's fluid in the field and has quick hands and a strong arm, some scouts believe his range might be better suited for second. Ticketed to open 2011 in low Class A, Wolters is advanced for a high school player but still years away from Cleveland. The Indians have no plans to move him off shortstop and believe he can remain there in the long run.
Minor League Top Prospects
Wolters, who signed for $1.35 million as a third-round pick in 2010, starred as one of the younger players in the NY-P this summer. He's a patient contact hitter with a middle-away approach, and while he won't ever be a power hitter, he should have solid pop to the gaps. An average runner with a quick first step on the bases, he led the league with 50 runs. Wolters has sure hands, smooth actions and good instincts defensively, though he sometimes waits for balls to come to him instead of making the aggressive play. He has a chance to stick at shortstop, though his future is more likely at second base, where his range would fit better. "He had a very nice year for us," Mahoning Valley manager David Wallace said. "He was very consistent at the top of our lineup, then out in the field I thought he played really well. Combining his arm strength with arm accuracy is probably what stood out the most."
Background: Wolters signed for $1.35 million as a third-round pick in 2010, but an injury delayed what would have been his first full pro season. He broke the hamate bone in his right hand during spring training and required surgery. After reporting to Mahoning Valley in June, he led the New York-Penn League with 50 runs. Scouting Report: Wolters shows a good feel for working the count with an advanced hitting approach. He makes consistent contact and is at his best when he works the ball back up the middle. While the hamate injury sapped some of his pop, he likely will top out with below-average power and be more of a gap hitter. Wolters is adept on the basepaths, but has fringy speed and isn't quite the threat his 19 steals in 69 games last summer might suggest. He has excellent hands and a strong, accurate arm, and he shows some flair at shortstop. Though he has made strides with his reads and footwork, some scouts think his lack of range ultimately may lead him to second base. He can be more aggressive instead of waiting for the ball to come to him. The Future: Wolters will get the chance to remain at shortstop, but he might have a hard time getting time there at Lake County in 2012. Cleveland also could send superior defenders Francisco Lindor and Ronnie Rodriguez there.