2020 International Prospects Preview: Catchers To Watch
When it comes to finding catching prospects overseas, teams go to Venezuela.
In our Top 100 international prospect signings of the 2019 class, there are nine catchers. Eight of them are from Venezuela, the one exception being Giants catcher Adrian Sugastey from Panama.
In 2020, Venezuela will again be the predominant source of catching talent, from players who have been at the position for most of their lives to players who moved behind the plate to enhance their value.
We've highlighted some of the top 2020 players here, looked at more of the top 2020 players in this story and taken a look at some of the 2020 outfielders expected to sign seven-figure deals. Below are some of the high-profile catching prospects to watch in the 2020 class.
Ricardo Perez, C, Venezuela
The two big Phillies international signings this year are expected to be Yamal Flores, a power-hitting corner outfielder with a strong arm from the Dominican Republic, and Perez, a lefthanded-hitting catcher from Venezuela. Perez has shown good bat control with the loft in his swing to grow into more power and projects to stick behind the plate with an arm that has ticked up to a slightly above-average tool. He trains with Yasser Mendez.
Samuel Basallo, C, Dominican Republic
The Yankees signed the No. 1 international prospect in the 2019 class, outfielder Jasson Dominguez, out of Ivan Noboa's program. In 2020, Noboa's program has catcher Samuel Basallo, who will be eligible to sign when he turns 16 in August, and he's also expected to sign with the Yankees. Basallo is a physical 6-foot-3 catcher with good agility behind the plate for his size to go with a plus arm and the ability to drive the ball with impact from the left side.
Jesus Galiz, C, Venezuela
In addition to Basallo and Dominican shortstop Hans Montero, the Yankees are also expected to sign Galiz, a righthanded-hitting catcher who trains with Emiro Barboza. Galiz is an athletic catcher who is flexible behind the plate with soft hands, good catch-and-throw skills and a high baseball IQ.
Moises Ballesteros, C, Venezuela
The Cubs signed two of the top Venezuelan catchers in the 2019 class. One of them was Ronnier Quintero, a power hitter from the left side. The other was Brayan Altuve, an extremely athletic catcher who ran plus underway as an amateur. In 2020, the Cubs' top target is Dominican shortstop Cristian Hernandez, but they also look like they're going to sign another one of the top catchers from Venezuela in Ballasteros, who trains with Alvaro Diaz. Ballasteros has a stout, squatty build that's strong for his age, producing hard contact from the left side of the plate to go with a strong arm on the defensive side.
Robert Lopez, C, Venezuela
Lopez is one of the top players the Indians are expected to sign this year. He has performed well in games in Venezuela and shows the attributes to be able to stick behind the plate. Lopez makes consistent contact from the left side, showing a line-drive approach with gap power that has the potential to turn into more impact down the road, with a hit-over-power profile right now. He trains with Johan Ocanto and Giovanni Silva of the Masa Baseball Academy.
Enderson Lira, C, Venezuela
Miguel Bleis is an athletic outfielder the Red Sox are expected to sign for close to $2 million on July 2. The Red Sox are also expected to sign Lira, a prominent catcher out of Venezuela who trains with Jose Bellorin. Lira has a strong 6-foot-1 frame and is a quiet receiver with quick feet and an average arm. He's a righthanded hitter with solid barrel feel and doubles power.