Daulton Varsho Looks Quick Enough To Catch
The Diamondbacks have tried for years to develop a frontline catcher, something they haven’t been able to do since Miguel Montero broke into the majors in 2006. They might have found their next one in 22-year-old Daulton Varsho.
Varsho is the son of Gary Varsho, and he has all the attributes of someone whose father spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues. He’s athletic and instinctual with a high baseball IQ, and he was in the midst of a strong season at high Class A Visalia before breaking the hamate bone in his right hand in June.
"He’s a legit, everyday major leaguer, I think,” farm director Mike Bell said. "He’s athletic, explosive. He has power and speed. He’s a good framer, and everything he does behind the plate is solid. He’s got the whole package—as a catcher.”
Varsho hit .290/.377/.467 with eight home runs in 57 games before the injury. Scouts who like him see a catcher who can hit for average with 15-20 homers. He has answered questions about his ability to stick behind the plate.
"The arm strength is what people question, but I think it’s enough because of his athleticism—his quick feet and quick release,” a rival scout said. "I think he’ll present the ball well and be an above-average blocker. I think he’s going to have enough to be a solid defender.”
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD
After getting looks at 21-year-old righthander Emilio Vargas this year, multiple scouts mentioned going back to see old reports to try to see what they missed. Some said they’d crossed paths with him before, but Vargas left no impression on them.
Vargas has been hard to overlook this year. Through 87 innings at Visalia he had recorded a 1.75 ERA with 113 strikeouts, and he has scouts believing he has the makings of a future back-end starter.
Vargas' fastball sits only in the low 90s, but thanks to his extension and high spin rate the pitch has the kind of up-in-the-zone carry that leads to swings and misses.
Vargas has a changeup that could be an above-average pitch and shows flashes of a future average breaking ball. He also had improved his control as the year progressed.
Daulton Varsho Believes His D-Backs Future Is Behind The Plate
Varsho's defensive work coupled with a strong approach have mostly silenced concerns he'd eventually move off catcher.
** After 17-year-old outfielder Kristian Robinson impressed in extended spring training with a mature approach that belied his age, the D-backs opted for him to make his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League rather than the Dominican Summer League. "He looked like he was perfectly prepared to handle (the assignment),” Bell said. Robinson, who signed for $2.5 million out of the Bahamas last year, went 1115-for-54 (.278) with three doubles in his first 13 games.
** Reliever Tommy Eveld’s velocity has been down for much of the season, perhaps as a result of offseason surgery to remove a benign mass from his elbow. But Bell said he’s seen Eveld's stuff tick up recently, with his slider back into the low-90s range. "It’s starting to creep back up,” Bell said.