Tyler Alamo, Catcher, 6-4, 20
Acquired in the 24th round of the 2013 draft
Potential Cubs Comp: Jody Davis
Most of the players in this series will be somewhat familiar to readers of Josh's nightly minor league feature. Some though, won't be. Tyler Alamo was selected as a high-school catcher in last June's draft. It was a moderate surprise he signed without breaking the draft budget. He was, after all, a catcher people had heard of leading up to the draft. Alamo struggled offensively in the Arizona Summer League, notching three singles in 30 at-bats. He fanned in half of his at-bats.
Of course, displaying talent is more than batting practice in a compound league.
Catchers are a tough read from the prep level. They have proven they can hit low-80 MPH fast balls, but that doesn't translate much. To be even a MLB backup, they have to learn how to call a game, throw out baserunners on occasion, hit some, and stay healthy. It's equal parts commitment and dumb luck.
With an outfielder, you can see the speed, or maybe the power. With a prep catcher, it's "Did you see him use proper technique to block that 57-foot curve?" It's a different animal.
The best-case scenario, the absolute best, for Alamo this year is logging time in Boise. The more, the better. As well as the Cubs have done at gathering upside bats, and pitchers with a shot at success, the catching story remains a work in progress. Which is why so many fringy catchers have been added this off-season. Pitchers need catchers to throw to in Mesa, and it helps if they are defensively-capable.
Hopefully guys like Alamo, Willson Contreras, and others help the parent club at some point. From a system mosaic perspective, though, stacking quality backstop on top of quality backstop throughout the levels would really help, as well. If Alamo starts providing reason for optimism later this season, all the better.