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Top ten catching prospects

First, let's start with the good news. Dustin Pedroia has been promoted and is now a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox. In his first game at AAA he batted second and played second. He went 1-4 with a double and scored a run. His play in Portland suggests that he's ready for the jump and I hope he does well.

Second, this is something I posted in Friendly Fenway a little bit ago, but since I'm starting from scratch here and since I plan on doing this for every posistion, I figured I might as well post it here too. The following is a list of the top ten catching prospects. Why do I post it? Because they're some names that eventually we might have to know. It doesn't pertain entirely to the Red Sox so I made it easier to skip. If you want to see the list, simply click the read more link. A list of Red Sox catching prospects will be coming soon.

name - age/team - avg/obp/slg/r/rbi/2b/3b/hr/k/bb/sb/cs

Brian McCann - 21/ATL - .265/.359/.476/27/26/13/2/6/26/25/2/3 in 166 AB's/48 games in AA. He was recently called up to the big league club. He is 4/15 while playing part time in the majors and will likely be sent down when Eddie Perez returns from a shoulder injury, but maybe McCann will find himself playing for Richmond in AAA after he's sent back down.

George Kottaras - 22/SD - .306/.388/.472/33/32/17/0/7/42/30/1/1 in 229 AB's/61 games in high-A. After a solid season in low-A last year and a seamless advance to high-A, Kottarras seems to be ready to try the challenge of the upper levels of minor league ball. He's displayed some above average power for a catcher his age, but his real strength so far has been getting on base.

Kelly Shoppach - 25/BOS - .251/.354/.526/33/31/8/0/13/54/22/0/0 in 171 AB's/48 games in AAA. Just finished a short, unimpressive stint in Boston. Since then Shoppach has struggled and his average has dropped about 20 points. He's in one hell of a slump and hopefully he'll break out of it soon. The deeper we get into the season, the more I think that Shoppach should be traded. It'll put a dent in the team's depth, but catching isn't a problem for the team and they have holes closer to the surface that they need to worry about. Shoppach's value will never be higher so now could be the time to deal him.

Ryan Doumit - 24/PIT - .345/.415/.630/41/35/11/0/12/36/16/1/3 in 165 AB's/50 games in AAA. He's currently playing every day for Pittsburg, mostly at DH thanks to interleague play. He started off hot with five extra base hits in his first three games, but has cooled way down. He's struck out 12 times in 41 AB's and still hasn't hit a home run.

Russ Martin - 22/LAD - .313/.446/.430/43/39/10/0/5/29/45/7/4 in 214 AB's/68 games in AA. Martin is quickly moving up the ranks and soon could be considered one of the best catchers in the minors. He started off as a 17th round pick in 2002 and has improved his game at every level. This year, his first at AA, has been by far his best so far. He typically walks more than he strikes out.

Kurt Suzuki - 21/OAK - .280/.397/.457/49/36/14/3/7/37/40/3/3 in 232 AB's/61 games in high A. Suzuki is showing the ability to take a lot of pitches and work deep into counts. Mostly unrelated, but 6 out of the 10 ten leaders in the California league in walks play for the Stockton Ports. Suzuki is one of those 6. His teammate, Daric Barton was a catcher before moving to first this year and is second on that list.

Josh Willingham - 26/FLA - .338/.464/.717/53/54/14/2/19/48/43/5/1 in 198 AB's/59 games in AAA. Willingham has, by far, the best numbers out of anyone on this list, but at 26 years of age, he's entering his peak years and losing his prospect status. With Loduca behind the plate and Delgado at first there's not even any room for the Marlins to try him out in the bigs. He's definitely a name to watch if an injury gives him an opening and he's already proven everything he can in the minors.

Jeff Mathis - 22/LAA - .276/.342/.497/39/35/16/2/8/40/20/2/1 in 199 AB's/53 games in AAA. Mathis is a little bit young for AAA and is more than holding his own. Baseball America believes that his struggles last year were due in part to him being the only real threat in a very weak line up after Casey Kotchman and Dallas McPherson were promoted.

Ryan Garko - 24/CLE - .268/.340/.498/45/41/12/2/13/47/21/0/2 in 239 AB's/65 games in AAA. Garko will never get a shot behind the plate in Cleveland thanks to Victor Martinz and there is talk to moving him to first. He shot through the minors last year going from high-A to AAA in a single season and he didn't slow down as he rose. His numbers this year in his first full season of AAA ball are down from what he put up last year, but his power is still there.

Dioner Navarro - 21/LAD - .303/.408/.448/22/20/9/0/5/17/28/2/2 in 165 AB's/51 games in AAA. Navarros is probably the most well known name out of those on this list thanks to his Yankee upbringing and an entire off season of his name being tossed around in Randy Johnson trade rumors. His OBP is pretty impressive for someone his age in AAA.