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Thread: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

  1. #16
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    I'd love to see it work. Soto as a catcher is a Top 25 prospect.

    The likelihood of Soto being a catcher, however, is extremely slim.

    Perhaps he'd try it out in the Instructional League and see. If the tools of ignorance fit, what's it hurt?
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  3. #17
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by TC81190 View Post
    I don't want to the Reds to operate under the old plan of "if you can hit, we'll find a place for you." I want them to field a competent defensive team.

    Having said that, if Soto could catch, he'd have a lot more value there than as the COF/CIF he is right now.
    If you want a competent defensive team, then you probably should stick to real catchers. Soto's probably never played there before, is 20 years old at High A ball, and it's not a position one just picks up.

    Unfortunately, many good hitters play COF and CIF. That's just how it goes, they are gifted offensively but perhaps not defensively. So you sift through, pick the best ones, trade the others.

    I guess a team could decide to try and make a catcher of a guy who's already at High A ball, but it would be rare. Would set back his career IMO. I'd rather see the Reds try and help Soto get his swing back.
    Last edited by Kc61; 10-08-2009 at 02:09 PM.

  4. #18
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    hey, maybe they'll try him at five other positions first.
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  5. #19
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    If you want a competent defensive team, then you probably should stick to real catchers. Soto's probably never played there before, is 20 years old, and it's not a position one just picks up.

    Unfortunately, many good hitters play COF and CIF. That's just how it goes, they are gifted offensively but perhaps not defensively. So you sift through, pick the best ones, trade the others.
    If the options are having Soto as a bad CIF/OF or a bad catcher, I'd rather have him as a catcher (assuming he had enough defense to get by at the position.) We don't really have a spot for any more corner players. And catchers have better trade value.
    I hope it's never sunny in Philly again.

  6. #20
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by TC81190 View Post
    If the options are having Soto as a bad CIF/OF or a bad catcher, I'd rather have him as a catcher (assuming he had enough defense to get by at the position.) We don't really have a spot for any more corner players. And catchers have better trade value.
    As a catcher, he needs to go back to a lower level and his track will be slowed down significantly. Wouldn't do it.

  7. #21
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    I'd rather see the Reds try and help Soto get his swing back.
    His swing didn't go anywhere. His strikeout rate went up slightly, as did his walk rate. His power went down because well, thats what happens in the FSL. He still has plus power (on the raw side).

  8. #22
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    As a catcher, he needs to go back to a lower level and his track will be slowed down significantly. Wouldn't do it.
    No, he wouldn't. He'd probably have to repeat High A, but, with the numbers he put up and his age, that wouldn't put him too far behind. Now, I don't think the Reds will move him, but it wouldn't take that much to teach him how to catch. Whether he's serviceable or not depends, then, on the next season. If he then struggled in 2010 as a catcher and proved incapable of playing catcher, you've really only lost a year of learning another position. (Probably either LF or 1B, though RF may also be a possibility.)
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    Yup. If effort is not his thing, catcher is not his position. But then, what is?
    Bingo. If effort is not his thing, I hope they find a new team for him.

    And yes, I know he can turn that around. Hopefully he does. He has time.

  10. #24
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Couple of things here....

    1. Soto did not have that bad of a year, you have to adjust for the league. minorleaguesplits.com put his adjusted line at .313/.344/.446, only about 11 OPS points below last year's. If he gets out of the FSL, his numbers will go up and everybody will be so surprised at his "rebound."

    2. Catcher is not an important position defensively, it's just difficult to play. And I mean just defense, not working with the staff, where the importance is contentious. You're not going to lose a lot of outs from your catcher one way or another, so if you have a guy with a good bat who knows how to hit but doesn't have a real position, it's a great plan to move him to catcher. Don't worry about arm strength or athletic ability, those don't translate to runs.

    3. Effort isn't necessarily a problem. Catcher is the most engaging position on the field. Catchers can't be lazy even if they want to, they don't get the opportunity. If his real problem is focus, then being involved in every pitch could be exactly what he needs.
    Last edited by kpresidente; 10-09-2009 at 09:58 PM.

  11. #25
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    2. Catcher is not an important position defensively, it's just difficult to play. And I mean just defense, not working with the staff, where the importance is contentious. You're not going to lose a lot of outs from your catcher one way or another, so if you have a guy with a good bat who knows how to hit but doesn't have a real position, it's a great plan to move him to catcher. Don't worry about arm strength or athletic ability, those don't translate to runs.
    Knowing opposing hitters, knowing your pitchers, calling pitches, receiving pitches, blocking balls, throwing to bases...catcher is an incredibly important position. You need glove skills, throwing skills, the ability to prepare well and manage your pitchers through the ups and downs of a ballgame. Next to pitchers, catchers have to execute physically and strategically more than any other player on the field.

    If Soto had been a catcher as an amateur, I might have some confidence he could make it work. But I'm with Kc61 on this one -- it's a shift that would knock back his development, and significantly raise the risk of eventually destroying his value as a prospect.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  12. #26
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    There's really a troubling trend about the inability of the Reds' top prospects to play a position. They haven't found a spot for Frazier. Francisco isn't trusted at third. Apparently, neither is Soto. Valaika's questionable at short. Cody Puckett is not good at second. Mesoraco has a long way to go as a catcher. Alonso can only play first. My oh my. It's debilitating. And several of those guys--Frazier, Soto, Valaika, Puckett--started out as shortstops. Golly molly.

  13. #27
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    There's really a troubling trend about the inability of the Reds' top prospects to play a position. They haven't found a spot for Frazier. Francisco isn't trusted at third. Apparently, neither is Soto. Valaika's questionable at short. Cody Puckett is not good at second. Mesoraco has a long way to go as a catcher. Alonso can only play first. My oh my. It's debilitating. And several of those guys--Frazier, Soto, Valaika, Puckett--started out as shortstops. Golly molly.
    I think if they wanted to, Frazier could be a left fielder or third baseman. Reports are fine on him at both places. Why Alonso was tossed in there I don't know. He has a position and plays it fine.

  14. #28
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    There's really a troubling trend about the inability of the Reds' top prospects to play a position. They haven't found a spot for Frazier. Francisco isn't trusted at third. Apparently, neither is Soto. Valaika's questionable at short. Cody Puckett is not good at second. Mesoraco has a long way to go as a catcher. Alonso can only play first. My oh my. It's debilitating. And several of those guys--Frazier, Soto, Valaika, Puckett--started out as shortstops. Golly molly.
    I think you make a valid point. Stubbs and Cozart have natural positions. Alonso has one position, but it's Votto's position. Some guys are moved around a lot, not a ringing endorsement. That includes Frazier. Then Valaika is kept at shortstop despite reports that he won't wind up there. Francisco was kept at third despite many reports that he's outgrown the position.

    My conclusion is that the Reds are looking for defensive positions on the minor league teams that will allow these guys to play daily and get their at bats as they go up the ladder. My other conclusion is that several of them are trade bait.
    Last edited by Kc61; 10-10-2009 at 06:53 PM.

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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I think if they wanted to, Frazier could be a left fielder or third baseman. Reports are fine on him at both places. Why Alonso was tossed in there I don't know. He has a position and plays it fine.
    You're right that Alonso's a little out of context there. I included him because he, too, hamstrings the organization in terms of finding spots that people can play. If he goes to first and Votto goes to left and Rolen's playing third, there's nowhere to put Frazier OR Francisco. Or Soto either, for that matter; although Rolen might be gone by the time Soto's ready. So Alonso still presents a position problem, more or less, because of his inability to play anywhere but first--which, frankly, is a default position.

    One thing the Twins have done to make their organization more efficient is draft guys who profile to a particular position. I'm not saying the Reds are wrong for not doing that. I'm just saying they haven't done it, and with the current personnel it seems to be giving them trouble.
    Last edited by mace; 10-10-2009 at 10:57 PM.

  16. #30
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    Re: Neftali Soto, Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    You're right that Alonso's a little out of context there. I included him because he, too, hamstrings the organization in terms of finding spots that people can play. If he goes to first and Votto goes to left and Rolen's playing third, there's nowhere to put Frazier OR Francisco. Or Soto either, for that matter; although Rolen might be gone by the time Soto's ready. So Alonso still presents a position problem, more or less, because of his inability to play anywhere but first--which, frankly, is a default position.

    One thing the Twins have done to make their organization more efficient is draft guys who profile to a particular position. I'm not saying the Reds are wrong for not doing that. I'm just saying they haven't done it, and with the current personnel it seems to be giving them trouble.
    Votto/Alonso/Rolen is very likely the absolute best configuration the Reds could have, so the fact that it hamstrings other guys doesn't mean much.


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