Saturday, July 2, 2011

Whom do you feel more comfortable about and why?

Lucas Bailey and Justin O'Conner are the two highest ceiling catching prospects in the Rays minor league system. Drafted early in the 2009 (Bailey: 4th rnd.) and 2010 (O'Conner: 1st rnd.) first year player drafts, their numbers are very, very, very much alike since then. Check this out:

2010 stats:
  • Bailey in GCL (.649 OPS, .310 wOBA, 10.6 BB%, 34.3 SO%, .168 ISO, 31 CS%)
  • O'Conner in GCL (.649 OPS, .310 wOBA, 9.6 BB%, 28.6 SO%, .137 ISO, 35 CS%)
2011 stats:
  • Bailey in Bowling Green (.687 OPS, .319 wOBA, 6.5 BB%, 37 SO%, .168 ISO, 39 CS%)
  • O'Conner in Princeton (.694 OPS, .305 wOBA, 6.1 BB%, 41.9 SO%, .137 ISO, 60 CS%) ... small sample size, I know.
While the both have had very different paths to their current situation (Bailey: TJS; O'Conner: late conversion to catcher) their performances are noticably similar. They both strikeout way too much while showing some power. This (and their contact woes) will be the biggest challenge for both on their way to the bigs.

Whom do you feel more comfortable about? Whom do you not see developing into a future major leaguer? How do you see their futures?


  1. Because it takes time for most young catchers to develop, ask me in 2 years if Bailey or O'Connor has the best chance.

  2. I don't have an opinion yet but their unless they become plus hitters they will need to stay at C to make the show. Defensively, O'Connor throws out 37% of base stealers and Bailey 36%. Fielding% for O'Connor is .984 and Bailey .982. Bailey's RangeFactor/Game is 8.38 and O'Connor 7.81 (but 8.40 this season). Bailey is almost exactly 1 year older and is by most standards one level higher.

    Just nothing statistically to choose from.

  3. There is an article in today's Bluefield Daily Telegraph about O'Conner, link is here.

  4. Luke in my opinion needs to stand at plate awaiting throws from outfielders,instead of in front of plate,catching throw,and sweeping tags of shifty baserunners sliding around him.

  5. Thanks Anon 10:28AM. These guys may look close on paper and at the same time the Rays may have a very different opinion. Seeing them both would give much better clues than very small sample of stats. The Rays know their pop times, how they handle pitchers, how they receive the ball, how strong they are, how fast they are, their bat speed and pitch recognition, and their work ethic.

  6. Have seen a lot of both of these guys. Bailey is a very, very good catch and throw type right now. The bat will be very low average with occasional power. Don't expect he will hit. Best case scenario back up catcher, but he could probably do a serviceable job right now at the ML level as a 3rd

    O'Connor has improved his defense greatly in 1 year. However, still not convinced he can catch in the Major Leagues. With the bat lot of swing and miss...same as Bailey. Above average power same as Bailey. Superior Arm strength to Bailey, has a cannon,but can be very inaccurate. Pop times are consistently excellent between innings but doesn't carry over when he needs to do it in a game situation.

    Bailey is a consistent 1.8-1.9 in game situations with quick feet and ability to catch. He is your surer bet to catch in the big leagues at this time.

    Because he is transitioning, O'Connor still is questionable but if he figures it out at all with the bat and improves his receiving and throwing accuracy he would offer more and could become a starting catcher.

  7. Anon 9:05pm that breakdown is money. I hope Bailey improves his contact. I see O'Connor as possibly this franchise's first legit prospect as a catcher. It's unbelievable that in over 10 years we haven't drafted a solid catcher yet.