Raudy Read Catcher Harrisburg Senators (Double-A)
Future Grades: Hit (30) Power (50) Arm (55) Defense (40) Run (35)
Raudy Read was signed by Washington for a $130,000 bonus as an international free agent in January 2011 from the Dominican Republic. Read is listed at 6-0 170lbs but appears closer to 200lbs, with a thick lower half and an ideal catcher’s physique. Read is a quality athlete for a catcher, flashing decent first-step quickness and posting 4.42-4.48 second times home to first from the right side – certainly not fast, but far from the typical base-clogging backstop.
Behind the plate Read utilizes his above-average arm strength and quick feet to throw out runners at a 39% rate in the minors. However, he struggles with the other skills that make a good defensive catcher. Read does a poor job blocking errant pitches and keeping the ball close to his body. Also, his hands are not particularly soft, as he struggles framing the baseball, often snatching the ball out of the air. Finally, his body is somewhat “loud” when setting his target and receiving the pitch. He will not necessitate a position switch, but he projects as a below-average defensive catcher.
Offensively the right-handed hitting Read has legitimate raw power, especially to his pull side. He punishes fastballs in the middle to inner-third of the plate and flashes easy “60” raw power in batting practice. Unfortunately Read struggles with velocity on the outer-half of the plate and recognizing spin. These flaws have become more dramatic at Double-A and have caused his strikeout rate jump to 20.7%. He will work the count and has an obvious plan to hunt fastballs but I fear his weaknesses will inhibit his offensive game at the upper levels. Read profiles as a “30” hit and “50” power type hitter at the major league level.
Born in October 1993, the 23-year-old Read is an intriguing catching prospect due to his obvious raw power, strong arm and ability to catch at the big league level. There are significant concerns with his ability to make consistent contact which would unleash his impressive power. And more importantly, Read is unlikely to develop into an average defender, putting further pressure on his offensive aptitude. Read projects as an offensive-first backup catcher or the right-handed portion of a platoon, with his ceiling being a league-average starter if his defense markedly improves.