Taylor Gushue Catcher Potomac Nationals
Hit (30) Power (50) Arm (50) Defense (45) Speed (30)
Taylor Gushue was Pittsburgh’s 4th round pick (131st overall) in the 2014 draft after a successful career at the University of Florida and signed for $388,800. Born in December 1993, the 23-year-old Gushue was acquired by Washington last September in exchange for infielder Chris Bostick. Listed at 6-1 215lbs, Gushue has an ideal catcher’s frame, with thick legs and a powerful upper-body. Far from the stereotypical base-clogging catcher, Gushue is a good athlete with below-average speed, posting 4.35-4.37 second times home to first from the left side. Finally Gushue possesses excellent makeup, constantly hustling and actively encouraging his pitchers.
Behind the dish Gushue possesses a quick release and good accuracy, allowing his solid-average throwing arm to “play up”. He is a quality athlete with the strength and durability to catch every day. He has quick, nimble feet and does a reasonable job blocking pitches in the dirt. Gushue displays soft hands and tries to frame pitches near the strike zone, but does have a tendency to stab at the ball on occasion. He does not have stellar natural tools, but his hustle, baseball instincts and sheer desire allow him to project as a fringe-average major league defender.
Offensively the switch-hitting Gushue shows a mature approach at the plate and a solid awareness of the strike zone. He will work the count and hunts fastballs early. Gushue has average to fringe-average bat speed and a relatively flat, linear swing. In spite of this, his notable strength and use of his lower half allows him to generate impressive power in batting practice and average game power. Gushue struggles with spin late in counts and is susceptible to velocity up in the zone, which creates plenty of strikeouts. These swing issues aside, Gushue projects as a “30” hitter with “50” power.
Gushue is a terrific example of a “change of scenery” player – after languishing for a few seasons in the Pittsburgh organization, he has re-emerged as a prospect this season for Washington. His lack of an above-average tool limits his ceiling, but his raw power, switch-hitting ability and strong work ethic gives him a chance at a major league career. Gushue has a ceiling as a top-quality backup catcher, with his likely outcome being a Triple-A catcher who acts as an organization’s third catcher.