Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available during the next few weeks.
Quality catchers are a scarce commodity, even more so when they're young and cheap. There's always a premium placed on the position during the draft, and just last year we saw the Pirates reach for Tony Sanchez with the fourth overall pick even though he was generally considered a back of the first round talent.
The best all-around catcher in the 2010 draft class is Yasmani Grandal, a junior at Miami. ESPN's Keith Law rated him as the 10th best player available this year, while Baseball America had him 13th (subs. req'd for both). MLB.com's Draft Report says the switch hitter offers a "good amount of raw power," though "his individual defensive tools, other than his arm, don't grade out that well." Law maintains that Grandal "can absolutely stay behind the plate," which is obviously important. The MLB.com link also offers video.
Prior to last night's game against Georgia Tech, Grandal was hitting .425/.547/.754 with 20 doubles, 11 homers, 43 walks, and just 27 strikeouts in 47 games. The Red Sox selected him in the 26th round (804th overall) out of a Florida high school in 2007, but they obviously couldn't get him to sign on the dotted line.
Catchers are almost always over-drafted to a certain degree because of position scarcity, but Grandal is a legitimate top 10-15 talent. Jim Callis of Baseball America had him going to the Mets with the seventh overall pick in his latest mock draft, though the Royals were rumored to be looking at Grandal for their fourth overall pick last month.