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2013 Angels Prospects Countdown #21: Zach Wright

The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with this year's catching prospect du jour.  Maybe this one will actually work out.

Zach Wright
Position: Highest Level: Low-A
Bats: Right Throws: Right  Height: 6'1" Weight: 205 lbs.
Age: 23  Born: 1/10/90

2012 Season Stats
Low-A: 214 PA, .268 AVG, .385 OBP, .419 SLG, 7 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 38 SO, 1 SB, 2 CS, .319 BABIP

Contact – C+.  Wright’s ability to make contact was slightly below average throughout college.  However, like all good prospects, he showed the ability to develop this particular skill, and his strikeouts came under control during his senior year.  This trend continued in his stint in A-Ball (he skipped Rookie Ball after being drafted).  He’ll probably swing and miss more as he progresses through the system, but he gets a slightly above average grade because of his ability to make adjustments.     

Power – B.  This is what attracted so many teams to Wright.  Power hitting catchers are a rarity, and even more rare are power hitting catchers that can remain catchers and not become first baseman or DH’s.  The Midwest League isn’t a hitter friendly environment, but Wright drove balls into the gaps and over fences with authority.  This isn’t a feigning ability either, Wright’s build suggests he may become even stronger with age.       

Discipline – B+.  Wright is another one of those picks that screams “Dipoto selection”.  He’s got a good eye, works counts in his favor and will walk his way on base when necessary.  Scouts within the organization rave about Wright’s ability to make adjustments and advanced approach at the plate.  The Angels themselves were surprised Wright was still on the board after the 10th round given his ability to reach base.  On their board, he was projected to go in the 5th round.

Speed – C.  Wright is fast enough to swipe a base when needed but I wouldn’t put him in a foot race with most outfielders or middle infielders.

Arm – B.  Wright’s flashed a strong arm through all four years at East Carolina and scouts saw more of the same in Cedar Rapids.  Combined with his ability to get in front of pitches in the dirt, it’s clear that Wright will remain a catcher throughout higher levels of the organization.  

Performance – B.  How many mid-round selections skip rookie ball altogether and hold their own and then some in A-Ball?  He hit for power, he played excellent defense and showed an advanced eye at the plate.

Projection – B-.  Wright doesn’t project into being a superstar, but it’s clear that his tools are better than that of most collegiate mid-round selections.  If he continues to develop, the best comparison for him would actually be current Angels catcher Chris Iannetta given his power, arm and discipline.    

Estimated MLB Arrival Date – 2015/2016.

(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)

Season Summary: Wright was selected in the 12th round of the 2012 draft by the Halos but what really got him noticed in prospect circles was his start to his first pro season in which he clubbed five homers in his first 42 at-bats.  We all know better than to read much into that kind of a small sample size, but the idea of a solid two-way catcher is pretty tantalizing and his strong debut merely served to pique our interest.  And Wright is no flash in the pan either as he had a very nice (but not great) career at East Carolina and was even drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 draft only to not sign. 

His early power surge seems unlikely to last, but even after he came back down to earth, Wright continued to get on base at an impressive rate, a growing trend amongst this first draft class of the Dipoto regime.  That isn't to say he doesn't have power, he just doesn't have one homer per every ten plate appearances power.  Perhaps this is damning Wright with feint praise, but the Halos' system is full of half-decent catching prospects, but as of right now, he seems like the safest bet (which really isn't very safe at all) to wind up as a starting caliber catcher.

What to Expect in 2013: With the aformentioned logjam of catching prospects, it will be interesting to see how they handle promoting Wright.  His defensive skillset is already fairly advanced, which we all know is highly important in the eyes of the great and might Scioscia, so the Halos can afford to be aggressive with Wright and possibly leapfrog him all the way to Double-A at some point in 2013.  The trick will be not putting him into a position where he has to focus so much on getting his bat up to par that he sacrifices his defensive development in the process.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.

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