The Rice Owls are experimenting during Fall ball with Diego Seastrunk behind the plate, where he is projected to play at the next level. Why are teams putting players entering their junior season behind the plate without any experience at the position?
One of the reasons could be the major success of Buster Posey and Jason Castro, both of whom were converted infielders as well as top 10 overall picks in the 2008 Amateur Draft. Posey was able to get his draft stock to skyrocket from a late first round-early second round pick up to the top five in the 2008 MLB Draft by switching positions (and hitting .463 w/26 bombs didn’t hurt either). He already has been moved up three different levels in the minors and the Giants have put him on the fast track to the Majors. Florida State was planning to move another infielder behind the plate in 2009, but Tony Delmonico took the money offered by the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he is currently playing infield for the Ogden Raptors.
While Buster Posey could have been drafted that high at any position, Jason Castro benefited more from the move behind the dish in 2008. Castro had only six starts in his career behind the dish before moving there before his junior season, playing primarily at 1B. The move paid off and he was able to skyrocket up to the 10th overall selection in the 2008 draft by the Houston Astros. He was originally pick #1303 in the 2005 draft out of high school by the Boston Red Sox.
It seems that scouts see Seastrunk as a potential catcher at the professional level. There are already pundits during the fall workouts that state that Seastrunk has some footwork issues and is having problems with his accuracy throwing down to second base. I have not had the chance to see him this fall but I saw him over the Summer in the Cape Cod League where he played for a few weeks. He was a solid third basemen then but I really didn’t see anything that showed me that he could play catcher. One of our readers believes that Seastrunk will see some time on the mound in 2009 as the closer of the Rice Owls. He does have a plus arm but is he accurate enough to be behind the plate? We will see what happens over the coming months with him.
Catchers that can field AND hit are in very high demand these days in the big leagues. Do you think that schools are making a good move by putting their best player behind the plate? Do you think we will see more of it? Please comment in the section below with your thoughts.
Thanks to Assistant Editor Mark Rafferty for helping out with the article.