John Lepore | June 10th, 2020
The Major League Baseball amateur draft will begin on June 10th at 7 pm ET. We take a look at the top catcher in the draft and North Carolina State product, Patrick Bailey.
Make sure to check out our other MLB Draft profiles here.
Patrick Bailey, C, North Carolina State
2018 Stats: 54G, .321/.419/.604, 13 HRs, 40 RBI
2019 Stats: 60G, .288/.390/.513, 10 HRs, 46 RBI
2020 Stats: 17G, .296/.466/.685, 6 HRs, 20 RBI
Bailey was born on May 29, 1999, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He attended Wesleyan Christian Academy and showed his impressive batting in his senior year. Bailey slashed .510/.561/.947 with 5 HRs and 33 RBI in 28 games. It was enough for the Minnesota Twins to draft him in the 37th round in 2017. Instead, Bailey decided to stay home and play for the Wolfpack of North Carolina State.
He is the top catcher in the draft and the 17th-ranked prospect overall according to MLB Pipeline. Bailey set an NC State record for HRs as a freshman with 13 in 2018. He also became the first Wolfpack player to hit a HR from both sides of the plate in a game. In 2019 as a sophomore he was a semifinalist for the Buster Posey Award given to the nation’s best catcher. Adley Rutschman wound up winning it. He continued his impressive hitting this season and was poised to have his best collegiate season before baseball was shut down.
Bailey’s defense is really his calling card. As a senior at Wesleyan Christian Academy, he not only led the team to their first state championship but also called the pitches. In an interview with the Greensboro News and Record, Wesleyan coach Scott Davis said:
“We’ve never allowed our catchers to call pitches. But we made that decision early last year that we were going to let him do that because he’s very capable of doing it. He understands how to attack hitters, and pitchers love throwing to him.”
Bailey also has the natural power from both sides of the plate. After all, he did hit 29 HRs in 131 games at NC State. He makes consistent solid contact and has a little lift from the left side so the game power is real and should continue as he gets stronger. From the right side, he is more of a gap hitter but those doubles could become home runs as he progresses. Bailey also takes his fair share of walks and his plate discipline is good. At BC State, he had an 86/93 BB/K rate in 131 games.
As a glove-first catcher, some scouts worry about his overall hitting as he moves up. While Bailey has pop and will take a walk, his pitch recognition has room to improve. He has a long stroke especially from the left side of the plate. This opens him up to being off-balance as he faces better offspeed pitches and more movement. His right-handed swing is a bit more compact but he also loads up a little more. This could also lead to getting fooled on secondary stuff. As a catcher, his pitch recognition should improve naturally. Along with some tweaks in his swing mechanics, Bailey should be fine.
This is kind of an easy one. Switch-hitting catcher with good power and takes walks who also has a nice glove? Yeah…the Yasmani Grandal comps are all there. While Grandal has improved his receiving, Bailey is already an excellent defensive catcher. Bailey will have to make some strides to be an effective hitter, like Grandal, at the major league level, but I think he could put up similar numbers in four or five years.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 17: Boston Red Sox
The Sox currently don’t have a catcher among their top 30 prospects. Christian Vazquez will be 30 years old in August and is signed through 2021 (with a 2022 option). This is a perfect fit as Bailey can move up through the system over the next two years. Fenway Park also fits his hitting profile. Batting right-handed, Bailey can pepper the Green Monster and as a lefty, he could take advantage of the Pesky Pole down the right field line.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images