Could the Reds select top catching prospect Patrick Bailey in the first round?
The catcher’s spot is definitely an area of concern for the Cincinnati Reds. Sure, Tucker Barnhart is as solid as they come in terms of a defensive-minded backstop and Tyler Stephenson looks to be major league ready, but Cincinnati has little to speak of in their farm system. Adding Patrick Bailey would certainly add depth to a position where the Reds have little.
Bailey is said to be head-and-shoulders above every other catching prospect available in this year’s MLB Draft. The 6’2″, 190-pound catcher out of North Carolina State is thought to the consensus first backstop off the board on June 10th. According to MLB Pipeline, the Reds have just one catcher among their Top 30 prospects, Tyler Stephenson.
That’s a problem. Yes, in terms of the immediate future of the franchise, Barnhart and Stephenson, along with Curt Casali, are more than capable of holding down the fort while wearing the tools of ignorance. However, Casali is up for arbitration once more during the offseason and Stephenson has yet to prove anything at the major league level.
Bailey profiles as an all-around catcher. He’s not going to wow you with any one tool, but has average to above-average tools across the board, enabling him to potentially profile as a starter, or at worst, at backup in the big leagues.
Keith Law of The Athletic doubts that Bailey will still be available when the Reds make their selection at No. 12. Ranked No. 10 on Law’s board, the former Toronto Blue Jays executive finds it hard to believe that Bailey will get past the same spot in the draft where Shea Langeliers was taken in last year’d draft (No. 9 to the Atlanta Braves).
Bailey was taken the 37th round by the Minnesota Twins back in 2017, but decided to forgo that opportunity and honored his commitment to North Carolina State where he hit .302/.411/.568 with 29 home runs and 106 RBIs. Bailey’s career .979 OPS dwarfs the .891 OPS that Langeliers put up at Baylor during his three years in Waco.
MLB.com ranks Patrick Bailey 17th among draft eligible players, sighting the North Carolina native’s arm strength as sufficient enough the keep the running game in check. Bailey is a solid defensive catcher who’s offensive upside is enough to make him a first round pick.
Chris Okey, whom the Reds took in the second round of the 2016 Draft, hasn’t panned out as of yet. Okey represents the best available catching prospect the Cincinnati has after Tyler Stephenson and he’s not even among the team’s Top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
Will Patrick Bailey still be available when the Cincinnati Reds make their selection at No. 12? That remains to be seen. But if he is, it would fill a need while also providing solid value. The Reds need to add catching depth to their farm league system.