At Double-A Harrisburg, Washington Nationals catcher prospect Raudy Read has been on a power surge this month
Right now, one of the weakest positions on the Washington Nationals is catcher. With Matt Wieters and Jose Lobaton having disappointing seasons, fans are looking to see what the organization has at catcher in the future. While Pedro Severino got a chance to catch in the postseason last year, one name to keep an eye on is Raudy Read.
Read has been the catcher this year for Double-A Harrisburg and is on fire at the plate recently. During the month of August, he is hitting .350 with six home run and 11 RBI’s in his last 16 games. Five of those home runs have come within the last seven games.
This season, Read has 22 doubles and 102 hits, which is the most of any player on the Harrisburg roster. Yes, the strikeouts have gone up from Read this after just 53 in 101 games last year for High-A Potomac (75 this year). However, the power is there as it has gone up from nine home runs last year to 16 this year.
Back at the midseason break for the Senators,I had the chance to talk to Mick Reinhard, who covers the team for The Island Chronicles. When I brought up Read in our conversation and what has stood out to him about his success, here’s what he said:
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"“Offensively, I’ve been surprised with how quickly he’s adapted to Double-A,” replied Reinhard. “There was a time when they adapted to him and he has since changed that and been able to recognize pitches (curveballs) outside of the zone.”"
Back in November, the Washington Nationals made the decision to add Read to the 40-man roster. True, the Nats have four catchers on that roster and it would be surprising if he went from Double-A to the big leagues this year, his offense at the position is always a plus.
However, with the talented pitching staff the Nats have, defense is a priority for the position. This year, Read has 13 passed balls in 95 games and has only thrown out 27% of baserunners trying to steal (according to Baseball Reference). Last week, Ryan Sullivan of The Nats GM wrote about Read’s defense. Here’s what he said:
"“Behind the plate Read utilizes his above-average arm strength and quick feet to throw out runners at a 39% rate in the minors. However, he struggles with the other skills that make a good defensive catcher. Read does a poor job blocking errant pitches and keeping the ball close to his body. Also, his hands are not particularly soft, as he struggles framing the baseball, often snatching the ball out of the air.”"
The defense definitely is a work in progress, but some publications that rank the Washington Nationals farm system have Read valued highly. In MLB Pipeline’s latest ranking of the Nats system, they have Read (14th) one spot higher than Severino (15th). Severino is on the big league roster, but not getting much playing time.
Right now, Read’s power surge is definitely something to keep an eye on at the Double-A level. While he’s not big league level ready yet, he has been a big key to why the Senators have won six of their last nine games.