No. 28: Catcher Deivi Grullon
The Phillies have two talented catching prospects in Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro, both of whom will appear later in this list. However, neither matches up defensively to Deivi Grullon, who is likely the best defensive catcher in the system.
Winkleman raved about Grullon’s defense in his pre-2016 rankings, saying the following on the catcher:
"“Grullon has always had a good arm with elite arm strength and quick release, giving him very strong pop times. On top of the arm, Grullon’s glove is also very good, with soft hands and good pitch blocking.”"
To some level, Grullon mirrors current Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp. The two are both great defensive catchers with strong arms. However, both also struggle with pitch framing, a skill that is growing more and more essential.
While Grullon’s defense is on the strong end, his hitting is a completely different story. 2016 marked Grullon’s third year trying to figure out Low-A pitching. His first stint there was short-lived with just 24 games, but he by no means did well. He only did worse in 2015, his first full Low-A season, slashing .221/.273/.335. He struck out nearly a quarter of the time.
Thankfully, 2016 should hopefully be Grullon’s last year in Lakewood. He posted an above-average wRC+ for the first time since his 2013 season in the Gulf Coast League. Grullon still needs to cut down on his strikeouts, and he’ll never hit for much power.
At best, Grullon will be an average hitter at the major-league level, but that isn’t what he’s known for. Rather, it will be his defense that carries him to the majors. Grullon will be just 21 next season, and catchers usually need extra time to develop anyways.