Hillsboro, Oregon —— Entering play on Monday night, Arizona Diamondbacks catching prospect Daulton Varsho is slashing .314/.371/.504/.875 over his first 121 professional at-bats for the Northwest League‘s Hillsboro Hops, with ten doubles, two triples, three home runs, ten walks, and just 16 strikeouts over 30 games played. I observed the 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee product in the first week of August during a home series against Vancouver; below is Baseball Census‘ full Daulton Varsho scouting report, including several videos.
Daulton Varsho Scouting Report — Video
Our first video of Arizona Diamondbacks catching prospect Daulton Varsho shows his at-bats on August 3, 2017 against the Vancouver Canadians at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro:
And our second Daulton Varsho video shows a deep look at his work behind the plate that week against Vancouver — receiving, framing, blocking, and throwing as a catcher for Hillsboro:
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Daulton Varsho Scouting Report — Notes
At the plate, Daulton Varsho has a short, quick left-handed stroke and goes the other way very well with authority. He’s built to hit line drives and may never produce a ton of over-the-fence pop, but with above-average foot speed (especially relative to most catchers) and a gap-to-gap swing, he could be a doubles machine one day. He’s surprisingly discerning at the plate, too, with a very good understanding of the strike zone. There’s a comfort and a patience in Varsho at bat; he’s content to work deep counts and comfortable hitting down in the count and with two strikes. Good contact skills help with that, too, and he takes a specific two-strike approach to put the ball in play that’ll serve him well down the line. The Arizona Diamondbacks catcher has a shot to hit for average because of all this, and could become an above-average offensive threat because of his mature approach and ability to dictate at-bats. Broadly speaking, Varsho is too advanced for this level right now and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Low-A Kane County briefly at the end of the year, and ideally High-A Visalia to begin 2018.
Defensively, Daulton Varsho reminds me a lot of Texas Rangers catching prospect Jose Trevino — hard working, extremely competitive, good fundamentals, and a knack for back picking and challenging base runners while being unafraid of taking the risks involved when throwing to bases with runners on. Varsho is a good pitch framer and a very good, fundamentally sound blocker. His raw arm strength is probably average at best—his one notable departure from a guy like Trevino, who has a cannon—but good footwork and quick, efficient actions will help the Arizona Diamondbacks prospect behind the plate. I mentioned a moment ago he’s a good runner for a catcher, and that carries over into his overall athleticism behind the plate. Some have mentioned left field as a long term possibility on account of his arm strength, but I’m not that low on him defensively, and I don’t think there’s any reason to believe he can’t stay behind the plate as his career continues, whether as a platoon/backup guy or an everyday starter.
Overall, along with his Hillsboro teammate Pavin Smith, Daulton Varsho gives the Arizona Diamondbacks an impact prospect look coming through short-season ball right now. He (and Smith) should move relatively quickly on account of their ages and college backgrounds, and Varsho is advanced enough that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Visalia to start 2018 as the everyday catcher for the Rawhide. I really like his game, and more specifically his intensity and competitiveness, and I wish I’d gotten the chance to sit on him longer this summer because I think the Arizona Diamondbacks have a better prospect here than maybe most people realize. He’ll get every opportunity to prove himself behind the plate, and a ceiling of an everyday catcher is still well within reach, coupled with a floor of a platoon/back-up catcher that could see short spurts in the outfield, too, to get his strong bat in the lineup.