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Brett Auerbach Scouting Report

Catcher
Saddleback College (University of Alabama)

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Hit (35/40)
Primarily a ground ball/line drive contact hitter to all fields with very little power in the air and over the fence. Gets good separation into his load and swing, but can over-accentuate at times and create arm bar, slowing his bat to the plate and producing an inefficient bat path. Average bat speed; very good plate coverage with general approach/orientation to center/right-center; reactionary hitter at times when you’d like to see him really sit back and drive the ball. Makes for a tough at-bat; great understanding of the strike zone, good contact skills, definite two-strike approach with punchy all-fields ability, comfortable working counts and able to draw walks. Grinder with great hand-eye coordination who will make for a tough strikeout even at the next level; sneaky-good offensive fit as a catcher.

Power (25/30)
Little power of note; physically pretty undersized at just 5’9″, 180 lbs. and with little ability to create leverage for over-the-fence pop on a consistent basis. Will go gap-to-gap with good line drive approach and some ability to hit the ball with authority to all fields, but lack of size and no projectability leaves him pretty tapped out for power right now. Wouldn’t expect much there at the next level, but offensive value will come in knack for putting the ball in play and getting on base.

Glove (45/55)
Solid glove man right now with a shot at being above-average at the professional level. Very quiet catcher with good feel for framing and receiving; strong arm for throwing the ball to bases with some room to grow left there (more on that below). Quiet worker behind the plate with low sets and good targets; leader on the field who manages a pitching staff well and calls some of his own game already. Hard worker; hustler; good competitor. As with the bat, there will be some inevitable concern here as to Auerbach’s lack of size and whether he can catch on an everyday basis; ultimately he must prove himself year in and year out at each successive level to quell that.

Arm (45/50)
Timed 2.02 and 2.04 pop times to second base; quick, short release with good velocity and carry to bases. Good accuracy further bumps him up a bit here; has already caught 37% of would-be base stealers this year. Like his arm strength, especially relative to his frame, and I think two years of development at his four-year stop will refine his mechanics and cut down that pop time a bit more; will become a serviceable defensive catcher at floor with chance of being above-average defender in time.

Speed (40/50)
Timed him 4.34, 4.37, and 4.40 to first base from the RHH box; 4.62 and 4.64 turns, as well. Very athletic and very smart on the bases; will steal bases when pitchers stop paying attention to him, enough that it’s become a significant part of his game. Impressive straight steal of third base on a good Glendale College catcher in a look last week sticks with me; aggressive base runner in cases like that, with no fear and great anticipation to get great jumps, etc. Base running and speed are arguably among the best parts of his game; one of the more athletic collegiate catchers I’ve seen all year, and a definite shot here to provide value as a catcher in some non-typical ways at the next level.

Notes
Verbally committed earlier this month to play at the University of Alabama next year. Good ballplayer, great athlete, but really undersized at 5’9″ and 180 lbs.; seems to be a ‘glue’ guy central to Saddleback College success. Inevitably, though, I really wonder about his undersized frame and how it may play in the SEC; he’ll have to prove himself each year there and at the pro level if he’s to continue to catch everyday with that frame. Long term, may be a shot here to take advantage of his athleticism and experiment with Auerbach at second base and in left field to create a super utility player, but that’s probably getting ahead of ourselves. Brett Auerbach may turn out a bit like Houston Astros catching prospect Garrett Stubbs, but with less of a bat — a physically undersized catcher with great athleticism and strong defensive tools who can physically handle the job on a part time/platoon basis.

MLB Draft
Brett Auerbach reminds me a ton of Colorado Rockies catching prospect Chris Rabago in a lot of ways: undersized, athletic, advanced and mature behind the dish, good contact skills but little pop, etc. And as is the case with Rabago right now, I think Brett Auerbach is a phenomenal under-the-radar player who will probably (unfairly) be held back as organizations are scared off by his stature. Maybe he gets a 2018 MLB Draft look, but with his commitment to Alabama, I think it’s more likely Auerbach gets tapped in the 2019 or 2020 MLB Draft.

OFP (45 FV)
At ceiling, Brett Auerbach has a shot to turn into a platoon/part time/utility catcher who shares the job with another backstop at the big league level; there’s a lot he’ll have to prove to get to that point, but considering his size and athleticism, that’s the likely ceiling for the Saddleback College prospect. I think there’s a decent shot a pro organization sees his athleticism and experiments with him at second or third base and/or in left field to see if Auerbach has the chops to become a super utility player. That would further improve his ultimate value on a roster, but keep his ceiling right around 45 FV. A more likely floor as organizational depth with potential for an occasional up-and-down role must be considered here, too. More immediately, though: Brett Auerbach will be central to however far Saddleback College can go this spring, and the University of Alabama has picked up a sneaky good catching prospect to develop in 2019; look past the stature and there’s a good ballplayer here. MLB ETA: 2023.

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