Taylor Hawkins Could Be THAT Catcher in Round 12

By Robbie Knopf

We were all waiting (I was anyway) for the Rays to draft a high school catcher. That didn’t happen until Round 12. But they picked a good one. Now let’s see if they can get him signed.

Hawkins is 6’0″, 200 pounds coming out of Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma. His calling card is his big-time power. Hawkins hit 74 career home runs, one short of the all-time record for career home runs by a US high school player. He had 28 in 2012 alone. Hawkins’ swing is a little big long, but he has incredible strength and his power is real. When he connects, the ball goes a very long way. His hit tool and plate discipline are things he needs he needs to work on. But his power isn’t raw- it’s firmly part of his game right now and you can’t say that about too many high school bats.

Defensively, Hawkins moves well behind the catcher position and has a great arm. However, his receiving ability, his ability to do things such as block balls in the dirt, and the smoothness of his release on stolen base attempts are far behind where they need to be. Hawkins has nice tools defensively but is a long way from being even a servicable big league catcher. He does definitely have the power and athleticism to move to first base or an outfield corner if necessary.

Hawkins is extremely raw defensively, and other than his power, needs a ton of work at the plate as well. He may be a player that would be served well by going to college for three years and coming back into the draft. Hawkins is committed to both Grayson County (Texas) Community College and Oklahoma and it will be interesting which route he decides to go. Going to Grayson County Community College would make him re-eligible for the 2013 MLB Draft. But the Rays would prefer not to let his tools get away. Hawkins has the potential to be a 35+ homer catcher someday. It’s unlikely that he gets there, but the Rays are constantly thinking about upside and Hawkins provides a ton of it. The Rays’ catching prospects right now have failed to hit. Hawkins may need work, but he has the ability to hit aplenty. Can the Rays get him signed?