Stryker Trahan may have the best all-around skill-set in the 2012 MLB Draft.
Trahan is 6’2″ and 220 pounds, a picture-perfect catcher’s frame. At the plate, he has a few too many moving parts in his left-handed swing, but when he connects, he hits for outstanding raw power and laces line drive after line drive. He has the ability to be an above-average hitter for both power and average, but he definitely has things that need to be smoothed out. Defensively, Trahan doesn’t have great arm strength, but he is very athletic behind the plate and has a very quick release and an accurate arm. Trahan has the tools to be an above-average defender, but the big concern is his receiving ability. Trahan is fidgety behind the plate and just has not been able to get comfortable. He remains very raw overall defensively. He moves extremely well behind the plate but just doesn’t execute the intricacies of the position at this point, such as blocking balls. Trahan has questions surrounding him offensively and especially defensively, but the upside is clearly there.
If the scouting report ended right there, Trahan would still be picked within the first 2 rounds of the draft. He has the ability to be an All-Star catcher someday with his impressive offensive abilities, and he’s athletic enough at the catcher position that all he may need is enough reps to become the type of defender scouts haven’t seen yet. But what makes Trahan stand out is the tool he has that catchers nearly ubiquitously lack: speed.
You see Trahan and he looks like your average catcher. Another way to describe him is a linebacker build- although he actually plays quarterback for his Acadiana, Louisiana High School team. If he did play linebacker, running backs would be in trouble- they’d be pulling away from him and all of a sudden he’d catch up to them and a second later they’d be on the ground wondering what the heck just happened. Trahan runs hard. When he runs his arms rapidly go up and down and you the effort involved there. He’s making every effort to go as fast as he possibly can. But that’s nothing special. Even catchers run hard. But then you realize just how fast Trahan is going.
Stryker Trahan has clear above-average speed- not for a catcher, overall. Check out this video from Perfect Game where he completely blows away a player who looks considerably leaner (Trahan is on the left). Trahan will be a player that beats out a whole bunch of groundballs for singles- not just because of his speed but also because fielders will see him running down the line and think that they have time. Catchers never steal 20 bases. Trahan has the ability to do that annually. If Trahan moves off the catcher position, something that’s definitely an option, he could be a 30-stolen base threat.
Stryker Trahan is Bryce Harper lite. His power isn’t prolific, his attitude doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat. But he’s a catcher prospect with power and speed and the comparison has to be made. Does Trahan have Harper’s upside? No chance. But his overall package of tools has to be reminiscent of Harper. Trahan is raw. But his raw upside rivals anybody in this 2012 MLB Draft. 5-tool centerfielders and dominant number one starters are outstanding players, but there are several of them across the big leagues and plenty of players with that potential somewhere in them at all levels of professional baseball. Catchers who can steal bases don’t come along very often. Trahan has the ability to add an additional dimension to the position.
Where will Trahan go in the draft? I had the Cubs reaching for Trahan at 6th overall in my first mock draft back in March. After Trahan failed to progress defensively this year, that won’t happen. But with his overall package of tools, there is no chance Trahan falls out of the first round. Where he goes is anybody’s guess. A guarantee I’m willing to make is that if Trahan is on the board at 25th overall with the Rays selecting, he will be their pick.
Stryker Trahan is the most captivating prospect in this year’s draft. Is he the best prospect? No, probably not even in the top 20. But his all-around ability gives him the ability to be not just a special player, but an eccentric one. Trahan has the ability to change the way scouts evaluate catchers in the draft. He has the ability to change the catcher position across baseball. Keep an eye out for Stryker Trahan on Draft Day and beyond. You may just see some things you haven’t seen before.