The Diamondbacks’ surprising success in 2011 placed them in a region of the 2012 draft where no one expected them to be: the final third. With a deep reservoir of pitching talent that includes Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley, and Andrew Chafin, GM Kevin Towers eschewed fireballer and 2012 Gatorade high school player of the year Lance McCullers for catcher Styrker Trahan of Acadiana HS in Scott, LA.
Though Trahan, a friend of fellow first round draft choice and Louisiana native Gavin Cecchini, may not have the pure upside of McCullers, he is a tremendous prospect in his own right. Named by ESPN as the best high school catcher in the country in 2012 and a Rawlings first team All-American as a senior, Trahan is as close as there is to a complete catching package from a high schooler. Standing at 6’1”, 215 lbs, Trahan is already fully developed physically and has the body type to stick at the position long-term. He is reported to have quick feet and a quick release and his arm strength is excellent. The Louisiana teenager has work to do on other aspects of catching, however; scouts have reported raw receiving and blocking skills, attributes Trahan will need to hone if he wants to remain behind the plate. Perhaps the biggest threat to Trahan’s future catching career is his most unusual gift: his speed, which grades out as plus. The Ole Miss commit’s combination of a good throwing arm and above average speed make him an ideal fit for a corner outfield spot. Indeed, some scouts see Trahan as more valuable in the outfield than behind the plate.
Offensively, Trahan is a very good prospect, showing above average power and hitting tools. He has excellent bat speed and is short and quick to the ball, allowing him to get the bat through the zone even against professional fastballs. Strong and possessing good hand-eye coordination, the left-handed hitting Trahan turned heads at the Area Code Games, where according to scouts he adjusted his approach at the plate and began driving the ball into the left-centerfield gap, an important developmental step for a young hitter and an indication of Trahan’s commitment to self-improvement. Scouts have also commented favorably on his quiet, humble demeanor and strong work ethic and hustle on the field.
As with any draftee, and in particular any teenage draftee, there is nothing certain about Trahan’s future. That being said, the Diamondbacks did very well with this selection, finding a player with potential All-Star upside late in the first round at a premium position. Due to his already advanced physique and defensive abilities, Trahan is more likely to stay behind the plate than many of his peers. Even if he moves to the outfield, however, Trahan stands a good chance of being an impact player at the major league level. All things considered, Trahan is an excellent value pick by Arizona.