St. Louis Cardinals: Five Potential Backup Catchers for Yadier Molina in 2017
Carson Kelly – 22 Years Old
The St. Louis Cardinals already have a future backstop in the making, but the Cardinals may not want him in St. Louis quite yet. While he could easily be the best backup catcher on this list, the Cardinals have higher expectations for Carson Kelly. He is their catcher of the future, and he might benefit from playing everyday in Memphis, rather than part time in St. Louis.
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Kelly has been widely regarded as a glove first catcher, but his bat is starting to come around. As many know, Kelly was originally drafted as a power hitting third baseman, but converged to a catcher early on. Due to learning the position, Kelly’s bat may have lagged behind the rest of his development. But that no longer seems to be the case.
In the Arizona Fall League this year, Kelly slashed .286/.387/.455 with 3 home runs, 4 doubles, and drove in 18 batters. Here’s the best part though. Kelly only struck out 4 times. This was a delightful surprise for the Cardinal organization, and Kelly solidified himself as their top catching prospect, who has the ability to be a power hitting regular.
Even though Kelly is a bit big for a catcher (6’4″, 220 lbs), he is regarded as a natural leader, who works well with pitchers. His arm is no weak spot either considering that through his first three seasons, he threw out 32% of what would be base stealers.
Since Kelly is only 22-years old, the Cardinals might be better off keeping him in Memphis at least for the early parts of this coming year. I could definitely see them bringing him up towards the second half, especially if Molina starts to wear down.
Next: Why Pursuing Justin Turner Makes Sense
This article was made to show possible options the St. Louis Cardinals might consider for their backup catching next season. The most realistic possibility is probably Carson Kelly. Any other catcher they get is nothing more than a stop-gate until he is ready to take the reins.