Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dodgers Pick Catcher Connor Wong in the Third Round - Welcome to the Blue!

With their first pick of the day in the 3rd round, 100th overall, the Dodgers select versatile and athletic catcher Connor Wong from the University of Houston. He is a junior, stands 5' 11", 180 lbs., bats right and throws right-handed. Connor is also the stepson of Matt Maysey, who was drafted in the seventh round in 1985 by the Padres, and eventually pitched briefly for Montreal and Milwaukee in the early to mid-90's. He also has a major league hit from his only MLB at-bat as a Brewer in 1993.

You can follow Connor Wong on twitter here: @Connor10Wong. Unfortunately, he has not been very active on twitter. I am not aware of any cards made for Connor yet. Per MLB's prospect report:
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Wong started immediately at Houston as a freshman shortstop before making the transition to catching as sophomore a year ago. He earned all-star honors behind the plate in the Cape Cod League last summer, leading the circuit with 72 total bases, and has upped his offensive production this spring. In a down year for catchers in the Draft, he should be one of the first selected and could climb as high as the third round.

Wong has a simple swing and he recognizes pitches and controls the strike zone well, so he should hit for a decent average. Though he's not very physical, he provides some sneaky power from the right side of the plate. His above-average speed may be his best pure tool, which is rare for a catcher, and he has the instincts to steal some bases as well.

Quick and athletic behind the plate, Wong still needs to polish his throwing and receiving but has the tools to be at least average in both regards. While he's strong for his size -- charitably listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds -- he's small for a catcher and there's some concern about whether he'll be able to handle the workload of a long pro season. If not, he fits the utility profile because he's capable of playing almost anywhere on the diamond.
Michael Cook at Minor League Ball took a look at the best catching draft prospects last week, and placed Connor fifth on his list:
Connor Wong could be the best catcher in this draft twenty years from now. A very good athlete who could play second base or outfield, his combination of power and speed makes him a college version of Craig Biggio behind the plate. That athleticism could make teams move him from catcher, even with the tools to stay behind the plate. So far, he’s hitting .297/.388/.502, with 11 home runs, 25 stolen bases, 29 walks, and 44 strikeouts, after hitting .313/.354/.442 in the Cape last summer. He ends the top tier of catching prospects.
The Cape Cod reference above is an important note. This is a winter league where many prep ballplayers first start using a wooden bat, and by all accounts Connor did quite well.

Below are more links focused on the newest Dodger draftee:
You may want to sit down for this, but Wong’s athleticism and plan of attack at the plate are what separates him from many otherwise similarly skilled contemporaries. Shocking that an athlete with patience would rank high on this list, yet here we are. In Wong’s case, there’s really no denying his chops. He has the fluidity behind the plate you’d expect from a former shortstop, a position some think he could still handle in a pinch, and occasional outfielder. Wong has been a little slow to pick up on some of the finer points of catching technique since making the switch — his feet are fine, but his hands still can get him in trouble — so it’s fair to wonder if a multi-position utility future could be his most useful long-term defensive deployment. I’m not completely sold on Wong’s power coming around enough to make him an impact starter at the next level, but the offensive strengths, including average to above-average speed and a knack for consistent hard contact against quality pitching, outweigh the weaknesses at this time.
Wong, listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, played shortstop as a freshman before being moved behind the plate, so he fits the organization's preference for versatility. This year, he also played third base and the outfield, but the Dodgers selected him as a catcher.
In honor of his selection by the Dodgers I decided to make a couple fantasy Baseball cards of him.  For the card on the left I used a couple photos taken from UHCougars.com and the 1985 Donruss Baseball card design.  For the card on the right I ALSO grabbed a photo from IHCougars.com and the 1982 Fleer Baseball card design.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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