Chris Betts | C
The 18-year-old Betts attends Wilson High School in Long Beach, which has long been a baseball hotbed, producing 14 big leaguers including one Hall of Famer (Bob Lemon) and one borderline Hall of Famer (Bobby Grich). Betts has consistently excelled against top prep competition on the showcase circuit. He’s committed to Tennessee.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 lbs., Betts is a bat-first catcher with a ton of left-handed power, arguably the most in the draft. Certainly the most among high schoolers. His setup at the plate is a little unorthodox — he brings his back elbow up pretty high before swinging — but the bat speed and plate coverage are there. Betts knows the strike zone and is an all-around solid hitter. His defense behind the plate lags but isn’t disastrous. His arm is above-average and he moves around well behind the plate. Betts is not a lock to stick at catcher long-term but it’s not out of the question either. He has some tools and needs reps more than anything. If he has to move to first, the bat will play.
Keith Law (subs. req’d), MLB.com, and Baseball America ranked Betts as the 21st, 21st, and 28th best prospect in the draft class in their most recent rankings, respectively. Baseball America said the Yankees were in on Betts in their latest mock draft, for what it’s worth. The Yankees like to hoard catchers as much as any team and they also have a thing for lefty power hitters, so Betts is right in their wheelhouse. They select 16th and 30th this year, and since Betts is one of the two or three best catcher prospects in the draft class, they’d probably have to grab him 16th. Catchers who look like they will hit are hot commodities come draft day.