2015 Draft: Chris Betts

Lack of production from up-the-middle positions holding the Yankees back
Game 41: Slade's Debut

Chris Betts | C

Background
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.

Scouting Report
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.

Miscellany
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.

Lack of production from up-the-middle positions holding the Yankees back
Game 41: Slade's Debut
  • craig

    His swing reminds just a little bit of Jimmy Leyritz.

    • NYCORNERSTONE

      He’s a lefty more like Mccann #16 if he’s there

  • Barzini
  • RetroRob

    This draft is thinner than some recent ones, especially on position players. With hitting down across baseball, we might see a premium (slight over drafting) for players like Betts. Doubt he makes it to 30, perhaps not even 16, although that’s less likely.

    • nycsportzfan

      Hitting seems on the rise this year. Guys are clubbing home runs and plenty high avg’s again.

      • RetroRob

        That might be, although need to see more than six weeks of data to make that determination, and I think many MLB teams will feel the same way. I remain convinced the strike zone was the biggest issue and MLB seems aware of it, so perhaps some subtle changes have already taken place.

        • Austinmac

          I still see a lot of awfully low pitches called strikes.

          • Preston

            Yeah, I don’t think the strike zone has changed. And hitters are hitting .252/.316/.396 this year vs. .251/.314/.386 last year. Not a meaningful difference.

            • nycsportzfan

              Yeah, what about homers and runs?

          • RetroRob

            So do I. Really difficult to say, which is why it might take a season and some actual studies to see if the strike zone rose at the end of the year. Manfred mentioned they were going to examine it after this season, which suggests they haven’t done anything yet, but the umpires know it’s an issue. Knowing that, perhaps they’re not being quite as aggressive calling the borderline low pitches. Don’t know, that’s why I wouldn’t be drawing any conclusions based on what we think we’re seeing or on six weeks of games.

  • Barzini

    I’m going to try to see him up close and personal tomorrow, facing off against Kyle Molnar no less. We’ll see if he’s TrueYankee material.

    • Austinmac

      We expect a full scouting report with particular focus on hit velocity.

  • nycsportzfan

    I like that Fresno st catcher Taylor Ward. I think he has a chance to be more complete player then Betts, just not quite as offensive as Betts.

  • Austinmac

    He looked pretty good to me. I can see him at no.16. He hit the ball hard the opposite way, and it looked like he had power. Putting him with Torrens post surgery would sure improved the catching core.

  • dave_8

    The setup and swing remind me a little of Lance Berkman.

  • captainmike

    Chris takes down Venezuela player as he tries to charge mound and go after USA Pitcher. (big action starts around 1:40

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaep7e58s2c&feature=player_detailpage

    • Austinmac

      Very nice. The hitter was nuts to charge the mound. Betts took care of it. Imagine what McCann could teach him.

    • Asher Dratel

      What the hell is up with the layout of that field?

    • Beauee

      Okay, forget Kaprelian. I want this kid now.

  • Farewell Mo and Jeet

    He could go number 1 if he changed his 1st name to Mookie

  • RetroRob

    Klaw came out with his first mock draft of the season, cautioning that three weeks out leaves plenty of time for change. For the Yankees he has:

    #16 Chris Betts — Nothing to add about Betts since it’s all covered in Mike’s post. He adds that he’s heard the Yanks also connected to high school OFer,Garrett Whitley, who he projects will be off the board by the time the Yankees pick. Other names mentioned for the later pick include Donny Everett (RH HS pitcher), who he thinks might be available at 30 as an over-slot guy; as well as Drew Finley for their later pick. He also wonders if they’re a landing spot for Daz Cameron, a high school OFer he has going to the Red Sox, if he wants an over-slot deal. He mentions Everett twice but only with the Yankees and he doesn’t profile him. Everett is committed to Vanderbilt, so maybe he thinks the Yankees will try and pry him away. Not sure.

    #30 Mike Nikorak, a high school pitcher. He once again mentions the Yankees connected to Garrett Whitley and Drew Finley, as well as Jacob Nix, who could go in the 25-30 range.

    I suspect both the primary guys and the other ones are on the Yankees list depending on how things fall out, but it almost feels like they’ll be shooting for at least one college arm.

    Link to his complete top 30 projections (Insider alert) here:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/draft/mock/?season=2015&version=1&source=Keith-Law-Mock-Draft