Tyler Stephenson began the 2016 season by joining the Dayton Dragons as their main catcher. That, unfortunately, didn’t last for very long. The 19-year-old got out to a slow start at the plate in April. In the first six games of the season he had hits in just one game, going 2-19 with (.105) with a double, five walks and three strikeouts. Things improved in the next seven games, but it was still a struggle for the catcher who went 4-25 (.160) with another double and two more walks. He would suffer a concussion in the final week of the month and would hit the disabled list.

Still suffering from a concussion, Tyler Stephenson didn’t return to join the Dragons lineup until May 10th. He went 0-2 with a walk in his first game back, but then picked things up from there. In the next ten games he went 12-41 (.293) with a triple and a home run. On May 26th he went 0-5 and it would be his last game for six weeks as he suffered a wrist injury.

The Georgia native missed all of June and headed out to Arizona to begin a rehab stint on July 6th. He would play in five games for the Arizona League Reds, racking up a hit in each game before returning to Dayton on July 13th. When he returned he kept on hitting, posting a .375/.423/.542 in eight games. That was as long as things lasted as his wrist injury crept back up and he hit the disabled list again.

After two-and-a-half weeks on the shelf, Tyler Stephenson returned to the lineup and struggled coming back. In seven games he hit just .130, going 3-23 before the wrist became too much of a problem and he hit the disabled list for the final time of 2016.

The entire 2016 season, at least as far as on field development, was pretty much wasted as Tyler Stephenson worked around the wrist injury. He never played more than three consecutive weeks during the year before hitting the disabled list. He eventually would require surgery to repair the wrist and just last week began hitting again. Placing much of any emphasis on the statistics put up during the year doesn’t likely do much good given how the year played out.

Level  PA 2B 3B HR SB BB K AVG OBP SLG
Day 153 4 1 3 0 12 45 .216 .278 .324

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Tyler Stephenson Scouting Report

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Hitting | His approach is more towards hitting line drives to all parts of the field, and as you can see in the spray chart below, he goes the other way more frequently than he pulls the ball. His hit tool grades out as above-average on the raw scale.

Power | In his young career he hasn’t shown much in-game power yet. That he’s gone to the opposite field frequently has also limited the in-game power. At 6′ 4″ and 225 lbs, he’s got the size and strength to hit for plenty of power in the future. On the raw scale he’s got above-average power potential, but to get the most from that he will need to pull the ball more in the future. His swing may also need slight changes to generate a tad more loft. 20+ home runs isn’t out of the question for Stephenson in the future.

Running | As a catcher he’s not expected to use his speed much, which is a good thing because he’s a below-average speed guy.

Arm | Stephenson threw out eight of 36 base runners in 2016 with Dayton (22%), but he did show off good pop times, often below 2.0 seconds. His above-average arm should work well behind the plate.

Defense | The start of the season was rough behind the plate for the teenage catcher, but even with the trips to the disabled list, you saw the improvements over the course of the season. There’s still work to do in all areas, which isn’t unexpected from a young catcher. He tends to be quiet behind the plate, and he’s athletic enough back there, but overall he projects to be just an average defender. Where he does draw plenty of praise is in his leadership qualities and handling of the pitching staff.

It was mostly a throw away kind of season for Tyler Stephenson thanks to the concussion and wrist injury that cost him a majority of the season, and even when he did play, zero consistent playing time. The on-field development didn’t grow much because of that, but he spent his time on the disabled list doing what he could to grow the mental side of catching while working with Corky Miller.

With the drafting of Chris Okey, it’s going to give the organization the time to let Tyler Stephenson develop at his own pace and there won’t be any feeling of a need to try and rush him to the big leagues before he’s ready. He’s got all of the tools to be a top end caliber catcher overall, though that’s more weighted toward what he brings offensively. There’s a very large gap between where he is now, and the guy that he could be in the future though, and that’s in just about every aspect of his game. He, like most catchers, is likely to take time to develop those skills and is probably still several years from the big leagues.

Spray Chart

To Total % 1B 2B 3B HR AVG SLG IsoP
P 6 5.5% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
C 2 1.8% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
1B 4 3.7% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
2B 9 8.3% 2 0 0 0 .222 .222 .000
3B 11 10.1% 1 0 0 0 .100 .100 .000
SS 17 15.6% 2 0 0 0 .118 .118 .000
LF 14 12.8% 8 2 0 2 .857 1.429 .571
CF 17 15.6% 2 2 0 2 .353 .824 .471
RF 29 26.6% 10 1 1 0 .414 .517 .103

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6 Responses

  1. Steve

    Tough year to say the least. Looks like he’s currently behind Cabrera, Wallach, Hudson, Boulware and Okey and should start the year in Dayton sharing duties with Brown. Is it time to give him some playing time at 1st or the outfield? He should DH the games he’s not catching, but he should also learn other positions. Just hope he has a healthy 2017.

    • Doug Gray

      I wouldn’t mess with him at other positions right now. Let him catch 4-5 days a week and DH the others (days off here and there). Both Okey and Stephenson are only behind the rest of that group simply because they aren’t ready to move up yet. I don’t think any of the other group is going to hold back a promotion for those two if and when they’re ready to make the move up in competition.

  2. Dale

    Second coming of Devin mesoraco. Lots of potential minus the DL stints equals disappointed fans

    • Wes

      Yeah he’s super young though. Not a real fair comparison either way. He may never get hurt again and still may not ever crack the majors. Catching in baseball is a tricky business !

    • MK

      Saw them both extensively at Dayton. Tyler is a much better defensive catcher than Devin at same point. Devin had Roberto Duran disease. He had “Hands of Stone”, it seemed three or four pitches an inning hit his glove and bounced off, onto the ground. I remember then Pitching Coach Doug Bair telling the story about finding Mez sitting in the bullpen crying because he did not think he could cut it.
      Tyler on the other hand has nice soft hands. Really believe if he could have stayed on the field his bat would have come around. His opposite field gap line drive power is impressive. He is a tall kid but works really hard defensively to give a low set-up and target. He should be alright.
      When you talk about other positions I think he would tell you his spot would be pitcher, but it is way to early for that.

    • DaveCT

      Man, those wrist injuries, though. Biggest thing he can do now is get it healthy. Same idea for the concussion.