Red Sox catching prospect Kole Cottam
Boston had a lot of prospects take leaps forward in 2021. And catcher Kole Cottam was already a great prospect before the season. So why does am I putting him at the top? That’s for another article if we’re being honest. But I’ll just sum it up really quickly – defense.
Cottam is a great hitter, but was “eh” defensively. He took such a massive step forward in that category in 2021 though. His game-calling, ability to block pitches, arm, everything improved.
Last season, the right-handed hitter slashed a strong .278/.371/.500 in 71 games (234 at-bats) between High-A and Double-A. That’s right, he was attached to the hip of Bello and Murphy as well. Sort of works out that they had the battery going for most of the season.
The best part about that slash line is that Cottam played better when he was promoted to Double-A. The average improved slightly and the slugging percentage took a big leap forward thanks to five doubles, one triple, and four home runs in just 78 at-bats.
Cottam isn’t on the 40-man roster though. So best case scenario there are four catchers ahead of him right now. Two being prospects themselves in Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez (who we already talked about). This makes it really tough for Cottam.
There is something big going for him though. At times last season, we saw Cottam playing first base. I don’t think there are any plans to have him switch positions (especially after he improved so much behind the dish). But it shows how desperate they were to keep him in the lineup at times. When he gets hot, it’s impressive to watch – we see more barrels than the Hangar level in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 (that might be the best reference I’ve ever made).
Cottam’s defensive improvements make this hard to rate. Because clearly he’s showing how hard of a worker he is. So if he takes another leap forward in 2022, it will be hard to ignore him. Boston has four catchers ahead of him though. Even with the two in the Majors having their weaknesses, there is a ton to love about Wong and Hernandez. So they will get their chance to prove themselves.
For Cottam he will either need to be putting up just ridiculous numbers, or there will need to be a lot of injuries at the position if the 24-year-old (will be 25 for the 2022 season) is going to make his Major League debut in 2022. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities, but he’s getting a “cool” temp as well.