No. 22: Red Sox catching prospect Kole Cottam
Kole Cottam’s development at the catcher position cannot be understated. It’s something that’s definitely flown under the radar, due to the fact that he’s not the flashiest prospect. If you watch him behind the plate, it’s hard to miss though.
The right-handed hitter slashed .255/.336/.365 with 20 doubles, two triples, and two home runs in 274 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He drove in 28 runs and scored 31 more as well.
Cottam was a victim of the crowded catcher scene in the Red Sox minor league system this year. He didn’t get nearly as much playing time as I would’ve liked to see.
Overall, the numbers were really strong in Double-A. He struggled after being promoted to Triple-A though. There’s an obvious reason for this. Cottam wasn’t playing. When he was sent to Triple-A, Worcester still had Connor Wong on the roster to pair with Ronaldo Hernandez.
So for the first month of his time there, Cottam was lucky to get a game a week. You can excuse him for not finding a rhythm while barely playing at a new level. Even with that roadblock, he showed signs, especially towards the end of the year.
As for the lack of power, that had a bit to do with bad luck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get robbed of more hits in a single season. It didn’t just stop there, however. This also came into play with his power. Hitting balls high off the “Maine Monster” in Portland that would’ve been home runs at any other park. Then going to other parks and hitting balls to deep center that would’ve been home runs back at Portland.
The point of this is to say, the lack of home runs isn’t nearly as worrying as you might think if you’re just looking at the numbers.
Speed-wise, he’s a typical catcher. Cot is a big dude (6’3″, 235 lbs). You shouldn’t expect him to be the fastest guy on the bases. That being said, he’s not slow for the position. Just, not fast either.
Defense is where Cottam really shines. He’s the best pitch framer in the system. A good plate blocker, who seems to call a good game as well. Pitchers seem comfortable with him, and it definitely doesn’t hurt that he appears to be one of the nicest guys that a locker room could have.
He’s pretty athletic for his size, so can make some surprising plays. Then you can throw in a strong arm that will keep base runners at bay as well, just to top everything off.
Kole Cottam came into the system a few years ago as an offensive-minded catcher. Now he’s a defensive stud who can still give you plenty of production with the stick. Someone who fans won’t talk about much because there’s nothing wild that jumps out to you. But if he’s given a chance, he’ll win people over quickly.