No. 21: Red Sox catching propsect Nathan Hickey
Nathan Hickey is a catcher without a position. Does that make sense? Not really.
Hickey entered the 2023 season as the top-catching prospect in the organization. The issue was his defense. His bat was elite, but there were a lot of questions wondering if he'd be able to stick at the position.
The lack of other catching prospects for the Boston Red Sox made it easier to envision the team sticking with Hickey behind the plate. However, the emergence of a few names (and the drafting of Kyle Teel) sort of changed that.
Hickey's defense still fell short in 2023, but again, his offensive production was phenomenal.
The left-handed hitter slashed .265/.362/.496 with 24 doubles, one triple, and 19 home runs between High-A and Double-A. He drove in 65 runs, scored 62 more, and stole three bases in 98 games (359 at-bats).
Hickey spent the entire season as one of the more consistent bats in Boston's organization. Even with a bump up to Double-A, an injury, and playing a position that limits playing time, Hickey never stopped producing with the bat.
The bat is a clear Major League tool. Hickey's struggled behind the plate and had a tough time throwing out base runners. He doesn't have a terrible arm, but the whole presentation isn't great.
That leaves the question, where will he play? Will the Red Sox keep trying him at catcher, seeing that it gives him the most value? Is there a move to first base or the outfield in the future? Could this lead to them shipping him off in a trade?
The good news is that the bat will carry him. Having a catcher that can hit adds so much value. But even if he moves off the position, Hickey's offense plays anywhere on the field. There's not much speed in his game, but you don't need to be fast if you're jogging around the bases.
He has the potential to be a .280s average guy with a high OBP and 25-plus home runs. That works anywhere.