I agree Cubswin, catcher is hard to find. I think it's THE hardest, much harder than SS. And I think BPA definitely applies, the question is how to apply it.
Random tangent thoughts:
1. If one of the catchers actually justifies first pick, that would be pretty amazing.
2. Given the physical wear, you almost want to avoid potentially "wasting" a high first-round pick on a catcher. I don't know, but I'd think the failure/attrition rate could be as bad or worse than a pitcher. On the other hand, the skills/tools requirement for a good catcher are so many, that it's hard to find a perfect guy very deep into the draft. So 2nd/3rd round seem potentially very good places to try.
3. Theo mentioned at convention that statistically players have best success in rounds 1 and 2. So I don't think a player needs to be above-and-beyond to get taken in either of those rounds. I think tie-goes-to-the-player in both of those rounds (or should).
4. Need: While pitcher is viewed as organizational need overall, relative to "players", catcher is a class unto itself. There is no organizational need more acute than at catcher. So if there is ever a BPA tie, need should go for the catcher over a pitcher. There will always be some projectable good arm available the next round that perhaps you can coach up. But not so for catchers.
5. BPA is a very fuzzy term, and involves projected likelihood of becoming good and staying good and how good (ceiling). A college catcher doesn't last beyond round one without having known flaws. (Donaldson, Fox, Gibbs, Flores, Muyco, Richie, Hannah, Jorgensen, it didn't take time to realize they weren't perfect, that was understood from day one....) There just aren't that many who have the arms, the receiving abilities, the intelligence/leadership/communication skills you want, enough strength for power, and the ability to hit all in the same package. Especially hard to balance BPA for catchers against pitchers when there are so many factors and when comparing a catcher with some obvious ceiling-limits to some good arm.
6. Man, Castillo is really a significant variable. WE know he strikes out too much and his hitting doesn't look that fast or great. So he's not going to be a perfect star. But if he could hit enough HR's to make his offense viable, and improve his game-calling so that he'd be an overall plus defensively, it would sure make a huge difference to have him stabilize C for a bunch of years as a solid/average-or-better-overall catcher. I want Jackson and Vitters to work out, but if either or both fails, the next option isn't that far behind. But the hard-to-find-replacement-if-he-fails situation at catcher makes Castillo a much more important hinge guy.
Thanks, craig. I agree.
I would be shocked if the Cubs took a catcher in the first round in the upcoming draft. Reese McGuire, Jonathan Denney and Jeremy Martinez would have to explode in their senior seasons to even be considered at #2. 2nd round was my target. If one of those can fall, and there are some other prep catchers beyond those three, to the 2nd or 3rd round, that would be great.
I don't think the Cubs would hesitate to wait until the 3rd round to take their first pitcher if the draft fell that way. But at some point in the first 10 rounds they will take several pitchers in a row. Despite what all the data shows me, I, selfishly, still want them to take a pitcher with the #2 pick. That's why I'm not GM.
And, yes, the more I think about it, I understated the importance of finding good catchers. It isn't on par with finding a SS. It's harder. Much harder.
I'd like to add Neftali Rosario to my list of catching prospects worth watching. The word is defensively he has all the tools. His stick has pop, but also a long way to go. And he years away from approaching AA/AAA as would any prep catcher the Cubs would take in the draft. So I agree about the cupboard being bare at catcher. Krist, Marra and Rosario are all long shots so the Cubs really do need Castillo to be good.