With the ninth pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Braves selected catcher Shea Langeliers out of Baylor. With the positional scarcity of catchers in the major leagues that are net positives on both sides of the ball, college catchers that can hit as well as perform well behind the plate are valued highly. While Adley Rutschman is deservedly considered the best catcher in this draft class, Shea Langeliers has stood out for his strong defensive game as well as his work in the batter’s box.
Coming off a somewhat down year offensively where he slashed .252/.351/.496, Langeliers was still considered a solid first rounder based on his defensive acumen and upside. He has arguably the best arm amongst catchers in this class and will control the running game well, is already an excellent pitch-framer, and moves well behind the plate. A broken hamate bone cost him some time this season, but all he has done since his return is hit as he has slashed .311/.376/.484 in 38 games. He should be at least an average hitter with a chance for more with some decent pull-side power and a track record of performing at a high level against strong competition both in college as well as with Team USA.
Those who are detractors of Langeliers’ game point to his offensive profile. No one doubts his abilities behind the plate, but his hit tool is no sure thing (one need only look at his sophomore season to look for some level of concern) and while he does have some raw power, there are definitely those that wonder how often it plays in game. The team that takes him is banking that his bat will be good enough combined with his defensive/game-calling abilities to be a valuable MLB catcher.