Scouting Report: Tim Federowicz
By Andrew Brown
Today we are highlighting Tim Federowicz, the number one catching prospect of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Red Sox selected Federowicz in the seventh round out of North Carolina where he was an All-American. Federowicz was traded to LA as a key piece in a three-team trade that sent Erik Bedard to Boston. He is considered the catcher of the future for LA, a position that they have long had a gaping hole in.
The part of Federowicz’s game that scouts rave about the most is his defense. He is a bulldog behind the plate and makes a habit of blocking balls in the dirt and is considered an excellent receiver. He is also has a high baseball IQ, and scouts agree that he does a very good job calling the game and handling pitching staffs. He does not have an elite arm for his position, but he does have a strong, accurate arm and a quick release that has resulted in a lot of base stealers caught dead in their tracks.
Federowicz has a career caught-stealing percentage of 34%, and this season with Albuquerque he has thrown out 25 of 67 runners, or 37%. For reference of how impressive that is, this year the average caught-stealing percentage or the top 14 major league catchers is 32.4%
The part of the game that has surprised some scouts, certainly this season in particular is how his offensive numbers from UNC have translated to the minors. His career average through the minors so far is a little above .280, which is excellent for a catcher. His power has picked up a bit this season as well as he has clubbed nine homers, including two against the Express, and looks to have better loft in his swing.
If I had to pick the biggest weakness in Federowicz’s game though, it would be his offensive potential at the big league level. He his not a big guy, standing only 5’11 and 200 lbs. Because of this he will have a tough time generating power in the spacious, extremely hitter-unfriendly parks in which he will be playing in the NL West (see San Diego, San Francisco, his home stadium in LA). He will get to routinely hit in Colorado and Arizona, which should help a little, but for the most part the odds are not in favor of him carrying power numbers over to the majors.
Also, Federowicz was honored this season as a PCL all-star.
Now without further ado…
Strengths: Very talented defensive catcher, Will work well with pitchers, High baseball IQ, Solid offensive numbers considering his relatively low ceiling in this department
Weaknesses: Likely will not carry over offensive numbers to the big leagues, Will struggle hitting in NL West ballparks, Likely will end up with an average around .250 to .270
Player Comparison: Alex Avila – Comparing catchers is not my specialty, however this one was particularly striking to me. Set aside the glaring difference that Avila is a left-handed hitter and focus on the numbers. Both are considered excellent, young defensive catchers who have a knack for handling pitching staffs. Like Avila, Federowicz will likely be a contributor on the offensive end as well, though he will not necessarily be a star offensive catcher, like a Mike Napoli or Buster Posey.
Estimated MLB Arrival: Next season. I will be genuinely shocked if he is not starting for the Dodgers at this time next year. Federowicz is one of the top catching prospects in the business right now, and that is a position of extreme need for LA.
Postgame Evaluation: He gave us a lot tonight, going deep for the second night in a row. He impressed me the closer I watched him, especially because he does all of the little things a winning catcher does (backing up bases, getting dirty for his pitcher, etc.).
Final line from 7/25/12: 2 for 6 with a single and a two-run homerun.
Final Thoughts: Federowicz showed a lot to like in this series, and after seeing him go deep in person (twice) I think he may actually have a chance to be an above average hitter in the big leagues, especially from the catcher position. He has a nice swing, although it is not an effortless one. I remain firm that he will be more of a gap hitter in the majors than a slugger. He was not overly tested from the defensive side, but did not allow many balls to get passed him. He will be a solid catcher for a long time in the bigs, and will potentially see an all-star team or two.
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