Rockwood HS, Texas
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 190 lbs
DOB: 09/15/1993 (Ed Note: Oh God, I’m so old.)
AZ’s Snap Take: Steve Bean, a high school catcher out of Texas, isn’t as much of a reach as you might expect. He made both Keith Law’s top 100 and Baseball America’s top 100. Catchers, like shortstops, have always struck me as tricky players for the draft. So much of their value is tied up in their position that each team’s individual take on their ability to stick their can massively skew how they perceive that player. Bean has enough of a bat to make you think he could develop further and good enough instincts behind the plate to hang in the battery position. It’ll be 2-3 years before we know whether this pick has a chance at the majors. The Cardinals drafting record on catchers has been spotty of late.
Bean is an above-average defender behind the plate already who just has to hit enough to let the glove play. He’s already a plus defender who receives well and has a quick release to go with above-average arm strength.
He wraps his bat and his swing is pretty handsy, with minimal use of his lower half after a very exaggerated leg kick that also produces some timing issues. But there’s enough bat speed that I could see him hitting enough to become a regular big league catcher in time, with a reasonable chance he becomes a solid backup.
The University of Texas landed two of the top three high school catching prospects in its recruiting class, though neither Bean nor Wyatt Mathisen figures to arrive on campus. Bean has raised his profile as much as any prospect in Texas this spring, giving himself a chance to go in the top two rounds of the draft. His standout tool is an arm that grades as a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He’s improving as a receiver and projects to develop solid skills in that regard. A 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, Bean offers offensive potential from the left side of the plate as well. He makes consistent contact and has the wiry strength to grow into decent power. While he’s a below-average runner, he’s athletic for a catcher and plays with a lot of energy.
Throughout the spring scouts have been praising Bean’s defensive potential, noting a 60 arm that can play a little better than that. He also rates very well for his age in his blocking and receiving abilities, with multiple scouts projecting him for plus defense at his peak.
Offensively, Bean has some power projection but that comes with length in his swing and some questions about his hitting ability. Despite that glaring question, scouts remain intrigued enough to get late looks at him and some team may pull the trigger early enough to try and persuade him away from his commitment to play ball at the University of Texas.