As MLB.com ramps up its minor league content in anticipation of the release of their Top 100 prospects next Friday, they continued their positional top 10 list with the catchers. Unsurprisingly, the Brewers did not place anyone on the list from their weakest organizational position.
Despite the massive influx of talent to the major league roster that has of course weakened their farm system, the Cubs still have some bullets left in the chamber in the minor leagues. Topping this year's list of catching prospects is Willson Contreras, a 23-year-old catcher who will likely start the year starting for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Contreras won the Southern League batting title in 2015, hitting .333/.413/.478 in a breakout year that saw a radical change in his hitting approach. His walk rate jumped up to nearly 11%, while his strikeout rate dropped from over 20% to less than 12%. Contreras' breakout season gives the Cubs another elite prospect -- and another reason to support the DH, as Kyle Schwarber is tailor-made for the position.
Tenth on the list is Aramis Garcia, a 23-year-old in the Giants organization. He hit well at Low-A Augusta but really struggled at the plate after being moved up to High-A San Jose, hitting .227/.310/.280 with a wRC+ of 68 in 84 plate appearances. Obviously, the state of the catching position throughout the minor leagues in general is not great if a 23-year-old with a sub-.600 OPS in A ball makes a top 10 list.
You can look at that as a positive for the Brewers since everyone seems to be struggling with finding talented backstops right now, or a negative that even with the bar set so low, Milwaukee still can't make the list. I'm personally not overly concerned with how full the glass is, as long as it's filled with beer, which mine currently is (I'm just assuming you are reading this on Friday evening).
As far as the catchers that are actually already in the organization Dustin Houle, a 22-year-old 8th round pick from 2011 is probably the best of the bunch. Houle hit .300/.337/.375 in a limited cameo with High-A Brevard County in 2015. It remains to be seen what his fit will be next season, as the Brewers have a quartet of catchers above him in Josmil Pinto, Manny Pina, Rene Garcia and Adam Weisenburger. Pinto (claimed off waivers), Pina (part of the K-Rod trade) and Garcia (signed as a minor league free agent) are all newcomers to the organization and are non-roster invitees to major league camp, while Weisenburger is a 27-year-old also chosen in the 2011 draft.