Friday, January 8, 2016

Prospect Nation 2016: #24 Catcher Deivi Grullon

Deivi Grullon, image- Jay Floyd
At the time of his signing with the Phillies at the age of 16, backstop Deivi Grullon was one of the top baseball prospects in the Caribbean. Following three years in the minors, the 19-year-old is still looked at as a very promising player.

Grullon, who signed for a reported $575,000 in July 2012, looked very good upon making his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2013, posting a .273 batting average with eight doubles, a home run and 14 RBI in 41 games at the rookie level.

He followed up that campaign with a season in which he split time at three levels in 2014. Grullon started his season in mid-April with a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater out of extended spring training. He notched two hits in ten at bats in two games there. A demotion to Class A Lakewood, where he would get more playing time, followed. In 24 games as a BlueClaw, Grullon posted a .237 average with five doubles, a home run and seven RBI. Grullon would be demoted once more to short-season Class A Williamsport when their season began in June. With the Crosscutters, he batted .225 with nine doubles, a triple and 18 RBI in 53 games.

Last year back with Lakewood, the Dominican native tallied a .221 batting average with eight home runs and 50 RBI in 107 games.  He closed out his 2015 on a positive note, posting a .301/.370/.470 slash line in 25 August games after struggling at the plate for much of the summer.  His coaches feel the late-season statistics were more exemplary of the type of output Grullon can deliver on a regular basis.

A right-handed hitter, Grullon typically has fairly even splits against righty (.610 OPS in 2015) and lefty (.600 OPS in 2015) pitchers.

A refined approach when faced with pitchers' counts, in general, is something scouts have cited as a standout quality for Grullon.  Critics would like to see improved bat speed from the youngster.  He displays an ability to stay on the ball, having good at bats even when success isn't there.  

Coaches view Grullon as an all-around strong leader, one of the key qualities for a catcher in the professional ranks. A player that teammates go to for assistance, Grullon is highly valuable to his club.  Additionally, the youngster himself is hungry to learn.

His communication improved very much last season.  Mastering the English language, which will come as he continues to play in the United States, will be something that helps Grullon and his pitchers. 

With a frame that is well suited for the position, the six-foot-one 180-pounder has excellent tools on defense and features a plus arm that keeps opposing runners reserved.  His defensive projections are what make Grullon stand out the most. 

Look for Grullon to see time with Clearwater in 2016 as the Phillies look for progress from the talented young catcher.



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