Quad Cities Report: Astros Future Catcher Jacob Nottingham

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At the beginning of the last offseason, some Astros fans thought that it was a forgone conclusion that the Astros should trade Jason Castro and that Max Stassi would become the Astros starting catcher. However, Jeff Luhnow instead traded for Hank Conger and traded away Carlos Corporon. Meanwhile after debuting with the Astros in 2013, Max Stassi has yet to take over the catching duties. The Astros appear to be satisfied with Castro and Conger for now, but who could be the next Astros stud prospect? The Sherif of Nottingham, that’s who.

The Quad Cities River Bandits, the Low-Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, have a unique situation. They have two starting-caliber catchers on the team in Jamie Ritchie and Jacob Nottingham. They both can play catcher or first base, so could have extra value down the road. I am waiting for interviews for both of these players, but for now I will focus on Jacob Nottingham.

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Nottingham is a 20-year-old catcher out of Redlands High School in California, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. He is a 6’3”and 227-pound backstop who has good defensive skills and is showing strong offensive potential. If he keeps playing at his current level, he should be moving up to Lancaster and the prospect lists.

Nottingham’s has had a great past ten games for the River Bandits per MiLB.com, hitting .300/ 12 runs/ 2 HRs/ 7 RBI’s/ 1 stolen base. The River Bandits went 6-3-1 during that ten game period, yes there are ties in baseball. On June 15th, the Bandits game was called after six innings due to the weather.

In 2015, he has doubled his home run output from the previous year. Let’s look at his stats from his career so far in the minors.

Stats from Baseball Reference

As you can see, Nottingham has played more than he has the previous two years. He has increased all of his slash line percentages between 2014 and 2015. What has led to his big jump in OPS this year, the increase in extra base hits with 10-18 doubles and 5-10 home runs? The end of Castro’s Astros career could be after the 2016 season or sooner, which might give Nottingham the perfect amount of time to develop.

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The end of Castro’s Astros career could be after the 2016 season or sooner, which might give Nottingham the perfect amount of time to develop at Lancaster, Corpus Christi, and Fresno. Should an injury befall Castro this season or next season, it will be Max Stassi or

Tyler Heineman

who will get the call. However, the 2017 season could be Nottingham’s rise to the Astros.

As Jeff Luhnow always says, it’s never a bad thing to have a surplus of catchers.

Next: Houston Astros salvage series finale with 6-2 win vs Seattle

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