The Cleveland Indians have decided to convert Minor League infielder Tony Wolters into a catcher for the 2013 season and beyond.
The purpose of the move is because the Indians have an abundance of talent in the middle infield positions at all levels in the minors as well as the majors. Even though Wolters has shown signs of success at shortstop and second base, Cleveland believes it is wise for him to be moved to catcher above anyone else.
The fact that Wolters played catcher a little bit in high school certainly played into the decision to convert him after three years in the minors. He is also an athletic player who has the ability to learn quickly.
“Tony is so athletic we don’t think the transition will take long,” Indians director of player development Ross Atkins told Cleveland.com. “We think his experience as an infielder will help him at catcher. It certainly helped catchers like Victor Martinez and Carlos Santana.”
Wolters batted .260 with eight home runs, 58 RBI, 30 doubles and eight triples in 537 at-bats in Single-A last season. He struggled defensively at times in 2012 as he has committed 24 errors in 124 games at shortstop and second base. This is another reason why the organization felt like the move would be perfect for him.
The 20-year-old was basically told that he was going nowhere fast if he continued to play various infield positions. With that being said, he has been given an incredible opportunity to get on the fast track to the big leagues as a catcher. As long as Wolters can learn the position quickly and be effective behind the plate, there is no reason why he cannot appear in the majors in the near future.
“We’re looking to give Tony a chance to do something exceptional . . . not just be an everyday major league player, but an everyday All-Star,” said Atkins, according to Cleveland.com.
In Wolters’ first Major League camp this spring, he went 1-for-9 with two walks in nine games.