The New York Yankees had a very solid first round of the 2013 MLB Draft and they were able to continue that work into the second round when they selected second baseman Gosuke Katoh from Rancho Bernardo High School. He comes from the same school that has produced Cole Hamels and Hank Blalock.
Katoh’s family is from Tokyo but they moved to California and Katoh played Little League to learn English. Katoh’s defense is MLB-ready right now. He has excellent quickness and gets to balls that should be base hits. His hands are cat-like in their quickness and he releases the ball very quickly. He should be able to win a Gold Glove or two at the next level. He will stick at second base and might be able to play shortstop in a pinch but cannot play there for a long time because his arm just isn’t strong enough.
With a glove like Katoh’s it is easy to classify him as a defense-first type of player. However, that is not the case. He has deceptive power that should develop into consistent doubles power in the Majors. His speed is another asset and he could steal 30-plus bases and use his speed to turn doubles into triples from time to time.
Katoh has a commitment to UCLA but might sign with the Yankees because his baseball role model is Ichiro Suzuki and he has modeled his swing as a hybrid between Ichiro and Robinson Cano in his words. He was projected as a fourth-tenth round pick but because of the higher slot money that comes with being a second round pick he could sign. It also helps that two of his baseball idols currently wear Pinstripes.
His cat-like reflexes, superior glove, gap power and ability to steal bases have drawn comparisons to Jose Altuve, Jose Lind and a young Steve Sax. That isn’t a bad trio. With Robinson Cano currently manning second base and the likelihood that Cano re-signs, Katoh should be ready to take over just when it is time for Cano to move off second base to preserve his bat and body.