When the New York Yankees selected Gosuke Katoh in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft the general consensus was that Katoh was a glove-first second baseman. In fact, he was considered one of the best fielding second basemen in the entire draft but that is not what has people talking.
Katoh has gotten off to a great start in the Gulf Coast League this year. He has hit .364/.472/.727 with three home runs, two triples, three doubles, eight RBI and eight runs scored. There is no doubt that this is a small sample size and 44 at-bats in rookie A-ball doesn’t mean he will be supplanting Robinson Cano next year. However, it is certainly encouraging.
Gatoh has also shown pretty good pitch recognition in his first season as a pro ballplayer. He has struck out nine time but has also walked seven times heading into action on July 13th. As I write this Katoh has already walked twice today, bringing his total on the season up to nine. His best night might have been his July 12th game where he went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a walk.
What are really interesting is his splits against lefties and righties. Against righties he has hit just .238 but has a .429 OBP and .524 slugging percentage in 21 at-bats. Against lefties, the left-handed hitter has crushed the ball, hitting .478/.520/.913 in 23 at-bats. All of his doubles and triples have come against lefties but all of his walks and two of his three home runs have come against righties.
Katoh has surprised everyone with his ability at the plate. There was no doubt he might be able to hit enough to hold down a job at the Major League level but nobody expected this, except perhaps Katoh himself.
In a down year for most Yankee prospects, Katoh is proving to be a bright spot and someone worth keeping an eye on as he progresses through the ranks. If he keeps this up he will crack the Top Prospect lists this coming off-season.