I first saw Matt McBride when he clubbed an 8th inning two run home run in the Rising Stars AFL All Star Game, which proved to be the difference. The 24 year old catcher starred in the desert for the Peoria Saguaros, hitting .378, power numbers of 4, 2, 4, two stolen bases, 19 walks, and an out of this world OBP of .511.
You might think this 6’2″ 215 pound standout, drafted by the Indians in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft would have a clear path to the big leagues, especially after Cleveland traded their All Star catcher Victor Martinez to Boston, but the Tribe is loaded with young talent behind the plate. The former Lehigh University standout put up some mighty fine numbers in 2006, hitting .417, 19 doubles, 12 homers, 61 ribbies in 56 games, and even stole 22 bags. This past season in the minors Matt clouted 44 doubles & 18 long balls, splitting time between A+ Kinston & AA Akron.
Despite the trade of Martinez, the Indians still have Kelly Shoppach on their roster, along with standout minor leaguers Lou Marson (acquired from Philadelphia in the Cliff Lee deal) & Carlos Santana (acquired from Los Angeles in the Casey Blake trade). Both seem to be ahead of McBride on the depth chart. Marson was at AAA last season and even spent some time in the majors, while Santana made the Eastern League All Star team at AA Akron, batting .290, 30, 2, 23, while walking 90 times. The best path for McBride to make it to the big leagues might be the Rule V draft, the Indians have not rostered Matt, so he’ll be draft eligible. Hey, major league clubs, if your team is looking for a catcher, you might want to think about drafting Matt McBride.