Signed for $460,000 out of Colombia in 2013, Meibrys Viloria has done a full 180 as a player since he inked his deal with the Royals.
Oh boy, am I big on catchers that can swing the bat. Through 1,009 minor league plate appearances, Viloria has hit for a superb .292/.361/.429 line. The majority of this offensive production came from when Viloria hit .376/.436/.606 for the Idaho Falls Chukars last year, in route to his Pioneer League MVP.
The power is still developing for Viloria. After he had a very odd year in 2015 with Burlington (39 hits, 39 singles, .260 SLG) he had showed off more hard contact, hitting 70 extra-base hits over the past two years (159 games). To me, it looks like he’s gotten himself into a more LD/FB approach, spraying the ball nicely to all fields. His tendencies take fly balls to the opposite field and ground balls to pull.
Viloria has a big stature behind the plate, but their is still room for his frame to fill out. The quick bat speed should allow for a good amount of pop. It isn’t impossible to see 15-20 home runs. If he can start pulling the ball more, the power gets a bump from me. He can really get into those pulled fly balls.
Viloria is advanced for his age in terms of plate discipline, posting a fair K% and BB% throughout his short career. His impressive 10.1% SwStr% also caught my attention. This probably suggests his bat should have a nice transition moving up the minor league ranks.
I have yet to see any reasons why Viloria can’t stay behind home plate. His size and above-average athleticism make him a serviceable receiver. I saw great improvement from the throwing side of things too, as Viloria posted an impressive CS% of 40%. Obviously, he needs to stay at catcher to keep his prospect status healthy.
Viloria is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. It is not very often that catchers that can hit and hit for power come along. Expect Viloria to start next year at Wilmington in the more pitcher-friendly Carolina League. I’ll continue to keep ranking him high if flashes those above-average offensive skills at catcher.
Photo Credits: Mary Lay