With the 133rd selection of the MLB Draft, the Brewers selected Nick Kahle, a catcher from the University of Washington. Kahle was a two-year starter at Washington behind the dish. As a junior this year, he had his finest season yet, carrying a slash line of .339/.506/.532 to go along with 8 home runs, 50 RBI, and 59 walks.
The plate discipline in that slash line is what really stands out. Kahle is a patient hitter that is not afraid to draw to a walk – his plate appearances end with him on base more than half of the time. Given that he will likely have average to below-average power at the next level, his ability to get on base at a high rate via the walk could be huge for his eventual success.
Kahle was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 131st best prospect in this year’s draft class, matching up nicely with his eventual selection slot. In their scouting report, MLB Pipeline likes his hitting ability while giving him below-average grades for his raw power and running abilities. Defensively, they note that he is adequate behind the plate, pairing solid receiving and blocking skills with an accurate arm.
Kahle’s current coach has high praise for the catcher’s intangible skills, as well. In a recent interview, he said the following: “While everyone knows that Nick in a professional hitter and outstanding behind the plate, it’s his work ethic that sets him apart. No one out works Nick Kahle.”
With Kahle, the Brewers are taking a catcher that has a limited ceiling but a relatively high floor. He should be able to produce enough to be a MLB backup, and if his hit tool continues to show up as it did in college, he could be a solid two-way regular.
The Brewers have a pair of catchers among their top 30 prospects at the moment – Payton Henry (#10 Brewers prospect) and Mario Feliciano (#14 Brewers prospect). Both are starting to move into the higher levels of the Brewers’ farm system, as they currently play with the Class A-Advanced Carolina Mudcats. Given that they will be catching options for the big-league club in the next year or two, the Brewers can afford to take their time with the development of Kahle.