The Padres made a couple of smaller moves on Tuesday, adding infielder Gosuke Katoh on a minor league deal.
It was business as usual for the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, despite the Mike Clevinger news yesterday.
The 26-year-old Katoh was drafted in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. At the time, the selection came as a bit of a surprise, as many of the media outlets projected him to be a mid-round pick. Katoh hails from San Diego, having attended Rancho Bernardo High School.
After being drafted, Katoh finished out the year in rookie ball, hitting .310 in 50 games with 11 doubles, five triples, six home runs, and 25 RBI’s. Despite the hot start to his professional career, he struggled to get past Single-A, failing to reach Double-A until the 2018 season.
With Double-A Trenton, Katoh posted an impressive .293/.376/.440 line with six home runs and 43 RBI’s in 118 games. He began the 2019 season in Trenton, hitting a lackluster .237 in 30 games but was promoted to Triple-A anyway. There, he hit .279 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI’s in 83 games.
#Padres have signed INF Gosuke Katoh to a minor league contract.
— MiLB-Transactions (@tombaseball29) November 17, 2020
Scouts have consistently raved about Katoh’s defense at second base, demonstrated by a .976 fielding percentage in seven minor league seasons. He adds depth lost at second base and could potentially push Jorge Mateo for a spot on the Padres’ 40-man roster.
Katoh can pretty much play anywhere on the field, with major innings logged first and third base and less time in the outfield and at shortstop. He has yet to record a Major League at-bat, which puts him at a clear disadvantage compared to Mateo and Greg Garcia.
He was with the Marlins’ organization in 2019 and would have been a good candidate for a promotion in 2020 given the state of Miami’s roster. His versatility could be useful for the Padres, but he’s likely to begin the year at Triple-A El Paso. Depending on whether the Padres tender Garcia a contract or bring Jurickson Profar could loom large for Katoh’s chances at making his big league debut.
Either way, he’ll be one of the more interesting players to watch in Spring Training, given how well he performed in Triple-A to close out the 2019 season.