Daulton Varsho
23-Year-Old CatcherC
Arizona Diamondbacks AA
2020 Fantasy Outlook
The dream of a legitimate five-category catcher is alive and well with Varsho, who has 30 home runs and 40 steals (on 48 attempts) in 191 games over the past two seasons. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, he does not look like a candidate for that kind of production, but he is a 55-grade runner with great instincts on the bases. His plus hit tool is what will get him to the majors -- he uses the whole field and rarely strikes out. Behind the plate, he is a good receiver, but his arm is below average for the position. Varsho has seen reps in the outfield, and is unlikely to be a full-time catcher at the highest level, but could get enough starts there to retain eligibility in most formats. He tore an ankle ligament playing in Japan this offseason and may not be ready for the start of spring training. Varsho will spend at least a couple months at Triple-A and could make his MLB debut this summer. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Diamondbacks in June of 2017 that includes a $800,100 signing bonus.
Logs time at catcher only
CArizona Diamondbacks  AA
March 21, 2020
Varsho went 3-for-12 with one extra-base hit and two walks over eight Cactus League games before the shutdown.
The Diamondbacks talked about exposing Varsho to outfield this spring, but Arizona's fifth-ranked prospect was used at catcher only (plus once as a pinch hitter). The 23-year-old is likely to start the season at Triple-A Reno, where it is presumed the organization will further develop a second position for him. He's still a catcher in the eyes of management, but with the 25-year-old Carson Kelly locked in at catcher and under control through 2024, the team will want to find a home for Varsho's bat and baserunning. That could happen as soon as 2020, when Kelly and Stephen Vogt will be the top two backstops.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
One of the most unique catching prospects in recent memory, Varsho could steal 20-plus bases while playing in the field on days he does not catch. Despite his stocky 5-foot-10, 190-pound build, he is a good athlete and above-average runner (34-for-43 on SB attempts in 151 career games, including the Arizona Fall League). His 31.5 IFFB% was the sixth-worst mark in the Cal League and his 50.9 Pull% was the 10th highest mark -- indicators that suggest he may struggle to hit much better than .250 in the big leagues. A broken hand cost him six weeks in the middle of the season, but he made up for lost time by going to the AFL, where he logged an impressive 14:12 K:BB in 18 games. Evaluators have speculated that Varsho could handle second base and the outfield in addition to catching, but Arizona has understandably kept him behind the dish for now. It is possible he could develop into a 20/20 catcher, but his home run output may fall short of that.
Varsho was selected from a small school in the Midwest (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) with the No. 68 overall pick in last year's draft, and while questions about his defense behind the plate remain, his bat stole the show in his pro debut. He was the best hitter in the Northwest League (150 wRC+) and belted seven home runs -- seven more than older teammate Pavin Smith, who was selected with the seventh overall pick in the same draft. At 5-foot-10 and with a fringe-average arm, Varsho may not stick at catcher, but unlike most catching prospects, his above-average speed allows him to profile in left field and perhaps even at second base. His bat might even be special enough that he is moved out from behind the plate strictly to maximize his offensive upside, a la Bryce Harper and Wil Myers. Varsho has an excellent feel at the plate, striking out just 14.2 percent of the time (sixth best in the NWL). He has 20-20 potential and has the potential to move very quickly, especially if he switches positions.
More Fantasy News
Will log outfield time
CArizona Diamondbacks  AA
February 15, 2020
Varsho will play outfield in addition to catcher during big-league camp, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
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Back to full strength
CArizona Diamondbacks  AA
February 14, 2020
Varsho (ankle) said he's back to full strength as spring training kicked off this week, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
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Gets camp invite
CArizona Diamondbacks  AA
January 21, 2020
Varsho (ankle) was invited to the Diamondbacks' big-league camp on Tuesday.
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Diagnosed with Grade 3 sprain
CArizona Diamondbacks  AA
November 14, 2019
Varsho suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain and will spend the next two weeks in a walking boot before being re-evaluated, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.
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Helped off field in Japan
CArizona Diamondbacks  AA
November 14, 2019
Varsho suffered an ankle injury earlier this week while playing in an international tournament in Japan, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
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