Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Born: 5/10/83 in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
High School: Milliken Mills (Markham, Ontario, Canada)
College: Connors State JC (Oklahoma)
Drafted: 2002 in 20th Round by San Diego Padres (#595 overall)
Acquired: From San Diego for RHP David Wells (8/31/06)
Baseball America Interview (5/9/06)
Baseball America 2006 Stats
Baseball Prospectus page
Baseball Cube page
Sox Prospects page
* Ranked as the Padres' #3 prospect heading into 2005 by Baseball America:
* Ranked as the Padres' #2 prospect heading into 2006 by Baseball America:
PROS: Natural swing, plenty of power, projects as a 20-HR hitter ... Advanced understanding of the strike zone relative to his experience ... Hard worker, takes instruction well ... Mobile behind plate, solid arm, good at blocking pitches in the dirt
CONS: Long release is easy to run on ... Needs some refinement with catching nuances ... Can be overly patient at the plate, waits too long for perfect pitch ... Slow runner, though not a baseclogger.
OVERVIEW: Boosted his stock more than any SD prospect in 2004 ... Padres see him as similar to Jason Kendall but with more power, less speed.
* Jim Callis' Pre-2006 Padres Organization Report:
PROS: Offense-oriented catcher, natural hitting instincts, commands the strike zone ... Easy line-drive power, quiet setup and fluid swing, projects with 15-20 HR ... Athletic behind plate, plus arm strength.
CONS: Can get pull-happy, should focus on centering the ball, should let his strength work for him naturally ... Slow glove-hand exchange, long release on throws ... A bit small for a catcher ... Some question whether he can handle the rigors catching a full season.
* During Spring Training 2006, Padres manager Bruce Bochy compared Kottaras' swing to that of John Olerud.
George Kottaras is an on-base machine whose offense outshines his defense behind the plate and is the top position player in the system.
* Spent the first half of the 2006 season working on catching fundamentals with former Padres catcher Carlos Hernandez, an organizational instructor, on the finer techniques of the most demanding of positions. "He has worked with me on footwork, putting me in good positions," Kottaras said. "I'm becoming more comfortable and learning as I go along."
* Jim Callis' post-trade assessment:
* The Padres apparently weren't so high on Kottaras:
Giving up Kottaras for a month of Wells may seem like a lot ... He was the most advanced position prospect in San Diego's system ... Has developing power that eventually could produce 15 homers per season
The Padres didn't envision Kottaras as a candidate for their starting job in 2007. Scouts from two American League clubs who saw him last month rated him a backup catcher. Critics within the San Diego franchise and outside of it had concerns about Kottaras' durability, defensive makeup and ability to work with pitchers, plus his throwing mechanics. The Padres had challenged Kottaras to become more assertive as a field general.
The Red Sox farm system is thin at catcher, however, and some evaluators say the defensive concerns about Kottaras are overblown.
* Growing up near Toronto, Kottaras played fast-pitch softball but didn't take up baseball until he was 15:
* Selected as a draft-and-follow, Kottaras signed with the Padres in May 2003 for $375,000, considered mid-4th-round money. Padres scouting director Bill "Chief" Gayton called Kottaras "a huge signing."
Kottaras then started playing for the York Pioneers followed by a stint with the Etobicoke Rangers and then a season for the Ontario Blue Jays. Kottaras had been a catcher in softball but baseball was different. “I had to learn to throw and block pitches and call a game and hit. The whole game is different so I had to go back and start from scratch.” Kottaras went to Milliken Mills High School in Markham but they didn’t have a high school team so George concentrated on club baseball.
* Played for the Greek national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, going 3-for-12:
* Ranked the #17 prospect in the California League (High Class A) by Baseball America after the 2005 season, his first full year playing pro ball. He ranked behind fellow backstops Chris Iannetta of Modesto (#13, COL) and Miguel Montero of Lancaster (#14, ARI)
"It was unbelievable being part of the host country," Kottaras said. "Both my parents were born in Greece. So being a part of that and speaking Greek so I can communicate with everybody was great. It was just awesome, especially the opening ceremonies. It just took my breath away."
* Played for the World All-Stars in the 2006 Futures Game July 9 at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Went 2-for-2, scoring after a double and later hitting a 2-run HR off Yankees prospect Philip Hughes as he crushed a 1-0 pitch to right-center field:
* The next day, he flew to Montgomery, Alabama where he drove in a run in the Southern League (AA) All-Star Game.
"I knew he was highly regarded," Kottaras said, "and I was looking for a fastball. I got one over the plate. That was a great feeling, obviously, but I'm not going to classify it. There are all sorts of satisfying moments in life, things you can reflect on, and that was one of them."
Kottaras, a calm person by nature, was more excited than usual for this special occasion, requiring his attention.
"I was taking deep breaths, telling myself to relax," he said. "I was just trying to drive the ball up the middle. On the home run, I was just looking to stay inside it, not hook it foul."
* Promoted to AAA Portland (OR) in the Pacific Coast League on July 13. He went 2-for-4 in his debut with a run and 2 RBI including a solo HR in the 7th against Tacoma.
Edited by mabrowndog, 12 May 2009 - 01:22 PM.