Phillies Prospect Report: Henri Lartigue
Philadelphia Phillies prospect Henri Lartigue was moved behind the plate in his freshman year at Ole Miss to catch for the 5-time College World Series champion Rebels. Lartigue, now one of the top catching prospects for the Philadelphia Phillies saw limited playing time during his Freshman and Sophomore campaigns. In his Junior year, Lartigue secured a starting spot and broke out, hitting for a .353 average with 73 hits and knocking in 31 runs. He also was one of the top defensive catchers in the country, throwing out 13 base runners throughout the season and earning a spot as a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award
In the Clearwater Threshers dugout in Clearwater, FL, I asked Lartigue about his time with Ole Miss and the success they had.
“It was a good time for sure. It’s fun to see the whole team being successful. We were also top 5 in attendance every single year so it’s nice to be able to play in front of 10,00 fans every weekend,” said Lartigue.
A 6’0 200 lb switch-hitting backstop, Lartigue was selected 197th overall with the Philadelphia Phillies 7th round selection in the MLB Draft. Without hesitation, Lartigue signed and headed to the Phillies Short Season-A affiliate, the Williamsport Crosscutters.
“I can’t thank the Phillies enough. They’ve done a lot for me. I’ve got to credit the Phillies for really molding everyone in the organization into the best ballplayer they can be.“ said Lartigue.
He tells me he didn’t call pitches in college and when he came to pro ball, he was faced with the tough challenge of getting to know all of his pitchers and managing them more, which was a very big learning experience. He says that John Mizerock, former Houston Astros catcher and current Clearwater Threshers coach helped him out a lot both behind the plate and offensively.
In 2018, Lartigue slashed .251/.322/.356 with 45 RBI’s. I asked him if he was doing anything different this past season: “It’s just sticking with the plan. Every day we go out here and we try to have fun…we play baseball. It is our job but if you go out there worrying about it as a job it’s a little tougher on guys. I’m just going out here and trying to have fun. It’s the same game it was when I was playing T-Ball at 4 or 5 years old. “
Not many players are switch-hitting catchers with the approach and build of Lartigue, so I asked him if there was anyone he models his game after or would compare himself to. “The only switch-hitting catcher growing up was Jorge Posada. I’ve always tried to be like him and just handle the bat and take care of the pitching staff.”
Current Phillies catcher JT Realmuto’s contract is up in 2021 and eligible for arbitration in 2020, so more hard work in the minors could lead to a starting role in the bigs for the 23-year-old. To finish up the Interview, I asked Lartigue what his goals were for the future and he told me he wanted to play in the bigs, as every minor leaguer does than followed up saying;
“You can’t be here and worry about playing in the big leagues at the same time…you’ve got to worry about where your feet are.”