CatchersMarch 23rd, 2012 by terrybenish
So as we get closer to the opening day of baseball, it is time to review the teams in the division and look at them through the prism of position by position comparisons. Today catchers.
The last two years have seen new players come into the mix to start as well as split time at three of the teams in the division, a veritable fifty-two card pick up. Last year in a spat induced shakeup the Angels shipped off Mike Napoli to Toronto only to see him flipped immediately to Texas, where he had one of the greatest offensive years any catcher has had in the last fifty years, comparable to the wind aided performance of Mike Piazza in 1997 with the Dodgers. Napoli shared time with Yorvit Torrealba, ex-Mariner and a few other guys that are since gone and that arrangement will continue. Defensively he threw well and Torrealba is an ok backup, that won’t kill the team either way.
Jeff Mathis was probably the Angels primary guy and he’s gone, and like Napoli he’s off to Toronto. The Angels traded for Chris Iannetta from the Rockies. Offensively an upgrade with a good onbag and good power he does not throw particularly well. Also Hank Conger received his baptism last year and had mixed results at the age of 22, having seen him play since his high school days, I would not be surprised to see him improve significantly this year.
The A’s cut former number one pick Landon Powell this week and seem ready to go with Kurt Suzuki as the primary player and Anthony Recker as his back up. Recker is a long time minor leaguer who had a great offensive year at Sacramento last summer. Suzuki achieved a career high of 14 home runs last year, but seemed to suffer the workload as his batting average plummeted for the fourth straight year. In 2008 when he arrived as a starter Suzuki was thought to have a gun throwing out thirty seven percent of base runners, the last three years though that has fallen off significantly to sit at just below league average. Recker is a great big guy 6’2 242 pounds that does not figure to play that much.
Last year Miquel Olivo led the Mariners with 19 homers and 62 rbis, with an onbag of .253 and a slug of .388. He throws ok, but is the worst receiver in the American League. Other than Boston, whose stats are skewed by the presence of knucklballer Tim Wakefield, Olivo led the league in the combined total of passed balls and wild pitches, the differentiation being a scorekeeper’s call. A veritable colander. To that mix was added John Jaso from the Rays and Jesus Montero. Montero is the every day dh and reportedly will catch a game or so a week and when manager Wedge can stand it no longer, Jaso will play.
Wedge has made positive remarks about Montero as a catcher. Let your own eyes tell the story.