Catchers in the divisionDecember 18th, 2012 by terrybenish
First off this is an interesting exercise, because at best all of the players current on rosters are flawed one way or the other. The principal free agent at the position that could end up in the division conceivably is an offensive player primarily, decent receiver, throws ok and is older. That being A.J. Pierzynski.
Here are the catcher’s ranked by OPS:
1. John Jaso .850 SEA
2. Jason Castro .735 HOU
3. Chris Iannetta .730 LAA
4. Derek Norris .625 OAK
5. Geovany Soto .591 TEX
Starting at the bottom, Soto has a .270 Obpct, with some decent power, 12 doubles and 11 home runs in 354 plate appearances. Chris Iannetta for the Angels is a veteran player that should be a high onbag guy after a year in the league. High walk percentage and if he gets 400 plate appearances will probably hit 15-20 home runs. Derek Norris of Oakland who is in his second year in the bigs, showed to be a high onbag and was a good power player in the minors and although his contact rate struggled at the top level, he should be a a productive catcher. Castro although a little older is similar to Norris offensively.
That leaves John Jaso who was traded for a leper(Josh Leuke) and after barely making the team came on and had a monster year with an OPS of .850 in 350 plate appearances. Disciplined high on bag hitter, that looks for a pitch and attacks it he seems to be the best hitter of the group. The Mariners manager Eric Wedge does not like him and only after Miguel Olivo exhibited abject failure did he get to play. All this winter Wedge has continued to decry him as a regular catcher, which in the context of signing somebody else has not been a winning strategy. Despite not having as good an arm as Olivo, teams tried to run on Olivo more frequently as he used his mitt like a ping pong paddle to bat balls down. Jaso is a competent receiver that throws credibly. Without getting much of a chance to hit against left handers during his major league career he is hung with the notion of being a platoon player. Small sample size.
Soto caught 44 games for Texas last year and nobody tried to steal on him, which suggests he is both a good receiver and has a bazooka for an arm. Iannetta throws ok and plays for a manager that was a catcher and will not put up with bad receiving. See Mike Napoli.
Castro did not seem to throw well and had an enormous amount of passed balls and wild pitches when he caught. They are really bad though and he will be given time to improve. Norris throws well and is a good receiver. He also has a team mate George Kottaras a veteran left handed hitter to spell him should he struggle.
The unspoken name here is Mike Zunino last year’s number one pick that many front office folks are on bended knee about breaking camp with the Mariners without being destroyed by being rushed. He hits, hits with power and is a good receiver and average arm. They need a break about now.
Second baseman next.