17 February 2010
Brian McCann is the clear-cut leader among National League catchers heading into 2010. McCann has put together four consecutive seasons averaging 22 HR, 92 RBI, and a .295 batting average. He has even thrown in a handful of stolen bases the last two years.
|McCann, B - ATL||501||69||23||93||3||.293||.356||.501||20|
|Doumit, R - PIT||470||61||19||75||4||.274||.332||.475||15|
|Martin, R - LAN||510||71||11||68||12||.278||.367||.396||14|
|Iannetta, C - COL||403||58||18||62||0||.256||.363||.493||13|
|Soto, G - CHN||440||59||16||67||0||.261||.344||.445||12|
|Montero, M - ARI||441||57||15||59||1||.277||.338||.465||12|
After McCann, there is no clear-cut candidate for #2. There are at least five players who have shown flashes of brilliance, but haven't shown the consistency yet. I have Ryan Doumit in the #2 slot. Despite an injury-plagued 2009 season, Doumit had a .274/.341/.472 season in 2007, and had improved to a .318/.357/.501 in 2008. I think Doumit will manage to stay healthy this time, and will end up as the 2nd most productive catcher. Russell Martin probably won't return to his .293, 19 HR, 87 RBI campaign of 2007, but he should still rack up double figures in HR and SB, and will get enough playing time to accumulate good totals in Runs Scored and RBI. Chris Iannetta has hit 18 HR and 16 HR for the last two seasons, and should be able to repeat that level. Geovany Soto collapsed to a .218 batting average in 2009, after winning the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year with a .285, 23 HR, 85 RBI season. I think he'll come closer to his 2008 totals, although there are many questions after Soto reported to camp 40 lbs lighter. Miguel Montero had a fine 2009 campaign, with a .294 AVG and 16 HR. I think that average will come down a little, but the power will stay. One concern with Montero is that his backup, Chris Snyder, will probably steal most of the ABs against LHP, and may play even more if he hits well.
|Molina, Y - STL||494||46||7||53||4||.291||.353||.385||9|
|Molina, B - SFG||463||47||12||65||0||.261||.291||.417||8|
|Flores, J - WAS||393||44||13||57||0||.267||.323||.427||8|
|Ruiz, C - PHI||415||48||11||55||2||.255||.351||.421||7|
This next group of catchers is a set of players that should have decent playing time, but aren't terribly productive hitters. Yadier Molina has shown the ability to hit for a high average, and has even started drawing more walks, but won't hit for much power. Ramon Hernandez has been fading for four straight years, but is still only 34, and should have one more double-digit HR season left. Bengie Molina still can't draw 20 walks in a season, but he has been good for double-digit HR and has been batting in a good RBI slot. Molina also has to fend off rookie Buster Posey for playing time in 2010. Jesus Flores also should provide some power and few walks, and also has a battle for playing time, in this case with Ivan Rodriguez. If he's healthy, he should get the bulk of the playing time. Carlos Ruiz showed some improvement at the plate in 2009, and should be the full time starter in 2010.
|Baker, J - FLA||350||44||7||43||1||.263||.341||.405||6|
|Towles, J - HOU||261||37||7||38||2||.257||.335||.423||5|
|Hundley, N - SD||365||39||11||46||2||.244||.303||.404||4|
|Zaun, G - MIL||361||38||8||37||0||.247||.344||.384||3|
|Olivo, M - COL||220||24||9||28||0||.241||.284||.460||2|
|Paulino, R - FLA||257||25||7||28||1||.265||.333||.415||2|
For this group of players, full-time playing status is more uncertain. In Florida, John Baker and Ronny Paulino will battle for playing time. J.R. Towles is hoping for another chance in Houston, and I think 2010 will be the year he finally starts to put it together. Nick Hundley has shown some power, but plays in a tough park and now has to battle Yorvit Torrealba. Can Gregg Zaun really be the starter for the Brewers? He hasn't had over 400 ABs in a season since 2005, but his competition is only George Kotteras and Angel Salome. Miguel Olivo should benefit from playing in Coors Field, but may not get as much playing time as last year.
|Posey, B - SFG||145||19||4||19||1||.276||.353||.430||1|
|Schneider, B - PHI||231||19||5||31||0||.264||.353||.381||1|
|Snyder, C - ARI||211||22||6||24||0||.242||.344||.411||1|
|Santos, O - NYM||278||24||4||30||0||.233||.272||.336||1|
|Torrealba, Y - SD||223||22||2||27||1||.233||.294||.337||1|
|Ross, D - ATL||111||15||5||18||0||.261||.349||.486||1|
|Hanigan, R - CIN||230||23||3||19||0||.265||.353||.345||0|
|Blanco, H - NYM||201||21||4||19||0||.244||.315||.373||0|
|Quintero, H - HOU||240||18||3||19||0||.233||.285||.362||0|
|Thole, J - NYM||100||12||1||13||0||.270||.330||.350||0|
Buster Posey is the best catching prospect around, but may be back in AAA after the Giants re-signed Bengie Molina. Players like Brian Schneider, Chris Snyder, and David Ross have some proven ability, but are blocked from full-time status. Yorvit Torrealba will also have to battle for playing time, and is moving to a tough hitting park. Josh Thole showed good on-base skills in AA last year, but may not be ready to jump to the Majors yet.