Sunday, February 26, 2006

Analysis of Spring Training Catchers

Last week, I examined all the pitchers going to Spring Training with the Rangers and this week, I will examine the catchers. Below, I will rate each catcher and give their chances of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training.

Rod Barajas
For the 1st time, Barajas goes into Spring Training knowing that he is going to be the starting catcher unless he gets injured. According to Barajas said this about being the No.1 catcher "It feels great to come in here and be the guy and not have spring training as the deciding factor That gives me a chance to work on other things.”
Percentage 100% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training

Jamie Burke
He was drafted in 1993 by the California Angels out of Oregon State University. He did not make it to the majors until 2001 and put up a .328 average in 134 at-bats in four partial seasons with the Angels and White Sox. He has no home runs in the majors but has 10 walks. He had 21 triples in 13 seasons in the minors to show that he has decent speed for a catcher. Since he had one at-bat for the White Sox last year, he has a World Series ring. With Rod Barajas and Gerald Laird, he really has no chance of making the cut unless there’s an injury.
Percentage 0.07%

Gerald Laird
Even though Barajas has the #1 job for sure Laird is still going to play hard. According to, here is what Laird said about Barajas being the #1 catcher, "I just kind of look at it as reality. It's probably his job, but I'm going to be right here to work hard, to play hard and to push him." He is probably going to be the back-up catcher because if you look up and down the catchers, Keith McDonald has the best chance of putting up a fight for the #2 position and Keith is a non-roster invitee.
Percentage 98.9%

Keith McDonald
Keith is probably not going to make it because of him being a non-roster invitee and Gerald Laird. He has had 9 at-bats in the big leagues (in 2000 and 2001 for the St Louis Cardinals) and has had 3 hits. All 3 of those hits were homers. But in the minors, he has had 3120 at-bats and only 78 homers. Last year with the Redhawks, he batted .240 in 233 at-bats. He had 2 home runs and 33 RBI’s.
Percentage 1.6%

Mike Nickeas
Mike has a very interesting background. He is from Vancouver, Canada but you cannot tell by his accent. His Dad (Mark Nickeas) played soccer for the Dallas Sidekicks (indoor soccer team) in 1984-85. His Dad also played soccer in England in the late 70’s. Mike played baseball for Westlake High School and won two championships with them. The Rangers consider him a big prospect, and so last year they moved him from Spokane (short-season A) to Frisco (AA). He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 draft. Nickeas is said to be good with pitchers. Last year, even though he struggled with a .202 average in 242 AA at-bats, the Rangers stuck with him. He also played in the Arizona Fall League for the Grand Canyon Rafters, hitting .425 in 40 at-bats. I think that he is not going to be in the majors this year but that his minor league stats will improve after he has experience.
Percentage 1.2%

Taylor Teagarden
Teagarden was voted second-best college defensive player by Baseball America before the 2005 draft. According to, he said this about being with the Rangers (his hometown team): "I'm glad that I will get the chance to help the Rangers out as an organization. This is about the best feeling I could have right now. It's a dream come true." He batted .281 in 96 at-bats for Spokane in 2005. Teagarden batted .333 in 63 games in 2005 at the University of Texas. Teagarden has no chance of making the big leagues in 2005, but he has a chance to be a future A.J. Pierzynski without the attitude.
Percentage 0%

Nick Trzesniak
Trzesniak was drafted by the Padres in the 1999 draft and has been in the minors ever since. In his career, he has a .249 average in 1875 at-bats. Last year in AAA Portland, he batted .380 in 79 at-bats. He probably is not going to make the majors this year.
Percentage 0.04%

My prediction of which catchers will be on the active roster is the following:
Rod Barajas – starter
Gerald Laird – back-up

Next in line:
- Keith McDonald
- Mike Nickeas

Come back later this week for the infielders.


David said...

Good analysis Grant. I think you are right. Barajas is the man, but Laird shouldn't be discouraged. Even if Barajas stays healthy and productive this year, Laird will get the opportunity to start around 40 games and get around 200 plate appearances.

Ken Pittman said...

Well done Grant. I haven't posted in a bit, but I've been reading regularly and your last three posts have been great. Thanks for posting about the banquet in response to our request - the french fry comment had me laughing for quite awhile. Your "Spring Training Pitchers" post was great with excellent detail and analysis. This catchers report is great as well - I think you're right on with who makes it and why. The only thing I would add is that I feel Laird will push for more PT as the season progresses. If the Rangers aren't contending at the end of the season - I think he may play in as many as 60 games (even without Barajas injury). If the Rangers are contending (which I think they will), then David's prediction of 40 seems about right.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Ken - it's good to hear from you. I think the Rangers are going to contend too. Thanks for the nice compliments. From Grant