Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Training Catchers Analysis

This past week 105.3 The Fan put my blog on their website at http://www.1053thefan.com/pages/3988228.php?contentType=4&contentId=3642573. The Fan is the great new sports radio station in town and their website (http://www.1053thefan.com/) has a lot of good content. You should check it out. I think they plan to keep posting my blogs on their site and I’d like to thank Devin Pike and Gavin Spittle from The Fan for putting me on their site.

This week I completed my analysis of the players in Rangers camp with an analysis of the seven catchers in big league camp, with my percentages of them making the Opening Day roster this year.

Adam Melhuse: Last year Melhuse hit .167 in only thirty at-bats. He hit .200 with 0 HR’s and 1 RBI in 20 AB’s for the Rangers and .100 with 0 HR’s and 1 RBI in 10 AB’s for the Rockies. This was the worst average of his career when he had 25 or more at-bats. In 2007, Melhuse hit .231 with 0 HR’s and 2 RBI’s in 26 at-bats for Oakland and hit .206 with 1 HR and 7 RBI’s in 68 AB’s for the Rangers (a .213 batting average between the two teams). His best year was in 2004 with Oakland when he hit .257 with 11 HR’s and 31 RBI’s in 214 at-bats (the most home runs, RBI’s, and at-bats of any season in his career). But with the Rangers having Teagarden, Ramirez, and Saltalamacchia and with Melhuse being a non-roster invite, he probably will not make the team out of Spring Training, but if an injury occurs he might be called up on short-term basis.
Percentage chance of making the team out of Spring Training: 11.4%

Manuel Pina: Last year (his 4th in the Rangers system) Pina hit .265 with 3 HR’s and 24 RBI’s in 223 at-bats with the Blaze before being called up to Frisco where he hit .275 with 0 HR’s and 9 RBI’s in 80 at-bats. He threw out 32% of the California League base-stealers and 40% of the Texas League base-stealers. Pina has almost no chance of making the team out of Spring Training with the Rangers’ catching depth and him being a non-roster invite. Pina is an excellent defensive catcher with good plate discipline but is in big league camp this year mostly to get some experience.
Percentage: 2.9%

Max Ramirez: Ramirez made his major league debut last year and struggled in 46 AB’s, hitting only .217 with 2 HR’s and 9 RBI’s. In his 243 at-bats with Frisco in 2008 he hit .354 with 17 HR’s and 50 RBI’s. His on-base percentage was .450. In 2007 after he was traded to the Rangers for Kenny Lofton, Ramirez hit .307 with 4 HR’s and 20 RBI’s in 114 at-bats for Bakersfield. Max has great offensive potential and may ultimately be part of the team as something other than a catcher (he may be better suited as a 1B/DH). He’s currently not in camp, as he’s playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, where he’s gone 0-for-5. He definitely has a good chance of making the team, but I think that he will start off the year in Oklahoma City.
Percentage: 45.1%

Kevin Richardson: In 2008, Kevin spent the whole year in Oklahoma City and hit .251 with 6 HR’s and 22 RBI’s in 187 at-bats. In 2007, with Frisco he hit .222 with 14 HR’s and 45 RBI’s in 320 at-bats. Kevin works really well with pitchers and is someone who probably has a future as a coach, even if he doesn’t play in the majors. Kevin has no chance of making the team out of spring training since he had knee surgery that will keep him out for a while.
Percentage: 0%

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Salty only had 198 at-bats last year and struggled. He hit .253 with only 3 HR’s and 26 RBI’s, but even though he had 110 less at-bats than 2007, he still walked 12 more times in 2008 than in 2007, showing that he’s learning to be more disciplined at the plate. He had nine errors last year and only a .976 fielding percentage and struggles throwing out base-stealers. In 2007, he hit .266 with 11 HR’s and 33 RBI’s in 308 AB’s between Atlanta and Texas. Salty has looked great during the off-season (.364, 9 HR and 21 RBI in 66 at-bats in the winter league) and during camp so far. Salty will almost surely make the team out of Spring Training and most likely will be the starter.
Percentage: 93.4%

Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden played very well in his short stint with the Rangers last year and hit .319 with 6 home runs and 17 RBI’s in 47 at-bats. His OBP was .396 and his slugging percentage was .809. He hit only .225 with 7 HR’s and 16 RBI’s in 187 at-bats with Oklahoma City in 2008 and hit only .169 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s in his 59 at-bats with Frisco in ’08. He is great defensively and works well with pitchers and, if he can keep up anything close to the offensive numbers he put up with the Rangers last year, will be the complete package at catcher. He will probably make the team, but not as an outright starter, most likely splitting the games with Saltalamacchia.
Percentage: 72.9%

I’m not sure that Emerson Frostad is in major league camp, but I think that he was brought over to replace the injured Kevin Richardson:
Emerson Frostad: Emerson hit .256 with 6 home runs and 38 RBI’s with Frisco in ’08. He played in 92 games and had 332 at-bats, an average of 3.61 at-bats per game played. He walked 35 times, but struck out 78 times. He had 85 total hits and was 4-for-6 in stolen base attempts. He can play third, catcher, and first, but doesn’t run very well. He has almost no chance of making the team this year.
Percentage: 1.2%

Here is my predicted catching roster on Opening Day:
Starting Catcher vs. Lefties: Taylor Teagarden
Starting Catcher vs. Righties: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Next in line:
Max Ramirez

Here are my predictions for the Rangers’ roster on Opening Day:
Starter #1: Kevin Millwood
Starter #2: Vicente Padilla
Starter #3: Matt Harrison
Starter #4: Scott Feldman
Starter #5: Brandon McCarthy
Long Reliever: Dustin Nippert
Long Reliever/Middle Reliever: Doug Mathis
Long Reliever/Middle Reliever: Josh Rupe
Middle Reliever: CJ Wilson
Middle Reliever: Warner Madrigal
Set-up Man: Eddie Guardado
Closer: Frankie Francisco
Starting Catcher vs. Lefties: Taylor Teagarden
Starting Catcher vs. Righties: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B: Chris Davis
2B: Ian Kinsler
3B: Michael Young
SS: Elvis Andrus
DH: Hank Blalock
Utility: Omar Vizquel
Center Field: Josh Hamilton
Right Field: Nelson Cruz
Left Field vs. Righties: David Murphy
Left Field vs. Lefties: Marlon Byrd
Back-up Outfielder: Frank Catalanotto

Come back next week for a summary of my trip to Rangers camp at Spring Training.

2 comments:

Texrollie said...

Great analysis. One change in your projected roster though. Make Guardado the situational lefty and make Wilson the set-up guy. If they do not give Wilson the 8th inning they need to trade him.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Texrollie,

Thanks for the comment. I hope that they give CJ the eighth inning, I think he'd do pretty well there, but Eddie pitched really well in that spot last year, too. And with Eddie being injured throughout most of camp, CJ has a much better shot of getting it.

Grant.