The Rangers have 5 catchers in major league camp. I did an analysis of all the catchers in big league camp, gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training, and predicted the catching roster. I’ve also included each player’s spring training stats as of this morning (March 6th).
By the way, since I didn’t have a post last weekend, I’m posting twice this weekend. If you haven’t read it yet, I just posted my infielders analysis yesterday. It’s the next post just below this one.
Kevin Cash (0-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB)
Kevin has almost no chance at making the major league roster coming out of Spring Training, and will most likely not even be the starting catcher at Triple-A, where Taylor Teagarden will most likely fill that role. However, Cash has played in the majors for at least a part of the season for each of the past eight seasons, and it would not surprise me if he had a short stint once again in 2011. He is a very good defensive catcher, but has lots of problems at the plate. His career batting average is .183 in 641 major league at-bats, and his highest season average was .231 in 2009, a year in which he had only 26 at-bats. While Cash does have big league experience, I don’t think that there is much of a chance that he is on the Opening Day roster.
Jose Felix (4-for-4, 1 R)
Jose has just about no chance to be on the Opening Day roster, and if he somehow made his way onto it, I would be shocked. So, barring injuries to Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Treanor, Taylor Teagarden, and Kevin Cash, I feel pretty safe in saying that he will not be on the big league team. Jose is solid defensively, and can handle a pitching staff well. In fact, in 2010, he threw out 63% of attempted base-stealers at High-A Bakersfield, which is an amazing rate. Jose also hit pretty well in 2010, posting a .278 batting average between Bakersfield and Frisco. He should start off the season in Frisco, and he will not end Spring Training at a higher level than Triple-A.
Taylor Teagarden (1-for-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 R)
Taylor really struggled offensively in 2010, hitting just .155 with 4 home runs and 6 RBIs in 71 at-bats. His offensive production has gone down in each of the past two seasons after hitting well in his rookie year. In 2008, Taylor hit .319 with 6 home runs and 17 RBIs, which he followed up in 2009 by hitting a mediocre .217 with six homers and 24 RBIs. Taylor also struggled defensively last year, and his defense is supposed to be his best tool. At this point, Taylor still has the potential, and should be third on the Rangers’ catching depth chart in the organization. But the top two seem pretty set, which most likely leaves Taylor in Triple-A.
Yorvit Torrealba (0-for-3)
Yorvit was signed by the Rangers this offseason as the team’s starting catcher, and it looks like that will be his role to start off the season. I don’t see any scenario (assuming that he’s healthy) in which Yorvit is left off of the major league team at the end of Spring Training. Torrealba is good defensively, and should be a good veteran presence in the clubhouse. He is also coming off of two of his best offensive seasons of his career, if not his best two. In 2009, Yorvit hit .291 (career high) with 2 home runs and 31 RBIs. Last year, he hit .271 with 7 homers (second most in career) and 37 RBIs. He also hits well with runners in scoring position, as in 2010 he had a .316 average in that situation. If he was not on the Opening Day roster, I would be very surprised.
Matt Treanor (1-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 BB)
Coming into Spring Training, Matt seems pretty locked into the backup catching role. It does not look like there is much of a chance that he will become the starter or that he will be sent down to Triple-A at the start of the season. Despite his .211 batting average last season with the Rangers, Matt was a solid role player, and is not a bad backup catcher. As a starter, he would be on the lower end of the starting catchers in major league baseball. He hit 5 home runs and had 27 RBIs in the regular season in 2010 and also hit a homer in the postseason. Matt works well with CJ Wilson and seems to have assumed the role of his personal catcher. Matt should be the backup catcher to start off the season, and if he is not, I will not be able to claim that I saw it coming.
Come back at the end of the week for my Spring Training Pitchers Analysis.