The Rangers have 6 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 evening (March 17th).
Dusty Brown (0-for-2, 2 BB)
While Dusty provides good insurance for the Rangers at the position, with his 43 career major league at-bats, he has no chance at the Opening Day roster and will probably start the season as the Double-A back-up. He has seen almost no action this spring (just 4 plate appearances), and will almost surely see no big league action at all this year with the Rangers.
Luis Martinez (7-for-14, 2 RBI)
Like Dusty, Martinez provides good depth for the Rangers at the catching position as he had 59 major league at-bats last year for the Padres, but unlike Dusty, Martinez actually has a chance at making the team at some point this year. He has seen a lot of game time in Spring Training so far, and has played very well. He has a career .364 minor league OBP and is very solid defensively. Martinez will almost certainly start off the season as the Triple-A starter.
Mike Napoli (4-for-10, 1 RBI)
Mike will obviously be the starting catcher on Opening Day, but he hasn’t seen as much time this spring as he would have liked, as he has missed about a week due to a groin injury. He should be good to go by April 6th though, barring a re-aggravation. And if he plays, he should play brilliantly, as last year Mike hit 30 home runs and had 75 RBIs in just 369 at-bats. He also had a career-best .320 average and a .414 OBP. Napoli should be one of the top catchers in the league once again this year.
Tommy Mendonca (2-for-4)
Mendonca was a third baseman up until this year, but with the backlog at that position with Adrian Beltre and Michael Olt, there was no spot for him to come up into the majors at that spot. The Rangers wanted to give him a chance to earn a spot at some point in his career after his 25-homer season in Frisco last year. If he can be good enough defensively to stay at catcher, Tommy will most likely start off the season as the starter at Double-A Frisco.
Chris Robinson (3-for-10)
Robinson is another guy who can provide the Rangers with some solid depth at catcher, as, while he’s never made the majors, Chris has played at Triple-A three straight years now, hitting over .300 in two of those years, including a .316 average in 2011. He’s also decent defensively, as he has a high fielding percentage, but a mediocre percentage at catching base runners stealing. Robinson will most likely back up Luis Martinez at Triple-A Round Rock to start off the season.
Yorvit Torrealba (5-for-17, 3 RBI)
Despite an altercation with an umpire this winter in the Venezuelan League, Torrealba will not be suspended and should certainly make the big league roster as a back up on the Opening Day roster. Yorvit hit fairly well last year for the Rangers, with a .273 batting average (.002 points higher than his 2010 batting average) to go along with 7 home runs and 37 RBIs, the exact same power numbers he posted in 2010. However, Torrealba was a bit of a disappointment defensively, as he was brought in as a great defensive catcher, but then threw out just 33% of base runners and made 9 errors. So while Yorvit will be the back-up catcher on Opening Day, if his defensive career trend continues, he may be shipped off by the trade deadline and replaced as back-up by Luis Martinez or Chris Robinson.
Come back tomorrow for my Outfield and DH Spring Training Analysis.