Catch My Drift? | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Catch My Drift?

April 15, 2010

taylor After a most unpredictable and exciting first week and a half of the Major League Baseball season, I’ve noticed a trend that has become all too clear to GMs and fantasy owners alike.  They wish that they had Joe Mauer and his sweet, sweet 1.167 OPS%.  During the off-season, Mauer and the Twins inked a 8yr/$184mil contract that essentially made him a Twin for life.  Yes, that is an obscene amount of money, but why not?  Who wouldn’t shell out the big bucks for a 6’4”, 5-tool, left-handed hitting catcher? However, Mauer’s greatness also brings to light a vast discrepancy in the quality of catchers across the league.  In both the AL and NL Central, there are too many teams receiving little or no production from their catcher(s).  Yes, I know that it’s early in the season and I sympathize with how constricting and relenting the cold can be, but I am not surprised by the specific catchers that are struggling.  Some have been over-hyped while others have fallen victim to the minors.  Some are just too old.  I guess that what I’m really trying to say, is that I’m sure Brad Ausmus is feeling pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good about being on the DL to start the season .

NL Central
Should we really attribute Geovanny Soto’s highly disappointing 2009 campaign to the “sophomore slump,” or do the Cubs have a greater problem on their hands?  Soto’s slow start to the current season is reminiscent of his slow start last season that ultimately resulted in a .218/.321/.381.  Entering Wednesday, Soto was just 2-for-15(.133) with no extra base-hits and three walks.  The Cubs don’t seem to have the patience that they did last year with Soto; Koyie Hill was given consecutive starts on Thursday and Friday in lieu of Soto’s lack of production.  In those two games Hill went 1-for-6 (.167), which means that Cubs’ catchers are hitting a combined .143.  But wait, it gets worse.  Neither Soto or Hill have an extra base hit and neither have tallied an RBI.  In 2008, Soto carried the Cubs on his back into the postseason and it seems as though he will need to do so again this year.  On a personal note, Soto is the skidmark on my fantasy team; he’s really making me look an asshole for expecting immediate results.

As Griff alluded to in his previous article, this is going to be a painful year for the Houston Astros.  Rather than trying to solve any of their offensive deficiencies, the Astros deemed it best to sign RP Brandon Lyon to a 3yr/$15mil contract. After trying to produce a homegrown catcher for the better part of a decade(with minimal success), when do you give up?  Apparently, not quite yet.  Former top prospect J.R. Towles was given the opening day nod(by default) and has done nothing to prove that he deserves it.  Prior to Wednesday’s games Towles was 1-for-16(.063) and yet to draw a walk.  Towles initial struggles prompted the Astros to mix in Humberto Quintero, who has only responded by hitting .111.  Much like the Cubs, the Astros’ catchers are yet to drive in a run and seem highly unlikely to do so with any consistency.  I’m tired of seeing them play catcher roulette every season.  On the bright side, Jason Castro is lurking in the minors and seems destined to assume the catching duties at some point this season.  For the sake of Asros’ fans, let’s just hope that it is sooner rather than later.

  • Over the past three seasons, former teammate and catcher for my high school team, Jon Fixler, has given himself a name within the Astros organization.  Currently playing for the Lexington Legends(A), Fix reached Chorpus Christi(AA) last season after showing continual improvements and an ability to adapt to each level.  I also recently learned that he has a blog, through the Astros, where he reflects on his Minor League experiences.

Is it me, or are the Brewers just reusing and recycling veteran catchers?  With Jason Kendall’s reign of terror over Milwaukee complete, I would have liked to seen the Brewers stray from the path of employing another old, irrelevant catcher.  But of course, they signed Greg Zaun.  It could have gotten really crazy had the Cardinals not resigned Jason LaRue for the season.  Headed into Wednesday, Zaun’s 0-for-18 with two walks has been a black hole in an otherwise productive, Brewer lineup.  In an effort to ignite the lower third of the lineup Ken Macha has given George Kottaras increased opportunities to step up.  Kottaras has produced a .167/.250/.167 line that just screams, “Eat your heart out J.R. Towles!”

AL Central

Where is Jake Taylor when you need him?  Although, at his age, I suspect that his level of production would rival those of Zaun and Kendall. That would have to be better than the Indians’ atrocious Marson/Redmond tandem, right?  Marson entered Wednesday’s action rocking a dismal .077/.143/.077, which makes Redmond’s .182/.250/.273 seem acceptable.  If you didn’t know already, the Tribe is just laying low before they unveil their coveted, catching-phenom Carlos Santana.  I’m really excited for that to happen, whenever it does, but for the time being, rough.

I’m going to go relatively easy on Gerald Laird because I still think he is a great, overall catcher.  However, he doesn’t have to report to me with that .056 batting average.  It is clear that Tigers are scheming over their catching situation based upon their choice to include Alex Avila on the opening day roster.  In his 69 career at-bats with the TIgers, the 22 year-old Avila has posted an impressive .910% OPS.  Avila could be a nice fantasy addition within the next couple weeks for those that have any of the players I just hacked into.

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