Saturday, October 1, 2011

Season Recap by Position: Catchers

Today begins a series of posts recapping the Reds' 2011 season by position. The positions will be broke down in this manner and in this order: catchers, starting pitchers, relief pitchers, outfielders, infielders and management.

We will give our analysis of each player at that position, as well as an overall grade for the group at the end of the post (based heavily on preseason expectations).

So without further ado, here is the recap on the most under-appreciated, most-physical position on the diamond -- catcher.

"A catcher must want to catch. He must make up his mind that it isn't the terrible job it is painted, and that he isn't going to say every day, 'Why, oh why with so many other positions in baseball did I take up this one'." -Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey

Ramon Hernandez - Despite playing in only 91 games, the 35-year old had what many would consider a good season in 2011. He committed only 1 error in 549 chances (.998) and came through with a multitude of timely hits -- including probably the most exciting moment of the year when he delivered a three-run, walkoff homer on Opening Day against the Brewers. However, the 13-year veteran is set to enter free agency this Winter and with the team currently busting at the seams with young talent at the position, don't be surprised if we don't see Ramon as a Red again in 2012.

Ryan Hanigan - Ryan's offensive production dropped off a bit from last season, but the former undrafted free agent still did well in a platoon role with Hernandez. Hanigan set a career-high in games played (91) and threw out 35% of potential base stealers -- which ranked second-highest among all National League catchers who appeared in at least half of their team's games. The 31-year old will likely resume a similar split-duty role next season as top prospect Devin Mesoraco vies for more playing time.

Devin Mesoraco - The former first round pick from the '07 Draft spent most of the year with Triple-A Louisville where he punished International League pitching with 36 doubles, 71 RBI and a .855 OPS. Unfortunately, the 23-year old slugger didn't fare so well in his brief stint with the big club in September. He batted just .180 (9 for 50) with 10 K's, but don't let that fool you -- the organization fully expects Mesoraco to be a fixture in Cincinnati behind the dish for many years to come.

Group Grade: B
You can't blame these guys for the demise of the Redlegs this year. Their collective productivity was on par with both preseason expectations and their normal career numbers. Their combined AVG, homerun total, RBI total, OBP and OPS all exceeded the league averages for the catching position. This alone should rectify their B grade for the '11 campaign.


Anonymous said...

Man you would be a tough teacher. They exceeded the average for all those statistics and only get a B? What did they need to do for an A? Besides win?

Jimmi Adair said...

Finish in the top three in the league in those categories instead of 5th-7th.