Monday, March 07, 2005

Position Analysis: Catcher

Alright all, beginning today we are starting position anaylsis for the pre-season. To begin, I am starting with catchers. The Twins seemingly have three options: Joe Mauer, Mike Redmond, and (hold your breath) Matthew LeCroy.

LeCroy is obviously a bad option, seeing as his defense and throwing skills are non-existent. His role as a DH seems secure, though I dont know how good of a DH he is and I believe Shannon Stewart is the best DH option we have.

Redmond is this year's Blanco. He is a solid defensive catcher with a good arm, but naturally his bat is his downside. But thats not what he is here for. There are two reasons for Mike Redmond's presence. Besides obviously being a defensive backup, he needs to be a quick second-option in the case that Joe Mauer's knee doesnt hold up. Secondly, he's a veteran and thats key because he can hold our pitching staff together. With a team like the Twins that relies sooo much on its pitching, its very important to have a veteran presence who can call games and be a leader, especially if Mauer goes down injured again.

That leads us into Mr. Mauer. Mauer is an extremely gifted athelete who combines maturity, good defense, and phenomenal bat control. His presence in the line-up, if consistent, can change the course of the year for the Twins. If Stewart is our number 1, then Mauer is our number 2 in the batting order. That gives us two great hitters with great bat control at the top of the lineup. Its not quite as good as Florida's Pierre-Castillo combo, but its close. If he can make through the year healthy, that gives the Twins a well-needed offensive boost. And its not as if Mauer hurts with the glove. If the knee holds up, he'll be comfortable and skillful behind the plate. As fellow analysist Nick Nelson says, Mauer is considered the best defensive catcher in the league. If healthy, there is not objective measure of his importance to the team.

So best-case senario is Mauer is healthy and gives us the season we hoped for last year. Worst-case is we end up with a situation similar to last years, platooning catching between Redmond and LeCroy.