Thursday, January 04, 2007

Catchers

Since Carson posted that pic of Richard Simmons, one of the greatest catchers of our time, I'm going to continue talking about the men behind the plate. And I'll start by posting this quote, which was authored by an esteemed blogging colleague, who obviously is not a fan of the current catching situation:

complete b#llsh!t- looks like Rod Barajas would be the starter...f'n told ya!
First, let me introduce you to each of the Phillies starting catcher candidates:

1) Rod Barajas - 8 year veteran. Has started around 100 games each of the last three seasons with Texas after playing 50% of the time in Arizona, where he won a World Series. He batted .256-11-41 with the Rangers last year. His previous best season was '05 when he knocked 21 out of the yard and drove in 60.

2) Chooch Ruiz - the heir apparent to that stiff Mike Lieberthal. Ruiz stuggled in his initial stint with the Phils last year but rebounded at the end of the year to hit a respectable .261 for the season. Ruiz has torched minor league pitching (for catchers...) hitting over .300 in the last two seasons in AAA.

3) Chris Coste - 11 minor league season. Lifetime .301 minor league average (built mainly on his early career in the Northern League.) When he finally got to the Big Show, he still hit, batting .328-7-32 in limited action last year behind the plate.

Analysis - Despite Barajas being the starter heading into the season (according to phillies.com) I still see Ruiz getting a good deal of time behind the plate. Ruiz has proven himslef at AAA, but he only played in 27 games last year. I can't see starting the season and trusting a pitching staff and a playoff contending team to a catcher with 27 games major league experience. Barajas is a necessary evil. His "upside" is far below that of Ruiz but he is a proven commodity that can bridge the gap between Lieby and (presumably) Ruiz. The guy who is really going to take it in the 5-hole here is Chris Coste. With Barajas and Ruiz doing the majority of the catching, and Helms and Charlie-Manuel-Love-Doll Abe Nunez holding down third base, I think you'll see Chris Coste in an emergency / pinch-hit / injury roll this year. He got 198 at-bats last year in only 65 games. He won't get more than that next year.
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Phriday Plashback

Speaking of catchers, how about some of these classic Phillie backstops:

Ozzie Virgil - the Ozzman cometh! He had two pretty solid years in '84 and '85, hitting 37 homeruns. That got him traded to the Braves for Milt Thompson and Steve Bedrosian. Two of the greatest beards in Phillie's history, Virgil and Bedrock, traded for each other. This is an event that is not referenced enough by the historians.

Steve Lake - proving in this pic that the fu-manchu was around South Philadelphia ballparks long before Sal came to town. Lake played four seasons for the Phillies. He sucked. He still was a better hitter and Abe Nunez will ever be.

Corey

24 comments:

Maria said...

I'd rather have Ruiz start next season and then Chris Coste and then Barajas.

GM-Carson said...

Rod Barajas will most likely be this season's "least liked Phillie" for me, and that's taking the place of last year's No-Hit Nunez and H-Mo Bell. I know I'm not even giving Barajas a chance and he may make me regret this...gosh I hope so! I just think the Ruiz has a shot at becoming an above average MLB catcher, even a potential All-Star, and with Barajas starting it will hinder Ruiz's progression. With that said, I do understand what Corey was saying by the "necessary evil" statment, as I somewhat agree with it, but still don't like it.

~Carson

Mike Edelman said...

I hope Coste's the guy because I just love that picture!

GM-Carson said...

I do not think Coste will bat +.300 again, but he could. I hope he at least gets the chance to prove his worth. Also, if Manuel weren't so damn stupid, Coste would have logged some innings at 3rd last year while Nunez was hovering around the Mendoza line.

~Carson

michael said...

Barajas, yuk. even though me and him have similar last names I still don't understand him among the other free agent catchers. hopefull gillick is seeing something the rest of the world isn't.

furiousBall said...

I think we should refer to the catcher position in light of the Richard Simmons posting as the "power bottom" from now on.

I like a battery of Ruiz and Coste, I don't really get the Barajas signing.

goDuke said...

I'd almost rather have Lieberthal then Barajas as my starting power bottom. Or not. Once H-Mo Bell left, Lieberthal quicking vaulted to most detested Phil for me. I am now focusing my energy on Dr. Donut (just for fun).

dane said...

carson you hit the nail on the head. i don't like barajas because he is blocking ruiz's path to reaching his full potential which I believe is high judging from his minor league performance

GM-Carson said...

I actually like Lieber because of his donut eating ability. I didn't like Lieberthal personally and hated David Fairy-Feet Bell even more. I still detest No-Hit Nunez!

"Powerbottom" is a great nickname for our catchers...hope it sticks.

Dane- Barajas may be somewhat productive his lone year in Philly (hopefully), but I want Ruiz to progress into what I think he can become.

~Carson

goDuke said...

I wanted Coste to get the job, because you have to love a 31 year old rookie or whatever the hell he was considered this past year. Since I'll be 31 this year, I wanted to root for him... as long as the Phils win it all, I could care less who the starting powerbottom is.

GM-Carson said...

I wouldn't care if Derek Jeter was our starting shortstop if the Phils won it all...still wouldn't like him though. I just have a strong dislike to Yankees...can't help it and don't wanna help it.

~Carson

The Omnipotent Q said...

C&C: The Phillies always seemed to have catchers with unique facial hair. I remember Ozzie Virgil well, and Sal Fasano had one of the great porn staches in baseball history...

I added your site to my "cool bloggers" section on my site, as I am expanding my "non-Red Sox" blogs links, and I will make a new section for that soon.

Have a great weekend, gents...

The Omnipotent Q said...

I also enjoyed your comment about Jeter and the Yankees...you summed up my feelings about them perfectly.

GM-Carson said...

I have some some updates to do in our links section as I have found other blogs that have added us and I'd like to return the favor...this takes time, because I'd like to do it all at once.

Facial hair is awesome!

~Carson

D. Page said...

I'd be happy as long as the catcher can do a good job defensively and bat about .260, and I don't know anything about Barajas' defense. Sure, I'd love a retro Mike Piazza behind the plate who could go yard every third game and bat .300, but if the catcher has solid offense and a good defense, that's enough for me. I say have all three try out for the position for a little while, and then give the lion's share of the stars to whoever's performing the best with both bat and glove.

chuckm said...

There may be games where the bottom of the order is Rowand, Nunez and Barajas. That is scary.

GM-Carson said...

Rowand in the 7th or 8th slot in the lineup is cool with me, but any time Nunez is in the lineup I will be pissed.
There has been a lot of talk, mainly by me, about ex and current Phils that are our least favorite. I'm working on a poll in that light for tomorrow.

~Carson

YankeesChick said...

you forgot about my fave phillies catcher of all time, sal fasano.

TrekMedic251 said...

FWIW,...Ruiz starting,...Barajas mentoring Ruiz,...Coste doing solid bench work.

Bob D said...

A few things not mentioned about all 3 of these guys: They all have above average arms with very good defense. They also are known to call a good game, that is something overlooked too often. Ruiz also has speed and maybe the fastest catcher in the NL, his upside is definitely better. Another good thing with bringing in Barajas is it provides good depth for the team this year.
Jason Jaramillo is waiting in the wings in the minors and has good potential, however he is a year from being ready but could be pressed to service if needed. Behind him Lou Marson with good power and a strong arm waits for a call up maybe 2008 or 2009.

Bob D said...

Looks as if Wells is close to becoming a Padre, good for those wishing not to trade Myers

Chris said...

I realized one of you commented on it, but I would like to psot a link to my thoughts on Rod Barajas for your readers that don't get a chance to check out my blog: http://hugetinymistake.wordpress.com/2007/01/04/rod-barajas-kind-of-sucks/

das411 said...

Where exactly did "Chooch" Ruiz come from??

GM-Carson said...

I know Corey and I like to make up our own nicknames for players, usually of the derogatory sort, but "Chooch" has been what Ruiz has been called throughout the Phils system...not sure why.

He does have excellent speed for a catcher and that shouldn't be overlooked.

~Carson