2010 Postmortem: Catcher

I'll start the positional recap at catcher and work my way around the diamond. The stat wOBA is weighted on-base average -- read more about it here. It's like OPS but better, and on the same scale as on-base percentage. Cliff's Notes version: a wOBA of .300 or below is bad, .330 is about average, .400 is elite.

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Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco looked like the steals of the offseason through April and May. For a combined $1.25 million, they provided some power and all the Veteran Presence you can handle. Rod finished May with an OPS of .854. Hank White was at .827. Things fell apart for the duo after that. It was like the Jared Leto/Marlon Wayans downfall in Requiem For A Dream, though the respective stories differ in gravitas. Rod hit .163/.223/.221 from June 1st through August 19th, then the Dodgers picked him up off waivers. Hank put up an anemic .167/.211/.214 slash line from June 1st through the end of the season. Luckily, Josh Thole was called up in late June and became (essentially) the everyday catcher.

Thole lived up to his offensive reputation -- a contact hitter with strong plate discipline but not much power. His above average (for a catcher) .277/.357/.366 slash line demonstrates that rep perfectly. His defense was a pleasant surprise -- he gunned down 11 of 25 base-stealers (44%) and caught a Mets pitching staff which improved in the 2nd half of the season.

Call me a pessimist but I'm not ready to anoint Thole the everyday catcher. The Mets should strongly pursue any opportunities to improve at the position via trade. Mike Napoli and Chris Iannetta come to mind. Or David Ross of the Braves, in a pipe dream scenario. If that doesn't happen, and the plan is Thole plus sidekick, I'd prefer an established catcher like John Buck over a Mike Nickeas or Omir Santos type space filler. Defensive wizard Gerald Laird might be worth a look but he could be done as a hitter. Blanco provided strong defense this season but was an offensive black hole. At age 39 it would be best to pass on bringing him back. Unless he's still a free agent in late January and Robinson Cancel is second on the depth chart.

Desired 2011 starting catcher: David Ross (make it happen, [new GM]!)

Projected 2011 starting catcher: Josh Thole

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