With another remaining year of Wilson Ramos, he of the middling bat and horrendous glove, the Mets need to figure out how best to fill in the inevitable off-days required for a 32 year old with the agility of your grandma’s best friend Agnes.
While the team is assuredly thrilled at the prospect of dipping into into the coffers to bring in the kind of catcher who could hold down the spot long term in case of injury, they will most likely start by considering internal names and, in this three-part look at the Mets’ options, so will we.
Throughout his professional career, Tomas Nido has been the kind of glove-first catcher who’s a shoo-in for a solid major league backup if he can hit at all. And there’s the rub: he can’t hit at all. Across three seasons, Nido has amassed 244 plate appearances with a .187/.222/.291 batting line and his 2019 wRC+ of 40 ranked fifth worst in baseball among catchers with at least 100 plate appearances. And while there’s room for growth for any 25 year old, especially catchers who are notoriously late-blooming, his .682 minor league OPS with no notable offensive tools renders that development relatively improbable.
But the glove is legit, if not quite legit enough to cancel out the effect of essentially having two pitchers in the lineup for more than a handful of games. He’s an excellent framer and solid average in other regards and that’s worth keeping around, just preferably in a backup-to-the-backup sort of role, rather than one where he could potentially find himself starting on a semi-regular basis.
The newest addition to the Mets’ 40-man roster, Ali Sanchez is the Mets top catching prospect, ranked at number 24 overall by Amazin’ Avenue coming into the 2019 season. Just 22 years old and entering his seventh year with the organization, Sanchez has displayed solid glove skills behind the plate but - stop me if you’ve heard this one - the bat has yet to show up.
Despite a career .648 OPS, Sanchez has steadily climbed the organizational ladder and while his 2019 line of .261/.326/.322 split between Double-A and Triple-A didn’t do much to shift perceptions of the young backstop, it was enough to warrant his protection from the Rule 5 draft. His spot on the roster also lines him up for a potential 2020 debut if lack of depth demands it, but let’s hope it doesn’t, at least not until he’s had more opportunity to develop on the other side of the plate. Glove-first is one thing, glove-only is quite another.
Hardly a household name, 25 year old Patrick Mazeika was drafted in 2015 and stands out on this list on account of having hit decently well in the minors. He is also a lefty, which is somewhat more novel than it is actually useful, but still worth noting. His defense is pretty poor, though, and it’s hard to imagine the Mets would have him anywhere on the depth chart at this point, barring a major breakout or a series of Spinal-Tap-drummer-esque disasters. I know which of those two scenarios I’d put my money on.