Saturday, November 2, 2013

Phillies 2013 Review: Catcher

In 2012, catcher Carlos Ruiz had a breakout year. Ruiz made his first All-Star team and had a WAR of 5.2. Ruiz had a career high with 16 home runs, 68 RBI, and a batting average of .325. During the off-season Ruiz was charged with a 25 game suspension for taking an illegal substance. This gave Erik Kratz the chance to be the starting catcher for the first 25 games.

2012 was the first time Erik Kratz was giving a chance to play at all in the major leagues. In 50 games, Kratz hit 9 home runs in 50 games and played well enough to earn his first full season in the MLB. Kratz did not follow up his solid 2012 performance with a good season. In 68 games he posted a WAR of 0.7 with 9 home runs in 68 games. Kratz did go on the disabled list for about 6 weeks but in all reality there was not much hope for Kratz other than him being a solid back up catcher and that's all he is. Kratz is 33 years old with minimal major league experience and in 2014 he will either be the Phillies back up catcher or on another team.

Carlos Ruiz came back from his suspension on April 28 and when he returned he struggled hitting. After being back for three weeks Ruiz went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and missed the next month. When Ruiz came back he hit pretty well. In the last ten days of June he had a .357 OBP but when the calendar turned Ruiz went into a hitting slump. In July, Ruiz hit .232 with a .274 OBP. Ruiz got out of his slumped and really proved why he should be the starting catcher in the future. In August Ruiz got hot. He had an OBP of .370 and a batting average of .333. For the most part, fans were not expecting to return in 2014 prior to August but as of right now the fans are expecting the Phillies to resign Ruiz.

Although Ruiz did not have a spectacular 2013, it would be wise for the Phillies to resign him. Out of all of the free agent Catchers, Ruiz has the second highest WAR for catchers over the past three years at 9.5. There has been mumblings about possibly inquiring about recent world champion Jarrod Saltalamacchia but I think the if the Phillies are going with the choice between Ruiz and Salty I would go with Ruiz. Chooch is a better defensive player and Salty has only had one decent offensive season, that being this past season.

Mike Napoli is also a free agent but he plays first base more than catcher and I do not see him wanting to play catcher every day when he can play first base. The Phillies need to resign Ruiz soon because it would be unfortunate for him to get to free agency and sign with someone else and leave the Phillies in a bind.

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