Saturday, November 2, 2013

Giants Depth Chart: Catcher

Depth charting is different than prospect ranking as it is possible that your best prospect at a give position my be in single A or Rookie Ball, but he would not be next in line for a MLB gig if an injury should strike.  Depth charting is an exercise looking at who has experience at the different levels in the organization.  We'll start with the Catcher position.

MLB Starter:  Buster Posey.  .294/.371/.450, 15 HR, 60 BB, 70 K, fWar= 4.8.   Brian Sabean has declared that Buster Posey is the starting catcher for the forseeable future.  Nothing wrong with that.  In the short term playing catcher is where Buster's value to the team is maximized.  I think there is a lot of angst among some Giants fans, me included, that if you want Buster to still be contributing in year 8 of his massive contract, then you might want to get him to a position where he's not getting beaten to a pulp on a daily basis sooner rather than later, but that's just me.  At the very least, I believe last year's poor second half showing was due to exhaustion and accumulated injuries and shows that he needs more days off from working behind the plate.

MLB Backup:  Hector Sanchez.  .248/.300/.349, 3 HR in 140 AB.  Hector was much better in the second half.  He also had a huge L-R split hitting .341 vs LHP and just .205 against RHP.  Hopefully he will come to camp in great shape and show us what he can do over a full season when he is in good condition.  I think he will be a starting catcher for some team at some point in the future.

AAA:  Johnny Monell.  .275/.364/.494, 20 HR, 6 SB.
          Jackson Williams.  .230/.289/.356, 5 HR.

2013 was Monell's age 27 season.  He finally got a cup of coffee in September getting just 1 hit in 8 AB.  He's probably destined to start the season in Fresno again as the 3'rd string catcher.  LH hitting catchers have a lot of value.  The question with Monell has always been his defense.  2013 was also Williams' age 27 season.  Reputation is a good defensive catcher.  Probably won't ever hit enough to play in the majors.  Has probably reached his ceiling.

AA:  Andrew Susac.  .256/.362/.458, 12 HR, 42 BB, 68 K's in 262 AB.  Held his own in the fearsome EL, although his numbers got progressively weaker as the season progressed.  Hitting .355 in 31 AB in the AFL so far.  Will probably be the 3'rd string catcher by no later than mid-season if he can stay healthy.  I would think he will be in Fresno to start the 2014 season.

High A:  Jeff Arnold.  .251/.333/.460, 13 HR.  Good defensive catcher and a leader on the field.  Hit pretty well with surprising power, but will  have to prove it wasn't just due to Cal League inflation.  Should get that chance with a move up to Richmond in 2014.

Low A:  Ben Turner.  .249/.286/.315, 2 HR, 20 BB, 24 K in 378 AB.  Turner should get a chance to see if he can hit better in San Jose as everybody is due to move up the ladder.  Certainly does not strike out much, but also does not draw a lot of walks and did not show much power.

Short Season:  Ty Ross  .243/.313/.350 in 103 AB.
                      Eugene Escalante  .300/.377/.400 in 130 AB.
                      Leonardo Rojas  .306/.368/.468 in 62 AB.
                      Gabriel Cornier  .197/.316/.303 in 66 AB.

4 catchers with over 50 AB.  Which ones move up and land a starting gig for Augusta or San Jose?  The Giants have the most invested in Ross and Escalante, the 2013 draftees.  There is probably room for 2 guys to split duties at each level.

Rookie AZL  Fernando Pujadas  .306/.389/.418 in 98 AB.
                    Drew Stiner          .297/.310/.432 in 37 AB.
                    John Riley             .200/.320/.292 in 65 AB.
                    Rene Melendez       .154/.154/.231 in 13 AB.

The Giants have the most invested in Riley, by far.  Does he come back to the AZL next year or jump over some people and go to Augusta?  Pujadas has always hit well, even in his 3 prior seasons in the DSL.  Stiner has never been able to get traction on his pro career.  Melendez may get caught in a logjam.  Should the Giants add an affiliate in the Pioneer or Appalachian Leagues?

DSL:  Miguel Gomez  .315/.374/.495, 2 HR in 111 AB.
          Jose Mora         .310/.365/.448 in 58 AB.
          Kleiber Rivas    .250/.358/.371, 2 HR in 116 AB.
          Jose Morles       .231/.365/.269 in 52 AB.

Gomez posted some nice numbers but 2013 was his age 20 season.  Rivas was a holdover from 2012, but turned 18 on 6/22.  He is probably the prospect of this bunch.

Wildcard:  Buster Posey.  Buster has everybody blocked at the MLB level for as long as he wants to stay at catcher, the Giants want him to stay at catcher and he remains healthy which could be 8 more seasons!  Right now, Sanchez and Susac are the only catchers in the organization who look like they might be able to take over the starting role without cratering the position and even that is a bit questionable.  Some interesting names in the lower minors, but they have a long row to hoe ahead of them.


  1. Rising Star game on MLB network today, 5 PST. Crick for sure, I've read mumblings that Susac is a replacement as well.

    Gints have a lot of money invested in Susac. Should be a fun watch, he needs to be healthy, and keep advancing his defense.

  2. Any thoughts on Chris Young for LF? He checks a lot of boxes, CF playing a corner, has some warts, good power. I would be happy to have his right handed bat in our lineup batting 7 with some lotto power.

    1. For a low price and for a #7 hitter, I agree, Chris Young is very intriguing. Gotta make sure the price is low enough so if it doesn't work, it doesn't hurt much.

  3. i still believe that monell ends up in a trade package. he is a very hard worker and his d has improved and with his bat, can and should be a backup on more than a few mlb teams

    williams will then take place as number three

    giants have good depth in this position


  4. I think Buster Posey will remain the starting catcher until the org feels like either Sanchez or Susac are ready to take over the position. Maybe Buster would agree to move to 1st base if he thinks it will benefit the team. Thanks for posting the depth chart..


  5. I still don't see how the Giants don't explore Posey as the 3B when (and if) Pablo's days in SF are over. Obviously, they'd need somebody to fill the hole at C. I think Susac and Sanchez are both capable, and I would platoon them, personally. Susac may never be able to stay healthy for 162, but his bat should play at the next level. Hector needs to keep tabs on his conditioning.

    This to me is one of the deepest positions in the organization in my opinion (aside from pitching!).

  6. Forgot to include the catchers from the DSL. I added them in after the AZL.

  7. Monell could turn out to be like Napoli if a team took a shot on him.

    1. I think that's pretty wishful thinking. Napoli has been an above average offensive contributor every year since he was called up at the age of 24. Monell just made his debut at age 27... he's been a career minor leaguer. I do agree that someone should give him a chance, but they'll do so with the thought that he can be a bench option with a little pop from the left side... they'd be crazy to expect anything more than that.