Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2015 Giants Depth Chart: Catcher

Several readers have expressed a desire to see a revival of the Giants Depth Chart articles where we break down the Giants positional resources stratified by proximity to the starter role at each position.  We'll start with catcher where the Giants continue to be obsessed by depth at the position since Buster Posey's near career-ending injury in 2011.  They seem to add at least one significant catching prospect through the draft every year to keep the pipeline flowing.  Of course, the longer Buster Posey remains healthy and the starting catcher, the line behind him starts to jam up creating both problems and opportunities.  Here's the Giants 2015 Catching Depth Chart:

MLB Starter:  Buster Posey- .311/.364/.490, 22 HR, 605 PA. 5.7 fWAR.  Buster Posey remains the premier catcher in MLB contending for MVP with exceptional offense and stellar defense.  He got effusive praise in the postseason from his pitching staff for his game calling and framing skills.  Despite worries about the physical toll the position is taking on him, it appears he is not going anywhere anytime soon.

MLB Reserve:  Andrew Susac- .273/.326/.466, 3 HR, 95 PA.  Susac was called up mid-season when Hector Sanchez was injured and showed he belonged by putting up a respectable BA with a slightly higher IsoP than Buster Posey.  His game calling and framing may need some work.  Can he play 3B?  His AAA line was .268/.379/.451, 10 HR, 253 PA.

Hector Sanchez- .170/.224/.270, 1 HR, 109 PA.  Rough season for The Hector who never got untracked at the plate and suffered a series of concussions on foul tips both at the MLB level and during a rehab assignment in AAA Fresno.  Scary!  At this point, his future appears to be uncertain as there is probably not room for 2 backup catchers on the roster all season and Susac looks like he's here to stay.  Hector is going to do some DH'ing down in Venezuela this winter to try to rebuild a bat that atrophied from disuse.  If I'm in Hector's shoes, if Pablo ends up leaving via FA, I'm investing in an infielder's glove and coming to spring training begging for a shot at the 3B job!

AAA:  Open.  Susac had the position here for the first half of the season.  Second half was filled by journeymen Tyler LaTorre and Guillermo Quiroz with Hector Sanchez rehabbing part of the time.

AA:  Jeff Arnold- 0 for 3.  Arnold, who is one of the best defensive catchers in the organization and excellent at working with young pitching prospects, blew out his knee in the first game of the season and DNP the rest of the way.  I do not know enough details of his injury to know what his chances of coming back in 2015 are.  You have to wonder if some of the disappointing performances from the young AA pitchers stemmed from not having Arnold to catch them.

Myles Schroder- .254/.305/.367, 5 HR, 11 SB, 362 AB.  Schroder is more of a utility man who was pressed into service when Arnold went down.  Schroder might make a nice 3'rd string catcher someday due to his ability to play multiple other positions.

High A:  Ben Turner- .298/.353/.371, 20 2B, 2 HR, 34 BB, 37 K, 383 AB.  Turner showed a bit of gap power with a sweet K/BB that reminds of Joe Panik.  That's enough for me to label him a sleeper in the system.

Low A:  Ty Ross- .246/.313/.347, 6 HR, 415 AB.  Ross has a strong college pedigree coming out of LSU.  He is known for his defense, but started to hit a bit late in the season.  Another sleeper in the system.  He needs to keep hitting!

Short Season:  Aramis Garcia- .229/.289/.357, 2 HR, 70 AB.  2'nd round draft pick.  Garcia got off to a slow start offensively and had some PB's in Arizona.  Hopefully it's just due to the crash course in game calling that college catchers have to take when they start their pro career.

Rookie:  John Riley- .188/.290/.313, 2 HR, 112 AB.  Giants took a low round flyer on the local kid in the 2013 draft and signed him to a 500 K bonus.  Still has not gotten traction on his pro career.

DSL:  Miguel Gomez- .318/.367/.453, 5 HR, 258 AB.  Gomez is a switch-hitting catcher with a nice stat line, but was 21 years old in the DSL which is usually non-prospect territory. named him the organizational all-star at the catcher position.  Bobby Evans seemed to be caught a bit off guard when asked to comment.  Said they'll bring him to the states and see how he does.

Mecky Coronado- .289/.393/.413, 1 HR, 121 AB.  Coronado is 17 years old and listed as a catcher, but mostly DH'd.  Not sure what his future position is.

Others:  Guillermo Quiroz(AAA/minor league FA), Tyler LaTorre(AA-AAA), Eric Sim(Low A/High A), Eliezer Zambrano(AA), Trevor Brown(High A), Jared Deacon(SS-High A), Fernando Pujadas(SS), Geno Escalante(SS), Rene Melendez(SS), Kleiber Rivas(Rookie), Matt Pare(Rookie-High A).


  1. The Sanchez, Susac, Posey situation is screaming out for someone to learn to play 3B. We really need to keep Belt and Posey's bats in the lineup, especially if we lost Pablo. Probably way easier said than done, perhaps the best move is to get Belt comfortable in LF every 3rd or 4th day?

    What are your thoughts Doc? Seems to me that the logjam at Catcher is either going to require someone learning a new position or a trade, as suppressing Sanchez and Susac's bats is a really poor use of resources in my opinion. Fortunately, catchers are a valuable commodity, just look at the Pence trade.

    Andy in SD

    1. Plays in LF, 3B and 1B in the recently concluded World Series make me appreciate, a littler deeper than before, the importance of good defense there.

    2. I agree. I think because baseball perception is so heavily influenced by the east coast and AL game, the double switching, pinch hitting, etc. skills go unnoticed. A guy like Juan Perez or even Gregor Blanco are not recognized as extremely valuable pieces around the league until they're on the biggest stage then people are kicking themselves that their team didn't have a guy like them.

      Not super savvy with advanced stats, but the catch Perez made in game 7 was an expert scouting play. I would guess many teams don't even have Perez in an alignment to make that catch, so it's using unknown guys like him plus scouting that puts him in a position to be a valuable asset. One of many things the Giants are overlooked on.

    3. I heard Wottus on KNBE a few days ago talking about that play. Perez was positioned that way because of the flow of that specific AB. He said that Kelly was noticing that the batter (forget who it was at this moment) was making a lot of contact, but they were all fouls to the left side. He told Perez to adjust closer to the line MID-AB based on this.

      Amazing piece of coaching there.

  2. Sanchez looked unexpectedly swift handed 1B.

    As much as Arias has been as asset, I doubt he gets another contract with Duffy around, and that could make Hector valuable in a role backing up the corners. even if Pablo stays. He's called some really, really impressive games but sometimes he doesn't even look like he wants to be there.

    I see Hector and Susac switching off in the Quiroz role. Bochey really likes a 3rd catcher.

    Susac's framing looking really solid, I thought. He just doesn't have that magic intuition Posey has for getting away with things...the last sequence of WS game 7, repeatedly going upstairs, is a perfect example of that.

  3. Interesting comment about Hector grabbing a 3B glove. First let's see if he can even play baseball again. Those concussions were repeated and scary. The ball just seemed to find his head, he got rocked. He's one tough kid. Winter ball DH followed by Spring Training seem like good steps on the comeback trail.

    If Hector could emulate a certain fellow Venezuelan by moving from C to 3B and switch hitting at the plate it would be found gold. When hitting well he has shown solid gap power with some dingers mixed in, as well as, clutch rib-eye production. He looked natural at 1B, but 3B is the hotter corner. A lot to ask of this kid.

    Let's start with getting him back on the ball field.

    1. Sanchez wasn't hitting well when he had the concussion that got the Giants to bring up Susac, and overall in big-league ball he is hitting under .250. He can get away with that as a backup catcher but not playing third base.

    2. How many hitters in MLB can maintain a BA above .250 who are coming off the bench, and catchers to boot?

  4. Oh, and I think I saw they just took Quiroz off the 40 Man.