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NL West Outlook: Catchers

With only days left until the season begins, I thought we'd try to squeeze in a preview of the NL West. I'll be going over the division looking at each position and then the rotations and bullpens to see how each team is shaping up. Hopefully we'll learn a little bit about our fellow contenders and where the Dodgers stand among them. Today we'll start with the catchers.

I'll be ranking the teams based on their total projected 2009 WAR (wins above replacement) for each position. I'll be using the spreadsheet provided here by Beyond the Box Score. Marcels projections will be used to project playing time. If correct playing time is not being accounted for in the projections, I will adjust the plate appearances to equal projected playing time . I will calculate wOBA by averaging the wOBAs projected by Marcels, CHONE and ZiPS.  For fielding I will use the projections provided here.


5. San Diego Padres


Per 700 PAs
Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Hundley 331 .393 .392 .300 -2.13 0.00 1.25 -0.10 1.52 $3.6 0.7
Blanco 289 .288 .349 .282 -3.23 0.00 1.25 0.60 1.12 $2.5 0.5


The Padres lag behind the rest of the NL West with the worst pair of catchers. Their total WAR is 1.2. Nick Hundley is a 25 year old who was a rookie last year but was never considered a top prospect. He was given a C+ rating by prospect guru John Sickels heading into '08. Sickels also wrote, "I have always liked this guy more than I should. Can have a long career as a backup perhaps." He's not considered a long-term starting option, but given San Diego's low budget and dearth of catching prospects, he may be starting here for a while. Henry Blanco is your typical veteran backup catcher.

4. San Francisco Giants


Per 700 PAs
Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
B. Molina 536 .312 .429 .323 -0.73 -0.50 1.25 -0.10 2.42 $8.7 1.9
Holm 159 .328 .388 .319 -0.97  0.00 1.25 -0.80 1.98 $2.4 0.4


Bengie Molina is in the final year of his 3 year, 16 million dollar deal with the Giants. A fan favorite, Molina is loved for his hustle and clutch hitting (Giants fans' opinion, not mine). Turning 35 midseason, Molina shouldn't be a starter for too much longer. Probably the most entertaining part of his game is just watching him attempt to run the bases. Steve Holm is an eight year minor league veteran who managed to stick with the Giants as a backup catcher for much of last year and is expected to keep the job in '08.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks



Per 700 PAs
Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Snyder 440 .346 .428 .341 0.37 0.00 1.25 0.40 4.52 $13.2 2.8
Montero 255 .325 .422 .328 -0.43 0.00 1.25 -0.50 2.82 $5.0 1.0


 Chris Snyder is the Diamondbacks 28 year old backstop. A solid player in all areas, Snyder recently signed a three-year extension (plus club option) with the D-Backs to keep him as the starter in Arizona provided this doesn't happen again (Had to include that). Miguel Montero is the best backup catcher in the NL West, bringing a strong bat with questionable defense. He was involved in rumors of being traded to Boston during the offseason to replace Varitek, but Arizona's asking price was too high. He could be a starter if he could get out from behind Snyder's shadow. The D-Backs also took catcher James Skelton in the Rule 5 Draft, it remains to be seen whether he will make the team.

2. Colorado Rockies


Per 700 PAs
Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Iannetta 427 .371 .460 .366 1.89 0.00 1.25 -0.20 5.44 $15.3 3.3
Torrealba 268 .309 .389 .307 -1.70 0.00 1.25 0.20 2.25 $4.3 0.9


 Chris Iannetta is quietly developing into a star. His bat would be dangerous anywhere, let alone at Coors Field. Finally getting some attention after playing for the USA in the World Baseball Classic, Iannetta will give the rest of the NL West nightmares for years to come. Yorvit Torrealba is a long time backup catcher who spent a few years with the Giants as well. He is currently on the trade block. 

1. Los Angeles Dodgers



Per 700 PAs
Hitter PA OBP SLG wOBA Hit BR Pos Fld WAR FA $ WAR
Martin 587 .372 .432 .360 1.52 0.00 1.25 0.30 5.57 $21.4 4.7
Ausmus 108 .302 .291 .272 -3.83 0.00 1.25 0.20 0.12 $0.5 0.0


In first place in the rankings are our very own LA Dodgers. Russell Martin by himself is worth 4.7 WAR, more then any other combo in the NL West. That's good because Brad Ausmus projects to be worth a whopping 0 WAR. Nice million bucks spent there Ned. But we all know Martin is a stud, if he can get some more rest this year (no, playing him at 3rd doesn't count), he could potentially even improve on his numbers.