Monday, May 24, 2010
Around the Diamond- Part 1- The Catchers
Fresh off his first career walk off homer yesterday afternoon, let's start with Ryan Doumit and the catching position.
Everyone knows how anti-Doumit I am and with good reason, but good for him yesterday. He had a big day and his walk-off dinger was likely the biggest moment in the 29-year old's big league career.
Let's look at his season so far, (I'm not getting into career numbers, I just want to focus on where these guys are currently at), .286 avg, 4HR/18RBI in 39 games played. He had the big game yesterday and a torrid two week stretch, but other than that, he hasn't been very good.
The knock on Doumit has always been that he can't stay healthy. Well, he's been healthy this season. What's the excuse going to be now.
My main problem with Doumit isn't necessarily offensively. If the Pirates had a lineup where they could hide his bat in the seven hole well then maybe it work. They don't have that and having to bat Doumit fourth, fifth or sixth in the order has turned him into a complete rally killer most of the time.
My problem with Mr. No-Mitt is behind the plate. He is supposed to be a leader and instead he is lazy and lackadaisical behind the plate. How many times does he reach to back hand balls instead of getting down to block them. Also the lazy approach tracking those particular balls that he OLE's is frustrating to watch. He is just not a very good catcher and if he hasn't improved by now, well then he likely never will.
His arm is also well below average. Some bases are stolen on the pitcher, but eventually Doumit has to throw someone out. He is under 4% for the season and has a bigger windup throwing the ball to second than any Pirates pitcher does. He simply takes way too long to get the ball out of his hands. Again, if this hasn't improved in six seasons, it likely never will.
The catcher position is a big liability on this team. Jason Jaramillo handles the staff pretty well and he seems to take advantage of his spot starts with the bat as well. I would be much more comfortable with last season's platoon of JJ and Robinson Diaz then I am with Doumit at any time.
I'm still tired of the Pirates talking about Doumit's potential. That work shouldn't still be thrown around on a guy entering his sixth season in the majors.
I would grade the position at well below average. That being said, there isn't a significant drop off between Doumit and JJ.
Neil Huntington should explore options on unloading No-Mit. As a matter of a fact, he should have been dealt before he trotted around to touch home plate yesterday. Some teams will have some interest and he could also fill a DH role for an AL team.
Sign an old veteran to back up JJ for the remainder of the season. They could also explore the option of dealing for Colorado's Chris Ianetta. Ianetta was sent down to AAA after losing his job to Miguel Olivo. A change of scenery could help a guy like Ianetta and his strength is defensively and handling a pitching staff, which would go a long way in developing the young Pirates staff.
Ianetta would be a good one year stop gap. Tony Sanchez is well on his way to Pittsburgh. Right now he is hitting .300/3Hr/24RBI at Bradenton and should see Altoona sometime this season. Scouts say his defense is major league ready and his bat has been better than expected.
I'd expect Sanchez as a late season 2011 call-up and should be the opening day 2012 catcher. Until then, behind the plate will continue to be a very weak position for this team.
Feel free to comment on the catching position, tomorrow we look at the first base position