The 2012 AL Central Position Analysis - Catchers

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

A review of the position in 2012 down to the A ball level for all of the AL Central franchises.

This series attempts to review how each position fared within the AL Central last year and what holds for the future. The first chart reviews how the position fared in the majors between the five teams. The subsequent charts track each position through each team's farm system. Status is not always correct as some of the info was culled a few weeks ago. For players not on the 40-man roster, I have taken my best guess as when/how they were acquired. Not every player who played the position in the minors has been identified as again, I have tried to identify core players at the position only. Some identified as minor league free agents, could have been trade acquisitions. I also only reviewed down to the A level as players at A- or in the rookie leagues are still quite volatile.

First off, the tools of so-called ignorance. As an Indian fan, I am very much a proponent of Carlos. But, man, he might have only been the fourth best catcher in the division last year. Mauer was his usual self although I still believe he is vastly overpaid for the production proffered. Pier/jackwagon had a very good age 35 season. Salavdor Perez was extended recently, and the numbers he put up as a 22 year old in the majors are extremely promising. Carlos had a good year, considering the funk he was in post-concussion. Avila slumped quite a bit compared with 2011.

But all in all, this was a very solid position for all teams in 2012. Going forward, Chicago may have trouble replacing the Jackwagon's production as Flowers looks to have some pop, but the OBP looks a bit weak. Maybe a full-time role will improve that. Avila should bounce back somewhat, Perez might get better, Mauer shouldn't decrease a ton and I feel Santana will improve some more. But he may have a hard time finishing first in this division.

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Cleveland

Carlos Santana

MLB

2016, 2017 team option

26

609

18

76

365

420

785

Lou Marson

MLB

Arb 1

26

235

0

13

348

287

635

Luke Carlin

MLB:AAA

FA/LAA

31

244

3

27

358

345

703

Chicago

AJ Pierzynski

MLB

FA/TEX

35

520

27

77

326

501

827

Tyler Flowers

MLB

Pre-Arb 2

26

153

7

13

296

412

708

Hector Gimenez

MLB:AAA

2012 mFA

29

418

14

57

324

440

764

Detroit

Alex Avila

MLB

Arb-1

25

434

9

48

352

384

736

Gerald Laird

MLB

FA/ATL

32

191

2

11

337

374

710

Bryan Holaday

MLB:AAA

2010-6

24

282

2

25

312

320

632

Kansas City

Salvador Perez

MLB

2016, 2017-19 team option

22

305

11

39

328

471

798

Brayan Pena

MLB

FA/DET

30

226

2

25

262

321

583

Humberto Quintero

MLB

FA/PHI

32

144

1

19

257

341

598

Minnesota

Joe Mauer

MLB

2018

29

641

10

85

416

446

861

Ryan Doumit

MLB

2014

31

528

18

75

320

461

781

Drew Butera

MLB:AAA

Arb 1

28

122

1

5

270

279

550

Onto the minor league assessments ...

Cleveland

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Matt Pagnozzi

AAA

FA/ATL

29

292

7

32

324

359

683

Michel Hernandez

AAA:AA

FA

33

177

1

16

256

282

538

Roberto Perez

AA

2008-33

23

349

1

31

336

293

630

Patrick Tolentino

AA:A

2011 aFA

22

72

2

7

250

308

558

Jake Lowery

A+:A

2011-4

21

398

9

53

332

397

730

Dwight Childs

A+

2009-18

23

144

2

16

187

215

402

Alex Monsalve

A+:A

2009 aFA

20

439

8

42

311

373

685

Tyler Cannon

A+

2010-12

24

320

1

27

331

358

689

Alex Lavisky

A

2010-8

21

387

12

49

314

404

718

Charlie Valerio

A:A-

2010 aFA

21

236

5

35

331

394

725

With all of the AAA catchers leaving as free agents (although Brian Jeroloman was recently signed), my guess is that Roberto Perez gets some play in AAA with Yan Gomes; with Tolentino in AA, Lowery in A+ and Lavisky in A. It will be interesting to see if Lowery can continue to develop, but Lavisky looks to be the best prospect of the bunch.

Chicago

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Josh Phegley

AAA

2009-1

24

421

6

48

306

373

680

Damaso Espino

AAA:AA

2012 mFA

29

264

0

23

341

309

650

Luis Sierra

AA

2007 mFA

24

247

0

24

321

315

636

Miguel Gonzalez

AA:A+

2008 aFA

21

264

1

23

301

293

594

Kevin Dubler

AA:A

2008-8

25

56

3

9

304

429

732

Michael Blanke

A+

2010-14

23

373

10

50

303

399

702

Kevan Smith

A+:A

2011-7

24

465

10

83

338

434

772

Jeremy Dowdy

A+:Rk

2012 aFA

21

48

0

5

313

432

744

Martin Medina

A

2011-11

22

283

3

25

321

336

657

Michael Marjama

A

2011-23

22

128

2

17

315

413

728

Jose Barraza

A:Rk

2012-7

17

139

0

8

254

234

487

Phegley looks to be the AAA guy as Espino is quite old. He is a former first rounder and was recently added to the 40 man roster. Bryan Anderson, formerly of the Cardinals, is a NRI this spring as well. Not much else in the system except perhaps Kevan Smith and perhaps Michael Blanke.

Detroit

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Rob Brantly

AAA:AA

FLA

22

334

3

30

332

387

719

Brad Davis

AAA

FA

29

62

0

9

393

382

775

Zach Maggard

AAA:A

2011-34

23

173

6

22

231

366

597

Adolfo Reina

AAA:A+

2008 aFA

22

135

4

19

321

440

761

James McCann

AA:A+

2011-2

22

407

2

39

278

311

589

Luis Sanz

AA:A+

2008 aFA

21

121

0

6

217

200

417

John Murrian

AA

2009-9

24

73

1

9

301

358

660

Wes Thigpen

AA:A+:A-

2011 aFA

23

41

0

2

195

250

445

Curt Casali

A+:A

2011-10

23

385

9

43

365

427

792

Jordan Guida

A+:A

2012 aFA

23

24

0

0

500

474

974

Gabriel Purroy

A

2009 aFA

20

120

1

12

235

236

472

Pat Leyland

A

2010-8

20

271

2

24

250

300

550

Another seemingly black hole in this system as well. McCann has the most plate appearances, but can't hit a lick. This offseason, the Tigers have acquired Ramon Cabrera (AA) from the Pirates in the Andrew Oliver deal. Brad Davis and Brayan Pena were also signed this offseason.

Kansas City

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Cody Clark

AAA

2008-11

30

240

4

22

246

268

514

Max Ramirez

AAA

2011 mFA

27

445

17

77

374

473

847

Ryan Eigsti

AAA

2007-15

26

15

0

0

231

167

397

Julio Rodriguez

AA

2011 mFA

22

220

1

17

276

294

569

Ryan Jenkins

AA

2010-17

25

136

0

13

274

310

584

Ben Theriot

AA

2009-9

24

27

0

0

308

261

569

Kevin David

A+:A

2010-19

24

287

3

26

291

326

617

Jose Bonilla

A+

2007 aFA

23

200

3

18

332

293

625

Juan Graterol

A+

2006 aFA

23

211

2

18

338

393

731

Kenny Swab

A+:A

2011-21

23

243

2

12

292

294

586

Travis Jones

A+

2008-50

23

14

1

2

385

444

829

Edul Escobar

A

2008 aFA

21

137

1

9

221

250

471

Jin-Ho Shin

A:Rk

2010 aFA

20

349

8

41

299

384

683

Travis Lane

A

2011-41

21

56

0

3

250

265

515

With both backups on the MLB roster gone, if LGFT Max Ramirez is still under contract, I expect him to be Perez's backup. But again, there really isn't a whole lot of interesting prospects here with the stats shown, and no high draft picks. Journeyman Mitch Canham was signed this offseason and he'll probably be the backup in AAA.

Minnesota

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Chris Herrmann

MLB:AA

Pre-Arb-1

24

558

10

61

350

392

741

Rene Rivera

AAA

FA/SDP

28

326

10

34

307

385

693

JR Towles

AAA

FA

28

189

1

10

280

315

595

Danny Lehmann

AAA:AA

2007-8

26

164

0

6

325

244

570

Dan Rohlfing

AA:A+

2007-14

23

360

1

27

295

311

606

Josmil Pinto

AA:A+

2006 aFA

23

445

14

60

362

482

844

Kyle Knudson

A+:A

2010-9

24

293

1

27

360

321

681

Matthew Koch

A

2011-12

23

359

8

39

349

421

770

Jairo Rodriguez

A

2007 aFA

23

243

2

20

329

349

678

With Mauer entrenched, the minors don't need much, but surprise, it looks that the Twins have the best prospect in the Central with Josmil Pinto shining last season as a 23 year old in AA. He was recently added to the 40 man roster. Eric Fryer was also signed this offseason to a minor league deal.

With all the stability in the majors, except for Chicago, it is not that surprising how few true catching prospects exist. Phegley is the highest draftee but doesn't look ready to take over for Pierzynski. The top prospect in my opinion seems to be Pinto from the Twins.

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