TigsStats: 2008 Catchers in Review

As spring training begins to approach, it's time to take a position-by-position look at how the Tigers' minor leaguers performed in the stat book. First up, we examine how the catchers in the organization did at the plate.

Ed. Note: To qualify for the analysis players needed a minimum of more than 100 AB's.

Dusty Ryan - Age: 23

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

AA

Erie

369

.266

.352

.341

.491

.225

.119

.331

.667


The excitement around Dusty Ryan's 2008 season was seemingly endless, and with good reason. That being said, it's important to keep expectations tempered a bit. His power rate was certainly strong and he took plenty of walks, but his batting average, not great to begin with, was helped with an average on balls in play nearly 100 points higher, suggesting his average might have had a bit of luck. But beyond that, Dusty's pure power and walk rates suggest Ryan's surge was no fluke.


Max St. Pierre - Age: 28

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

AA

Erie

306

.232

.248

.278

.353

.121

.065

.144

0


Max St. Pierre returned to the Tigers in a fashion that one might expect – putting up decent, but certainly not great numbers. St. Pierre's batting average was low, and while he might have been a touch unlucky in that regard, both his walk rate and his pure power showing weren't impressive and don't indicate his numbers were low because of bad luck. St. Pierre is solid defensively and will remain a viable option for the upper levels of the minors for organizational depth.


James Skelton - Age: 22

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A+

Lakeland

295

.302

.385

.453

.400

.098

.281

.244

.714


James Skelton once again proved to be a very good contact hitter that can take a walk, but will never hit for a ton of power. His .400 slugging percentage is carried largely by his high average as seen in his ISO number. There might be a tad bit of luck in his batting average, but his average on balls in play has always been significantly higher than his actual average (over the last three years, he's averaged a BABIP .067 higher than his actual average) indicating he's likely more skilled at finding holes as opposed to just making contact. Skelton was claimed by Arizona in the Rule 5 draft, and will have to stick on their big league roster for the entire season or the Tigers could get him back.


Samir Rijo - Age: 17

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

Rookie

DSL Tigers

231

.216

.262

.282

.316

.100

.091

.234

.167


The 17-year-old Rijo is still considered a catcher by the organization, but got his playing time in the outfield in 2008, not behind the dish. Despite his youth, held his own. His walk rate, given his age, is especially impressive, showing patience at the plate. Now it will just be a matter of Rijo filling out physically and making better contact.


Jeff Kunkel - Age: 25

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A+

Lakeland

225

.227

.280

.267

.302

.076

.062

.213

.5


Jeff Kunkel's offense wasn't going to carry him, and his peripheral stats showed that. Kunkel does everything well enough to not be bad, but isn't much better than that. Of course, for a player like Kunkel, whose value to an organization is his defense and ability to work with pitchers, they simply need him to continue to hold his own, which he's done.


Alex Avila - Age: 21

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A

West Michigan

213

.305

.374

.380

.385

.080

.127

.192

0


The reason the Tigers might not have been too concerned about losing Skelton could be the presence of Alex Avila, who from a numbers standpoint, is a virtual Skelton clone. Both hit for a high average (with a knack for getting hits on balls in play), and had a great walk rate, but don't hit for a lot of power. Avila's body type potentially indicates he will hit for more power, but that is still a wait-and-see for Avila, who will likely be the everyday catcher at Lakeland in 2009.


Luis Sanz - Age: 17

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

Rookie

VSL Tigers

207

.251

.275

.307

.353

.101

.082

.111

.600


Another 17-year-old, Sanz is very similar to Rijo in that despite their youth, he held his own at the plate, displaying patience and taking walks, making good contact, but not yet hitting for a lot of power. What might be most impressive is his incredibly low strikeout rate. In '09, he'll return to the VSL Tigers to improve on his strong '08.


Joseph Bowen - Age: 20

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A-

Oneonta

194

.186

.286

.307

.237

.052

.175

.351

.667


Bowen, who also dabbled at third for the Whitecaps, struggled throughout much of the season at the plate. His average finished below the Mendoza line, and the only real bright spot he can point to as a success is his excellent walk rate, taking a walk for every five and a half at bats.


Dane Sardinha - Age: 29

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

AAA

Toledo

183

.202

.263

.234

.350

.148

.044

.322

1


The minor league veteran was signed for his defensive presence, and proved yet again that his bat won't be the one that carries him. Sardinha has some power in his bat, but doesn't make consistent contact, and doesn't take many walks. Sardinha was resigned likely to perform the same role he did in 2008 – help the pitching staff at Toledo, and be around as an emergency option for the Tigers.


Julio Rodriguez - Age: 18

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

Rookie

DSL Tigers

153

.261

.288

.320

.340

.078

.098

.092

.750


Julio Rodriguez proved to be a solid contact hitter, with a good average (with little luck), a solid walk rate, though still not a ton of power. His lack of strikeouts is especially encouraging, walking almost as much as he struck out. Rodriguez will now head stateside to try his hand behind the plate in Lakeland, likely for the GCL Tigers.


Ricardo Olivo - Age: 17

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

Rookie

DSL Tigers

137

.219

.280

.287

.307

.088

.095

.255

0


Another Dominican backstop, like the others Olivo didn't have a ton of power, showed a solid walk rate, and a mediocre average. The only downside for Olivo compared to the rest of his Latin American counterparts was that he struck out at a rather high clip, more than once every four at bats. He'll likely be returning to the DSL Tigers for more seasoning.


Adrian Casanova - Age: 25

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A

West Michigan

136

.199

.277

.248

.301

.103

.074

.301

.500


Adrian Casanova got the majority of his at-bats in West Michigan, but was really bounced all over the organizational ladder as a need arose. So, it's probably not fair to judge Casanova, who was involved in five transaction shifts in just over six weeks. That being said, Casanova's numbers were weak across the board, only with a decent walk rate to point to as acceptable.


Derek Lehrman - Age: 23

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

Rookie

GCL Tigers

124

.210

.261

.277

.347

.137

.097

.242

0


Despite a low batting average and OPS, Lehrman's peripheral stats actually weren't that bad. Lehrman's numbers were hurt in large part due to his poor contact, striking out nearly once every four at-bats, and only hitting .210. His walk rate was solid, as was his isolated power stat. Better contact will result in a big jump up in stats from Lehrman.


Angel Flores - Age: 21

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A

West Michigan

120

.200

.242

.274

.242

.042

.108

.200

0


Quite a few catchers struggle hitting for power, but Flores likely leads the group in this department, with a slugging percentage just barely above his average, and virtually no isolated power in turn. His walk rate was strong, but his contact was not. Of course, like Casanova, Flores was bounced around quite a bit, but even that can't explain the complete lack of power.


Devin Thomas - Age: 23

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A+

Lakeland

117

.171

.221

.271

.282

.111

.137

.316

.667


Thomas' 2008 season was without a doubt a disappointment for everyone. With the exception of showing patience at the plate and taking walks, Thomas struggled mightily. He hit for a little power, but not much, and under no circumstances is his .171 batting average acceptable. He also struck out nearly once every three at-bats. He was certainly a bit unlucky with only a .221 BABIP, but all in all, a season to forget.


Raynolds Guzman - Age: 18

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

Rookie

DSL Tigers

114

.254

.309

.304

.307

.053

.079

.175

0


The 18-year-old Guzman again very much fit the mold, with a decent average, decent walk rate, but not a lot of power. His strikeout rate was a bit high, but certainly not completely unrealistic for an 18-year-old. Guzman is another player that has worked elsewhere than besides just behind the plate, and could find himself somewhere else in the field.


Tyler Weber - Age: 22

Level

Team

AB

AVG

BABIP

OBP

SLG

ISO

BB/AB

K/AB

SB%

A-

Oneonta

113

.186

.276

.205

.248

.062

.027

.327

0


Weber's peripheral numbers show just how disappointing of a debut season Weber had. Not only was his batting average poor, but he took very few walks, struck out a lot, and hit for very little power. The big catcher did show some improvement as the season went on, so hopefully he can take that and begin to help it translate into 2009 success.



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