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2012 Preview – Catchers

April 3, 2012

Yesterday I looked at the outfielders here.

As we continue our look at the Flying Squirrels for the upcoming season, let us now turn out attention to the catchers listed for the team.

Of the three catchers listed, even though one saw some time in Richmond last year, only one is returning. Johnny Monell is returning to Richmond this year and he will be joined by Eliezer Zambrano and Tommy Joseph.

Zambrano looks to be the emergency backup for the team. What is going to be interesting, however, is how Monell and Joseph are used. Joseph is still very young for the level, and with a man by the name of Buster Posey still occupying the catching position in San Francisco, it does not look like Joseph has any where to go.

The Stats

Tommy Joseph is in Richmond for a reason, and that reason is he can absolutely hit the ball. In a full season in the California League last year he hit .270/.317/.471 with 22 home runs and 33 doubles. Remember how I spoke about Gary Brown’s inflated BABIP yesterday and how he was likely to see some regression in his numbers? Well Joseph’s BABIP (.295, remember you want it to be somewhat close to .300) looks considerably more normal, which means he should put up numbers close to what he did last year. He might see a slight downturn in his power numbers, but it should be that more of his home runs turn into doubles simply because of the hitting environment in the Easter League, especially in Richmond, is drastically different. With Wes Hodges being the current first basemen for the team, do not be surprised to see Joseph slide over there once in a while.

At 26, Monell starting back in Richmond is not ideal, but again that man named Posey backlogs a lot of things for the Giants. At this time Monell looks to be nothing more than an organizational player. He got the chance as everyday catcher last year and turned in an average year at that. He’ll flash some power, but he projects more as a gap power hitter and will rack up the doubles. And like most of the other hitters on the team will strike out more than he walks.

Eliezer Zambrano, as mentioned above, will most likely be the emergency backup catcher. The only time you will not see him in that role is on days that Joseph gets the start and first and Monell is given the day off. Not much of a power hitter, or hitter at all for that matter, Zambrano is the epitome of an organizational player*. Although, at 24 he still has time to break out, but with Joseph and Monell ahead of him, it would take a major injury or some other freak incident, for him to see major playing time. Like I said, not a lot of power, mainly a singles hitter, but he will get lucky and run into a double every once in a while.

Between Monell and Joseph the Flying Squirrels have the middle of their lineup. These two will certainly cause some problems for the opposing pitchers and should drive in plenty of runs between the two of them. Keep an eye on Tommy Joseph though, he looks likes one special player. He, Brown, and Adrianza, who you’ll hear about when I do the infielders, will certainly give the fans something to watch.

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