Reconciling Disappointment, Part 4

 

Position: Catcher

2011 Innings breakdown: Ryan Hanigan - 47%

                                            Ramon Hernandez - 45%

                                            Devin Mesoraco - 8%

2011 Composite batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

583

57

156

21

0

19

69

0

0

58

79

.267

.339

.400

.740

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.282

86.5%

8.9%

0.74

0.0%

4.53

2011 Composite NL average catcher batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

581

61

145

28

2

16

69

3

2

56

123

.250

.320

.388

.708

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.292

78.8%

8.5%

0.45

3.0%

4.10

2012 Contract status:

Hanigan - signed through 2013

Hernandez - free agent

Mesoraco - not yet arbitration eligible

Advanced minor league depth:

Yasmani Grandal - age 22, 901 OPS at A+, AA, AAA

James Skelton - age 25, 706 OPS at AA, AAA

Corky Miller - age 35, 652 OPS at AAA

Relative win increase, 2011 vs. 2010: -1

Brief summary of 2011: To the surprise of probably no one, 2010 was a career year for Ryan Hanigan, which means that the position stumbled a bit as things regressed to their natural order for 2011.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme, especially since the Catcher of the Future made his MLB debut, while the Other Catcher of the Future broke through in Louisville.  In comparing to the league cohort, the Reds receivers continue to be a net positive.  With the bat, the positive value is basically contained in the ability to not strike out.  Hanigan, especially, is punchless, but puts the ball in play and hits singles and draws walks.  It's not worthless, certainly.  What's really striking is that this group threw out 35% of all would-be base stealers this year, as compared to a league rate of 28%. 

Way too early knee-jerk outlook for 2012: If the position is currently solid, it's soon to become spectacular, but probably not just yet.  Hanigan's skill set is likely to be maintained, since it's dependent on strike zone judgment and contact ability.  He'll be much of the same.  There's a bit of a track record for high-profile catching prospects struggling a bit out of the gate, so I expect Mesoraco to be a tad worse than Hernandez v. 2011, but much better than Hernandez v. 2012, if that makes any sense.  In Mesoraco's lackluster cup of coffee, 10% of his at-bats ended in extra base hits, which is about double Hanigan's rate.  The prodigy will not keep a sub-200 BABIP forever, nor for long. 

Comparable industry: The perception of many products is often tied to the high-profile users of said product.  Case in point: the wheelchair industry which, according to my non-researched, ill-informed viewpoint, experienced two booming eras.  The first came in the 1930s, when the most powerful man in the free world tackled the decade's problems from the vantage point of a wheelchair.  How much better of an endorsement can you get?  Similarly, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, America's young and hip generation rode the streets with long hair flowing behind.  From Ron Kovic to Lieutenant Dan, the silver screen has frequently immortalized the wheelchair-bound, preaching freedom from confined spaces.  And now, a third boom beckons, as the baby boomers glide into retirement age.  Perhaps the onslaught of wheelchair sales will be delayed, but eventually all the medication to combat "low T" will wear off and broken hips will be the new black.  It's a good time to be a fan of Reds catchers wheelchair sales.

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