Dodger’s starting catcher Yasmani Grandal is a talented backstop. He’s one of the best pitch framers in the game and hits well for power from both sides of the plate. The problem with him is that he is injury prone. He gets hurt a lot. To be fair a lot of the Dodgers do. Unfortunately the organizational catching depth drops off sharply after Grandal. Youngster Austin Barnes will be the Dodger’s backup catcher. Barnes is versatile and has good on-base skills. But what happens if Barnes or Grandal get hurt? Who would be the third-string catcher?
I already discussed the Dodgers lack of depth at shortstop behind Corey Seager. Of course the Dodgers don’t plan on Seager missing much action in 2017. Young athletic players usually don’t miss many games and recover from injuries quickly. Still it helps to have a plan in place in case it happens. Seager is hurt right now and the choices to fill in for him are less than ideal. It’s the same with the catcher position.
The inexperienced Kyle Farmer is an option. He’s 26-years old and has never played above double-A ball. He batted just .256 at Tulsa in 2016. He has a career .772 OPS in his four year minor league career. He’s considered a top 20 prospect with a good throwing arm. However he hasn’t seen much playing time this spring (10 at-bats) and is expected to start the season in the minors.
Wynston Sawyer is another option. The 25-year old former Baltimore farmhand has never appeared above the double-A level either. He has a career .243/.339/.358 slash line in 3 minor league seasons. With a .697 OPS in the minors, it’s hard to imagine Sawyer having a chance if the Dodgers needed a third catcher.
The Dodgers acquired veteran catcher Bobby Wilson this winter and invited him to spring training as a non-roster invite. Wilson has eight years of MLB experience, mostly all in the American League. However the problem with Wilson is that he’s a horrendous hitter. The 33-year old has a career .214/.268/.319 slash line with a .587 OPS. Wilson has a below average arm, but rates well defensively. He might be their best option. Too bad he won’t hit a lick. Although he would probably hit better than the banana man. He would also require a roster move to add him to the 40-man roster.
Perhaps 2016 first round draft pick Will Smith can be an option in couple of years, but otherwise there isn’t anyone else I can think of from the farm system that can help.
The front office has built one of the best farm systems in baseball. The Dodgers have amazing organizational depth in the farm, and across most of the positions on both sides of the ball. They’ve done a great job creating depth for the most part. However there are a few areas on the roster that they have overlooked. It’s very difficult to find a third-string catcher that isn’t a minor leaguer or veteran journeyman. In the Dodger’s situation they barley have that. If anything happens to Grandal or Barnes the Dodgers could be in big trouble.