Can You Name The Dodger’s Third-String Catcher?

Kyle Farmer

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.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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52 thoughts on “Can You Name The Dodger’s Third-String Catcher?

    1. He was supposed to be good. Maybe they changed the criteria for a good catcher, I see a lot of these guys that are considered good batting around the Mendoza line. What did happen to Julian Leon?

      1. He is still at high A ball, and did not really have a great year. He is below at least 3 other catchers in the Dodger system. They will not carry a 3rd catcher. Roster is jammed as it is and the real fight is for the final infield spot, which at this point I would say is Chris Taylor’s spot to lose…guy is hitting over .400 this spring.

  1. Well it’s 10 pm and I know where my kids are. But no, I don’t know where the Dodger’s third string catcher is.

    (On the other hand I don’t know where my wife is either … but then again the same goes for me on her, ha ha)

  2. No doubt they’ll pick someone up off waivers…Derek Norris, anyone?
    Brock Stewart shut down…good thing we didn’t need De Leon.

    1. Norris would be nice, as organizational depth, but some other team probably has an immediate spot for him on the major league roster. I am looking forward to seeing Barnes get a shot and wouldn’t want him replaced with Norris at this point.

    1. Norris has very high grades as a framer the last two seasons, if that is what spins their beanie…. MJ, did you see my post on the other thread about AdBlockerPlus for Iphones? It’s available and should solve your problems.

  3. First roster cuts today, Sborz, Rhame, Cash, Farmer and Ramos sent to minor league camp. Ramos is out for a while anyway. More to follow. Only positive thing from last nights awful 9th inning is that none of the pitchers involved were major leaguers. Taylor continued his hot hitting and his bid to be the utility guy. If Seager cannot answer the call, I would bet he will be the starting SS opening day. Hatcher actually looked decent last night. I think the guy knows he is on very thin ice. Of the guys that were sent down, I was impressed with what I saw of Cash. Good stuff and control. I think framing is over rated, but obviously FAZ thinks it is of extreme importance. Right now my main concern with this team is the starting rotation, the bullpen leading up to Jansen, and it’s ability to hit LHP. 3rd string catchers are about the last thing anyone needs to think about.

    1. Framing is overrated in that most guys are now doing it well with all the buzz – there’s emphasis on the skill. Also, the ability to measure framing skills has lead to umpires being a little more reliable, so the top framers probably aren’t getting that much more out of balls and strikes than average framers these days.

      I read this somewhere and the data made sense.

    1. I like Longenhagen’s rankings and insight quite a bit.

      For subscribers Baseball America has a look at last year’s international signings. Pineda, Suarez and Arzaga among others…

      ejg

    1. Speaking of injuries…

      Rockies have some unfortunate things going on.

      Chad Bettis to undergo chemotherapy for his testicular cancer which has metastasized.

      Ian Desmond out for ??? after suffering fractured hand.

      David Dahl has some back issue that probably keeps him out of OD lineup.

      They need all the innings from starters they can get. So that hurts. They’ll be okay in outfield with Parra and Tapia filling in. First base is going to be left to a AAAA type, Patterson. Is Pedro Alvarez still available? Trumbo would have been a fun fit for Coors.

      The goal of spring training is to make it out alive. Get well soon, Chad Bettis.

  4. Good thing spring training is two months long. Seager will have less than 2 weeks and I’m guessing 40 PAs to get his swing grooving. But he’s a young stud and will probably be fine.

    Too bad Gavin Lux is just a pup – he’ll probably be very good if the Dodgers track record of scouting top HS talents is any indicator.

  5. Here’s a far out idea: Bring back AJ Ellis. I haven’t heard anything about him this year but he must be around, available, and cheap. Unless he burned bridges on his way out….

    1. Jonah

      AJ is on the Marlins.

      I tried that app, and it said it is not compatible for my phone, and this was the app for iPhones.

      I have a iPhone 6, and that isn’t the most recent one, but it is only about two years old.

      I have done everything I can, to try to eliminate these pop ups, that are viruses, malware.

      I restarted my phone, then erased my safari cache and cookies, then shut my phone off, three times,and the same pop ups appear on this one site, once I go here.

      But it doesn’t happen on any other site.

      And I have not seen Badger on here, lately.

      1. Jonah
        Can you still correct anything here?

        Because I don’t have that option anymore on here, either.

        There is no little timer on the bottom of my posts, to corect anything.

      2. OK, here’s a blocker that says it is compatible with Iphone 6, won’t hurt to give it a try…
        https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adblock-for-mobile/id1036484810?mt=8
        The comment editor was working here earlier today, I’ll know more after I post this… It might not be too bad a deal if the ads drive you out of your phone and into a computer. It’d open up a very big world for you. Remember I have that MAC laptop you’re welcome to anytime…
        Yes, it’s still working, I can make alterations for 5 minutes.

      3. MJ,

        There are no virus’s here. You clicked on an add at the bottom of your mobile screen, (not a pop-up, just an add that floats at the bottom), and somehow you got bombed with adds? I don’t know, but there are no viruses over here. There is something probably wrong with your phone. Maybe clear caches and update browser might help.

        Or stop using Iphones, I’m an Android man myself.

        1. I too have gotten pop-ups when I have tried to comment lately (and not just the add at the bottom of a page). And they do look suspiciously like malware. I don’t see them every time though. I avoided posting my comments because of this.

          I don’t post with a cellphone. I have a PC desktop and a laptop both running Windows.

          1. Might I suggest you try the Chrome Browser with the AdBlockerPlus extension? That’s what I’m using and I have yet to see an ad on this site or almost everyone I’ve been to.

          2. I just looked through the code and made sure to clear out anything that looked suspicious. Might have been from this new add revenue source I am trying. Everything is clean now. So you should be good to go. Sorry if this caused some concern.

          3. Yes one of those pop ups I hit accidently was a virus scam, and malware.

            I think they try to do this more on Apple products, because they pretend they are from Apple, and they can help you, get rid of the virus, for a price of course.

            I had that happen once, so I didn’t fall for that.

            And I tried to do to much to protect against pop ups, and Cookies, it affected other things, like not giving me the option, to correct any post, I make here.

            But after talking to Scott, I took the chance and touched another pop up, and it was ok.

  6. I’ve installed an ad blocker. We’ll see. What I read about BidVertiser was scary for a nontech dude like me. I never clicked on it but what a nuisance.

    I take Metamucil so t can take my metacrapal. Wait what? The hand? As you were. Best of luck Desmond.

    Ugly weather back east. 80 here.

    1. Mid 80s here. And that is about perfect. You have to live in a God-awful-hot place to know how nice 80-85 is. People in California start yelling ‘heat wave’ when it gets into the 80s down there…. MJ sees 100+ out where she lives, so she likely thinks 80 is pretty nice.

      1. Jonah

        It was 93 here today, and I will get back to you on that, in a while.

        And thanks again, for all your help!

        And I am sorry again, for being such a pain.

  7. Scott, I disagree with your assessment of Grandal. He has 67 career homers, 57 of which are from the left side. 5 to 1 ratio. His batting average vs LHP last year was .224. It was .308 against them in 2015, but he only had 1 homer. He has had 4 in a year against lefty’s twice, 2016, and 2011. The 3 years in between he hit a total of 3. Sorry, to me that is not having exceptional power from both sides, in my book, he got lucky and walked into a couple. Framing is extremely over rated. And I have seen umps in the last few years not call strikes because the catcher was moving his glove so much. I think he is nothing more than a career .230. hitter with power. Rob Deer in other words with less baggage. He has been hot this spring, so we will see if he also has changed the way he approaches his at bats. Maeda masterful today, and it looks like he is slated to be the #2 starter with Hill in the 3 slot.

    1. Any relievers making an argument for setup duties this spring? – aside from Romo.

      How’s Morrow look?

      As for Grandal, he had a higher run production rate than Buster Posey (by wRC+) last year.
      That’s a pretty good feather in his cap. The catching situation could be a lot worse – such as in Arizona. Colorado is pretty untested.

      1. Morrow looked great the last 2 outings. Had a 1-2-3 inning against the Halo’s today. Comparing Grandal to Posey is not logical. Posey is a much better catcher, and definitely a better hitter. Grandal was pretty much an all or nothing guy last year. The year before he was even worse. A lot of Posey’s lack of run production last year can be laid at the feet of his team mates who had a hard time scoring runs. Grandal has power, but he strikes out a lot, hits into a lot of double plays, and from what I saw was one of the biggest rally killers they had. Yeah, we could be worse off, or we could have traded for Lucroy.

      2. Yeah, Grandal’s good, but he’s not in Buster’s class. He just can’t hit in the middle or top of the order, but is better than average with the bat and the framing is great.

        The big thing for him is the stuff the numbers don’t convey, handling the game and the pitchers.

        1. Bluto

          There is certain players like Grandal, that have certain stats, that make them look better offensively then some, when they are not, in saber metrics.

          It is high strike out hitters, who hit a lot of HRs, and get enough walks, to off set, there strike outs.

          1. Well, I guess you are saying that based on what you consider a “good hitter” to be.

            And so, I’m sure you are right in that regard.

            I’m fine with Grandal. More than fine given the position he fills. Hopefully his game management continues to improve. Although, I have to say I have no way of knowing if it has improved or regressed or drastically fallen off a cliff (metaphorically.)

          2. what do you think of Brandon Belt as a hitter?

            very good run production stats, driven by his high walk rate and extra base hits.

        2. Major league average is about .240. Grandal has a ways to go before he reaches that plateau. He has not hit that as a Dodger yet….Like I said, power, but that is about it, and he is definitely not a clutch kind of guy like Turner or Gonzo.

          1. Rye, Belt is a career .272 hitter. Never has hit 20 homers, nor driven in more than 82 runs. But he has gap power and at least makes pretty consistent contact.

  8. Bluto

    But I do like Grandal, and I hope he will hit for a higher average this year, and be able to get his bat on the ball, with runners in scoring position, instead of striking out so much.

    And I know we need to think about double plays, too.

    And yes I mean a more complete hitter.

    But Grandal is having a good spring, so I hope he gets off, to a better start this year.

    And at least he is healthy this year too, so that should make a difference.

    1. Yeah, that may not be him. He may just be a high OPS guy with middling average.

      That plus his framing got him an MVP vote, it’s more than sufficient right now.

  9. I’m just hoping for the same from Grandal. I don’t see improvement this year, and I think we saw all the improvement there is last year. No regression from Gonzo, Turner and Grandal, better health from everyone, and maybe some of our young studs (Pederson, Seager, Dayton, Urias and Puig) improve a little, and that might do it.

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