Angels 2018 spring training primer: Catchers
As the Angels head toward the first workout of spring training on Feb. 14, we are providing a breakdown of how they stand with their roster. This is the final installment, following looks at the rotation, the bullpen, the infield and the outfield. Players acquired this winter include the method of their acquisition in parentheses. This week, the catchers:
The Angels went into camp a year ago hoping that Martin Maldonado would earn the bulk of the catching duties, and he more than delivered. Maldonado was so good defensively, and he hit so well in the first half, that the Angels had him catch a major league-high 137 games. He won a Gold Glove, unseating four-time champion Sal Perez. The workload, however, clearly had an impact on Maldonado’s offense. After posting a .725 OPS in the first half, he dropped to .539 in the second half. Juan Graterol beat out Carlos Perez for the backup job, largely because of his defense, but he hit .202 with a .457 OPS, leading the Angels to look for an upgrade at that spot.
HOW IT LOOKS RIGHT NOW
The Angels once again figure to have Maldonado do the bulk of the catching. Manager Mike Scioscia, a former catcher, suggested that simply having gone through one season with so many games will help prepare Maldonado to stay stronger down the stretch if the Angels ask him to catch a similar number of games in 2018. However, they also took out an insurance policy, adding veteran Rene Rivera (free agent). Rivera, 34, is Maldonado Lite, an outstanding defensive catcher with a powerful arm. Offensively, he has a career .620 OPS, but last year he posted a .736 mark, splitting his season between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. If he […]