Rangers Position Review: Catcher

Mike Napoli (Image: gearlive.com)

The Rangers struggled to find a catcher that they could rely on in 2010 until Jon Daniels made a move to acquire Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants.

Molina solidified the position and came up with timely hits for the Rangers in the regular season and the playoffs. However, Molina looked a bit sluggish in the playoffs where he hit under .200.

In 2011, Molina will not be back. Early in the offseason, the Rangers signed Yorvit Torrealba to catch, but more recently they have traded for Mike Napoli who figures to catch and fill the designated hitter spot.

The position was a spot of weakness after former prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia struggled to develop at the dish and in the field. Saltalamacchia’s career was also bothered my injuries and arm troubles.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG
2006 LAA 99 268 47 61 13 0 16 42 .228 .360 .455
2007 LAA 75 219 40 54 11 1 10 34 .247 .351 .443
2008 LAA 78 227 39 62 9 1 20 49 .273 .374 .586
2009 LAA 114 382 60 104 22 1 20 56 .272 .350 .492
2010 LAA 140 453 60 108 24 1 26 68 .238 .316 .468
5 Seasons 506 1549 246 389 79 4 92 249 .251 .346 .485
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/13/2011.


Napoli has been with the Angels for the first five years of his career. They shipped him to Toronto for Vernon Wells, and Toronto traded him to Texas for reliever Frank Francisco.

Napoli batted just .238 in 2010 but he slugged a career high 26 homers while driving in a career high 68 runs. In the Texas heat and lineup, Napoli could be primed for a good season in a Rangers uniform. Napoli will catch and play designated hitter so he should get plenty of at-bats to get in a rhythm.

Yorvit Torrealba played for the San Diego Padres last year. His stats can be seen below:

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG
2006 COL 65 223 23 55 16 3 7 43 .247 .293 .439
2007 COL 113 396 47 101 22 1 8 47 .255 .323 .376
2008 COL 70 236 19 58 17 0 6 31 .246 .293 .394
2009 COL 64 213 27 62 11 1 2 31 .291 .351 .380
2010 SDP 95 325 31 88 14 0 7 37 .271 .343 .378
162 Game Avg. 162 510 57 131 29 3 11 66 .257 .320 .388
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/13/2011.

Torrealba hit .271 in 2010 in only 95 games. Only once in his career has he played over 100 games and that came in 2007 when he played just 113 games. The fact remains that he has never been a number one catcher for any team. As a result, the Rangers should not count on getting more than half of a season worth of productivity from Torrealba who will turn 33 in July.

The Rangers have two final catching options if Torrealba is out and Napoli is playing DH. Taylor Teagarden who batted just .155 in 28 games last season is listed at third on the Rangers depth chart according to texasrangers.com.

The final catching option for the Rangers is Matt Treanor. He will turn 35 during Spring Training and hit .211 with 27 RBI’s in 2010.

The Rangers will rely most heavily on Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba, but they have solid organizational depth at the position even if three of the top 4 are not often productive consistently on offense.

After all with Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, and Nelson Cruz in the lineup, the catcher may not need to provide much offensive production.

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Topics: Adrian Beltre, Bengie Molina, Frank Francisco, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jon Daniels, Josh Hamilton, Matt Treanor, Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Taylor Teagarden, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Vernon Wells, Yorvit Torrealba

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