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Do the Angels need to upgrade at Catcher?

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Billy Eppler is looking to make a lot more moves this off season - including at catcher

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The results are in... and Carlos Perez did NOT win the gold glove.  Probably wasn't even close.  It's pretty cool that he was a finalist though!

Billy Eppler recently said that they will be looking to upgrade at catcher. Do we really need to?  How does that make you feel if you are Jett Bandy or Carlos Perez?  Ahh... the business of baseball.

Carlos Perez had an offensive turn around in 2016 from 2015 (in the wrong direction).  His rookie year was impressive but not overwhelming with a .250/.299/.346 slashline.  Perez hit 4 homeruns and put up an offensive WAR of 1.1.  Enter 2016 and Perez had a noticeable turnaround to a .209/.244/.325.  Perez was not hitting the ball hard much of the season and when he did, opposing teams had him played well (right up the middle many times).  His oWAR dipped to -0.2 and his dWAR rose to 1.3.  Perez threw out an equal amount of baserunners (38%) in 2015 and 2016.  Pitch framing hasn't been a huge strong point for Perez who had negative +Calls both years.  But does that really matter?  Salvador Perez is a HORRIBLE pitcher framer - last in the league - but he still won a gold glove for his other skills.

Aside from having an awesome name, Jett Bandy had a pretty decent rookie campaign as well (not too different from Carlos Perez).  Bandy had a .234/.281/.392 slashline which again, was not overwhelming.  He showed more power than Perez and hit 8 homeruns in 17 less games.  He also had a 0.7 oWAR and 0.8 dWAR.  Not bad for a rookie who played less than half a season.  Bandy also threw out 40% of baserunners and was a better pitcher framer than Perez, garnering 8 +Calls in is smaller sample size (good for 12th among AL catchers).

Looking at those stats, the Angels have two "decent" catchers when you put it all together but at the plate, neither of them overwhelm.  If the Angels DID upgrade at catcher, it would have to be someone who has a bat.  Who could that be?

Free Agent options:

Wilson Ramos - Ramos is only 28 so will probably fetch a longer contract than the Angels would be willing to offer.  He had a career year in 2016 and was a huge impact at the plate with 22 homeruns and an .850 OPS.  He'd be a great asset in the Angels lineup, but if we are going to spend money, his price tag may be too high.

Matt Wieters - Wieters didn't have a spectacular 2016 with a .243 average and 35% caught stealing rate.  While he has a proven track record, his numbers this past year were barely better than Bandy's.  But he is an All-Star catcher and will probably at least get a good look by Eppler.

Jason Castro - Did you know he was born in Castro Valley?  I didn't until just now.  Random strange fact.  You are welcome :)  I'll take a huge pass on Castro.  Astros may resign him and they can have him.  He's hit .211 and .210 his past two years and has a career caught stealing percent of just 28%

Nick Hundley - Probably the most appealing free agent on this list.  He shouldn't be horribly expensive and at 32 years old, the Angels could probably sign him to a 3 year deal.  He's been hitting in Colorado the past two years so you have to be careful a little bit with his numbers, but he doesn't a career line of .250/.303/.404 and the young catchers on the team would probably benefit from his 9 years of big league experience.  He's not great at throwing our runners (28%) and he's not great at pitch framing, but he could be an offensive upgrade.  He also makes a lot of contact and has a pretty low K rate which are two things Eppler has been stocking up on.

Let's say Eppler signs one of these guys.  Who gets sent back to Salt Lake - Bandy or Perez?  Perhaps Eppler even works out a trade and sends one of these guys (or even Juan Graterol) to a rebuilding club.  If it's the later - who would you go after?  Either way, it looks like Perez or Bandy may not be a Halo forever.  It's starting to get crowded with those two, Juan Graterol, and Tyler Ward improving and not too far off on the horizon.