Los Angeles Dodgers 2012 Season Preview: Catcher

When the list of Hall Of Fame catchers in Los Angeles Dodgers history is taken into consideration – Roy Campanella & Mike Piazza (not to mention the good showings of Russell Martin & Paul LoDuca) – the recent state of the backstop position in Los Angeles becomes even more depressing.

The future in Carlos Santana gets shipped out, a declining but still solid Martin is let go in favor of veteran retreads like Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro, and the one guy who can actually benefit the team with his bat (A.J. Ellis) will likely get dumped at the bottom of the lineup. Remember Ned Colletti, the object of the game is to score more runs than the other team.

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Heading into the 2012 campaign, the Dodgers will hand the reigns over to Ellis and his solid defense and excellent on-base skills. Though lacking in the power department, the soon-to-be 31-year-old has a career slash line of .262/.360/.330/.690 with a .314 wOBA (including a career best .346 last season). That pretty much sums his offensive skills up perfectly: decent average, doesn’t hit for power, but gets on-base at a very high level for a catcher. A.J. has appeared in just 87 games at the big league level and his career BB% is 11.5%, though it has trended upwards (10.9%/13.6%).

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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that A.J. draws walks and gets on, whereas neither Dee Gordon nor Mark Ellis do (recently, at least). So logic would dictate that the guy who gets on-base should bat higher in the lineup, particularly if you want Matt Kemp‘s “Beast Mode” to produce more than solo homers.

Oh, and Matt Treanor was signed to a guaranteed one-year deal with a club option for a second year. His wife is professional beach volleyball player/bikini wearer Misty May, so perhaps she’ll make an appearance or two at the ballpark. That’s about the only plus I can think of regarding him.

About Greg Zakwin

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