The Marlins went out and signed 30-year old righty swinging John Buck to take over as their starting catcher in 2011. Buck played in 118 games for the Blue Jays last season and he was 115 of 409 (.281 avg, .802 OPS) with 53 runs scored, 20 homers and 66 RBIs. The batting average, runs scored, homers and RBIs were all career highs for Buck, so the Marlins are taking a risk with him. He has a career average of .243 with a .722 OPS in his first 7 years in the majors (702 games), so the Marlins hope last season was not a mirage for Buck. Buck made 5 errors and he had 4 passed balls in 112 games behind the plate for the Blue Jays. He threw out 15 of 65 (23.1%) runners trying to steal against him last season and Jays’ pitchers had a 4.62 ERA with him behind the plate.
The Marlins would be ecstatic if 30-year old lefty swinging John Baker is ready to start the 2011 season on time. He is recovering from Tommy John Surgery so it might be a little while before he can let a throw rip. Baker played in 23 games for the Marlins last season and he was 17 of 78 (.218 avg, .589 OPS) with 7 runs scored and 6 RBIs. Baker has a .273 avg with a .763 OPS in his first three years in the majors (196 games) so the Marlins expect his bat to rebound in 2011 as long as he is healthy. Baker had 2 errors and 1 passed ball in 21 games behind the plate last season and that just isn’t good enough to get the job done. He threw out 5 of 28 (17.9%) runners trying to steal on him last season and Marlins’ pitchers had a 4.04 ERA with him behind the plate.
28-year old righty swinging Brad Davis will compete with Brett Hayes for the #2 catching job in 2011 for the Marlins if Baker isn’t ready to go. Davis played in 33 games for the Marlins last season and he was 23 of 109 (.211 avg, .647 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 3 homers, 16 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Despite showing some power, Davis often looked overmatched at the plate as he whiffed 37 times for the Marlins. Davis made 4 errors and he had 1 passed ball in only 32 games behind the plate and that’s not too impressive. Davis threw out 7 of 26 (26.9%) runners trying to steal against them and Marlins’ pitchers had a 3.92 ERA with him behind the plate.
26-year old righty swinging Brett Hayes played in 26 games for the Marlins last season in which he was 16 of 77 (.208 avg, .635 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 2 homers and 6 RBIs. Hayes also whiffed 26 times last season as he looked like he had a hole in his bat at times. Hayes didn’t make any errors and he had 1 passed ball in 24 games for the Marlins last season. He threw out 5 of 19 (26.3%) runners trying to steal against him last season and Marlins’ pitchers had a 4.01 ERA with him behind the plate. Hayes is probably the best defensive catcher the Marlins have but he’s also the worst hitter.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE MARLINS CATCHERS IN 2011: C