As we continue our ongoing series looking at low-priced alternatives, we turn our eyes to the catching position and Victor Martinez and Carlos Ruiz. Victor Martinez numbers last year were impressive for a catcher: 78/25/114/0/.301. Falling slightly above his seasonal average of 82/21/104/0/.301. Anyway you slice it, Victor Martinez’s numbers dwarfed the majority of catchers, but by how much?
The best available option of catcher as covered here was 47/13/57/2/.273 (i.e. Paul Lo Duca, Johnny Estrada, AJ Pierzynski), by far the weakest of any position. So if you don’t get a big name (V-Mart, Posada, Russell Martin), you can’t really do that wrong with all of the others. The best method you can employ is to find a catcher with the most upside and take a flier in the very late rounds of your mixed draft. Enter, Carlos Ruiz.
Carlos Ruiz’s numbers last year were, 42/6/54/6/.259 in 374 at-bats, but they only tell a part of the story. In his previous two years in Triple-A, Carlos hit over .300 and a high of 16 homers in ‘06. At the start of ’08, Carlos will be 28 years old. An age when catchers really begin to ripen (catchers tend to develop a bit later than other positions). There’s no reason to think Ruiz can’t, at the least, match the aforementioned best available option numbers. His ceiling? Obviously much greater than Paul Lo Duca, Johnny Estrada and AJ Pierzynski. Why can’t Carlos Ruiz come close to 60/17/70/6/.275? When you consider he’s entering the prime of his career, he’s hitting in Citizen’s Bank in half of his games and he should see some more at-bats, those numbers aren’t a far reach. So if you fail to take a catcher early, don’t fear. Carlos Ruiz should be sitting there in the later rounds.