It will be interesting to see how the Los Angeles Angels split the playing time behind the plate in 2010
28-year old righty swinging Mike Napoli and 26-year old righty swinging Jeff Mathis pretty much split the playing time behind the plate right down the middle with Napoli also getting some at bats at DH. With Hideki Matsui in the role of DH this season it appears that Napoli won’t get as many at bats at DH this season. So who will catch more in 2010? Napoli is the better hitter while Mathis is the better defensive catcher so it will be interesting to see what Mike Scioscia decides to do. I would think that Napoli would get more P.T. behind the plate in 2010. He played in 114 games for the Angels last season and he was 104 for 382 (.272 avg, .842 OPS) with 60 runs scored, 20 homers, 56 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He made 8 errors in 96 games behind the plate last season and he also had 5 passed balls last year. He needs to improve on both of those areas. Napoli only threw out 15% of the runners trying to steal against him last season and Angels’ pitchers had a 4.86 ERA with him behind the plate.
Jeff Mathis would be a starting catcher in the majors if he could just hit a lick due to his defense. He played in 84 games for the Angels last season and he was 50 for 237 (.211 avg, .596 OPS) with 26 runs scored, 5 homers, 28 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Mathis’ true calling is defense although he could tighten it up a bit. He made 7 errors and he had 6 passed balls in 79 games behind the plate for the Angels last season and that’s not good enough. But, he did throw out 25% of the runners trying to steal on him last season and Angels’ pitchers had a 3.99 ERA with him behind the plate which is pretty impressive when compared to Napoli’s numbers.
26-year old righty swinging Bobby Wilson would get a call to the majors if anything were to happen to Napoli or Mathis. He played in 12 games for the Angels last season and he was 1 for 5 (.200 avg, .600 OPS). He also played in 97 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 96 for 354 (.271 avg, .714 OPS) with 38 runs scored, 8 homers and 55 RBIs. Wilson didn’t make any errors or have any passed balls in 11 games behind the plate for the Angels last season. He was 0 for 1 in throwing out base stealers last season but Angels’ pitchers liked throwing to him as they had a 3.00 ERA with him behind the plate.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CATCHERS IN 2010: C