Posts Tagged ‘Brian Schneider’

Padres Ink Veteran Catcher, Sign Yorvit Torrealba

February 10, 2010

There were probably a lot of teams that could have used a catcher like Yorvit Torrealba this offseason. Off the top of my head, I could think of at least eight-10 organizations that could have benefited from signing Torrealba.

I know in that first paragraph I am making it sound like Torrealba is Johnny Bench. Trust me, he is not. But I do believe he is a very good catcher and has a lot to offer a team.

Torrealba is headed to San Diego

Thanks to the MLB Package (something I highly recommend everyone purchase), I have had the opportunity to watch the Colorado Rockies and Torrealba the last couple of years. I really like the way he handles a pitching staff during a game.

A catcher’s primary responsibility is to call a good game and be a mentor to the entire pitching staff. Torrealba has done a good job in his tenure with the Rockies doing that.

The San Diego Padres are hoping that Torrealba can help mentor their young pitching staff in 2010. The Padres have signed the 31-year-old catcher to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2011.

The Venezuela born catcher is expected to share the catching duties with Nick Hundley. This is something that Torrealba should be used to as he shared the catching duties with Chris Iannetta in Colorado.

Torrealba hit a career high .291 last year in 64 games. He also had a pretty good series against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS last year hitting .357 in 15 AB’s.

Here is what was fascinating about the catching market this winter. How does Brian Schneider get a two-year deal, but Torrealba and Bengie Molina only got one-year deals? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Torrealba will be entering his 10th season in the major leagues and has a career .255 average with 38 home runs and a .315 OBP with the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Rockies.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Philadelphia Phillies Add Brian Schneider

December 1, 2009

It’s a great time to be a backup player in the majors these days.

So far this offseason, we have seen Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel, and Alex Cora sign contracts. Now we can add another backup player to the list of players who have signed a contract.

According to Todd Zolecki, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed Brian Schneider to a two-year, $2.75 contract to be their backup catcher to Carlos Ruiz. Schneider spent the last two years with the New York Mets.

Schneider is headed to Philadelphia

When the Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for Schneider and Ryan Church before the 2007 season, I thought it was a good trade for the Mets.

Milledge was the Mets top young player at the time, but he is a clown and I have seen hundreds of Milledge types in my day. The Mets were getting back two professional ball players and with Schneider, they were getting a serviceable major league catcher.

The Mets got what they expected out of Schneider in 2008. Schneider hit .257 with nine home runs and threw out 33 percent of the runners trying to steal against him.

However, in 2009 like most of the Mets players, Schneider suffered through an injury plagued season. Schneider missed 41 games with a lower back injury and his average plummeted to .218 and his OPS dipped to .627.

I like this signing by the Phillies. Would I have given him a two-year deal? It’s debatable.

Schneider is four years younger than Paul Bako and three years younger than Chris Coste (Coste recently signed with the Mets), who were the Phillies’ backup catchers last season. Schneider’s .345 caught stealing percentage in 2009 is also better than both of them.

Of course knowing the Mets luck with players once they leave Flushing, Schneider will hit .280 with the Phillies and throw out 50 percent of the baserunners trying to run against him.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Looking At Fantasy Catchers in 2009….

February 16, 2009

There might be no other position in baseball where the difference between #1 and #30 is so great. That is the dilemma fantasy owners face when it comes time to draft a catcher. If you don’t get one of the 10 best, then you are really stuck picking from the bottom of the barrel. To make sure you don’t draft the bottom of the barrel guy, here are the 2009 fantasy rankings for catchers.

Johnny Bench Division

These are the best of the best at the catcher position. These are the guys you want to draft as your #1 catcher

1. Joe Mauer, Twins – Despite offseason kidney surgery, Mauer remains the #1 fantasy catcher in baseball. The 2-time batting champ won’t get you home runs, but will get you rbi’s, obp, avg and hits.

2. Brian McCann, Braves

3. Geovany Soto, Cubs

4. Russell Martin, Dodgers – Martin slipped a little in 2008 by posting lower avg, hr and rbi totals than he did in 2007. I expect Martin to have a bounce back year in 2009 and Martin does steal bases (49 career sb’s in 3 seasons) which makes him unique amongst catchers.

5. Chris Iannetta, Rockies – Ladies and gentleman, your 2009 fantasy breakout catcher. In only 333 ab’s in 2008, Iannetta posted a .261/18/65/.390 line. At 25 and now the Rockies #1 catcher headed into the season, Iannetta should break out in 2009. If Iannetta can get to 140 games caught, expect a .275/24/85/.380 stat line.

Ted Simmons Division

These catchers are a notch below the top 5 but can serve as #1 catchers on your fantasy team. Like Ted Simmons, these catchers don’t grab the headlines but can put up some nice stats for your team.

6. Bengie Molina, Giants – Quick, how many people knew that Molina put up a .292/16/95 line last year? The best hitting Molina brother had close to 100 rbi last year…amazing. The reason Molina doesn’t crack the top 5 is because he is 34 and will be hard pressed to duplicate last season. .278/15/75 is more likely for Molina this year.

7. Victor Martinez, Indians

8. Mike Napoli, Angels – Napoli smacked an impressive 20 hr in just 227 ab’s last season for the Angels. Napoli is not the best defensive catcher in the world, which hurts his playing time. If Napoli can improve behind the plate, it will mean more ab’s. 25-30 hr’s is not out of the question for Napoli in 2009.

9. Ryan Doumit, Pirates – Occasionally the Pirates will have someone who makes a top 10 list. Because Doumit plays on the Pirates, he flew under the radar last season. He posted a nice .318/15/69 while playing in a career high 116 games. Doumit never hit more than .274 with 9 hr’s in a season before last season so there is a chance that last season was a fluke. I don’t think it was. Look for Doumit to post similar numbers again in 2009.

Terry Steinbach Division

Much like Steinbach for most of his career, these catchers are good for 10-15 hr’s and 50-60 rbi.

10. Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks

11. Jorge Posada, Yankees – After having a career year in 2007, Posada missed much of the 2008 season with a shoulder injury. Now at 37, Posada is at the tail end of his career and his .338/20/90 2007 might have been his last great fantasy season. Look for Posada to have a season similar to his 1999 season. Which was a .245/12/57 line.

12. Ramon Hernandez, Reds

13. AJ Pierzynski, White Sox

14. Brandon Inge, Tigers – Inge is slated to be the Tigers opening day 3B headed into 2009 but he does qualify at the catcher position based on his work from last season. Inge has much more value as a catcher than he does a 3b. 10-15 hr’s and 50-60 rbi is realistic for Inge.

Terry Kennedy Division

The very last guys you want to take before you head down Desperation Rd.

15. Dioner Navarro, Rays

16. Kelly Shoppach, Indians – Shoppach enjoyed a breakout season in 2008 due mainly to the absence of Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner. Now with both players back, it will be difficult for Shoppach to crack the lineup. However, it’s worth taking a flier on Shoppach because if Hafner can’t make it back from injury, then he might get some time at DH.

Tony Pena Division

If any of these guys are your #1 catcher headed into the season, then you might be in serious trouble.

17. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers

18. Gerald Laird, Tigers

19. Jason Varitek, Red Sox

20. Yadier Molina, Cardinals

21. Kenji Johjima, Mariners

22. Kurt Suzuki, A’s

23. Miguel Olivo, Royals

24. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays

25. Jason Kendall, Brewers

26. Nick Hundley, Padres

27. Brian Schneider, Mets

28. John Baker, Marlins

29. Humberto Quintero, Astros

30. Jesus Flores, Nationals

31. Gregg Zaun, Orioles

Matt Wieters Division

32. Matt Wieters, Orioles – This is Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria part 3. Clearly ready for the majors, Wieters will most likely start the season off in AAA because the team wants to delay an arbitration year. When he is eventually is called up, Wieters has the ability to be a top 5 catcher. A switch-hitting catcher with his power comes along only so often. If you are in a keeper league and need a catcher, Wieters should be your #1 choice.

So there you have the catcher fantasy rankings for 2009. As you can see, almost half the league is undraftable. Make sure you get 1 of those top 10 guys, because if you get stuck with Brian Schneider, then it might be a long season ahead.

Baseball’s Best Defensive Catchers…

January 28, 2009

In the next installment of “Baseball’s Best” we’ll take a look at baseball’s best defensive catchers. Having a great defensive catcher behind the plate makes all the difference in the game of baseball. Having a guy behind the plate who can block balls in the dirt, throw out runners and can handle a pitching staff from top to bottom is a luxury few teams have.

However, there are 10 teams that have guys behind the plate who I consider the best at what they do. In order to see who the best is, I used a point system based on 4 categories. Unlike the baseball’s best bullpen post where the highest point total determined the best, in this case the lowest point score determined the best.

The 4 categories are as followed:

1. Errors – 10 points

2. Passed Balls Allowed – 10 points

3. Caught Stealing % – 10 points

4. CERA (Catchers ERA) – 10 points

10 – 7. Yadier Molina, Bengie Molina, Brian Schneider, Kurt Suzuki

5 (tied). Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks (24 Points) – Not only did Snyder arrive at the plate in 2008 (.237/16/68/.348 ) but Snyder also arrived withthe glove as well. Snyder was the only catcher in baseball last year who qualified for the fielding % title to have a perfect fielding % of .1000 and Snyder also finished 4th in CERA with 3.85

5 (tied). Dioner Navarro, Rays (24 Points) – Navarro isn’t spectacular in any category but is good in all 4. One of the keys to the Rays World Series run last year, Navarro threw out 38% of would-be base runners in 2008.

4 (tied). Joe Mauer, Twins (19 Points) – As we all know Mauer is one of the best hitters in baseball. His 2 batting titles in the last 3 years prove that. But what many people don’t know is that Mauer is one of the best defensive catchers in the game as well. Mauer won his 1st Gold Glove (I’ll talk about the Gold Glove later) in 2008 and only made 3 errors in 886 total chances.

4 (tied). Jason Kendell, Brewers (19 Points) –  If there was a workhorse award for a catcher, Kendell would win it going away. Kendell caught more games than any other catcher in baseball last year (149) and caught more innings than any catcher in baseball (1,328.1). Catching the most games doesn’t make you a great defensive catcher but throwing out 42% of base runners does. Kendell also had an outstanding CERA of 3.86 in 2008

2. Jose Molina, Yankees (15 Points) – Living in NY I have had the opportunity to watch a lot of Yankee games in the last couple of years and I can tell you first hand the difference between Jorge Posada and Jose Molina defensively is the difference in looks between Oprah Winfrey and Heidi Klum. Molina had a banner year defensively in Posada’s absence in 2008. Out of these 10 catchers, Molina finished 1st in caught stealing % (44%), 2nd in CERA (3.70) and 7th in errors (3). It will be interesting to see how many games Molina plays in 2009 due to a returning Posada. One thing you can’t argue, the Yankees are a much better defensive team when Molina is in the lineup.

1. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays (13 Points) – Barajas had an amazing 2008 behind the plate. Barajas finished 1st in CERA (3.31), 10th in passed balls allowed (2) and 7th in errors (4). What is impressive is that those 2 passed balls came in 785 innings. Barajas started 90 games last year but should see more playing time in 2009 with the departure of Gregg Zaun to the Orioles.

A couple of things that I realized as I was doing this:

1. How amazing are the Molina brothers? To have 3 brothers who are all in the major leagues and to have all 3 brothers play the catching position, one of the hardest positions in sports is truely amazing. Are there any 3 brothers in any sport who played the same position?

2. How on earth did Yadier Molina win the Gold Glove last year? As I was doing this I started to realize that Molina was actually pretty bad defensively last year. In just 114 games behind the plate, Molina made more errors (10) than any other catcher in baseball not named Russell Martin, had one of the worst CERA’s (4.25) and had just as many passed balls as Jason Kendell and Giovani Soto in 200 less innings caught. I guess the Gold Glove doesn’t mean as much as it used to