A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rock Stars - Catcher

Last week I told you guys about this new feature, so I won't bore you with repeating myself over and over and over and over again.  Okay, so maybe I will repeat myself a little.  This week is going to be difficult because it will cover arguably one of the weaker positions in the history of the Rockies, catcher.  I whittled down every catcher in Rockies history, from the first (Joe Girardi) through the many failed prospects (Ben Petrick, J.D. Closser) to the most recent (Wilin Rosario), down to a top 5.  Although some of these guys had far more successful careers in other locations, only their time in purple should be considered for Rock Star purposes.  Here are my top five catchers in chronological order.

Joe Girardi (1993-95)
He is mainly known for his managing prowess today, but Girardi was selected by the Rox from the Cubs in the 1993 expansion draft.  Joe Girardi was the the starting catcher in the first Rockies game and served as the main catcher for his three years in Denver.  Girardi had a line of .274/.323/.371 with 15 home runs and 120 RBIs for the Rockies.  Defensively, Joe threw out 30.6% of stolen base attempts, but also had 21 errors in his 304 games.  After the 1995 season, Girardi was traded to the Yankees for useful reliever Mike DeJean.

Jeff Reed (1996-99)
Reed may be considered somewhat of a surprise choice as one of the top catchers in Rockies history because in his four year tour he never served as the Opening Day starter for the Rockies.  However, in each of those four years he ended the year as the most effective catcher on the roster.  Reed had a line of .286/.373/.456 with 36 home runs and 134 RBIs in his 3 1/2 years with the team.  Behind the plate, Reed also threw out 30.6% of baserunners and had 27 errors in 365 games.  Reed was surprisingly released midway through the 1999 season while at the top of the catching depth chart.

Brent Mayne (2000-01)
Veteran catcher Brent Mayne, a former #1 pick of the Royals, was brought in as a free agent in 2000 to bring a bit of stability back to catcher following the tumultuous 1999 season.  The move was fairly successful, but very short-lived.  Mayne was only in Colorado for a season and a half, but in that time posted a pretty good line of .311/.382/.404 with 6 homers and 84 RBIs.  Defensively, he was also very good throwing out 32.4% of baserunners with only 7 errors in 166 games.  He was also the winning pitcher in a 12 inning game vs. the Braves for a career record of 1-0.  In one of the worst trades in Colorado history, Mayne was traded to Kansas City midway through the 2001 season for Mac Suzuki and Sal Fasano (who I must start a player collection for). 

Charles Johnson (2003-04)
Along with Preston Wilson, Charles Johnson was part of the Marlins trade package for expensive disappointment Mike Hampton and Juan Pierre.  Although he was past his prime, Johnson still had two fairly good seasons in Denver with a line of .233/.334/.443 with 33 homers and 108 RBIs.  Despite his four prior Gold Gloves, defensively Johnson was not that great with a 29.7% caught stealing rate and 11 errors in 217 games.  Just before Opening Day 2005, he was traded along with future Brewer Chris Narveson to Boston for Byung-Hyun Kim.

Chris Iannetta (2006-11)
Chris Iannetta was drafted in 4th round of the 2004 draft and is the only original Colorado draftee on this list.  Iannetta rocketed through the minors and joined the big league club in 2006 for a total of six seasons (three as the primary starter).  Offense was a big part of Iannetta's game with his line of .235/.357/.430 to go along with 63 HRs and 236 RBIs.  Iannetta's defense was lacking a bit, throwing out just 25.2% of base stealers, although he only had 14 errors in 458 games.  Chris was traded to the Angels this offseason for pitching prospect Tyler Chatwood.  Time will tell whether that trade is better than the Mayne trade (but it would be hard to be worse).

"Honorable" Mention: Kirt Manwaring, Jayhawk Owens, Ben Petrick

For one week, there will be a poll on the right hand sidebar for you to vote on the catcher for the Rock Star Team.  Once again, the voting will be 1/3 overall WAR, 1/3 reader vote, and 1/3 my choice.  I hope you guys vote in droves because I am enjoying writing this particular feature.  Next week I will discuss the most anticlimactic position of first base.


jaybarkerfan said...

I cast my vote for Jeff Reed!

Rosenort said...

Iannetta gets my vote, with Jeff Reed a close second.