Over the next week or so, I am going to analyze the Yankees at each position, their starters, and the depth that the respective position has in the farm system(except for starting rotation, which I analyzed in my Top 5 Rotations post). Today, I'll start off with the Yankee Catchers.
Starter- Jorge Posada will undoubtedly be the starting catcher this season. He has had the catching job in NY since 1998 ("spilt" time with Girardi, playing 33 more games than the now-manager) and will hopefully fill the void that he left last season. Posada has been a great player for the Yankees throughout his career and was an integral part of the World Championship teams of the Late 90s. For his career, he has hit .277/.380/.447 OPS+124, which has consistently put him among the best offensive catchers in the game. His most impressive season came in 2007, when he hit a spectacular .338/.426/.543 with an OPS+ of 154. Last year, Posada had an injured shoulder, and it really took a toll on the team. Posada's offense was clearly missed, and he will be a huge addition to the line-up if his shoulder holds up. Age might become an issue soon, considering he is 37 years old this year. He is signed through 2011, but I find it hard to believe that he will remain at catcher the whole time. He is extremely important to the team, both as a leader and an offensive presence, and I am very excited to have him back.
Backups- The two other catchers on the 40-man roster are Jose Molina and Francisco Cervelli. Molina served as the backup last season, and ended up playing a lot because of the Posada injury. The 33 year old Molina played in 100 games for the Yankees this season, posting a line of .216/.263/.313, which is pretty bad. In fairness to Molina, he has never been known for his stick. His great defense is his claim to fame. Last year, he threw out 44% of baserunners, which is pretty solid. Molina is definitely a capable backup, but lets hope that he isn't given as big a role as he was last season, strictly because of his poor hitting.
Francisco Cervelli is also on the 40-man, but probably won't be given the backup job, at least not right out of camp. Cervelli is 23, and is also known more for his defense than his offense. In 21 games with Trenton last season, Cervelli hit .315/.432/.384. He could be another viable option for the backup role this season.
Prospects- The Yankees have 2 main catching prospects, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. Montero is an absolute beast. He stands at 6-4, 225 lbs and is only 19 years old. He is definitely known for his huge bat. Last season in A ball, Montero hit 17 HRs with a line of .326/.376/.491. According to Baseball Prospectus, he is the number one prospect in the Yankees farm system. It has been said by many that he is too big to remain at catcher for his whole career, but the Yankees have made it clear that they will have him stick it out behind the dish. He definitely needs to improve his defense though.
Austin Romine also appeared on Baseball Prospectus's list, falling at #4. According to Baseball Prospectus, Romine "should be considered the catcher of the future". They went on to say that he "provides above-average potential at the dish and behind it", which is a promising statement. The 20 year old hit .300/.344/.437 last year in Charleston.
There you have it. Let's hear what you have to say in the comments. I'll do a piece about 1st base tomorrow.
Please be sure to comment and/or send me an email regarding ideas for the contest. It should be fun and we would love your input.