Monday, May 6, 2013

Who Said the Mets Don't Have Catching Depth?

Minor League Catchers Following John Buck's lead in 2013

by John Vittas

Entering the 2013 season, the biggest hole in the Mets' system was undoubtedly the catching position.
Mets catchers finished dead last in the Majors in slugging percentage and third-to-last in batting last year. They were so brutally bad that they drew my eyre as the greatest disappointment of the 2012 season ( John Buck had more home runs in the month of April than the Mets catching core had the entire season last year.
So after 2012, the Mets decided to revamp the position, trading their Cy Young Award winner for Buck and the top catching prospect in the game, Travis d'Arnaud.

However, d'Arnaud went down with a broken big toe after playing just 12 games in Triple-A. There is no timetable for his return and so the Mets are consequently stuck with John Buck and Anthony Recker until at least the All Star Break.

While the position can still be considered a weakness if Buck cools down, virtually all Mets catchers have gotten off to an overwhelmingly positive start at the Minor League level in 2013.

No one more than Kevin Plawecki, who is batting .416 and is the only player in the Mets organization to do remain above .380. A first round pick out of Purdue last year, Plawecki's power numbers are there too, stroking five home runs and an organization-high 17 doubles in just 26 games. That total leads the South Atlantic League and puts him on a ridiculous pace for 75 this year.

Savannah's Kevin Plawecki leads the SAL in hitting (.416) and doubles (17)

Joining the party are a couple of Minor League veterans in Double-A who have been considered prospects for years but never possessed the numbers to back it up. But so far, Francisco Pena and Blake Forsythe are making names for themselves. Pena is batting .300 and Forsythe posted an April slugging percentage of .653. Like Plawecki, Forsythe leads his team in doubles and reaches base better than 40% of the time.

Blake Forsythe was a 3rd Round pick in 2010 out of Tennessee
Gordon Donovan /

Catchers Juan Centeno, Jeffrey Glenn and Albert Cordero have all shown improvement this year as well, going from afterthoughts to contributors.

While it is only one month, the catchers in the system have done what the team needs most - hit.

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