Over the coming weeks the staff at Venom Strikes will be taking a look at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ roster, evaluating their 2013 performances while taking a look at what the future holds for them. Instead of dedicating one post per player, we would like to write one post for all players at a particular position with an eye as to what is in the Minor League system. Up first will be the men behind the masks, the catchers.
Miguel Montero: His season started on a sour note with a first round exit by Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. It ended with his thumb throbbing, requiring surgery that took place in October. In between was a season full of frustration, a .230/.318/.344 slash line that was easily his worst offensive output since he became the full-time catcher during the 2010 season. Also complicating matters was a trip to the disabled list in August because of his back which undoubtedly contributed to his malaise at the plate. One positive was his 11 home runs (only four fewer than 2012′s total) with almost 100 fewer plate appearances.
Wil Nieves: The backup catching role went to Nieves after he beat out Rod Barajas in Spring Training. He played more than expected behind the dish due to Miggy’s woes. Nieves was also used as a pinch hitter on a number of occasions, often leaving the game after that at-bat (which drove me crazy). In 195 at-bats, Nieves sported a healthy .297/.320/.369 line and finished with 22 RBI’s, four off his career high. He enters the offseason as a free agent and at age 36, should be able to hook on with someone else should Arizona not bring him back.
Tuffy Gosewisch: The 30-year old Gosewisch finally cracked the Big Leagues, eight years after he was drafted. In 45 at-bats, his numbers were an uninspiring .178/.174/.222, however he did throw out 33% of potential base stealers. Before being called up, he had a nice season had Triple A Reno with 7 home runs and 33 RBI’s with a .284/.327/.456 line in 250 at-bats.
What to expect in 2014: Assuming there were no complications from his surgery, expect Montero to have a bounce-back year. The prideful Miggy won’t suffer through another season like 2013. There is no WBC to worry about and at 30, should have a couple of more standout seasons. Nieves is a free agent and although the team seemed to like him, they may want to give Gosewisch a longer look. Assuming Montero comes back to his 2011-2012 level, the need for a strong offensive backup will not be that great.
Beyond 2014: The organization is in good hands with Montero locked up through 2017. Stryker Trahan, the team’s first round pick in 2012 is only 19 and is not expected to reach Arizona until 2016. The team’s #9 prospect, Trahan needs to improve his footwork and his hands or he may end up in a corner outfield spot.