Welington Castillo will be expected to carry the bulk of the load at catcher, but the backup spot will play a major factor in fulfilling the anticipated success of the coming season. Castillo has never played in more than 111 games in a season and has only played more than 100 games twice in his six MLB seasons.
The options behind the masked man known affectionately as “Beef” are a bit thin offensively. Normally this reality is somewhat expected from the backup catcher position, but even if Welington were to start 120 games, this still leaves 42 games and possibly 160 or so plate-appearances to be filled. Couple this with the fact that Castillo is expected to bat in a prominent RBI position, and there may be a gaping hole to fill. Former Arizona State standout Tuffy Gosewich is in the front of the line to backup, but owns a .212/.241/.285 batting average over 302 career at-bats.
After Tuffy, the list drops off even more offensively with offseason acquisition Chris Hermann hitting .181/.249/.280 in 353 at-bats. 22-year-old Oscar Hernandez got his first taste of the big show in 2015 as a Rule 5 draft pick, but had previously never played above A-ball in his 6 year minor league career.
Defensively, the catcher’s position for the current D-backs squad is somewhat average. Castillo, who is seen as a somewhat mediocre defender behind the plate with his career 30 percent caught-stealing percentage (league average is 28%), to go along with a dWAR number in 2015 of -0.1. The team will need a solid defensive option to pick up slack on the days he is off.
Gosewich is considered to be an above-average defender, displaying a career 38 percent caught stealing rate, coupled with a .995 fielding percentage in 76 games. Hermann is nearly identical to Tuffy, sporting a 38 percent caught-stealing rate and .994 fielding percentage in 69 career starts. Oscar Hernandez has been a defensive standout in the minor leagues with a 44 percent caught-stealing rate, but likely won’t get a realistic look at making the 25-man major league roster this spring.