Diamondbacks catchers have become an offensive force to be reckoned with.
Starting catcher Welington Castillo was expected to be a major contributor to the lineup in 2016 after a monster second half in 2015. So far this year, he has lived up to these expectations by hitting seven dingers and driving in 20 runs through 39 games played.
While this output is impressive, the Diamondbacks have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to giving Castillo a rest: Chris Herrmann.
Hermann was expected to back up the position with solid defense and an occasional big hit or two after being a very light-hitting catcher and outfielder through his first four years in the bigs with the Twins.
Dave Stewart was an independent player agent before being given a chance at success in his current role by Derrick Hall and the D-Backs’ current brain trust. It turns out that Herrmann was one underperforming ex-client that Stewart was willing to give a chance on the roster to show his true talents.
Herrmann was picked up by Stewart in an offseason trade with the Twins organization for and beat out incumbent backup Tuffy Gosewich in a battle for the backup role in Spring Training.
This move turned out great so far. To go along with a .293 batting average, the player affectionately known as “Babe” Herrmann by Diamondbacks announcer Steve Berthiaume, has raked in 19 runs in 30 games and leads the Diamondbacks’ roster with a .585 slugging percentage.
With the unfortunate wrist injury to outfielder David Peralta, this opened up some extra at-bats for Herrmann. He has played four games in the outfield, and has become the first Diamondbacks player in the team’s history to start a game behind the plate and in centerfield in the same season.
Defensively, Herrmann has shown an elite level throwing arm to this point. While throwing out 42 percent of would-be base-stealers in his career, he has also thrown out six of ten would-be base-stealers in 2016, while the current league average sits at 33 percent.
With the well-rounded and elite performances so far, whichever way Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale decides to play his catching cards throughout the rest of the season, it seems that a winning hand is a pretty good bet.