Spring Training 2013: The Catchers on the Roster
By Ronda Bowen
Everyone has reported, and the spring training games have begun. it’s time to take an early look at how the different members of the roster and the invitees are doing thus far. Already on the roster are Jesus Montero and Kelly Shoppach, and John Hicks, Ronny Paulino, Jesus Sucre, and Mike Zunino are non-roster invitees hopeful to demonstrate to the coaches just what they are made of. For now, let’s look at the catchers who are on the Mariners’ roster.
February 22, 2013; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero (63) throws the baseball to the pitcher between pitches during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
#63 Jesus Montero
Despite the bit of bad press Montero has received in recent weeks, he’s been preforming well at spring camp. He maintains that neither he nor his brother (also Jesus Montero) who plays for the Cardinals have never been associated with the Biogenesis clinic. When it came to commenting on the accusations, Montero had the following to say:
"“I don’t really know what’s going on,” Montero said. “I don’t have anything to do with those people. I know my agency is handling it, but I don’t know anything about it. I just talked to my family and told them there’s nothing to worry about. I’m just doing my job and trying to get ready for Spring Training and the season. What can I say? It surprised me, too.“For me, I just want to focus on baseball, be here and pay attention to my team and be ready,” he said. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong.”"
Focusing on the game is exactly what Montero has been doing. In today’s game against the San Francisco Giants, Montero showed up by hitting a double and making it home of Alex Liddi’s pop fly ball. In Sunday’s game against the San Diego Padres, Montero showed his stuff by hitting a double and making it home.
Montero began his career in the New York Yankees’ organization, spending the 2008-2011 seasons with the East Coast team. His 2012 average in spring training for the Mariners was .326, and his career average is .348. Thus far in spring training, Montero’s had a .455 average and a .500 OPB. In the regular season, Montero has been batting at .267.
So long as the rumors connecting him to the PED clinic pan out to be false, Montero won’t be going anywhere. He’s a strong batter, and he knows how to make it home. He’s also the guy who gets in front of the ball and he has a .979 spring training career fielding percentage and a .993 regular season percentage. He’s definitely a solid player for the team.
Feb 19, 2013; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Kelly Shoppach (7) poses for a picture during the Mariners photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
#7 Kelly Shoppach
Shoppach’s relationship with the Major League dates back to 2006 when he played for the Cleveland Indians. Since then, he’s also played for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox. Shoppach was recently acquired in a free agent deal replaces Shawn Kelley on the team (he’s since been sent to play for the Yankees).
So far, Shoppach has averaged .600 in spring training. His career spring training average sits at .263, with a season low of .179 in Cleveland and a season high of .361 in Tampa Bay. In the regular season, Shoppach’s average drops – to a career batting average of .226. His OBP for last year was .309.
In Saturday’s game against the Padres, Shoppach made contact with the ball once and struck out once at his two at bats. In Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Shoppach made it on base twice and was left on base once. He made two doubles during this game.
While it’s still too early to tell how Shoppach will pan out in the long run, thus far, he’s definitely been awake during his times at bat. When it comes to fielding, he has a .989 fielding percentage in spring training games and a .990 fielding percentage in the regular season. Thus far in training, he’s got a 1.000 fielding percentage.
It’s unlikely that these two guys will be shaken up too much on the roster following spring training – so long as they continue to make solid efforts while playing and they stay out of trouble.
What have you thought of their performances in spring training thus far?