Seattle Mariners Spring Battles: Backup Catcher

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Jul 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre (2) prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Favorite: Jesus Sucre

Jesus Sucre has had a slow start to spring training this month. He has recorded just one hit in his first 12 at bats, but Sucre does have two runs batted in to his name. As always, he has done a nice job behind the plate. Sucre has received the most opportunities of anyone on this list so far in spring training, and has to be considered the favorite to once again function as the Mariners’ backup catcher in 2015.

Jesus Sucre made his big league debut during the 2013 season, but did not see extended action until mid-way through last season. Sucre was called up to the M’s in early July, and appeared in 21 games down the stretch. The 26-year-old performed reasonably well, hitting .213, and playing solid defense. Sucre committed just 1 error in 160.0 innings, and threw out 29% of potential base stealers. These numbers are impressive, but some questioned Sucre’s effort at times defensively. Jesus posted 0.2 wins above replacement last summer in the Emerald City.

The Venezuelan product has a strong track record of success in the minor leagues. Sucre has hit .282 with 2 home runs and 24 RBI’s across 262 career at bats in triple-A. He has walked just 11 times during his time in Tacoma, but he has still managed to post a .313 career on base percentage. Sucre did a great job defensively with the Rainiers, registering a .993 fielding percentage, and throwing out 42% of potential base stealers.

Defense is generally the deciding factor when choosing a backup catcher, and Jesus Sucre is the best defender amongst his competitors. I like what Sucre brings to the table, and I would hazard a guess that Sucre will win the backup catcher job out of spring training.

Next: The Underdog