What lies ahead for the LA Angels at catcher
The LA Angels have a lot of options at catcher, but which one is the best. With Carlos Perez slumping, Jett Bandy surging, Geovany Soto on the DL, and Taylor Ward waiting for his shot, what’s in store for the Angels and their future at the catcher position?
It’s been a long, painful season LA Angels’ fans. The Angels are currently the second worst team in the American League and look completely disastrous at almost every position including catcher. With this team in rebuild mode (hopefully), let’s take a look at how the catcher position will look in the future.
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Let’s start by saying this, the Angels haven’t had a decent catcher since the Bengie Molina days arguably and it is pretty ironic because Mike Scioscia was a catcher during his professional playing days. Now, I’m not blaming Scioscia for any of the Angels woes but, the Angels have had a pretty bad run in terms of catchers. ( I’m looking at you Jeff Mathis).
Anyways, the Angels’ catchers this season haven’t performed up to par and it starts with Carlos Perez. Perez was supposed to take a big step up from his rookie season and he hasn’t. In fact, he is getting less playing time now because he has done so poorly this season. Currently, he is batting a dreadful .190 batting average and his OBP is .225. That’s not going to get it done in the big leagues and I expect him to start at AAA next year when the new season begins.
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The other projected starter that was supposed to fill in for the catcher position this year was Geovany Soto. When Soto is healthy, he is a respectable catcher as he sports a .283 batting avg and a .338 OBP. However, Soto has only played in 20 games this season as he has seen the DL for most of this year. When the Angels signed him, he had a knack for being injured and they took their chances and, by the looks of it, those chances haven’t panned out quite well. Since Soto only signed a 1-year 2.8 MM contract, I don’t expect him to be back next year. Being 33 and constantly having injuries will see him being set to free agency.
As of late, Jett Bandy has been getting more playing time and rightfully so. In 49 at-bats this season, he’s hit two homers and has 10 RBI’s. To put it in perspective, Perez has 168 at-bats and only has three homers and 16 RBI’s. Judging from those two comparisons, you can see why Scioscia has made the move to favoring Bandy more and more each day. If Jett keeps this pace up, I see him battling with Perez and a possible free agent next year for the starting catcher position.
Lastly, we’ll talk about Taylor Ward and what he has to offer with the Angels and their catcher position. Taylor Ward was a first round pick for the Angels in the 2015 MLB draft and he remains the Angel’s top prospect. Playing for the Class A Advanced Inland Empire 66ers, he has had an average season thus far. He’s currently hitting .232 for them and has an OBP of .294 which could definitely improve. However, Ward is more known for his defense rather than his offense. Being only 22, I expect Ward to continue in developing his skills in the minors and advancing to the Angels’ AA team, the Arkansas Travelers.
As you can see, the LA Angels have a big question mark at catcher next season like they’ve had in the past. Do they give Perez another shot? Do they ride the hot hand with Bandy? Or do they test the waters and find another catcher via free agency? Many questions loom for the Angels next season regarding the catcher position. However, one things is for certain, there will be a heated battle going into spring training.