LA Angels prepared to enter 2021 season without a catching upgrade
By Daniel Preciado
The Angels are reportedly prepared to enter into the fast-approaching new season without upgrading their catching corps.
While the catcher position is not necessarily the biggest need the Angels have on the roster as currently constructed, an upgrade would be nice there. The Halos are currently set to enter the season starting Max Stassi as their backstop and Anthony Bemboom as their backup. According to Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times in an interview with Angels manager Joe Maddon, this is not set to change.
"“Should they not add through free agency or trade, Maddon would be comfortable relying on backstops Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom.”"
Max Stassi is a career 83 wRC+ hitter, but broke through offensively in a small 2020 sample size. He posted a 139 wRC+ mark, a far cry from his career norm. While this may be a sign of things to come, it is more likely just an outlier that can be attributed to small sample size. Regardless of his bat, Stassi is a solid defensive backstop, shown by a 73rd percentile framing grade according to Baseball Savant.
Anthony Bemboom is not a player with as much optimism and potential attached to his name. He holds a career 48 wRC+ across 46 career games at the major league level. He is also a below-average framer — a 44th percentile framer to be exact, according to Baseball Savant.
As it currently stands, an upgrade is more important over Anthony Bemboom than is over Max Stassi. The Angels would be well-served to find a backup that can potentially platoon or provide defensive ability when Max Stassi needs a break.
The Angels were rumored to have come in second place in the James McCann sweepstakes prior to him signing with the New York Mets on a hefty deal.
Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees and Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs are also very viable options should the Angels analyze the trade market with JT Realmuto on the market as a free agent. The Halos have also been reported to have interest in veteran and Cal State Fullerton product Kurt Suzuki. All of these men represent potential upgrades should Joe Maddon and seemingly the front office, change their stances.