LA Angels sign Juan Graterol to boost catching depth

Juan Graterol (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Juan Graterol (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Angels have added to their depth behind the plate, signing Juan Graterol to a minor league deal.

Here at Halo Hangout, we recently posted a piece about Joe Maddon being content with his stable of catchers, headed by starter Max Stassi and backup Anthony Bemboom. The Angels have now gone out and signed catcher Juan Graterol to a minor league deal to likely compete for the backup spot with Anthony Bemboom, per Efraín Zavarce of IVC Networks in Venezuela.

Juan Graterol, a 31-year-old catcher from Venezuela, has limited MLB experience behind the plate. He has played in just 67 career MLB games, including just ten games since 2018. Graterol is a familiar face to the Angels as he spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the team, playing 57 of his 67 career games with the Halos.

Graterol has been a lackluster hitter at the major league level across the sample size. He holds just a career .218 batting average and .227 on-base percentage (he has only walked twice in his career). He also holds a brutal .266 slugging percentage across his 129 plate appearances, good for a 27 wRC+.

The Angels are likely to stick with Max Stassi as their starter behind the plate barring a big move for free agent JT Realmuto or New York Yankees trade bait Gary Sanchez. The Angels have been in the mix for James McCann already this off-season so they could still make some sort of move there, but it seems unlikely at this point in time. Someone like Kurt Suzuki, a veteran who attended local Cal State Fullerton, would make more financial sense for the Halos anyways. They have bigger needs.

Only time will tell whether or not the Angels head into the season with Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom as their top two options. It is one of the weaker catching corps around baseball, but the Angels have more than enough offensive firepower to withstand a relative weak spot in their lineup. If Stassi and whatever backup catcher end up on the 25-man roster together as the Angels’ catchers provide the necessary defensive ability, that’s a plus.

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