While productivity can be limited for backstops, they also run the greatest risk for injury and before you know it, you’ve lost your guy and find yourself staring at the waiver wire wondering which set of scraps looks the meatiest. Today we’re going to look at the latest catcher injuries and who the guys are that will get the playing time moving forward.
Nick Hundley, SD – My apologies to all the Hundley owners out there, but this injury might just have spared you the aggravation of waiting around for him to return to his early April form. His hot start and .400 mid-April BABIP had people believing that he was the next big breakout candidate, when in reality he’s really just your run of the mill backstop who will hit under .250 and maybe, if you’re lucky, hit you ten more dingers the rest of the way. Over the last three weeks leading up to the injury, Hundley had a slash line of .204/.271/.296 with one home run and four RBI over 54 at bats. Sure, it’s not the biggest sample size, but it’s actually bigger than the one with the stats that had everyone touting this guy as a 2011 all-star.
So now to save you all, Hundley has an oblique strain and is hanging out on the 15 day DL. Some reports say he’s going to be out the minimum amount of time while others point to the lengthy recovery time others have had with the same ailment. Taking his place are former Mariners back up Rob Johnson and recent call up Kyle Phillips. They’ll make for an interesting tandem, but to be honest, it’s going to be difficult for either to make any sort of an impact. Johnson has shown minimal promise in the minors, almost a 25% K-rate during his big league call ups and a below average ISO. He still won’t get full time at bats and even if he does, it’s unlikely that he’s going to suddenly turn his career around.
Phillips may not strike out as often and should hit for a higher average, but he is also a member of the low ISO tribe. He should be considered a poor man’s Yadier Molina, and if that’s the case, then your help in replacing Hundley should be found elsewhere. You’d probably rather have the higher total in the counting stats than just a batting average contribution.
Carlos Ruiz, PHI — The Philadelphia catcher situation is actually a little easier to handle if you’re a Ruiz owner. The Phillies were hoping to not even have to put their starting catcher on the DL, but after a minor setback, they thought the extra time off would do him some good. The move was retroactive to April 28th, so he should be back by this weekend.
With that, it would obviously be wise to leave current primary backstop Brian Schneider alone for the rest of the week as he may only get two or three games tops. Back-up Dane Sardinha could grab one of the early week starts and Ruiz is eligible to come off the DL by Thursday’s off day. It’s almost certain that anyone sitting on your waiver wire is a better option.