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7/7/1980 (36 y, 7 m, 17 d)
1998 June Amateur Draft - Round: 7, Pick: 19, Overall: 212, Team: Houston Astros
$0.2M / 1 Years (2015)
Buck announced his retirement from baseball on Thursday. (3/26/2015)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Relegated to clear back-up duties because of Miguel Olivo’s emergence, Buck responded with his best offensive season to date – albeit with rate, not counting, stats. Although he shares Olivo’s distaste for drawing walks, drawing one in just 7.3% of career plate appearances, he posted a .237 ISO helped by an astounding four triples. Only Pablo Sandoval and J.D. Drew managed to equal or exceed that many triples with a lower speed score in 2009. As good as Buck’s slugging was, his OBP was still a paltry .299, and that’s with a career high in batting average of just .247.
The Year Ahead:
Given less than half the number of at-bats that a starter would receive, Buck still managed eight home runs and 36 RBI. Projected over a starter’s share, Buck would be pushing 20 home runs and 80 RBI. That’s not unusual, either, as we have prior seasons of Buck’s to point to that reinforces those marks were he ever to get 500 or so at-bats. Don’t count on the triples, though: that clearly looks like a fluke. The issue for Buck is that his high strikeout rate leads to low batting averages and his penchant for not drawing walks limits his OBP ceiling severely. Buck is expected to receive regular playing time in Toronto, while sharing the catching duties with one of either Raul Chavez or Jose Molina, both of whom are solid defensive veterans. (Matthew Carruth)
After needing four years (2006-2009) and 1,428 plate appearances to amass 3.0 WAR, Buck broke out with a 2.9 WAR season in 2010 that saw him set new career highs in PA (437), AVG (.281), HR (20), RBI (66), R (53), wOBA (.345)... the list goes on and on. His reward was a fat new three-year contract with the Marlins, where he'll take over as the undisputed number-one catcher. Florida's park is far more giving to pitchers, though Buck has always had double-digit home-run power and is a safe beat to reach that level in 2011. He is, however, unlikely to benefit from a .335 BABIP again (.289 career), meaning his AVG is likely to slide back to the wrong side of .250. A catcher with 10+ homers and 50+ RBI has plenty of value in all leagues, especially a deep-mixed or NL-only outfit. Buck is unlikely to repeat his 2010 success again, but he's a solid second- or third-tier fantasy backstop, perhaps even a little undervalued. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
Buck turned a career year into a three-year contract, but his homer total will suffer in Florida and his AVG will decline as an inflated BABIP comes back to Earth. He's still good for double-digit homers and 50 or so RBI, so there's definite value here.
In his first free agency foray, Buck landed a nice three-year, $17 million deal. Not bad for a catcher who entered 2011 with a .722 OPS. And just like his pay, Buck's 2011 season couldn't have been much more disparate than his 2010. He set a career-high with a 10.2 percent walk rate, and managed to slice his whiffs by a healthy four percent. But with that went Buck's BABIP, down to .268 from his high-water .335 mark in 2010. As a result, Buck's ISO tumbled 70 points, and his wOBA 45 points as well. For a guy that generally doesn't generate rave reviews for his leather, Buck needs to pop a few home runs to keep his value. He still managed 16 long balls in 2011, but everything else suffered. With top prospect J.T. Realmuto still at least a couple years away, the Fish will need a moderate rebound from Buck to keep the deal from busting. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Where to nab Buck in a 5x5 hinges a lot on whether you think his true talent level was in 2010 or 2011. Chances are, he's somewhere in between: his power will be beneficial at catcher, but he'll provide little else. Sort of like an older J.P. Arencibia.
After being traded twice over the off-season, Buck has landed in the Big Apple and is set to open the season as the starting catcher for the Mets. He still supplies above-average power for a catcher, but that's the only thing you can count on. He makes below-average contact and his batting average on balls in play has been hampered by a low line drive rate, lots of fly balls and too many pop-ups. As a result, he is likely to hurt you in the batting average department. Aside from performance concerns, top catching prospect
, who also came over with Buck from Toronto, will be lurking in Triple-A awaiting his opportunity. D'Arnaud has shown great power in his time at Double-A and Triple-A in 2011 and 2012, so he should be up sometime this season and wrangle away the starting backstop role from Buck. (
The Quick Opinion:
After being traded to the Blue Jays and then the Mets, Buck currently finds himself as the starting catcher in New York. Though he should still offer some cheap power, his stranglehold on the job is tentative as top catching prospect
is waiting for his chance down on the farm.
John Buck started 2013 on fire, hitting nine home runs in the first month of the season. And that was pretty much it for John Buck's 2013. After six up-and-down years with Kansas City, Buck rebuilt his value with a nice 20 home run year for the 2010 Blue Jays. He then signed with the Marlins, where he was actually okay-ish, providing his usual blend of intermittent patience and power, a lot of strikeouts, and general friendliness. His 2012 and 2013 (the latter split between the Mets and Pirates) were pretty bad, but Buck has always seemed to be too good to be just a journeyman backup even if he is not good enough to be a starter. The former no longer really seems true. Buck is a free agent and without a team as of this writing. If he finds one, he is only of interest in deeper AL-only leagues. Particularly in those leagues that require two catchers, though, he might be of help in the home run department for categories leagues if you can take the hit at average, which is not going to be good for most backup catchers, anyway. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
John Buck is easy to root for, but unless you must have a fantasy team full of good guys, he is only of interest in very deep AL-only leagues requiring two catchers at this point, depending on where he finds a job.
Sequencing can save a career. Or at least extend one. Buck was looking mighty marginal back in 2013 before he posted the April of his life. The 11 months of baseball since April '13 have been mighty miserable for Buck at the plate. His pitch framing grades out as thoroughly below average too, so it's no surprise he hasn't found regular action since his tenure with the Mets.(Brad Johnson)
The Quick Opinion:
Buck has used up all of the good will he engendered by blasting nine home runs in April of 2013. Somebody will sign him to compete for the backup job, but there are more defensively able options out there.
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Updated: Friday, February 24, 2017 3:32 AM ET
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