I just bought a copy of the Maple Street Press Mariners Annual, edited by USS Mariner’s Dave Cameron and featuring a whole bunch of writers from local blogs and newspapers. Everything I’ve read so far is great, and it’s fun having all my favorite local writers under the same cover and hopefully making a little bit of money. Art Thiel has a piece on Griffey in particular that was excellent.
Jon Shields of Pro Ball NW has a long piece in the annual detailing the Mariners’ struggles to develop a good catcher. Trading Varitek and striking out on Ryan Christianson and Jeff Clement and a myriad of others has led to the probability of Rob Johnson as your 2010 starting catcher. Catcher is a tough position to project and understand, so a lot of analysts just write it off a little bit. Determining how important catcher defense is and how to calculate who is good on defense seems to be outside the realm of most metrics so far, at least that I know of. And yet, teams are willing to take a catcher who can’t hit if he’s good on defense. Further complicating things is the pitch calling issue. It’s confusing. And so we end up with Rob Johnson.
Rob Johnson starting means I’m cheering hard for Adam Moore. Moore reportedly has solid, if unspectacular, defense, and unlike Johnson, he can hit. Not like Joe Mauer, but like one of those catchers you hear about and go, “Hey, he’s a pretty good hitter,” and maybe you see them in an all-star game or two, but you don’t really know that much about him because mostly he’s a good hitter for a catcher but not if he were playing somewhere else. Maybe he won’t hit much at all. And maybe he’ll still be a good catcher without hitting. I don’t really know. All I know is he’s the Mariners only hope for a catcher who can hit without going outside of the organization, which means he could be one of the most important players on the roster for next five years. A good hitting catcher who plays solid defense is a huge step toward a pennant.