Monday, November 30, 2009

Thole-Santos Platoon?

Ever find a writer whose stuff you almost always agree with? For me, there are two very good Mets-related writers who fit that criteria: Toby Hyde of the Mets Minor League Blog and Howard Megdal of the Perpetual Post. Both men are creative, critical, intelligent fans who I believe do excellent work.[1]

Hyde, who does an outstanding job blogging about the Mets minor league system, hit it on the head again this morning with a post entitled Thole vs. the Catching Free Agents. In it, he took a look at the available free agent catchers and concluded that:

Do you see a significant offensive upgrade over a Thole/Santos tandem? I don’t. The Mets must spend their money on positions, notably 1B and LF, where the market provides an appreciable upgrade over the players they ran out on the field in 2009. Catcher simply does not offer serious improvement opportunities in the same way.

On November 3rd, we wrote here on Fonzie Forever that:

Catchers around the league don't hit. These free agents being discussed don't hit. The Mets can survive, and thrive, with a catcher who is merely average at the plate... The Mets need to be very careful this offseason. There is not a lot of money to go around, and there are a lot of things that need fixing...

I'm not dead set against bringing in a more experienced guy to platoon with Thole or give him a few months in AAA, but I think it would be a big mistake to sign any of the guys that have been linked to the Mets so far in rumor.

So, we reached the same non-traditional conclusion. I don't think anyone in the mainstream really sees this as a realistic option. And yeah, sure, it's a long shot. So what gives Hyde the confidence to say that? In his article, he catches us up with Josh Thole, who has been dominating the Venezuelan Winter League:

The 24-year old Thole was 2-5 on Thanksgiving with a pair of doubles, giving him doubles in three straight games...An 0-4 Sunday dropped Thole down to .391/.488/.571 133 AB over 39 games.

He leads the VWL in AVG and OBP, is second in doubles, is fifth in slugging and is the second toughest player to strikeout in the league...Thole owns 13 2B, 1 3B, and 3 HR and 24 walks against 13 strikeouts. Just think about this: he has more extra-base hits than strikeouts.

Thole’s fine winter comes after an impressive summer in which ... he hit .321/.356/.396 at the big league level with four walks and five strikeouts in 53 AB. Thole earned his September call-up by hitting .328/.395/.422 at AA Binghamton in 103 games.

Thole just keeps hitting. He's been phenomenal. His defense has been receiving mixed reviews (mostly, that he's below average and needs work) but he is a young converted catcher and has a chance to improve considerably. And besides -- if he can hit .300 while the other options hit .230, that's going to make up for a lot of defensive miscues.[2]


[1] Others who fit this description include Dave Cameron (Mariners) and the many brilliant commenters at including Dave Szymborski and others.

[2] The Mets might want to consider carrying three catchers or an emergency catcher this year and using Omir Santos as a late-inning replacement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you want a third catcher, why not try and get a Doumit-type, who can play C and somewhere else. Maybe that is what they have in mind for Coste, as he played 1B some last year. They just need to get Thole time and reps behind the plate.