29-year old righty swinging Carlos Ruiz got his big chance last season and he seized the opportunity. He will head into the 2008 season as the starting catcher. Ruiz played in 115 games last season for the Phillies and he was 97 for 374 (.259 avg, .736 OPS) with 42 runs scored, 6 homers and 54 RBIs. Look for his power to improve this season as he will likely at least double his home run total of last season. Ruiz is also a solid defender as he nailed 25% of the runners trying to steal on him and Phillies pitchers had a 4.59 ERA when he was catching.
35-year old righty swinging Chris Coste has waited a long time to make it to the majors and he wants to stay. He will be the backup catcher for the Phillies this season. Coste played in 48 games last season for the Phillies and he was 36 for 129 (.279 avg, .730 OPS) with 15 runs scored, 5 homers and 22 RBIs. Coste also played decent on defense as he nailed 29% of the runners that tried to steal on him last season. Phillies pitchers had a 4.93 ERA when he caught. Look for him to have another decent season for the Phillies.
30-year old lefty swinging Pete LaForest will likely be the #3 catcher on the Phillies and start the season in AAA. He has always been a good minor league hitter who never could make the jump to the bigs. He played in 86 games in AAA ball last season and he was 68 for 296 (.230 avg, .891 OPS) with 53 runs scored, 29 homers and 72 RBIs. He played in 24 games with the Padres and Phillies last season and he was 10 for 36 (.278 avg, .784 OPS) with 9 runs scored, 1 homer and 4 RBIs. Defense is not LaForest’s strong suit as he was 0 for 5 throwing out runners at the major league level and pitchers had a 7.15 ERA with him behind the plate.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: C