The Phillies have four candidates for the starting catcher job in 2009. 30-year old righty swinging Carlos Ruiz is the incumbent but he will have a hard time holding onto the job if he plays like he did last season. Ruiz played in 117 games for the Phillies last year and he was 70 for 320 (.219 avg, .620 OPS) with 47 runs scored, 4 homers and 31 RBIs. Pitchers liked to throw to him last season as they had a 3.85 ERA, but, he was only 14 of 79 (18%) throwing out potential basestealers.
27-year old Ronny Paulino was brought over in a trade with the Pirates over the winter. The righty swinger played in 40 games for the Pirates last season and he was 25 for 118 (.212 avg, .582 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 2 homers and 18 RBIs. Paulino could rebound in Philly as he has a career batting average of .278 with a .713 OPS in 304 games in the majors. Paulino has a decent arm as he nailed 8 of 31 (26%) basestealers, but, Pirates’ pitchers had a 5.43 ERA with him behind the plate. Paulino has potential to be a above average starting catcher for the Phillies but he needs to improve his work ethic to get there.
36-year old Chris Coste was the backup catcher last season but he’s been mentioned in some trade rumors over the winter. Coste played in 98 games for the Phillies last season and he was 72 for 274 (.263 avg, .748 OPS) with 28 runs scored, 9 homers and 36 RBIs. Coste only threw out 8 of 52 (15%) basestealers last season, but, Phillies’ pitchers had a 3.97 ERA with him behind the plate.
22-year old righty swinging Lou Marson is likely the catcher of the future for the Phillies. He played in 1 game for the Phillies last season and he was 2 for 4 (.500 avg, 1.750 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 1 homer and 2 RBIs. Marson also threw out the first and only major leaguer that tried to steal against him. Marson also played in 94 AA-games last season in which he was 101 for 322 (.314 avg, .849 OPS) with 55 runs scored, 5 homers and 46 RBIs.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2009 SEASON: C