Sunday, October 24, 2010
World Series position outlook: Catcher
By Richard Durrett
Just like we did leading into the postseason, we'll take a brief look at each position for the Rangers to help prepare you for the World Series. Let's start with catcher.
During the regular season, the Rangers didn't get much offensive production from the catching position. Rangers catchers in 2010 had 59 RBIs, 11th in the AL (meaning only three teams had fewer). They hit .212, finishing second-to-last in that category (only the Mariners were worse). But manager Ron Washington preached working with the pitching staff and playing solid defense and his catchers did that in 2010.
But something happened when the postseason began. Bengie Molina morphed into a real threat at the bottom of the order and Matt Treanor figured out ways to keep getting on base -- he was even hit in the same spot twice by Tampa Bay pitchers in one ALDS game to get on the basepaths.
Ranger catchers have combined to hit .324 in 11 games with three homers and nine RBIs. They've accounted for 22 total bases. It's made a tremendous difference in the balance of the Rangers' lineup, giving the bottom part of the order more production.
Molina and Treanor have also done a nice job behind the plate, calling games and making solid defensive plays. That's a critical component of playoff success.
We'll have more in the coming days on Molina, who gets to play against the team that traded him in June in the World Series. It's a deal that worked out for everyone. Buster Posey became the unquestioned starter for the Giants and has blossomed. Molina has become an important veteran presence and playoff producer for Texas.