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Friday, March 19, 2010
Astros' catchers battle for No. 1 job

Zachary Levine on the Astros' position battle that shouldn't be:

Yeah, three catchers. The third is Humberto Quintero, who served as the No. 2 catcher last season -- hitting almost exactly as awfully as No. 1 Ivan Rodriguez -- and is slated for the same duties this season.

Leaving Quintero aside, is this really the best way to run a baseball team? Getting three catchers into the lineup whenever possible and hoping that the most talented of them happens to finish March with the highest batting average?

Towles has struggled in the majors. He's not been the healthiest of players. But he's hit well in Class A, he's hit well in Class AA, and he's hit well in Class AAA. If he's healthy, he'll eventually hit well in Class AAAA (a/k/a the National League). Meanwhile, Castro is a wonderful prospect but he's got only 63 games of experience above A-ball and wasn't all that impressive in those 63 games.

If Castro's playing Gold Glove-quality defense and the Astros don't have anybody else, then sure: Pudge Rodriguez skipped Triple-A when he was only 19, and that worked out well enough. But the Astros do have somebody else, in fact a pretty good somebody. There's simply no reason to rush Castro before he's done anything special in Double-A.