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Should the Rockies consider a backup plan at catcher?

Andrew Dill Avatar
January 12, 2017


The Colorado Rockies will enter spring training with a question mark. No, not at first base, not in the bullpen, but at the catching position.

Colorado lost veteran backstop Nick Hundley to free agency, who signed a two-year, $6.25 million deal back in 2015. Hundley was pretty much a weak spot with the bat, though his leadership and ability to call games as a veteran made him a mainstay in Colorado’s lineup.

Handley slashed .260/.320/.439 this past season for the Rockies, collecting 20 doubles, 10 home runs, and 48 RBI. One thing that usually gets critiqued regarding Rockies’ players is their home and road splits. However, Hundley hit just .245 at Coors opposed to .275 in opposing ballparks.


Now we look ahead to the current Rockies catching situation, which many including myself wanted to see a lot more of last season if it weren’t for Hundley’s hot September. From what it sounds/looks like, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy will be splitting the duties this upcoming season.

Wolters, 24, cracked the Opening Day roster this past season for the Rockies, making quite a name for himself with his framing abilities. Wolters, like Hundley, struggled with the bat right away as well, hitting just .215/.296/.331 in the first half of the season. He then picked it up in the second half, slashing .321/.374/.488.

One thing that scares me, if Wolters were to be the everyday catcher, is his home/road splits. Wolters hit just .168/.243/.238 with four doubles, one home run, and six RBI away from Colorado, opposed to .346/.409/.548 with 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 24 RBI.

Murphy, 25, makes his case to be the teams starting catcher. Murphy was one of the many September call-ups this past season for the Rockies, slashing 273/.347/.659 with two doubles, five home runs, and 13 RBI in 44 at-bats. During his time spent with Triple-A Albuquerque for the majority of the season, Murphy flashed his power, hitting .327 with 26 doubles, seven triples, 19 home runs, and 59 RBI.

One of the flaws Murphy has in his game, which has prevented him from being a staple in Colorado’s lineup, is his defense. So if we could just morph Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy into one player, we would potentially have an All-Star catcher on our hands. Colorado is high on Murphy for his bat, but if he improves his defensive game he can become a special player for the Rockies for years to come.

What if one or both for that matter were to go down? What options do the Rockies have?

Dustin Garneau, 29, is a familiar face within the Rockies organization. Garneau, like Murphy, played in Triple-A Albuquerque this past season, hitting .292/.367/.595 with 11 doubles, 15 home runs, and 35 RBI. Garneau also got a look wit the big club in September, hitting just .235 with six doubles, one home run, and six RBI.

Garneau proves depth given an injury, but would it be enough for a career .196 hitter in 46 Major League games to fill-in for a team with playoff aspirations?

The answer is no.

Don’t be surprised to see the Rockies make a move prior to spring training, bringing in a veteran catcher for a Spring Training invite.

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