Thursday, January 20, 2005

Who are these guys? - Catcher

In order to bide time until spring training and fill space, I’m going take a look at the Royals current roster, position by position. I am using the positions as listed on the depth chart and current 40-man roster from

I will list the 2004 season line and then make pithy comments about each player. Since I lack the ability either throw a curve ball or recognize one that is pitched to me, this is how I choose to enjoy the sport of baseball.

First up: catchers.

John Buck
OPS+ 84

Buck came to the Royals from the Houston Astro’s farm system as part of the Carlos Beltran trade. Since Benito Santiago and Kelley Stinnet were both injured, and because Tony Muser decided a few years ago that the only position Mike Sweeney fielded worse than first was catcher, Buck got the call.

After some initial struggles at the big league level, Buck managed to hit a respectable 263/298/513 in August and 274/299/562 in September. Tony Pena coached buck when he was a manager in the Astro’s minor league system and pushed for his inclusion in the Beltran trade. At least, that’s what I read. I don’t have insider information or anything.

Alberto Castillo
OPS+ 98

A ten-year backup catcher, Castillo managed to hold his own in 89 at-bats with the Royals last season. He is the leading candidate to back up Buck (say that five times fast) in 2005.

Notable career achievement: In 1995, he led all catchers in stolen-base percentage by going 1 for 1 for the New York Mets. Unfortunately, he buckled under the media pressure of Kansas City and was thrown out in both of his attempts.

Paul Phillips
OPS+ 48

Never heard of him.

Justin Huber

An Aussie catcher who was filched from the Mets during the 2004 trading deadline, Huber was once considered the heir apparent to Mike Piazza at catcher. He is currently spending time in a pre-spring training mini-camp with George Brett learning how to play first base, so that he may contribute to the glut of players at that position.

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