Friday, March 19, 2010

Rob Neyer is not a fan of how Ed Wade is handling this whole Catcher thing

Linking back to Zach Levine's piece on the Battle For C1, Rob Neyer tut-tuts it almost immediately (or as immediately as it takes to get some notice of the Astros):

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.

Look, I get it. I understand that Towles has struggled, and he broke his nose in a tractor accident, and was a crap-show of a catcher to start 2008. And I do agree that Castro shouldn't be rushed, and should start the season at Round Rock. What I don't care for is the "Is this the way to run a baseball team?" aspect. Castro will - at some point - be the C1. So why not use this opportunity to see some big-league pitching? He will eventually. And it will make the transition to Round Rock that much easier if he's been through a Spring of working with the Big Club. Consider the Towles-ing of Jason Castro, although in a much less stressful situation. It's hardly the image of team run amok.