Sunday, April 20, 2008

Treanor or Rabelo?

Eighteen games into this young season, the Marlins are faced with a conflict as to who should be considered the starting catcher.

Matt Treanor, better known for his marriage to Volley Ball star, Misty May, began the year as the #1 catcher on the depth chart because Mike Rabelo, acquired from the Detroit Tigers this off-season, was on the 15 day disabled list with a left knee sprain. Rabelo made his Florida major league debut on April 11th against the Astros and went 2-5 with a HR. Rabelo has made the majority of the starts after coming out of injury, playing in 6 games. Treanor, on the other hand, has started 10 games this season, but only 3 since Rabelo's return.

Treanor is without question the better, defensively, of the two. He has been terrific at blocking the plate and picking out balls in the dirt. People don't realize this, but there were a few games this season, including last Wednesday's 6-5 win against the Braves, where Treanor made some crucial stops on breaking pitches from various Marlins relief pitchers with runners on 3rd. Also, Treanor has shown to have a strong arm to 2nd base, and has picked off 5 base-stealers this season.

However, Treanor, batting .229, has struggled at the plate over his career in the big leagues with very little power and an inability to come through with runners in scoring position. For example, in today's game against the Nats, he came up four times, doubling, walking, and striking out twice. His double came with two outs in the 2nd inning with the pitcher Scott Olsen on deck. His two strike outs came in the 4th and 8th, each with one out and a runner on 3rd.

Rabelo is a guy who is known to have power and is supposed to be a better hitter than Treanor. Currently he is batting .160 with 1 HR, but has only appeared in 7 games. In Saturday's game against the Nats, Rabelo was able to get the ball in play with one out and Jorge Cantu on third in bottom of the 6th. Unlike Treanor, he didn't strike out and managed to score the run.

So far, Rabelo has been anything but efficient defensively. In the 9th inning on Saturday, he let two Kevin Gregg pitches in the dirt get by him, one of them allowing the runners to advance to 2nd and 3rd. This proved costly as Austin Kearns singled to right with 2 outs, evening the game at 5-5. It would have only made it 5-4 if Rabelo had stopped the wild pitch. Treanor likely would have. Fortunately, the Marlins were able to win it in the bottom of the inning on a Wes Helms walk-off single.

All in all, each player has his upside and downside. Treanor is more experienced and more skilled defensively while Rabelo is probably a little better of a hitter with much more power.

For now, I say let's just give them even playing time. Eventually we'll see who is more essential to the team.


Turd Ferguson said...

81 games each is fine

even if John Baker is hitting .430 in AAA

DSponge said...

If he keeps hitting like that we might see him come up sometime. September more likely.

JSponge said...

Watching Treanor strike out twice today in key situations was painful, but he did save a few potential wild pitches along the way as well. As long as the Marlins can score 6 runs per game, maybe the defense is more important than the offense, but that may not last too long. Lets hope that Treanor takes a little more batting practice and swings with a little more confidence.

Jay Warman said...


ASponge said...

One nice aspect about Treanor? Even though he strikes out a lot, he knows how to take pitches. He's good for getting a pitcher to throw 5-6 pitches per AB, which at least makes his outs productive.

That being said, Future Fish (or is it Turd Ferguson now) is starting to convince me on John Baker.

Jay Warman said...

Where is Jorge Fabregas when you need him?