The Washington Nationals have started the season on a good note. The team won its first game behind four runs batted in from Anthony Rendon. However, the team received bad news about their catcher Wilson Ramos. He suffered a broken hand and underwent surgery. Ramos will miss anywhere from four to six weeks. In preseason rankings, Ramos was in the top 10 among catchers.
In the absence of Ramos, the Nationals will have Jose Lobaton fulfill the catcher duties. Lobaton was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in a mid-February trade. Lobaton played in 100 games last season and had 277 at-bats. He finished with a .249 average, seven home runs, 32 RBI and a .320 on-base percentage.
Lobaton is not a power hitter, but will be another hitter the Nationals can rely on to get on base. Rendon, Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper will need base runners to drive home. He is also a decent hand behind the plate. He threw out 14 percent of base runners who tried to steal on him in 2013. This will benefit the Nationals pitchers, especially if you own Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
Granted, Lobaton won’t have the starting job for the rest of the season. However, the next month or so will be very telling on how the Nationals view Lobaton. Right now, he is a deep sleeper for NL-only or 14-16 team leagues. He becomes a little more valuable in two-catcher leagues. If you own Ramos, do not drop him. He will be back before you know it.