The Miami Marlins reassigned catchers Christian Yelich and Jake Jefferies to the minors, which means Kyle Skipworth has a legitimate shot at making the Opening Day roster.
The only reason Skipworth is even considered for the backup catcher spot is because Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone against the St. Louis Cardinals on Feb. 23. Mathis will not be able to suit up until early May. Otherwise, he would be the second in command behind starter Rob Brantly.
Miami is reportedly still interested in looking around for a more experienced catcher because if anything were to happen to Brantly, the team would have a 23-year-old who has never stepped foot in the big leagues calling games. This is something that does not sit well with manager Mike Redmond, even if Skipworth has shown some promise during Spring Training.
“For a young kid he’s really done a nice job and been impressive,” Redmond told the SunSentinel. “He’s had good at-bats and he’s done a nice job catching, too, throwing, blocking, everything. For a young guy he’s gotten into the games and into the fire rather quickly and has responded well. I feel fine having him back there, and I feel comfortable.”
Skipworth may have had some good at-bats, but he has struggled in his production at the plate. He is batting .167 with two RBI and two doubles in 24 at-bats.
The good news is that he has proved to be an outstanding defensive catcher as he has a perfect fielding percentage in 56 total chances. This should not come as a surprise to people within the organization considering Skipworth has a career .987 fielding percentage in 373 games in the minors.
I believe Skipworth could handle himself very well if he was forced to start a game for the Marlins this season. He may have struggled offensively in the minors and Major League camp, but no one knows for sure how well he will perform until he steps into the batter’s box for the first time.