Though it’s normally rather ridiculous to make projections on an MLB team’s opening day roster while the previous season is still going on, it would seem to be pretty easy to guess who the San Francisco Giants‘ big-league catchers will be in 2014. Buster Posey is the face of the franchise, and Hector Sanchez made major strides once he fully recovered from a shoulder injury that limited him in the first half.
It will be interesting, however, to see how the Giants divide the catching duties next season. Posey showed major signs of fatigue in the second half of 2013, hitting just .244 with two homers and nine extra base hits after the All-Star break. The Giants worked Sanchez into the mix much more frequently during August and September, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do the same next season.
Posey could get more starts at first base to keep his legs fresh, which would also give Sanchez more at-bats as he prepares to possibly take over full time behind the dish in 2015. It’s possible that the Giants could end up moving Posey to third base if Pablo Sandoval isn’t re-signed after next year, which would put Sanchez in the no. 1 role.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy alluded to this possibility late in the 2013 season, saying that Sanchez was the team’s most-improved player and that he’s good enough to be the Giants’ starter at some point.
There’s a very strong possibility that the Giants will have a new first baseman next year, and though it depends on who that player is, it probably would be wise to give Posey about 10 percent of the starts at first. Sanchez isn’t going to take much, if any offensive power out of the lineup, and it may allow Posey to be more effective at the plate as he begins to wear down from catching.
Beyond Posey and Sanchez, the depth chart is not clear, though at the moment it would seem that Johnny Monell is in line to be the team’s third catcher. The 27-year-old was up with the team in September, and though he did not get much playing time, he still provides some quality left-handed power-hitting potential.
If Monell remains on the 40-man roster through the offseason, he will probably be the first man the Giants call upon should Posey or Sanchez go down. If Monell becomes a victim of the 40-man roster crunch, however, which is semi-likely considering he passed through the Rule 5 Draft unclaimed last year, the Giants’ third catcher may end up being Andrew Susac, a former second-rounder who has hit peaks and valleys during his first two years as a pro.