Washington Nationals 2013 Positional Review: Catchers

By Brian Skinnell
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the next week or so, I’ll be going position by position breaking down the Washington Nationals‘ 2013 season. We’ll take a look at the player, or players, and just check out the overall situation of that part of the club. We’ll start behind home plate with the number two position on the diamond: catcher. The Nationals saw two main players take reps behind home plate in Kurt Suzuki, who the team traded away in late August, and the number one man, “The Buffalo”, Wilson Ramos.

Both players played exceptionally well. For Ramos, he missed much of the season due to injury, but was excellent in his return. For Suzuki, he did well in Ramos’ absence before being shipped back to the Oakland Athletics. Since Suzuki is no longer on the team, we’ll focus on Ramos. Ramos was by far the better option looking back. He hit .272 with a stretch of .300 hitting during the Nationals hot streak that spanned September and August. He hit 16 long balls, 59 RBI and nine doubles. Down the stretch, he became one of the Nationals most dangerous hitters. Pitchers became more and more weary of the 6-foot, 220-pound slugger. Defensively, Ramos played a solid season. He was credited with just five passed ball and eight errors. He allowed 34 runners to steal and that is something that will need to improve. He caught just 14 runners stealing which computes to a success rating of just 29-percent for Ramos.Whether it’s switching the glove out of his mitt faster or just strengthening his arm, he’ll need to improve on the number of runners that he catches stealing.

Backing Ramos at the end of the season was Jhonatan Solano. If Solano becomes the No. 2 guy in 2014, it will be his first full season with the major league ball club. He’s had experience in 2012 and 2013, but he’s primarily been a Minor League guy for the Nationals. Overall, the Nationals are in pretty good shape behind home plate. Ramos is a big catcher, which helps for stopping balls in the dirt, but he’ll have to be better at catching runners looking to steal in 2013. Offensively, he’s a power hitter that opposing pitchers should be and are worried about. Next in our series, we’ll take an in depth look at one of the strongest and weakest parts of this team: the starting pitching.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for RantSports.com and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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