Blue Jays Minor League Depth – Catcher
By Craig Borden
Sep 2, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole (22) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Now it is time to see how the Blue Jays minor league depth stacks up at the catcher position. We will continue to go through MLB ready talent, minor league reserves, break out candidates, and long shots.
Throughout the Jays organization backstop seems to be one of the more talented positions overall . Right now pending a possible trade we have 2 major league level catchers in Russell Martin and Dioner Navarro. Russell Martin is known for being a winner and will bring that mental adage to the Jays clubhouse. He is one of the better defensive catchers in the game and is definitely no slouch with the bat either. Navarro is an established catcher also that has been kind of put out because of the Martin addition. Navarro is a solid hitter with average defensive skills as a catcher. I love that he could be play DH for us but I still see him being a good trade chip going into the season. He is a good catcher that deserves to be playing for a team every day.
Moving into the depth we have behind those two we have a decent amount of talent that should fuel the position well for the organization.
–Josh Thole– Knuckleball receiver extraordinaire
Toronto Blue Jays
Assuming that Mr. Thole does not make the opening day roster as R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher he will be ready to fill in as needed. Thole has been Dickey’s catcher since his career began to trend up. He was his catcher with the Mets and was included in the trade that brought Dickey to Toronto. Playing solid defense has been the name of the game for Thole so far in his career. His bat has never been too much for opposing pitchers to worry about. Us Jays fans know him for basically flipping the ball over the infielders heads for singles. Batting only .248 and making it into 57 games last season isn’t bad for a back up player, but seeing he gets a start every 5th day with Dickey I wish the offense was a little better. He is indispensable as Dickey’s catcher due to the fact that he can actually handle the knuckler.
However, it should be noted that he cannot be placed in the minor leagues without going through optional waivers first, giving other teams in need of a back-up catcher a shot to sign him. The Blue Jays would then have a chance to pull him back from waivers before letting him go, but it would be a risk nonetheless.
–A.J. Jimenez– Fine Corinthian leather
After returning from Tommy John surgery Jimenez picked up where he left off. Playing the solid defense that has had him in the top prospects conversation for what seems like years now. Last season playing for Buffalo mostly he batted .260 in 237 plate appearances. Not bad for a guy that was out of baseball for an extended term due to the surgery. His plus defense was shown off in the Buffalo stint with a perfect fielding percentage in 365 chances while throwing out 42% of base-stealers. He is definitely a plus defender and will hopefully continue his improvements at the plate as he matures into his age 25 season.