White Sox: Who will earn backup catcher spot?
Aug 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher George Kottaras (26) returns to home plate after tagging a batter out on a dropped third strike in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Weight: 200 pounds
My fourth-ranked catcher is Kottaras, as he’ll have the toughest road to travel for the White Sox because there is so much competition ahead of him. He’s also on an MiLB deal, and most likely he’s going to fill a need at some level of the White Sox minor league system since they traded Josh Phegley this offseason to Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija deal.
Kottaras played for three teams in ’14 for a combined 18 games at the MLB level. He played in 10 games with the Cleveland Indians and four each with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Toronto Blue Jays.
He has seven years of part-time MLB experience amounting to 313 games, with the most games in a season coming in 2012, where he played in 85 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Athletics. That season, his MLB totals were as follows:
• 85 games
• 209 plate appearances; 171 at-bats
• .211 BA, .351 OBP, .415 SLG, .766 OPS
• 36 hits (six doubles, one triple, nine home runs)
• 31 RBIs
• 37 walks
• 26 strikeouts
• 71 total bases
• 0.6 WAR w/MIL (58 games), 0.3 WAR w/ OAK (27 games)
In ’13, he played in 46 games with the Kansas City Royals, batting .180 with 18 hits (five home runs) and 19 RBIs.
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As for this past season, Kottaras batted a combined .233 with the Indians, Cardinals and Blue Jays, where he had an OBP of .351 and .533 SLG. He hit three home runs in the 18 games he played, so that’s a positive for the seven-year pro.
As aforementioned, Kottaras seems to be a player who will most likely be in the minors in ’15, so let’s look at his numbers from the minors.
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With Columbus and Buffalo in ’14 (both of the International League), Kottaras played in a total of 27 games, where he batted .190 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. In his 84 at-bats, he had just 16 hits with one double and the previously mentioned home runs.
Since he’s on a MiLB deal, it could be tough for Kottaras to even earn a spot on the roster of the Charlotte Knights, with Luis Sierra also on the Knights’ current roster and most likely one of the other catchers previously mentioned ending up on the Knights’ roster as well.
But the great thing about spring training is each of these players should get the opportunity to prove they belong with the organization.