With no real in-house options to begin the 2017 season, there is a player that is forcing the White Sox to ask a question.
That would be catcher Omar Narvaez, who has been impressive since his call-up to the major leagues. Given he has only played in 13 games, could he compete for a spot on next years roster?Keep in mind any big league data for Narvaez is hardly enough to make an informed decision.
Couple that with the fact Narvaez is anything but a top prospect. However his all-around game has been better than both Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro. The reason he is better than Avila and Navarro is due the fact his game has been a combination of the two.
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He throws better than Navarro, however takes pitches better (7 BB’s in 13 games). Not to mention makes contact at a higher rate than Avila (only 5 K’s in 36 AB’s). It is doubtful Narvaez will ever be an All-Star catcher, but could he be a key contributor?
Here is the big concern, that being when the league adjusts. While Narvaez is younger than both Avila and Navarro, he doesn’t have an elite skill set. Just better than what the Sox currently have at catcher, which is not very good. Overall, Narvaez has surprised many with his play but will he be able to adjust back with pitchers once they figure out his weakness?
It is very likely Narvaez will not keep up this level of play. He is a surprising bright spot behind the plate, and the question is now how long will he keep this up? While he has yet to homer, he has driven in three runs, and has a batting average of .333 and is reaching base at a clip of .442. It’s unrealistic to expect starter production from Narvaez. However the main question now becomes can he become a major league contributor?
Narvaez is probably best suited for a backup role. Since he also provides a left-handed bat, his value to come off the bench is much greater. Especially if he proves he can hit tough right-handed pitchers late in games. All things considered, it is very likely that he is in White Sox camp in 2017. Barring a situation where he struggles to finish 2016, which would put the White Sox in a situation where they might release him.
If the White Sox sign or trade for a catcher that will start, it would make sense to give Narvaez a shot to backup. Narvaez, in a short time has shown the abilities a backup needs at the MLB level. That is due to the fact that while his play has been sporadic, he still has produced at a solid level. Assuming the fact he can do that, the White Sox need to give Narvaez a shot in 2017 camp.
The team needs organizational depth, both at the MLB level and minor league level. If Narvaez doesn’t make the team, he could always come up due to injury. Depth is a key, because no team has perfect health. And a lack of depth has hurt the White Sox over the past few years. If the White Sox organization corrects the depth area, it could get itself back to contention. Which is something they desperately need.