White Sox young catcher having solid Spring Training. Could the second year player become starting catcher for the South Siders?
The Chicago White Sox haven’t announced who will be the starting catcher come Opening Day, but it could be Omar Narvaez. The second year catcher is having a solid Spring Training, and with the lack of available catchers he could very well start behind the plate for the Sox on April 3.
Although the Sox haven’t defined who will be the starting catcher, Narvaez is currently outperforming Geovany Soto this Spring. Narvaez is hitting .300 with three walks in 13 games during Spring Training. However, Soto is hitting .192 through 10 games this Spring. This shows Narvaez has the clear advantage over Soto for the starting catcher spot.
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With the Sox rebuilding, the importance of a solid starting catcher isn’t high but its still important. Narvaez had a nice rookie season albeit in a small sample size in 2016. Through 34 games, Narvaez hit .267 with one home run and 10 RBI’s. This season will be big test for Narvaez as he will be looked upon to play more than 100 games for the first time in his brief MLB career.
The Sox will have to rely on a player that has never played more than 98 games in a single season while in the minors. Narvaez career high in games came in 2015 with Single A Winston-Salem at 98 games. He hit .274 that season with 27 RBIs for the Dash.
Narvaez could struggle to adjust to the rigors of being a starting catcher in MLB, but he will also be tasked with helping the starting rotation thrive. Last season, Narvaez was one of the key reasons in Carlos Rodon‘s solid second half. In 73 innings thrown to Narvaez, Rodon’s ERA was 3.45 compared to a 6.96 ERA when pitching with Dioner Navarro as the catcher. Alex Avila‘s injury opened the door for Narvaez as Rodon had 3.17 ERA in 59 innings with the veteran behind the plate. If Narvaez can replicate his past success with Rodon with the other starting pitchers this upcoming season, the Sox will again have a solid season on the mound.
The Sox don’t have much catching depth, and they will need Narvaez to remain healthy throughout the season. Relying on a young unproven catcher to start more than 100 games will be hard, but the Sox don’t have much of a choice at the moment. Hopefully Narvaez can continue impressing and have a good 2017 season on the South Side.