#4 Who wins the backup catcher position?
A backup backstop isn’t exactly everyone’s vision of an impact role, but with this young pitching staff, the potential for contribution is especially high. Kevan Smith demonstrated solid offense in 2017 but threw out only 8 of 64 base stealers for a dismal caught stealing percentage of 13 percent. Omar Narvaez was slightly better in the category at 24 percent, but drove in only 14 runs in 295 plate appearances. A key to the White Sox starters success in 2018 will be minimizing the number of runners in scoring position. Wellington Castillo led the majors in 2017. His backup will be key in 2018.
ANSWER…Kind Of – Narvaez heads North with the team but not necessarily because he decisively won the position. With Smith starting the season on the Disabled List due to a high ankle sprain, Narvaez is the only one of the two who could break camp with the team. Castillo was always going to be the primary catcher based on the team’s signing and financial commitment, not to mention his offensive and defensive abilities. With Smith healing, Narvaez has the opportunity to truly win the role by performing with the big league club.