John Sickles of Minor League Ball is giving his run down on catchers. It is, at this point, a three-part series, with maybe more to come, so l am just linking to the front page. If you are so inclined, read the whole series, it is excellent.
Here is what he had to say about John Baker.
John Baker, 10 win shares
Fourth round pick from the
in 2002. Prospect Grades: 2004: Grade C; 2005 Grade C. Not in ’06-08 books. The earlier comments rated him as a bench player who “would push his way onto a roster eventually” What he did in Florida last year looks like his career season to me and is better than what you’d expect when looking at his minor league record. Universityof California
I won't even begin to argue with this because, given the historical data, he is correct. But then again, maybe Baker is a late bloomer when it comes to hitting and he can stay on the same pace. There is a theory that is easier to hit in the majors as compared to the minors since major league pitchers are around the plate more than minor leaguers.
I've never been one to subscribe to that theory especially given the number of Quadruple-A players, but in Baker's case maybe it could hold true.
But as they say: "the proof is in the pudding". Whatever that means. The Marlins are going to make Baker the everyday catcher, from what I can tell, and we will soon learn what he can do with the bat.
Once again, whether a catcher can hit is not the first metric I judge them by. The most important thing to me is that he can catch. In other words, will the pitcher feel confident in throwing any pitch in his arsenal with a man on third, knowing that if he bounces it the catcher will block it. Also, can the catcher calm the pitcher down when in trouble and offer decent advice.
Whether last year was a career year with the bat, is not a concern. Whether he is continuing to improve behind the plate, and Baker made giant strides last season, is the most important thing.
Your opinion may vary.