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Baseball Digest
2000 Rookie Catchers

December 2000 by George Vass

Rookie catchers don't often take over as regulars, but three did during the 2000 season. They were Houton's Meluskey, Anaheim's Molina and San Diego's Gonzalez, who all showed exceptional promise in filling a present need.

Among other rookie catchers to get a fair bit of action were the Angel's Shawn Wooten, Hector Ortiz of the Royals, Detroit's Javier Cardona, Minnesota's Danny Andoin and A.J. Pierzynski, Texas' B.J. Waszgis, the White Sox's Josh Paul, Arizona's Ben Petrick and Florida's Ramon Castro.

The large crop is ample testimony to the heavy demand for catchers.

Molina, 26, a right-handed batter, was a key factor in Anaheim's overall improvement in 2000. He hit .281, produced 14 home runs with 71 RBI and was defensively sound. He set an Angels team record by batting .461 in May before coming down to earth.

Wiki Gonzalez, 26, a right-handed batter, didn't measure up to Molina or Meluskey as a hitter in his first full season, but provided a steady glove behind the plate for the Padres after replacing veteran Carlos Hernandez. Gonzalez cut down seven or eight would-be base stealers duriung one stretch.

"Now everybody realizes how good a player Gonzalez is," said Padres manager Bruce Bochy. "He's a quality catcher."

So is Meluskey, who was the better hitter in 2000, powering 14 home runs, hitting a solid .300 and driving in 69 runs.

The choice for catcher is Meluskey because of his consistency at bat.

Mitch Meluskey
#21 | Meluskey Bio & Stats | League Awards

YR
2000
G
117
AB
337
R
47
H
101
2B
21
3B
0
HR
14
RBI
69
BB
55
SO
74
SB
1
CS
0
OBP
.401
SLG
.487
AVG
.300


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