2005 Rookie Catchers
Newcomers seldon follow the career paths of such "phenoms" as Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and current Twin Joe Mauer to achieve instant success, but generally begin as back-ups.
The Rockies' J.D. Closser might have done it. Highly touted, he was handed the first-string job last spring, but didn't live up to expectations, especially as a batter, finishing at .219 in 92 games. One observer noted of Closser: "A lot of Colorado kids have contributed this year, but he couldn't get his confidence at the plate. He's shown some good signs at times." Closser may come around in 2006, but fell short last season.
Among other youngsters who got a fair amount of work behind the plate were the Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Doumit, the Royals' Paul Phillips, the Braves' Brian McCann, the Mariners' Rene Rivera, the Devil Rays' Pete Laforest, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Chris Snyder, and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Dioneer Navarro.
Chances are the future looks brightest for Doumit and Navarro because their teams were desperate for consistent catching in 2005 and beyond. McCann impressed with .278 in 180 at-bats and could replace veteran Johnny Estrada in the future.
Doumit went on a tear in August, a month in which his .364 batting average and .425 on-base percentage were best among major league rookies with at least 50 plate appearances. He finished at a modest .255 with six HR and 35 RBI in 231 at-bats, while sharing duty with Humberto Cota. Navarro hit .273 with three HR and 14 RBI in 176 at-bats while backing up veteran Jason Phillips.
It's a difficult call, but Doumit gets the selection.
#41 | Doumit Bio & Stats | League Awards