2007 Rookie Catchers
As usual most years, few rookie catchers made a big impact in 2007, though several took over the front-line jobs.
The A's made Kurt Suzuki, who had been termed their "catcher of the future," their No. 1 backstop, the Philadelphia Phillies went mostly with Carlos Ruiz, and the San Francisco Giants turned to Guillermo Rodriguez.
Among other newcomers who saw a fair amount of playing time were the Detroit Tigers' Mike Rabelo, the California Angels' Jeff Mathis, the Toronto Blue Jays' Curtis Thigpen, the Diamondbacks' Miguel Montero, the Rockies' Chris Iannetta, and the Washington Nationals' Jesus Flores. None hit all that well.
A late-season call-up by the Cubs, Geovany Soto, was the most impressive. He had a tremendous season at AAA Iowa, batting .353 with 26 HR and 109 RBI, and was voted the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player. He hit .389 in 54 at-bats with the Cubs, and is likely to be the team's No. 1 catcher next season.
"This kid had played awfully well, both behind the plate and with the bat," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "It's hard to come to the ballpark and not put his name in the lineup."
Soto is likely to be in the Cubs' lineup most games in 2008, and may be a top candidate for rookie honors. He didn't get enough exposure, however, in 2007 to be a candidate for our all-star team.
The choice is basically between Ruiz, 28, who spent eight years in the minors, and Suzuki, 23, a definite comer. Ruiz was solid
defensively for the contending Phillies, and hit .259 with six HR and 54 RBI. Suzuki batted .240 with seven HR and 39 RBI in fewer games.
It's a close call, but Ruiz gets the nod as the all-star catcher.
#41 | Ruiz Bio & Stats | League Awards