2008 Rookie Catchers
There was no shortage of rookie catchers in big league uniforms as the 2008 season approached the finish line, but few got much playing time other than the Cubs' Soto, the Mariners' Jeff Clement, the Marlins' John Baker, the Astros' J.R. Towles, the Padres' Nick Hundley, and the Orioles' Guillermo Quiroz.
A few did fairly well. Baker hit .299 with five HR and 32 RBI in 197 at-bats as an alternative to veteran Matt Treanor. Hundley, who hit .237 in 198 at-bats, may be the Padres' usual starter next season. Then there's Towles, for whom the Astros still nurse hopes, particularly since they'll no longer have dependable Brad Ausmus.
But Soto was the class of the field, chest pad and catcher's mask above the rest. Some analysts even considered his play a major reason why the Cubs finished first in the N.L. Central and won 97 games last season, their highest total in seven decades. A national sports publication unhesitatingly proclaimed him as his team's MVP, a rare honor for a rookie, especially one in a star-studded lineup.
"Geovany Soto more than rewarded the Cubs' faith in him when they handed the rookie the starting job last winter," a Sports Weekly reporter wrote. "Soto not only became one of five Cubs to hit at least 20 homers, he proved more than capable behind the plate calling games."
No contest for catcher for our all-star team. Soto's the one.
#18 | Soto Bio & Stats | League Awards