2002 Rookie Catchers
As ever, rookie catchers seldom make a huge impression because they tend to be used as backups to veterans before being entrusted with regular duty.
Nonetheless, several young backstops enhanced their career potentials in 2002 by doing creditable jobs. Among them were the Orioles' Geronimo Gil, the Padres' Wil Nieves, the Giants' Yorvit Torrealba, the Angels' Jose Molina (brother of regular Bengie Molina), and the Jays' Ken Huckaby.
Nieves appears to have a bright future, though he failed to hit early in the season and was sent back to the minors for a spell. However, he earned praise from veteran catcher Tom Lampkin, a teammate. "Wil is the type of kid who looks for tips, and those kind of players are going to get better," said Lampkin. "He impressed me."
Gil was the only rookie catcher to win a regular job, though Huckaby also got a lot of work in his first season. Gil, 27, a veteran of the Mexican League, took over at season's start and gave the rebuilding Orioles a boost. At one point, he threw out 11 of 16 would-be base stealers. He showed some power, reaching double figures in home runs with 12.
"He's done a job for us," said Orioles manager Mike Hargrove. "He's made progress all season."
Gil is the catcher on our rookie team.
#60 | Gil Bio & Stats | League Awards