Piggy-backing on the George Kottaras rumors. Some Kottaras facts:
* George Kottaras is a 28-year-old catcher that bats left-handed and throws right-handed.
* Career minor league walk-rate (BB/PA) of 13.3%
* Career minor league isolated power (ISO) of .177
* In 396 career plate appearances in the majors, Kottaras has an 11.3% walk-rate and a .185 ISO. Very similar to his minor league career numbers.
* Kottaras whiffs quite a bit; he owns a minor league strikeout-rate (K/AB) of 23.2% vs. a major league career strikeout-rate of 22%. Not much difference there. He’s going to swing-and-miss a lot.
* He profiles as a ‘offense first’ catcher. Over his career at catcher, Total Zone has him at -11 runs below average; plus/minus at -7 runs below average; and the fan scouting report at -9 runs below average. He’s only thrown out 16% of base-stealers in 896.1 innings behind the dish.
* ZiPS projects a .324 wOBA for Kottaras over the remainder of the season.
Kottaras profiles as a patient hitter with power. His defense looks to be below average, but the Giants seem locked in on adding more firepower to one of the worst offenses in baseball. As usual, depending on cost, he seems like a solid addition. I’d prefer a catcher with a little more glove skill, but beggars can’t be choosers. If the Giants do acquire Kotteras, they will control him by arbitration until 2013, which is an added plus since we don’t know how Posey will recover from his injury.
I still think I prefer Yorvit Torrealba. He’s the better defender and baserunner of the two, and that helps him close the gap some on offense.
UPDATE: It looks like the Giants may have signed catcher Max Ramirez for AAA depth.
There was once a time when Ramirez was considered a very good prospect. In 2008, Baseball America ranked him as the 10th best prospect in a very strong Rangers system; BA noted that he was a gifted ‘natural hitter’ and that he had ‘plus raw power’. On the downside, his glove was then (and has continued to be) a concern. In 2008, across three levels — RK, AA, AAA — Ramirez had a blistering season on offense hitting a slash of .347/.439/.628 in 81 games. He had injury wrist problems (2009 and 2010) that hampered his production and he really hasn’t hit since his 2008 season. In 2009 he posted a .653 OPS; in 2010 a .754 OPS. This year in AAA he’s posted a .606 OPS between the Cubs and Astros organizations.
How do the projection systems project Ramirez?
My first reaction is those projections are probably similar to what Kottaras could do on offense, and neither — Kottaras or Ramirez — is considered a strong defender. It’s hard (impossible?) to argue with a minor league contract like this. I’m doubtful that Ramirez is going to hit, but at least he’s resembled something of a useful player in the past. That’s more than we can say about our current options at catcher.