The Washington Nationals had some trouble with injuries at catcher last year that exposed some depth issues and made the loss of Derek Norris a little harder to handle. This year, however, it appears to be a position of strength where they added Kurt Suzuki to form a 1-2 punch with Wilson Ramos as he recovers from his injuries and the players thrown to the fire last year have some valuable Major League experience.
Throughout this series, I will be noting players on the 40-man roster and confirmed non-roster invitees. At catcher, there is no more Jesus Flores, but there is still some depth in the organization.
In the first installment of our “Predicting the Nationals” series, we take a look at the men behind the mask using ZiPS (published at Fangraphs) and Bill James’s pre-season predictions (from the Bill James Handbook).
A note before we begin: Obviously, playing time is not totally adjusted. Just take the rates as if they had those at bats. I don’t think there will be 1,634 plate appearances from the catcher position. This is just to get an idea of what the major prediction systems are offering for the Nationals this season.
ZiPS: 509 PA, .263/.308/.400, 12 HR, 62 RBI, 5.1 BB%, 11.8 K%, 2.2 WAR
James: 424 PA, .247/.306/.360, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 6.4 BB%, 14.3 K%
ZiPS : 311 PA, .260/.314/.411, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 6.8 BB%, 17.4 K%, 1.6 WAR
James: 486 PA, .269/.324/.426, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 6.8 BB%, 15.0 K%
ZiPS : 264 PA, .247/.281/.360, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 4.2 BB%, 14.8 K%, 0.8 WAR
ZiPS: 374 PA, .240/.300/.338, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 7.8 BB%, 20.9 K%, 1.4 WAR
Carlos Maldonado (Non-Roster)
ZiPS: 176 PA, .200/.282/.303, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 9.7 BB%, 27.3 K%, 0.1 WAR