Washington Nationals: Who is the catcher of the future?


With Raudy Read and Pedro Severino on the Washington Nationals 40-man roster, which catcher is in a better spot to start in the future?

The one position that has caused a lot of grief amongst Washington Nationals fans is at catcher. Matt Wieters has had a down year offensively and you would think he is going to pick up his option for $10.5 million next year. Whether it’s a year or two from now, the Nats have two future candidates for catcher. Those two are Raudy Read and Pedro Severino.

Both Read and Severino are on the 40-man roster now, but each catcher has gone in the opposite direction this year. Read made his major league debut on September 3 and is 3-for-9 in those games. However, he had a good year offensively for Double-A Harrisburg when he hit .265 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI’s.

As for Severino, he has dealt with his fair share of injuries this year and had a down year offensively for Triple-A Syracuse. In 59 games at that level this year, he hit .242 with five home runs and 29 RBI’s. He did throw out 31% of baserunners this year, which is about the same as last year (Baseball Reference).

After getting a chance to play in the postseason last year and getting a double off Clayton Kershaw, you would think Severino would get more of an opportunity to play at the big league level in 2017. However, out of the 13 games he’s played, he’s only started in three of them.

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It leads to the question as to who the future catcher of the Washington Nationals organization is. Read has probably narrowed the gap based on his offensive game, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. At Harrisburg this year, he did throw out 31% of runners, but also allowed 14 passed balls.

Since Jose Lobaton might miss a few days and the Nats in a position to rest regulars before the postseason, Read and Severino are going to get opportunities to play. The question is going to be which player takes advantage of that opportunity.

Read’s offense is great for a position that is not known for offense, unless you’re talking about Gary Sanchez. If he can work on his defense and as he learns some of these major league pitchers, then he has a lot of upside. As Todd Dybas of the Washington Times tweeted earlier this month, they view Read much higher than Severino from an offensive standpoint:

Right now, Severino would appear to have the edge over Read. He knows all of the pitchers and is not a liability defensively. However, it is his offense that hasn’t exactly popped off the screen this season.

There are many scenarios that can play out for both of these catchers next year. The best guess would be that Severino starts the season as the backup catcher while Read continues to develop and improve his defense as the everyday catcher for Syracuse.

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The Washington Nationals have good depth at the catcher position and could use one of these players as trade bait. However, as Read gets more playing time than Severino in September, keep an eye on whether or not that trend continues in the final two weeks of the regular season.