26-year old lefty swinging Brian McCann is one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball. McCann played in 143 games for the Braves last season and he was 129 of 479 (.269 avg, .828 OPS) with 63 runs scored, 21 homers, 77 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. He also walked 74 times last season so he has a good eye. Look for his offensive numbers to improve across the board in 2011 due to the fact that the whole batting order should be better for the Braves. McCann has issues on defense though so he’s far from perfect. McCann made 14 errors last season and he also had 5 passed balls in 136 games behind the plate for the Braves. He threw out 31 of 120 (25.8%) runners trying to steal on him last season but Braves’ pitchers liked throwing to him as they had a 3.70 ERA with him behind the dish. Despite some defensive issues, McCann is still one of the best catchers in all of baseball.
33-year old righty swinging David Ross is good all around catcher. Ross played in 59 games for the Braves last season and he was 35 of 121 (.289 avg, .871 OPS) with 15 runs scored, 2 homers and 28 RBIs. Ross has much more power than he showed last season so don’t be surprised to see him crank around 8-10 homers if he gets around the same amount of ABs in 2011. Ross had 4 errors and 1 passed ball in 57 games behind the plate for the Braves last season. Ross threw out 7 of 26 (26.9%) runners trying to steal on him last season and Braves’ pitchers had a sparkling 3.15 ERA with him behind the plate. Ross is one of the best backup catchers in the majors.
26-year old switch-hitting Wilkin Castillo will likely have a chance to make the Braves out of spring training because he can almost play anywhere on defense. Castillo played in 92 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 81 of 317 (.256 avg, .697 OPS) with 45 runs scored, 9 homers, 35 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Castillo has a career average of .314 with a .676 OPS in 22 games in his major league career, so the man can hit the ball. Castillo had 5 errors and 4 passed balls in 45 games in AAA, so he’s not the most polished catcher the Braves have.
31-year old J.C. Boscan will likely share time in AAA with Castillo in 2011. Boscan made his major league debut last season as he played in 1 game in which he batted one time. Boscan walked and scored a run in his debut. Boscan also played in 66 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 55 of 220 (.250 avg, .692 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 5 homers, 21 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Boscan caught 1 scoreless inning for the Braves last season. He had 2 errors and 5 passed balls in 66 games in AAA-ball last season so he needs to improve his concentration just a tad.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BRAVES CATCHERS IN 2011: A