Former Twins and Pirates “catcher” Ryan Doumit is headed to Atlanta, as Minnesota acquired Braves starting pitching prospect Sean Gilmartin. This just leaves one question: why?
Atlanta is planning on competing in 2014, that much is evident by their 96-66 record last season. Longtime catcher Brian McCann left via free agency and ended up in New York, with sophomore “catcher” and great story Evan Gattis now expected to get most of the starts behind the plate.
Before we get into Doumit, let’s look at Gattis. He’s already 27, quite old for a second-year player, but mashed 21 homers in 2013 over just 382 plate appearances. A .255 BABIP deflated his average and on-base percentage, though he’ll never be a great AVG/OBP guy anyway with a 5.5% walk rate and 21.2% strikeout rate. Yet he still managed a .480 slugging percentage and 110 wRC+. Gattis’ power is legitimate (he hit the longest home run in MLB last season), and while he’s not a great defender behind the plate, he could hide there for a season or two absent a superior option.
Gattis’ 2014 projections are varied. Steamer has him at 0.9 WAR (in 438 PA), Oliver says 2.4 WAR, and ZiPS says 19 homers, a .329 wOBA, and 1.9 wins. Gattis looks like a slightly below-average player as a full-time catcher.
Doumit does not look like a slightly below-average player as anything. Doumit looks like a bench player:
Ryan Doumit 2009-2013
It’s not like he’s without his uses. Like Gattis, he has power. Like Gattis, he doesn’t walk all that much. Like Gattis, he’s poor defensively. Like Gattis, he strikes out a bit too much. Except for the walks and K’s, though, he’s just worse enough to not make a ton of sense as a superior option, especially behind the plate. He’s also played some outfield, but a -10.6 UZR/150 is bad enough that the Twins signed him as a DH.