Willson Contreras might try, but he just can’t start 162 games behind home plate this upcoming season. And unfortunately Alex Avila and Rene Rivera have both parted ways with the reigning NL Central champions. So with the #2 catcher spot wide open, who on the Spring Training roster is primed to see the most action in 2018?
Victor Caratini: After the Miguel Montero fallout last season, Caratini was called up from Des Moines and showed flashes of quality last year. In 59 plate appearances he batted .254 with a single home run and 2 RBI. Victor’s power hitting was less than desirable, but his time in the minors has helped him steadily improve his power game. Does Joe Maddon feel like one appearance every ten or so games in the majors will help his development more so than starting every game in Iowa? Only time will tell
Chris Gimenez: Unlike Caratini, Chris Gimenez has plenty of experience in the big leagues. He’s never been the everyday catcher anywhere he’s been, but he’s made a career out of being a viable backup. At 35 years old coming off of a season where he batted .220, his ceiling isn’t incredibly high anymore. On the flip side, Contreras could definitely benefit from working with a seasoned veteran behind the plate.
The Rest: Big league experience between the three other catchers expected to compete in the spring is few and far between. Taylor Davis saw some action at the end of last year with 3 hits and an RBI in 13 plate appearances. Ali Solis has played triple A ball for a decade with 10 sporadic plate appearances in the bigs. Last and probably least, Ian Rice has never even seen time above the double A level.
Barring a miracle or an unexpected signing, this looks to be a two horse race between Caratini and Gimenez. Since Victor is also capable of playing first base (another position where the Cubs could use a solid backup) and he is the only catcher besides Contreras on the active roster, the Puerto Rican looks to have the edge over Gimenez.
The Cubs play their first Spring training game tomorrow (!!!), and the position battle at catcher will undoubtedly be one of the top storylines out of Mesa.