Sunday, February 11, 2007

Brewer Breakdown - Catcher

Behind the plate, newcomer Johnny Estrada takes over for Wisconsin native and dinosaur Damien Miller. Estrada came to Milwaukee from Arizona via the Doug Davis trade. He hit .302 with 11 homers and 71 RBIs. Miller is the backup and is projected to make about 40-45 starts.

The Good: He can hit! Catchers that hit over .300 with 70+ RBIs are at a premium. As are switch hitting catchers…Johnny is both. Estrada is easily the best offensive catcher Milwaukee’s had since the Saucy Aussie Dave Nilsson was squatting in County Stadium. That was about 10 years ago. Estrada (this guy needs a good nickname….no, Eric will not do) also hit .314 in 2004, so last year wasn’t just a “career year.” He could hit anywhere from 2-8 in the lineup.

The Bad: From all accounts, Estrada handles a staff well, but doesn’t exactly have a howitzer behind the plate. Mentions of his defensive merits are few and far between, so I’m assuming they are not very special. How’s that for a blatant example of the research (or lack there of) done on this site? Actually, here’s some: Only gunned down a Mike Piazza-esque 29% of would-be base stealers. That’s not very good. Also, he runs with a piano on his most catchers do.

2007 Prediction: .290, 10 bombs, 75 RBIs.

Grade: B-. The Estrada/Miller two headed monster isn’t exactly scaring pitching staffs, or base runners, but should be considered above average.

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