OPTION 2: Manny Piña || MLB plate appearances: 23 || MLB OPS: .668
Defensive reputation: very good (as of 2012)
It’s hard to say with certainty how good Piña is as a defender without current scouting reports, but he was rated the best defensive catcher in the Royals farm system in both 2011 and 2012. Of course, that was years ago, but at the very least he hasn’t lost his ability to toss out would-be basestealers, nabbing 38% in AAA this season.
The most intriguing aspect of Piña’s game is his recent improvements at the plate. Of course, spending half his season in Colorado has played a part, with the catcher posting a .984 OPS in home games, though he has still been a capable hitter away (.787 OPS).
Additionally, Piña was excellent with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens in 2015, slashing .305/.379/.461 with 7 home runs in just 292 plate appearances. Having essentially a full season (554 PA) of success between ’15 and ’16 gives Piña a relatively trustworthy résumé offensively. Particularly, since the catcher has 40 doubles and 12 home runs over that time.
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And while an inflated BABIP (.348) has certainly played a part in his success over his last two AAA seasons, Piña has little left to prove in the minors, and could very well be league average on offense.
Unfortunately, Piña turned 29 in June, and minor league journeymen sometimes face limited chances at breaking into the Major League scene.
Overall, Piña looks like he could be a balanced option at catcher, but aging is a constant concern with catchers, particularly offensively, whether that’s fair or not.
Next: Who's Option 3?