Milwaukee Brewers: Jett Bandy ahead of Stephen Vogt?
With pitchers and catchers workouts already underway in Arizona, the Milwaukee Brewers still have several questions that need answering. One of the biggest is which two catchers will be on the 2018 Opening Day roster?
Right now it looks like there’s a battle in camp between Jett Bandy and Stephen Vogt. Manny Pina is a lock as the everyday catcher. The two backup options have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Bandy didn’t get a fair shake as he battled injuries last season. You can bet the Milwaukee Brewers want to see what the 27-year-old can do when fully healthy.
Why it should be Jett Bandy
Bandy is out of Minor League options, so sending him down will expose him to the waiver wire. With plenty teams needing a catcher, he’s sure to get picked up.
Before being traded to Milwaukee for the now American League reigning Gold Glove winner, Martin Maldonado, Bandy had a decent 2016 campaign. He hit eight home runs and drove in 25 runs in 70 games with the Angels.
Bandy also possesses a solid throwing arm compared to his counterpart. In 2016, Bandy had a caught stealing percentage of 17-percent. He allowed 29 stolen bases and threw out 19.
Those numbers do not pop of the page, but it’s a good idea to have as many catchers that can hit and throw the ball as possible.
The case for Vogt
Vogt, who was claimed by Milwaukee at mid-season, was a big part of their success down the stretch. The former two-time all-star added a veteran presence on a roster that needed it. Vogt really did a great job with the Milwaukee Brewers for the final months of the 2017 season. He slashed .254/.281/.508, and hit eight home runs while driving in 20 runs in 47 games.
He also missed a month with a knee injury. Those numbers are not too shabby when you look at the bigger picture. However, Vogt’s defense leaves a lot to be desired. In 2017 Vogt had a mere 13-percent caught stealing rate. He allowed 27 stolen bases while only throwing out four. Those defensive metrics alone could be the deciding factor in this upcoming Spring Training battle for the backup catcher role.
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Bandy appears to have the insider track for now, but that could change in a week or two. Expect the two potential backup catchers to play hard once Spring Training games get underway. Brewers manager Craig Counsell will need to come to a tough decision by April. Of course, he could decide to go with three catchers on the roster. However, that’s not a route the Milwaukee Brewers should consider given their current first base / outfield roster crunch.