Player Profile: Geovany Soto

Player Profile: Geovany Soto

Credit: Getty Images

CHICAGO - AUGUST 25: Geovany Soto #8 of the Texas Rangers catches against the Chicago White Sox on August 25, 2013 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Rangers 5-2. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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by EDDIE MIDDLEBROOK

WFAA Sports

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 7:46 PM

2013 Stats: .245/.328/.466, 114 OPS+

Salary: $3.5 million

Each week, we will look at key players on the Texas Rangers 25-man roster, and this time we look at the primary catcher in 2014, Geovany Soto.

Year in Review: The 51 games Soto started behind the plate were his lowest total since entering the majors. Despite being reduced to a reserve role, Soto had his highest OPS (.794) and OPS+ (114) since the 2010 season when he hit .280/.393/.497. His success primarily came at home where he had a 1.089 OPS (vs. 537 on the road) and in the second half of the season:

1st Half .185/.279/.348

2nd Half .324/.392/.620

Soto’s best months were:

July: .357/.471/.750

Sept/Oct: .440/.481/.920

For the catcher position, hitting is only part of the game as there are so many factors to consider. Matthew Carruth’s StatCorner measures a catcher’s ability to frame pitches and Soto ranked 33rd with 1.5 Runs Above Average (RAA). He also prevented would be base stealers 29% which is slightly higher than his career average (26%).

All of these stats pale in comparison to the biggest news of the 2013 season: On June 4, Soto started at third base for the first time in his career. The game also featured David Murphy pitching and Nelson Cruz falling over the right field fence in attempt to catch a home run.

Career: Soto’s career started off sensational as he won the NL 2008 Rookie of the Year award after hitting /.285/.364/.504 , 23 homeruns and 3.2 rWAR. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t been able to duplicate such a season though 2010 was close: .280/.393/.497, 17 homeruns and 3.1 rWAR in only 105 games. His Isolated Power (ISO) in 2013 (.221) was more in line with his two best seasons 2008 (.219) and 2010 (.217). It also ranked third on the team as Soto was only behind Jeff Baker’s .266 and Nelson Cruz’s .240.

The second half of 2013 can give the Rangers hope that Soto has turned things around at the plate.

2014 season: In 2014, Soto will once again be given the primary catcher role on the team as the Rangers chose not to make a significant upgrade at the position. ZIPS forecasts Soto to hit .228/.308/.409, 90 OPS+ and be worth 1.3 wins. His backup, J.P. Arencibia is actually projected to get more playing time. For now, the job is Soto’s, but it is only February. Once the season is in full swing, Manager Ron Washington will go with who he feels can do the best job behind the plate in all facets: game calling, fielding and hitting. Despite being only 31, this might be Soto’s last chance to seize a starting role on a big league club.

 

Eddie Middlebrook is a staff writer for Paranoid Fan, covering MLB and college football. Back in 2010, Eddie wrote for Fox Sports Southwest covering the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks and the Big 12. In 2012, he began writing for Shutdown Inning where he eventually became Vice President of Media. You can email Eddie ateddie@paranoidfan.com or catch him on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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