Feb 24, 2012; Jupiter FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher Brett Hayes (9) during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins 2012 Season Preview: Catcher Position

Today we are getting started with the Miami Marlins 2012 season preview. In this series, we will be looking at projections for each player. I will also make my projections for what I expect from each player in 2012. We will take a look at the catcher position today.

Depth Chart

1. John Buck

Feb 22, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher John Buck (14) during spring training drills at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

2. Brett Hayes

The Marlins signed catcher John Buck to a 3-year $18 million contract after he posted a career year in 2010. There was a great chance that John Buck would regress from his 2010 production, and make the Marlins signing that contract look bad.

That is exactly what happened. In the 2011 season, Buck’s BABIP actually dipped below his career average. As a result, Buck’s average plummeted. John Buck also saw his ISO plummet to a career low of .139. This is the year after he posted an ISO of .208. Buck and his defense was nothing to write home about either. John Buck has never been a strong defensive catcher and that did not change last season.

The good news for Buck in 2011? He improved his overall plate approach. Buck walked at a career high pace as well as brought down his strikeout rate. Now the question is, can Buck sustain those numbers?

Here is a look at some projections for Buck in the 2012 season:

Bill James 482 .239 .309 .409 .308 1.7 17
Roto Champ 450 .240 .316 .398 .311 1.7 15
Fans 518 .241 .306 .383 .301 1.8 15

I like to make my own projections as well. These are the player projections that I submitted for John Buck on Fangraphs.com.

526 .249 .309 .389 .305 1.7 15

I am right in line with the three projection systems above. Buck is a solid player for the Marlins, but he is very unspectacular.

A lot of Marlins fans have been clamoring for the team to sign veteran catcher and former Marlin Ivan Rodriguez to backup Buck. I disagree. A quick look at Brett Hayes numbers compared to Pudge’s explains that.

Ivan Rodriguez 137 .218 .281 .323 .265 0.4
Brett Hayes 144 .231 .291 .415 .304 0.6

Both are backup catchers, so their numbers do not matter much as Buck played in most of the games in 2011. With the Marlins playing indoors next season, it is likely Buck will repeat how many games he played.

Rodriguez provides nothing offensively, but is still a very solid defender. For a guy coming off of the bench and playing minimally, I prefer to have Hayes bat and his average defense.

Tags: Brett Hayes Ivan Rodriguez John Buck Miami Marlins

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