As they close the door on yet another disappointing season, and start looking towards 2013, catcher is definitely one of the areas of concern for the New York Mets. Josh Thole isn’t coming around offensively, so the Mets brought in Shoppach earlier this year to see if he would be a viable option for 2013.
The Mets were gauging whether or not Shoppach would fit in with the team philosophy, and hopefully bring a little more thump to the lineup. Shoppach was with the Mets for a little over a month, and already has more home runs (3) than Thole did all season (1). Shoppach has also had a few clutch hits for the Mets, but I think everyone would agree that his offensive production was not much better than what the Mets were already getting from the catcher position in 2012.
The most amount of games Shoppach has ever started in a season was back in 2008, when he started 94 for Cleveland. That was his most productive offensive season, batting .261, and hitting 21 home runs. He also has thrown out 29% of base stealers over his 8 year major league career, which is slightly better than Thole’s 27%.
When looking at Shoppach’s 2008 stats, the offensive potential is there. Plug him into the eight-hole in the lineup, and turn him loose. Maybe we get a .250 average and 20-25 home runs out of him if he starts 100 games in 2013. For that reason, a voice says and says lock him up for 2013. But there is another little voice whispering not so fast my friend.
Shoppach’s 2008 season is awfully similar to Scott Hairston’s 2012 campaign. Eerily similar…their offensive numbers are practically identical. On the surface, the numbers say one thing, but the things you see occurring in games keep reminding you why they were never really everyday players. The numbers are promising, but you just don’t feel confident having them as everyday players.
Regardless of how you feel about Shoppach, I think he has shown enough to bring him back for 2013. I don’t know, there just seems to be something about him that makes it easy to cheer for him. Maybe it’s because he seems like a throwback, blue-collar catcher to me. He has the full grown beard, and just fits the mold. I like that he provides a heck of a lot more pop than Thole as well. Like I said earlier, stick him in the eight-hole and let him swing for the fences.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the Mets have so many question marks facing them this off-season you would think the Riddler was the general manager. There are outfield questions…bullpen questions…and catcher questions. Robin might be confused when posed with all these questions, but Batman would solve the catcher riddle by re-signing Shoppach.