Mar 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Matt McBride (7) singles in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
On the roster (3): Ryan Casteel, Dustin Garneau, Matt McBride.
On the 40-man roster (0): None.
Ones to watch: Garneau.
The first call-up: McBride.
The dark horse(s): Casteel.
It’s a little deceiving to list McBride as a catcher. Yes, he can do that, but he also plays left and right field and first base. In fact, in 52 big league games across 2012 and 2014, he has only played left, right, and first, and never caught, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be in Denver as a catcher (if the club sees a horrific string of bad luck in the injury department behind the plate), or as an outfield/first base platoon or replacement player.
McBride went on a tear this spring at the plate and won the Abby Greer Award, presented to the best developing player in camp. He doesn’t have a position in Denver if everyone is healthy, but if the injury bug hits the Rockies again this year, or if Justin Morneau and/or Wilin Rosario is traded away this year, you may see McBride up to play meaningful innings at Coors Field.
As for Garneau and Casteel, both are more traditional everyday catchers who will split time in Albuquerque. Garneau, at 27 years old, is a little more developed than Casteel, a 23-year old, but Casteel may have the higher ceiling thanks to his .286/.351/.467 career minor league slash line and two straight seasons of double digit home runs.
Garneau, who’s only hit .244/.341/.424 in six minor league campaigns, has 44 games of AAA experience under his belt and might be a better short-term call-up this season than Casteel, who has yet to play at the AAA level. Long term, though, Casteel probably profiles better as a catching prospect and after the departure of Rosario and/or Hundley in the near future, could potentially take over catching duties with the big club.
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