Entering the 2021 season, Dom Nuñez was the primary catcher for the Colorado Rockies but with the emergence of Elias Díaz in June and Nuñez’s struggles, he was quickly dispatched to the bench.
Through June 2, Nuñez made 35 starts for the Rockies behind the plate in 56 games. After that, he made just 39 starts in 105 games. Through June 2, Nuñez was only hitting .162/.262/.378 but after that, he hit .214/.321/.419. Overall, that amounted to a .189/.293/.399 with an OPS+ of 76. That coupled with his -6 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and around league average in pitch-framing metrics, Nuñez had a 0.5 fWAR and a -0.5 rWAR.
If those numbers and Elias Díaz’s three-year extension are any indication, the Rockies do not plan to use Nuñez in any more than a backup catcher role.
Projections are mixed on Colorado Rockies catcher Dom Nuñez in 2022
ZiPS projects that the Colorado Rockies catcher will improve slightly on offense but slightly regress defensively. It projects that Dom Nuñez will hit .203/.303/.415 with an OPS+ of 79. However, he is projected to only have an fWAR of 0.4, when it was 0.5 in 2021.
Despite Nuñez likely being their backup catcher, they need him to step it up especially with the average.
Ideally, the on-base percentage would come up some too but the power numbers are decent, especially for a catcher. In 81 total games in 2021 (74 starts), he had 10 homers, 12 doubles, and 33 RBI so for a full 162-game season, most people would take 20 homers, 24 doubles, and 66 RBI out of a catcher.
But the swing and miss and the strikeout rates (34.6 percent) are too high.
Additionally, Nuñez’s defense can use some help too since the numbers are mixed on him. But since he is only entering his second full season in 2022, the Rockies could decide to give him a bit more playing time than a traditional “backup catcher.”
After all, Elias Díaz has never played more than 106 games in a season at the MLB level and that was achieved in 2021 so Nuñez could see 60+ games of action but if he improves at the plate, the Rockies may have to give him more playing time.