On Friday last week Ryan Doumit picked his home for the 2012 season, and it will be in Minnesota with the Twins. While the deal seems to be a solid signing for the Twins, one year and $3 million (it also includes performance bonus’), what does this mean for the future of Joe Mauer behind the plate? Moreover, is this a signal that the team isn’t sold on Justin Morneau ever returning to All-Star levels? Does this signing signal the end of Jason Kubel’s tenure with the club (he was offered arbitration)? Those are all questions to ponder for another day as today I’m going to focus on Mr. Doumit.
A passable defensive catcher, Doumit is more prized for his bat. In fact, his best position certainly isn’t behind the dish, it’s probably as a hitter at it. Doumit appeared in 60 games as a catcher in 2011, and he’ll certainly see some time there in 2012. He’ll also likely play some first base, a spot he covered three times last year, and potentially the outfield (he appeared in right field in 18 games in 2010). Doumit will also have the advantage of being able to fill the DH role, and perhaps that will enable him to reach a career best in games played (currently 124 games). And that brings up major sticking point with Doumit – he’s always seemingly hurt. Just look at his games played totals the past seven years: 75, 61, 83, 116, 75, 124 and 77. That’s an average of 87 games a season. Given his constant battles to stay on the field, a move to the AL where he can DH seems like an ideal fit.
Doumit has had so many starts and stops from year to year that it’s often forgotten that he’s a darn good hitter, especially so for a player who qualifies at catcher. I’m gonna lay out the average, OBP and SLG of a handful of players. See if you can guess which one belongs to Doumit.
I know you’ll never guess, so I’ll just let you know who the lines belong to: Jorge Posada, Ryan Doumit, Miguel Montero and Matt Wieters.
That’s right, Doumit’s career slash line numbers fit right in with that mix of catchers. Shocked? How about this. Per 450 at-bats, a total Doumit should reach in 2012 if he can stay healthy, the average Doumit season has produced a 5×5 line of .271-15-61-54-2. Those aren’t great numbers, but how many catchers reached all five numbers in 2011? The answer is two: Alex Avila and Mike Napoli. If we remove the steals and just ask how many went .271-15-61-54 the group only grows by one more (Miguel Montero).
Remember, the 5×5 numbers I just mentioned are for Doumit’s entire career based on a 450 at-bat season. Will he reach that at-bat total in 2012? A lot of that certainly depends on his health, and we are talking about a guy who has only two 100 games seasons in his career. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Doumit has never, not one time, had 450 at-bats in a season (his career high is 431). Therefore, it’s clear that there is a lot of guesswork going on here. Still, when others reach for a catcher early in your draft it might be wise to sit back, wait a while, and take a chance on the newest Twins’ backstop as he could end up being quite the draft day pickup if he can stay in the lineup.
By Ray Flowers