mariners

Vinnie Catricala offers the 2012 Seattle Mariners a new vision

And He’s On Twitter! @VinnieCatricala

Vinnie Catricala makes the Mariners offensive dreams come true but brings with him a new nightmare.

If there is one thing that the Mariners need, it is offense.  Seattle finished last in pretty much every offensive category last season.  This is particularly difficult for fans who remember the golden years of Seattle ball, with Ken Griffey Jr. running after the home run title.

Whether the blame lies on the management or the Seattle curse, the numbers over the past decade have not been encouraging.

This off season, the M’s fan base was pleading with the team to sign high profile free agent Prince Fielder, but the team was not in a financial position to lay out the red carpet for the big man. As it turns out it seems Prince wasn’t all that interested in playing in the Northwest anyway.

What the Mariners don’t need is another unmotivated player that is difficult to get along with in the club house.

The truth of the matter is that General Manager Jack Zduriencik has a plan.  The former scout knows how to find talent in unusual places.  In the midst of rebuilding, the team looks as though it has taken a step back.  This is especially evident when other teams in the division have bolstered their rosters with high level, proven talent.

The present looks a bit gloomy, but the future looks bright.

One bright point was the Mariners minor league player of the year in 2011, 23 year old, Vinnie Catricala.  Vinnie played in two leagues last year, starting off for A High Dessert before being promoted to AA Jackson Generals.  Throughout the season he had 182 hits in 521 including 48 doubles 4 triples, 25 Homeruns and 106 RBI.

Vinnie Catricala

Catricala the Mariners minor league player of the year in 2011.

By the end of the year his batting average leveled off to a mere .349

Catricala’s bat is obviously ready for the Major League, the problem lies with the reason why this monster bat was still available in the 10th round of the 2009 draft, namely his defense.

Catricala was drafted as a 3rd baseman and that is where he has played the majority of his pro career thus far as well. However in 2011 he committed 14 errors in 172 chances giving him a fielding percentage of .919.

To realize what an obvious concern that is just compare them to those numbers by Chone Figgins’ 2011 defensive numbers.  Figgins was considered to be a disgrace at 3B when he committed 11 Errors in 185 chances.

That is a fielding percentage of .954.

The Mariners have tried to address this by moving Catricala around.  He has played left and right field, but the position seems very unfamiliar for him, beside the fact that he is blocked by Mike Carp in LF.

He has had the most success at first, but the M’s are not likely to move Justin Smoak and have seemingly been wanting to try Alex Liddi and John Jaso in that slot.

The obvious thing to do would be to make Catricala the everyday DH as the negative impact he would make defensively would offset any potential help in the offense, which of course is blocked now by Jesus Montero.

Realize that the M’s have an outfielder playing second base (Dustin Ackley), a first baseman playing left field (Mike Carp), a second baseman playing 3rd (Kyle Seager) and a DH playing catcher (Jesus Montero).

If everyone was playing where they should, maybe Catricala could make the club this year. 

As it looks now he is likely to be stuck in Tacoma for the 2012 Season.

Maybe they will train him as a pitcher?

Who knows?

Hit me back with your 2012 Vinnie Catricala predictions M’s fans. I want to hear from you below.

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  • Phenretty

    If you saw Vinnie make that great play against the Giants you might wonder about all this defense talk. I have been playing and watching baseball for 50 years and this kid has the best right handed swing I have ever seen. He is a winner and I love his phrase, ” It’s just baseball “.

  • http://twitter.com/danny_ferguson Danny Ferguson

    I watched him play a few times and didn’t notice poor defense, but the numbers and the scouting reports all say the same thing.  It just seems strange that he would be so far off from adequate that he wouldn’t be worth the risk.

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