. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Rivera is clearly the everyday catcher. In his 103 games last season, Rivera hit a very respectable .252/.319/.432/.751. Often, when a player, like Rivera, comes out of obscurity, the league catches up. While that might very well happen in 2015, it is a very good sign that his numbers actually improved as the season went on, as he hit .280/.354/.439/.793 in the second half.
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As good as Rivera at the plate, he is even better behind it. He is Andrew Cashner‘s go-to game caller and threw out 36% of would-be base stealers (league average of 28%). The 2014 Padre catchers lead the league in framing. Basically they were better at turning borderline pitches into strikes.
Rivera will turn 32 in the middle of the 2015 season. While his age probably won’t cause much of a drop off, it’s unlikely that he will be as good of a hitter as he was last season. We know what it’s like to watch a Padre go off in the second half of a dead season. I’m looking at you Will Venable and Chase Headley!
Federowicz was acquired in the deal that landed Matt Kemp. While he repeatedly hits for an .800+ OPS in the minors, Federowicz has yet to translate that to the big leagues. Over the past two seasons, in his 79 games played, Federowicz hit only .195/.239/.307/.546. Clearly the 27 year-old has had troubles adjusting to Major League pitching. Look for Federowicz to be good defensively, though. Last season he threw out 43% of would-be base stealers.
Austin Hedges is not ready. The man believed to be the best defensive catching prospect in baseball hit only .225/.268/.321/.589 in AA. I could go on, but he simply isn’t ready. Maybe he’ll get a cup of coffee in September. Other than that, it is unlikely Hedges will be ready until 2016.
Bud Black Should: Obviously Rivera is the starter with Federowicz being his backup.