Depth at the catching position for the Pirates seems to be getting closer

Sudden Catching Depth for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Ramon Cabrera had the season Tony Sanchez wanted to have. It’s nice to see the Bucs have depth in the minors at the catching position.

Cabrera won the Florida State League batting crown. Sanchez survived the Eastern League.

Don’t expect to see a long-term deal signed with Chris Snyder or Ryan Doumit. We trust one of those two players will get an offer this offseason, but take a look at what could be coming the Pirates way in upcoming years.

Cabrera can hit. He has strong splits and keeps his strikeout numbers down as well, which is a positive sign.


Cabrera has questions in other parts of his game and when we saw him, his size seems a disadvantage.  He’s listed at 5’7″ so he looks like the catcher on your team growing up.

Sanchez struggled mightily at AA. GM Neal Huntington said that Sanchez got in trouble when he tried to start hitting home runs. It makes some sense.  But it doesn’t explain his recent power outages much either does it?



In the past ten games, Sanchez has one double and no other extra base hits. He slugged just .318 for Altoona this season.  The Curve wraps up the season today. In fact, Sanchez had just 20 extra base hits all season with 14 doubles, a triple and five bombs.


Can Cabera continue to rake as he moves up to AA?  We don’t see why not.  Sanchez hit well last season and hit a wall in 2011.  Perhaps it was a carryover from the facial injury as he didn’t tear it up in the AFL either. 

But the question for 2012 is will Sanchez repeat AA? It seems likely which would leave Cabrera at Bradenton which seems to be a waste for the 21-year old.

Let’s just say the offseason will be interesting for the Pirates at the catching position. We were thrilled to watch Eric Fryer make the jump to the big leagues this season, and frankly he didn’t appear overmatched.  He has hit rather well in the minors for the club, his numbers are below.


With veterans Dusty Brown, Jason Jaramillo, and others holding the staff together at the AAA level, it seems unlikely that Sanchez would get the bump up a level next season without some hard work this offseason.

Seeing so many catchers in Pittsburgh this season was frustrating for us as fans, we can’t even imagine what the Pirates pitching staff thought about it. The emergence of Michael McKenry was cool. A lot of people became instant fans.  But it’s obvious his bat isn’t going to carry him. 

Can you imagine if a talent like Sanchez can put it together, he has the tools to do it.  It would be fun to watch his magentic personality.  We think he would be a huge hit in Pittsburgh.  

But the real question might be, what if somehow Cabrera can overcome the odds and have success at higher levels?  Could Cabrera push Sanchez a little bit?

It’s nice to see the depth at the catching position for the Bucs, we wouldn’t want to start the season without a proven big league catcher of course, but at least some help looks to be on the way.

That’s a lot more than we could say just a few years ago.


Here are some videos of Cabrera at the plate from Buccofans and NorthSideNotch.

You can see from this video that Cabrera can handle the bat easily. Nice work here…

In this at-bat, the top hand is a little heavy, but watch him fly…

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Tags: Ramon Cabrera Tony Sanchez

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