2 Catchers, 1 Cup?

10 12 2007

Last week I wrote an article about former super star Mike Piazza wanting to continue his career, despite lack of interest from teams and that perhaps he should be given a job given his perfect track record on and off the field. Another guy who is attempting to make a comeback in ’08 is former fringe catcher turned slugger, Javy Lopez. Javy played 11 mostly lackluster seasons with Atlanta before turning in 43 home runs (most ever for a Catcher), 109 R.B.I, and a .328 average in his twelfth and final season with the Braves. Where he found all this power is a mystery to everyone because in his next three seasons he hit 23, 15,& 8 home runs. In 2007 he was cut in Spring Training and missed the entire season. What was he doing? Hanging out with jail bait, of course! The one thing that is definite is the team that made him a star wants nothing to do with him. Wonder why?

Another catcher who had almost similar career stats is former New York Met, Todd Hundley.  In Hundley’s first six seasons he never topped more than 16 home runs and then he hits 41 in 1996, most ever for a catcher up to that point. How does he end his career? Well, despite adding another 30 in 1997 he never went on to have another great season and retired in 2003 after hitting just 2 home runs in 21 games.


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10 responses

10 12 2007
Dylan

I really never knew that about Hundley. And Javy’s numbers are definitely sketchy…Makes me really hate 90’s baseball.

10 12 2007
dayf

A fringe player who played mostly lackluster seasons in Atlanta? Javy was a two time all star who was one of the most popular players on the team… He was starting to decline in the early ’00s and no one knows what happened in ’03 (which coincidentally was a contract year) but it might have something to do with the Braves’ right fielder that year.

The Braves aren’t interested in Javy mainly because McCann’s the man and they want someone who can play defense to back him up. Other than having a spectacular arm at times, Javy wasn’t a Gold Glover by any stretch.

10 12 2007
Mario C.

Who was the Braves right fielder that year?

Yes, he was an all-star and very popular….so was Charles Johnson on the Marlins but he was never on the level of a Piazza or Pudge, hitting or fielding wise and is out of baseball for a reason. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing him back but I don’t think he can play in the big leagues anymore.

Dylan, 90’s baseball is pretty screwed up but nothing you can do now. I think on Thursday when the Mitchell report is coming out we will find out new stuff on players from 2000+. It will be very interesting.

11 12 2007
scott

Interestingly, those 41 homers hit by Todd Hundley in 1996, are tied with Carlos Beltran’s 41 in 2006 for the most in a single season by a New York Met.

11 12 2007
Dylan

I don’t even want to know anything. I just want it to go away.

11 12 2007
dayf

Javy’s not even close to Pudge and Piazza by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s probably the best catcher in Atlanta Braves history at least until McCann surpasses him. That’s not saying a whole lot though considering some of the stinkbombs we’ve had behind the plate. Javy was declining quickly after about 2001 and the Braves were taking catchers in the draft right and left trying to find a replacement. We now have McCann, Brayan Pena and had Saltalamaccia to trade for Tex as a result. Then in 2003 he went nuts and hit like crazy. The whole team had a ridiculous offensive year which helped get them back to the playoffs with a lackluster rotation. Now I’m not going to cast aspersions, but the right fielder for that year was none other than Gary Sheffield… I wonder if he had any extra cream he could share with the team?

11 12 2007
Mario C.

Wow….Gary Sheffield! That is something to think about.
Who was the guy in Atlanta that was being hyped up by Sports Illustrated about two years ago as the next big thing?

11 12 2007
dayf

That’s Jeff Francoeur. He’s still really raw at the plate, but he’s improved every year he’s been in the majors. Two years ago his power numbers were good but his average and OBP were awful. This year he sacrificed some power but improved his average and got more extra base hits, just not homers. He’s still got a lot of room for improvement, but he seems to ‘get it’ and is only 24.

11 12 2007
Mario C.

Thanks!

I just looked at his numbers….not very Mantle-like. He is better than last decade’s next Mantle, Ruben Rivera, though.

I am sure he will only improve.

13 12 2007
dayf

The Braves aren’t looking for Mantle, they’d be happy with another Dale Murphy. His rookie year numbers were a fluke, he hasn’t matched them yet. The big thing with him is he is great defensively and has a fantastic arm. I think he’ll eventually top out at about .275 with 25-30 homers and 100 RBIs a year, maybe a little better average if he cuts down on the strikeouts. It’s the same deal as Andruw Jones, those numbers are fine as long as he is that good defensively. The Braves are a pitching-first organization and good fielders make great pitchers.

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