27-year old righty swinging Kurt Suzuki will be the starter behind the plate for the A’s in 2011. He is a tad overrated though. He played in 131 games for the A’s last season and he was 120 of 495 (.242 avg, .669 OPS) with 55 runs scored, 13 homers, 71 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He only walked 33 times while whiffing 49 times so he’s a hacker who makes a lot of contact. I think his numbers could improve a little bit due to the fact that he will be batting in the middle of the order instead of near the top in 2011. Suzuki made 8 errors and he had 7 passed balls inn 123 games behind the plate last season for the A’s, so he does have some things to work on defensively. Despite having the reputation for having a big arm, Suzuki only threw out 10 of 85 (11.8%) runners trying to steal on him. A’s pitchers love throwing to him though as they had a 3.29 ERA with Suzuki behind the plate.
28-year old righty swinging Landon Powell will need to have a good spring to hold off Josh Donaldson for the backup catcher gig on the A’s in 2011. Powell played in 41 games for the A’s last season and he was 24 of 112 (.214 avg, .608 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 2 homers, 11 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Powell has decent power but he won’t likely ever hit for a good batting average. Powell made 6 errors in only 38 games behind the plate for the A’s last season but he didn’t have any passed balls. Powell threw out 4 of 26 (15.4%) runners trying to steal on him last season and A’s pitchers had a 4.45 ERA with him behind the plate.
25-year old righty swinging Josh Donaldson came into last season as the A’s #14 prospect coming into 2010 according to Baseball America. Donaldson played in 86 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 70 of 294 (.238 avg, .812 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 18 homers, 67 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Donaldson looked a tad overmatched in his first taste of the majors last season. He played in 14 games for the A’s last season and he was 5 of 32 (.156 avg, .487 OPS) with 1 run scored, 1 homer and 4 RBIs. Donaldson whiffed 12 times for the A’s as he sometimes looked lost at the plate. Donaldson made 1 error and 1 passed ball in 7 games behind the plate for the A’s last year. He threw out 2 of 6 (33.3%) runners trying to steal against him last season and A’s pitchers had a 3.99 ERA with Donaldson behind the dish. Donaldson has a much higher ceiling than Powell so he will beat him out if he has a good spring.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE A’S CATCHERS IN 2011: B-