Carlos Corporan has taken over where Humberto Quintero left off. Corporan, 28, is a ten-year minor league veteran who has filled in behind the plate for the Astros for the last two seasons. In 2011 Corporan appeared in 52 games, posting a paltry .188/.253/.253 slash line. As if that wasn’t depressing enough, he only threw out nine of 52 base-runners attempting to steal.
After what could only be described as a miserable rookie campaign the Astros released Corporan over the winter. Two weeks later he was re-signed to a minor league deal. Corporan started the 2012 season at AAA Oklahoma City and showed some improvement at the plate. He was called up by the Astros in July when Jason Castro went on the disabled list with knee soreness.
Corporan performed at a higher level this time around, hitting .269/.310/.449 in 85 plate appearances. Those numbers included his first four homers as a big leaguer. Obviously we are dealing with a small sample size here, but the numbers were a definite improvement over the nightmare that was 2011.
Corporan also threw out seven of 21 runners attempting to steal. But his specialty is blocking runners off the plate. Watching Corporan hang in there and turn away runners is a thing of beauty. Is it enough to keep him in the big leagues? Probably not. Enough to keep him on the Astros? Maybe…
Corporan is a switch-hitter and did his best work against right-handed pitching last season. That could be partly due to the fact that he had only 18 at-bats against lefties. Corporan actually hit left-handers better in 2011. His ability to hit lefties could become a key factor in sticking with the team. Starting catcher Jason Castro, a left-handed hitter, has yet to prove he can hit lefties.
Can Corporan continue to improve and become a dependable backup catcher for the Astros? It looks like he just may get the chance. Entering his age 29 season, Corporan is one of the only options in an organization that is a bit short on talent at the catcher’s position. Unless the Astros go outside the organization for help, Corporan is probably their best option.