Astros fans didn’t have a lot to be thankful for in 2013 but there was at least one bright spot. The offense provided from the catcher’s position was the best we have seen in years. While Jason Castro did most of the heavy lifting, Carlos Corporan did a nice job as his backup.
It was a tale of two halves for Corporan in 2013. At the All-Star break, Carlos was hitting at a .274/.339/.434 clip. But Corporan seemed to wear down as the season progressed, slashing only .154/.212/.256 after the break. His numbers slipped even further after a late August concussion that forced Carlos to the disabled list for 20 games.
Corporan came through with big hits in key situations on multiple occasions in the first half of the season. In their first year as members of the American League, it was rare for the Astros to pick up a win against a playoff caliber team. But when they did — Corporan was right in the middle of it. Carlos was able to provide the margin of victory in the Astros only win against both the Yankees, and the Tigers. He also teamed up with Jarred Cosart to secure one of only two victories over the Rays.
Corporan is also a steady defender behind the dish. He threw out 24% of would be base stealers in 2013, which is right in line with his career average. And he is great at blocking runners off the plate.
I think the Astros would be wise to retain Corporan as the primary backup catcher for the 2014 season. It will be his last year before becoming arbitration eligible, meaning his price tag will be attractive to our extremely frugal owner. And, even though the club has recently added some organizational depth at the position, all of the minor league backstops could use a little more seasoning before taking on a substantial role in the big leagues.
Corporan’s solid defense and a little more consistency on offense would put him at a level well above average among backup catchers — especially considering his salary. If he can cut down on his 28.6% strikeout rate and put the ball in play more often, Corporan could prove to be a valuable asset for a club that needs to generate more offense in the upcoming season.