CTH/TexSR: If Jason Castro does not re-sign, is there a catcher in the system who could step in and be the everyday guy?
Cooper: I don’t know if there is an everyday guy, when it came down to it, they had a choice to protect Alfredo Gonzalez or Roberto Pena, the Astros protected Gonzalez, they put him on the 40-man roster. Pena made it through the Rule V draft without being selected, which was a surprise to me. I don’t think that Pena is anything more than a backup catcher, but the Diamondbacks carried Oscar Hernandez all season in the backup role last year out of Low-A ball. They would have gotten more value in 2016 should they have taken Pena in the Rule V draft because of his defense.
I think that Gonzalez is a better framer and I think he has a little more offensive upside. I think there is a lot of depth at the catcher position, I also like Garrett Stubbs, who is a small undersized catcher, but had a good career at Southern Cal and had a good debut in professional ball. Jamie Ritchie is another guy, there are some great potential backup catchers there, I would be surprised if the Astros didn’t have a couple guys who have a successful big league career. I don’t see any as a starter, unless Gonzalez, who took a big step in 2015, makes another big step forward next year.
Stassi, you know what you are going to get from him, he will hit for some power, his average with his stint with the Astros last year was a little flukey. I think Stassi will hit .200 or .220 with some power, but that’s not an everyday catcher. I think the Astros will have to make a move or sign someone if Castro does not return for 2017, or they will piece it together.
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